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Saturday, April 16, 2011


Choucroute garnie

I love sauerkraut. When I was a vegetarian I was at a party where they were serving hot dogs. I asked for a bun with no hot dog and lots of sauerkraut. With a little mustard, I was a happy camper. I’m an omnivore now, but I still think sauerkraut is the only reason to eat hot dogs.

Choucroute garnie is the best thing that could happen to sauerkraut. It’s usually a pretty elaborate dish, made with several kinds of meat. I make a simple version that still brings the flavor. It’s important to use fresh, raw sauerkraut, not canned, which is pretty nasty stuff. You can find Bubbies brand in jars at Kokua and Whole Foods.

Choucroute garnie is usually winter fare, but yesterday was kind of rainy, a good day for some comfort food.


Choucrout Garni


Preheat the oven to 350. Drain the sauerkraut. If you want to reduce the salt, you can rinse it (I do). Squeeze dry. Put in a glass, ceramic, or other non-reactive casserole with a cover.

Mix in a sliced onion,  several whole cloves of peeled garlic, some black peppercorns, a couple of bay leaves, and a couple of cloves. Add dry white wine to cover. An Alsatian Riesling would be perfect but I just use whatever I have on hand. Not something oaky though (like many American Chardonnays).

Top with thick-cut bacon cut into 2 inch lengths. For two servings I used one slice of very thick-cut bacon.

Cover and bake at 350 for about 1 hour. Most of the extra liquid should have cooked off, but if the cover is very tight it may not. You can continue to cook uncovered until the sauerkraut is moist but not swimming in liquid.

Put in one cooked sausage per person. This is bratwurst, but knockwurst is also nice. Even hot dogs will do. Push down into the sauerkraut. Cover and bake until the sausage is hot, about 20 minutes.

On the side here: carrots, potatoes, and sugar snap peas.

Serve with mustard. I like to use both Dijon and a grainy mustard. Dark rye bread is nice too.


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