Choucroute garnie—a pot filled with smoked pork butt, bacon, sausage, potatoes, sauerkraut, and spices—is French comfort food. And it can be made in a slow cooker.
What’s choucroute garnie? It’s a hearty French classic, also known as choucroute alsacienne, which is a staple at every brasserie in France east of the Lorraine, according to the author of this superbly satisfying recipe. And it’s surprisingly simple to make—even slow cooker friendly. Place the pot in the center of the table and set out some brown mustard, some rye bread, and cold beer or white wine. Your winter weekend just got a heck of a lot more satiating. Originally published January 8, 2014.–Renee Schettler Rossi
Special Equipment: 6-quart slow cooker (if following the slow cooker method)
- 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, plus more for serving
- Brown mustard, for serving
- Rye bread, for serving
- 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. (The “cooking” is more a matter of warming everything and allowing the flavors to get cozy with one another, so the timing doesn’t have to be exact. Although the longer the choucroute simmers, the more complex the flavors.) Serve warm with brown mustard, rye bread, and beer on the side. (If you want to make the choucroute ahead of time or if you have leftovers, you can cool the choucroute garnie, cover it, and stash it 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.