Choucroute garnie, served at every beer hall in France east of Lorraine, is the hot dog and sauerkraut dish of Alsace. Because cooking choucroute is more a matter of marrying flavors than cooking ingredients to doneness, your timing can extend or shrink to fit your schedule. But remember, the longer the choucroute simmers in the low heat, the deeper the flavors will get, and this easy-to-assemble dish yields an instant dinner without any work from you after it goes in the oven. Feel free to vary the sausages according to what’s available. Serve with brown mustard, a nice rye bread, and cold beer or white wine.–Andrew Schloss
LC Garnie Note
What’s in a “garnie”? It’s the feminine form of the French word garni, which means “dressed” or “garnished.” How very proper. Heaven forbid you serve guests naked choucroute.
Special Equipment: 6-quart slow cooker (if following the slow cooker method)
Choucroute Garnie Recipe
- Quick Glance
- 45 M
- 5 H, 15 M
- Serves 8
- 4 thick slices bacon
- 3 pounds (two 1-liter jars) store-bought or homemade sauerkraut, drained
- 12 small red-skinned potatoes, scrubbed and halved
- 1 large yellow onion, thinly sliced
- 2 dried bay leaves
- 8 juniper berries
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 3 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
- 1 pound boneless smoked pork butt, cut into 8 slices
- 4 knockwurst, quartered (or substitute other fully cooked sausages)
- 4 bratwurst, quartered (or substitute other fully cooked sausages)
- One 12-ounce bottle lager beer
- 1. If cooking the choucroute garnie in the oven, preheat the oven to 200°F (95°C).
If cooking the choucroute garnie in a slow cooker, see the Slow-Cooker Variation beneath the recipe.
- 2. In a large Dutch oven, cook the bacon over medium heat until the fat is rendered and the bacon is almost completely crisp, about 10 minutes. Reserve the drippings and transfer the bacon to paper towels to drain.
- 3. Put the sauerkraut in a bowl, crumble the cooled bacon over the top, and toss. Set aside.
- 4. Return the pot with the bacon drippings to medium heat. Add the potatoes and cook, stirring often, until lightly browned, about 10 minutes. Add the onion and cook until translucent, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat.
- 5. Add half the sauerkraut and bacon jumble to the pot with the onions and potatoes and toss to coat. Spread it in an even layer. In a small bowl, combine the bay leaves, juniper berries, cloves, coriander, black pepper, and garlic. Sprinkle half the spice mixture over the sauerkraut mixture in the pot and arrange the pork slices and sausages on top. Cover with the remaining sauerkraut and spices. Pour the beer over all. Cover and bake for 4 to 4 1/2 hours. Serve warm. (You can cover and stash the choucroute in the fridge for up to 3 days. Reheat gently, covered, in a low oven prior to serving.)
Slow-Cooker Choucroute Garnie Variation
- Cook the bacon in a large skillet and then cook the potatoes and onion in the bacon drippings, as directed. Then layer everything in a 6-quart slow cooker instead of in a pot, beginning with the potatoes and onions followed by layers of sauerkraut and bacon and spices, and finally the pork and beer. Cook on low for 4 to 8 hours.
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Choucroute Garnie Recipe © 2013 Andrew Schloss. Photo © 2013 Alan Benson. All rights reserved.
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