French Choucroute Garnie
Bonjour! And welcome to this months CulturEatz culinary trip to France for Eat the World Recipe Challenge. From the Alsace region in eastern France, choucroute is quite different than the French cooking I am familiar with. This rustic hot pot is a medley of flavors without many precise requirements. The sauerkraut is a must, as are the spices. Accompanied by a host of pork this dish is great for using whatever is available to you.
My sister first suggested that I try this dish, something she had while in the area. Which meant she got some really cool pictures I could use too. It's easy to see that while in France there is a distinct German influence as well in the area. According to the Alsace Tourism webpage throughout history ownership of the region has gone back and forth between the two countries leaving the culture a reflection of both.
The fat called for when I looked around is mostly duck fat which is hard to find here in the states. I opted for the more readily available bacon renderings I had on hand. I think shmaltz would also be a tasty substitution.
6 pork ribs
1 onion, chopped
1/4 c. fat
4 juniper berries
2 pinches allspice
2 bay leaves
1/4 tsp. caraway
1/2 tsp. freshly cracked black pepper
1 lb. sauerkraut, drained and rinsed
3 c. chicken stock*
3/4 lb. baby or fingerling potatoes
6 smoked bratwurst
Preheat the oven to 350F.
Heat whatever fat you are using in the bottom of a cast iron pot. Season the pork ribs with salt and sear on both sides. Remove from the pan and keep warm.
Add the onion to the pan the pork was in without cleaning it out, adding more fat as needed. Saute until starting to take on some color.
Add the sauerkraut, juniper, allspice, bay leaves, caraway, and pepper. Saute for 5 minutes, stirring.
Add the potatoes and then the pork and drippings from the plate. Pour the chicken stock over the top. Bring to a boil.
Put the lid on the pot and place in the oven for 75 minutes, just over an hour.
Remove the pot from the oven and add the sliced ham and sausages. Return to the oven for another hour and a half.
Scoop everything out of the pot with a slotted spoon to drain the liquid.
Serve with mustard on the side.
*When I was cooking I didn't have any of my homemade stock on hand so I used 3 cups water and 1 double pork bouillon cube.
Camilla: Poulet à la Moutarde + Salade de Courgettes
Nicoletta and Loreto: Classic French Chocolate Profiteroles
Claudia: Bifteck Hache a la Lyonnaise
Margaret: Axoa d’Espelette: a simple and tasty Basque stew
Wendy: Charlotte de Chou et de Pommes de Terre
Amy: Fougasse (Provençal Flat Bread)