help me with choucroute?
- Anu Feb 8, 2005 02:10 PM
hello, anyone have a TESTED recipe for choucroute? I can figure out the meat part and get some delicacies, but how about the quantity of wine and how many washes to the sauerkraut? and oven or stovetop?
Do you have a copy of Julia Child's book, "Mastering the Art of French Cooking?" If not, maybe you could borrow it from your local library. Also, have you used a search engine to find choucroute recipes?
I have made Julia Child's recipe and it was delicious. I also have Anthony Bourdain's recipe, also good. It is in hei Les Halles cookbook. Child says to use dry white wine or dry vermouth and Bourdain's recipe does not call for wine at all. Both call for juniper berries.
How much rinsing depends on the sauerkraut. Some krauts are quite mild adn don't need much. If you can find a German butcher shop that makes their own kraut you can make a ery good dish. If you are having to buy commercial kraut read the ingredients on the lable, all it should have in it is cabbage and salt. The stuff with vinegar added to it or sugar is pretty nasty. Most of the commercial krauts in plastic bags are pretty good.
The last time I made this for a party, among the meats I included a small bonless pork roast which I browned all over in a skillet with some lard and then added to the kraut to braise. It was moist and melt in your mouth tender. I think floks liked it beter than the rest of the meats but they were good too.
Try some good imported German sauerkraut like Mildessa Wine Sauerkraut. It is very mild and tastes delicious.
The process is pretty simple - what you throw in is important. I live close enough to a real German Metzger (butcher) North of Boston (Karl's Sausage Kitchen), that I can get his Kessler Ripchen (smoked pork chops), a nice chunk of double-smoked bacon, as well as all kinds of wursts and good german kraut (also the Juniper berries). I wash the kraut and let it drain well. I usually use a riesling, but a dry sauvignon blanc or fume blanc will do nicely - you don't need much - a cup of wine to 2 cups of broth to up to 2 cups of water to cover everything. I start by sauteing the onions in goose fat and throw in the kraut, smoked meats, my home made chicken broth and wine. I make a bouquet garni that includes juniper berries, pepper, cloves, bay leaves. After letting the kraut and the smoked meats cook for about 2 hrs (with the spices), I take it off the heat and remove enough of the liquid from the kraut to boil some potatoes. I cook up the wursts (boil then grill) separately. And I take the boiled cooked meats (pork chops and bacon) and grill them a little as well (to give them a somewhat crisp/brown exterior). Then I combine everything back into the pot, reheat quickly and serve - you can't cook the wursts in the kraut mixture forever or they'll burst and may still taste good, but look really, really ugly (don't ask me how I know - but take my word for this - it's not a good pot-luck dish, where you leave it simmering in the crock pot for a long time).
No - it's not as good as I had in Strassbourg, but it's pretty darn good.
BTW - If you don't happen to live close by a Metzgerei, try Karl Ehmer, below - they have everything you'll need.
To the described preparation I would add some slab bacon. Perhaps this is presumed one of the "smoked meats," but it should really be part of the choucroute. I'm guessing all of my Alsatian cookbooks call for this smoked bacon. For 6 LBS of kraut, I would use about 12 oz of smoked bacon cut into 3 chunks. The bacon adds some bacon fat -- additional to the goose fat already mentioned -- to the braised kraut. In my preparation I would further use carraway seeds and some peeled and cored apples, but I think these embellishments are less important and canonical than the smoked bacon.
Excellent! Thanks for the help. I will visit Karl Ehmers during the next few weeks (whenever I have access to a car).
I have a very good polish grocer (Eagle Provisions) in my neighborhood that makes wonderful smoked bacon and smoked pork spareribs.