It’s impossible to talk about Alsatian gastronomy without mentioning THE ultimate traditional dish, Alsatian choucroute garnie – or sauerkraut. It is a unique dish, ideal for a meal around a big table. Let me specify one fact: in 2018, Alsace sauerkraut received the PGI mention (Protected Geographical Indication). This European certification is for local producers, protects and showcases sauerkrauts produced, processed and prepared in Alsace. That is something to be very proud of in Alsace!
Choucroute garnie might be easy to prepare, but it still requires some attention in the different preparation stages. Fermented cabbage needs to be rinsed several times with clean water, to lose its acidity. Remember not to skip this important step, or you might end up with an acid sauerkraut in your plate. You’ll also need to choose potatoes with firm flesh, that won’t crumple during baking; the varieties Annabelle or Charlotte would be perfect. As for meat, you’ll be spoilt for choice: Knack sausages, smoked bacon and salted lard, Montbéliard sausages and smoked pork shoulder are mandatory ingredients. You could also add a knuckle of ham.
Sauerkraut can also be prepared with 3 fishes (salmon, trout and perch for example): it’s also delicious!
As for a last piece of advice before sharing my recipe: prepare your sauerkraut the day before. You’ll be able to reheat it before sitting down to eat. It will only make it better. Try and ask Alsatians, and they’ll all agree that sauerkraut reveals its flavors the day after cooking and that it’s more tasty!
Which wine should you serve with Alsace sauerkraut? A dry white wine (the same Riesling that you will have chosen to put in the recipe)… or a blond beer will perfectly complement your Alsatian choucroute garnie.
Ingredients for 6 or 8 people
- 1.5kg of raw sauerkraut
- 400g of smoked bacon
- 400g of salted lard
- 500g of smoked pork shoulder
- 3 Montbéliard sausages
- 6 Knack sausages (Strasbourg sausages)
- 3 Lorraine sausages
- 1 bay leaf
- 8 juniper berries
- 4 cloves
- 1 onion
- 1 garlic clove
- 1 knob of butter
- 4 coriander seeds
- 1/2l of Riesling
- 1/4l of broth
- 6 potatoes
- Salt, pepper
Rinse the sauerkraut several times to extract the acidity, and wring it out.
In a casserole dish, brown the chopped onion in butter, then add the sauerkraut, garlic, the bay leaf, cloves, juniper berries and coriander seeds.
Add the pieces of meat, Montbéliard sausages, put the peeled potatoes on top of the sauerkraut and moisten with the wine and broth. Lightly season with salt and pepper, cover and cook over low heat for 1h30.
Just before serving, put the Knack sausages 5 minutes in boiling water.
Prepare your sauerkraut on a dish.
As an option, you can also add a knuckle of ham in your selection of meat.
Pictures of the Alsatian sauerkraut recipe
Enjoy your meal!