Choucroute, also known as “choucroute garnie,” is a traditional dish from the Alsace region of France, and its name literally translates to “dressed sauerkraut” in French.
The dish is essentially a hearty combination of fermented cabbage (sauerkraut), various types of sausages, and often other meats like pork knuckles or shoulders. Sometimes, potatoes or other vegetables are added to the mix. The sauerkraut is typically simmered with white wine, juniper berries, and other spices, infusing it with a rich, tangy flavor.
Choucroute is served hot and is known to be a comfort food, especially during the colder months. The dish reflects the German influence on Alsatian cuisine, as sauerkraut and pork are staples in many German dishes. Like many traditional recipes, the exact ingredients and preparation methods can vary from one cook to another, but the core elements remain the same.
Choucroute is often enjoyed with Alsatian white wines, such as Riesling.
The Choucroute recipe that follows has been generously shared by an authentic Alsatian native, guaranteeing its legitimacy and adherence to the time-honored traditions of Alsace’s culinary heritage.
Undoubtedly the most famous dish of Alsatian gastronomy. The term sauerkraut is often wrongly associated with a complete dish. Sauerkraut is actually cabbage cut into strips using a special grater, which has been subjected to fermentation in brine. It is sauerkraut garnished which designates the complete dish consisting of sauerkraut and an assortment of meats and charcuterie. A dry white wine, preferably Riesling, or a beer will go perfectly with your garnished sauerkraut
Wash with coldwater and dry off all surplus water. Place the sauerkraut in a casserole and add lightly browned onions, cloves, juniper berries, garlic, fat, sal and pepper and finally a glass of white wine (Riesling or crémant d'Alsace). Cover and cook for one hour.
Add smoked bacon and loin of pork, and simmer gently for two hours.
Place the sauerkraut on a dish and cover with the bacon and loin of pork, and simmer gently for two hours.
Serve the beef saussage, pork shoulder and poached knuckle of ham on top.
Surround the edge of the dish with steamed potatoes.
In Strasbourg, liver dumplings are added, in Colmar, Strasbourg sausages are replaced by Frankfurt sausages. Other pieces of cured pork can accompany sauerkraut, but never ham!