Choucroute New Year's Dinner

New Year's 2003 Dinner

Choucroute Garnie

Stew Vegetables w/ Butter Parsley Sauce

Black Eyed Peas w/ Bacon

Red Cabbage

Spinach, Madarin Orange, Pinenut, and Champagne Vinagrette Salad

Choucroute Garnie

In fact, the full name of this dish is "Choucroute Garnie", but most people seem to drop the last word. It is a French dish, though to look at it you would swear it was German. To taste it, will remind you that it is French after all. Peasant food, rather than a dish for the aristrocracy, and regional, from Alsace-Lorraine. This is fantastic comfort food, and I just can't say enough good about it. One more thing, it makes fabulous leftovers, so make a big batch!

The main things about Charcroute are the sauerkraut and the meats. Check the gourmet grocery areas for the best sauerkraut you can find. It's hard to find gourmet, but try to step up. You'll get more flavor and less salt. The meat is even more important. We used two kinds of freshly made sausage, slab bacon carved 3/8" thick, ham, and a whole smoked duck. We were able to procure all of this from a fantastic local place called the Corralitos Meat Market.

5lbs Fresh Sauerkraut

1/3 cup chopped bacon

3 cloves garlic, chopped

1/2 bottle dry white white (Cheap California Sauvignon Blanc is fine)

2 Bay leaves

1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns

4 cloves

4 to 6 pounds of assorted sausages, cured meats, or whatever other meat you like

1. Saute the chopped bacon for 1 minute over high heat in a heavy pan. Turn the oven to medium-low, add the garlic, and saute for another minute.

2. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.

3. Take the sauerkraut out of its container and reserve about 1 cup of the liquid. Add it to the pot and stir well to blend with the bacon. Add the reserved cup of sauerkraut liquid. Add the white whine, bay leaves, peppercorns, and cloves. Bring it to a boil on top of the stove. Boil until most of the liquid has evaporated--about 20 to 30 minutes.

4. Embed the meats in the sauerkraut, cover the pot, and cook it in the oven until the meats are hot--about 30 minutes.

5. Serve the meats on the bed of sauerkraut on a large platter.

Mandarin Orange Spinach Salad

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All material 2001-2006, Robert W. Warfield.