If, like me, you’re a fan of sauerkraut, there are few things you enjoy more than a steaming bowl of choucroute garnie; deliciously tart fermented cabbage, garnished with an assortment of vegetables and meat. Many people think they don’t like sauerkraut, but I’m sure it’s because they have never tasted a good homemade version. One of the most important steps in using sauerkraut is to soak it well. When properly soaked, it is very smooth, like a well-flavored cabbage. This recipe, which I’ve adapted from Julia Child, is absolutely delicious. You’d be surprised at how many people request seconds. It is a perfect finish for a pork roast or chops.
Cooking MethodSlow Cooking
Total Timeunder 4 hours
Make Ahead RecipeYes
OccasionFamily Get-together, Game Day
Recipe CourseSide Dish
Dietary ConsiderationEgg-free, Gluten-free, Peanut Free, Soy Free, Tree Nut Free
Taste and TextureMeaty, Savory, Tangy
- Medium to large (3½ to 6 quart) slow cooker
- 5 cups sauerkraut, soaked, drained and rinsed (see Notes) 1.25 L
- 8 oz piece bacon, diced 250 g
- 1 onion, thinly sliced
- 2 carrots, peeled and diced
- ½ tsp cracked black peppercorns 2 mL
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 cup dry white wine (see Notes) 250 mL
- 1 cup chicken stock 250 mL
In a skillet, cook bacon over medium heat, until browned. Using a slotted spoon, remove from pan and drain on paper towels. Set aside. Drain all but 2 tbsp (30 mL) fat from pan. Add onion and carrots to pan and cook, stirring, until carrots are softened, about 7 minutes. Add peppercorns and bay leaf and cook, stirring, for 1 minute.
Add drained sauerkraut and reserved bacon and toss well. Transfer to slow cooker stoneware. Add wine and chicken stock and stir well. Cover and cook on Low for 6 hours or on High for 3 hours, until hot and bubbly. Discard bay leaf.
If you are halving this recipe, be sure to use a small (2 to 3 quart) slow cooker.
For best results, it’s important to rinse sauerkraut thoroughly in several changes of water to reduce the bitter taste. Soak it overnight in cold water, then soak and rinse twice more before adding to the recipe.
If you prefer, instead of wine, substitute 1 cup (250 mL) chicken stock plus 1 tbsp (15 mL) lemon juice.
Make Ahead: This dish can be partially prepared before it is cooked. Complete Step 1. Cover and refrigerate bacon and vegetable mixtures separately for up to 2 days, When you’re ready to cook, continue with the recipe.
2013 Judith Finlayson