Editor's Note: Choucroute is a traditional sauerkraut recipe that originated in Alsace and became popular in France. It consists of sauerkraut and various meats, sometimes accompanied by potatoes or other hearty vegetables. This particular recipe is bursting with flavor - sausage, bacon, bratwurst, pork, and sauerkraut are accompanied by a hint of juniper and herbs for a truly unique taste, served in casserole form for ease and convenience. You'll never want to go back to other sauerkraut recipes once you've sampled this hearty, meaty dish - it's got the best of many worlds.
Cooking MethodBaking, Sauteeing
Total Timeunder 4 hours
Make Ahead RecipeYes
One Pot MealYes
OccasionCasual Dinner Party
Recipe CourseMain Course
Dietary ConsiderationLow Carb
Taste and TextureMeaty, Savory, Tangy
Type of DishCasserole
- 2 pounds fresh or packaged (not canned) sauerkraut
- 3 tablespoons goose fat or unsalted butter
- 2 large onions, chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 3 cups chicken stock, homemade or low-sodium canned
- 1 1/3 cups dry white wine
- 1 ounce high-quality aromatic gin, such as Bombay, or 1 teaspoon juniper berries, slightly crushed
- 1 tart green apple, peeled, cored, and chopped
- ½ teaspoon caraway seeds
- ¼ teaspoon dried thyme
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 2 pounds French garlic sausage, pricked
- 1 pound slab bacon with rind, in 1 piece
- 4 bratwursts, pricked
- 4 weisswursts, pricked
- 8 smoked pork chops
- ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
Place the sauerkraut in a large bowl and cover with cold water. Let stand for 20 minutes. Drain, wash, and taste. If still too briny, repeat once or twice more as necessary and drain well, squeezing out the sauerkraut a handful at a time. Fluff the sauerkraut strands and reserve.
Preheat the oven to 325°F. In a heavy 5-quart nonreactive pot, melt the goose fat over medium heat. Add the onions and garlic and sauté for 10 minutes until the onions are translucent. Add the stock, 1 cup of the wine, gin, and apple. Bring to a simmer. Add the sauerkraut and stir in the caraway, thyme, salt, and pepper. Cover and simmer, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking, about 30 minutes.
While the sauerkraut is cooking, place the sausage in a saucepan and cover with cold water. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer until heated through, about 10 to 15 minutes, depending on their size, Remove and set aside in the water.
Place the smoked bacon in a shallow saucepan, cover with cold water, and bring to a boil Reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes to reduce the smoke and salt flavors. Drain. When cool enough to handle, slice the bacon away from the rind and cut into ¼-inch-thick slices.
Transfer half of the sauerkraut mixture to a large ovenproof casserole. Add the sausages, wursts, and smoked pork chops and cover with the remaining sauerkraut. Bury some of the bacon slices into the sauerkraut and place the remainder on top. Pour in the remaining wine and bake for 1 hour until most of the liquid has evaporated.
Sprinkle with the parsley. Serve directly from the casserole or make an arrangement on a large platter. Serve with parsleyed boiled potatoes, rye bread, and a variety of mustards.
1997 Christopher Idone