RECIPE: Choucroute

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“This is a no-recipe recipe that I grew up with,” Carol Gilligan says. “I happen to love sauerkraut, especially the way the French cook it. I get good sauerkraut from somewhere like Hawthorne Valley Farm, or some small batch, probiotic thing, and it’s so good. I serve the choucroute with mashed potatoes. This dish says cold weather to me.” 

Visit Cooking with Carol Gilligan for more.

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prepared choucroute on a table with settings and garnish

Choucroute


  • Author: Carol Gilligan

Ingredients

Scale
  • 1/4 lb. bacon, cut into lardons
  • 2 1.5-pint jars of sauerkraut
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 onion, cut in half lengthwise and then in thin slices crosswise
  • 3‒4 carrots, cut in thin rounds
  • 1 cup white wine
  • Chicken stock
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 4 sprigs parsley
  • 10 juniper berries*
  • 10 peppercorns
  • Meat of choice**

* If you can’t find juniper berries, allspice berries, lightly crushed with a mortar and pestle, can be substituted.

** Carol says: “If I want to add meat, I brown a small rack of baby back ribs on the stove and bury them in the sauerkraut midway through the cooking, so that when the dish is ready, the meat is almost falling off the bones.” The author browned some turkey sausage on the stove and added it at the end.


Instructions

  1. Simmer the bacon pieces in water for about ten minutes to remove some of the fat. Drain.
  2. Soak the sauerkraut in cold water until it’s reached the level of saltiness that you want. Pour it into a colander and squeeze out the excess water. 
  3. In a Dutch oven with a lid, melt the butter, then add the bacon, onion, and carrots and cook until the onions have softened. Add the sauerkraut, toss and mix, then cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. 
  4. Add 1 cup white wine and enough chicken stock to just cover the sauerkraut. 
  5. Make a bouquet garni by wrapping the bay leaves, parsley, juniper berries, and peppercorns in a square of cheesecloth and tying it into a bundle with kitchen string. Bury it in the sauerkraut. 
  6. Preheat oven to 325℉. Bring the pot to a simmer on the stove, then turn off heat, cover the sauerkraut with a round of buttered parchment paper, and place the pot in the oven. Cook 3‒5 hours.
  7. Remove from oven. Remove bouquet garni. Serve with mashed potatoes if desired.

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