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Choucroute Garni {For the Love of Pork}

It may not be 100% authentic Alsatian, but how can you go wrong with three kinds of pork, sauerkraut, apples and a bottle of beer poured over the whole mess?!

Traditionally, Choucroute Garni is made with white wine.  However, being the good Midwestern girl that I am, beer seemed the natural way to go.  These flavors are more familiar to me…  cooking with beer is not exactly a foreign concept.  The smell of bratwurst & onions simmering in beer is something that greeted me as I came in the kitchen door of my parents house after school on many afternoons.

This is the kind of meal that you gear up for, like Thanksgiving dinner.  I’m in no way suggesting that you make this every week.  Like Thanksgiving,  this is reserved for once in a while when you need a good stick-to-your-ribs kind of meal.

The sharpness of the sauerkraut cuts the fattiness of the pork and it is complemented beautifully by the sweetness of the apples. This is French comfort food at its best.

Choucroute

  • 3 lb pork roast
  • 2 – 3 lbs assorted sausages (bratwurst, knockwurst, kielbasa…  whatever you like)
  • 1 bottle beer (an Amber beer is perfect)
  • 5 strips of bacon
  • 3 medium apples, cored & quartered  (I like honeycrisp or gala)
  • 2 lb. sauerkraut, drained
  • 3 lbs. potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 3 carrots, peeled and cut into 2 inch pieces
  • 2 large onions, peeled & quartered
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 6 black peppercorns
  • 6 juniper berries
  • mustards for sausages (grainy, hot, sweet, dijon…)
photo: Food & Wine magazine

 

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Using a small piece of cheesecloth, tie the juniper berries, peppercorns & bay leaves into a sachet.  If you don’t have cheesecloth, add them to the pot and remove before serving.
  3. Line the bottom of a Dutch oven (or large, enameled cast iron pot) with the onions and half of the sauerkraut.
  4. Place the pork roast on top of the onions and place the carrots, potatoes, apples and sausages around the sides.
  5. Place the spice sachet in the pot.
  6. Layer the remaining sauerkraut on top of everything, lay the strips of bacon over the sauerkraut and pour the beer over everything.
  7. Cover with a tight-fitting lid and bake for 3 hours. 
  8. Serve with assorted mustards and a good beer.

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