Weekend with Choucroute Alsacienne

This is part two (here is part one) of my choucroute posts.   I started the “chou” (cabbage not to be confused with Pâte à choux) over 3 months ago and it has been fermenting (this is a nice word for rotting) in my cellar ever since.  I promised in part one that when it was done I would share the recipe… (wow two recipes in the same week)

 

choucroute Alsacienne 1
Here is the fermentation pot after 3 months.   When you open the pot make sure that anything with mold or anything that looks “suspect” is removed.   Don’t be afraid to throw away the top inch if you think it is not right… If you let any of the mold mix in with the chou… not only is it disgusting but it will ruin the taste (even a little…you would think that something as strong as sauerkraut would cover the flavor but it will not and you will taste the mold)
choucroute Alsacienne 2.jpg
I double rinse all of the newly made sauerkraut… (so much better if you have made this)… if you bought this you will still need to wash it really well.  I also remove all of the peppercorns and juniper berries that were added for the fermentation

 

Now that the sauerkraut is ready… here is the recipe for Choucroute Alsacienne.

I am going to kind of give the “traditional recipe” and let you know where I change it.  The original recipe comes from one of my wife’s alsacienne recipe books.

Alsatian Recipe Book 1
This recipe book is a treasure… if you can read french I recommend this highly. (you can buy it from amazon or fnac)

 

Alsatian Recipe Book 2
Part of the reason I really like this recipe book is that it is illustrated by an Alsatian artist (Guy Untereiner)…  And I find all of the images fantastically Alsatian.

 

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 kg. of Sauerkraut
  • 2 teaspoons of goose fat (I would love to add this but it is hard to find)
  • 2 oignons (I only use one per batch)
  • 2 whole cloves (I use three to five… mine are always old)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 6 juniper berries
  • 5 whole coriander seeds
  • 1/3 liter of white wine (I use Pinot Gris… or Riesling)
  • Salt and pepper (to taste)
  • 1 ham knuckle
  • 1 pallete de porc fumee (I don’t know exactly what this is in English… You can substitute a smoked ham… do not use smoke hamhock or shank… too much smoke taste)
  • 750 grams of pork belly (I use salt cured pork)
  • 6 Saucisse de Strasbourg (I use hot dogs… but the best I can find)
  • 12 quenelles de foie (I don’t use this… they are liver dumplings  “Lewerknepfle”)
  • 6 potatoes (red potatoes)

When in alsace I tell the butcher that I am making a “coucroute” and need the meat and they always get me everything I need…  At home I pick out a good ham (already cooked), some salt cured pork belly and the best hotdogs I can find (usually at the german market).

Instructions:

Rinse sauerkraut and drain off all water and place it in the pot.

choucroute Alsacienne 3
I salt and pepper the sauerkraut than add the white wine.  I will add the whole bottle… half for each pot (you need to make sure you do not run out of liquid on the bottom or the sauerkraut will burn

 

choucroute Alsacienne 4
I put the juniper berries and coriander in a thingy (I don’t know the name) but my wife and her family just sprinkle them on top
choucroute Alsacienne 6
I add the onion whole with the cloves in the onion… (this was how I was taught and it makes taking the cloves and onion out easy I don’t serve the onion).  I add all of the pork meat except the hotdogs and I add the rest  (garlic, the garni,  and the bay leaves… all but the potatoes)

You need to cover and simmer at medium heat for about 45 minutes.   While it is simmering peel the potatoes

choucroute Alsacienne 7.jpg
Add the potatoes to the top so they can be steamed. You will cook this until the potatoes are done… (about 40 minutes… make sure you check liquid and re-cover the pot)
choucroute Alsacienne 8
Add the hotdogs about 20  minutes before it is done and re-cover the pot.  You are all but done

Here is the final plate…  I eat it just plain but my wife always has mustard.   Very delicious…   We have served this to many people who say they don’t usually like sauerkraut but the love this one…( of course they could be just lying to be nice ) try it and you be the judge… I think you will love it.

choucroute Alsacienne final.jpg

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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