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Alsatian Choucroute

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Margi Cintrano View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Margi Cintrano Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24 August 2018 at 05:33
I agree Ron about omitting the carrots and the Champagne ..  And only using French Riesling from Alsace or German Alsace ..  

I believe it was a possibility that Riesling was not a grape grown in California during Julia Child´s  time, so she substituted .. 

The carrots  ?  

Probably adjusted to the "local" palate !!!  

Wow, lots to read here ..  

I shall go to The Farmer´s  Market for my cabbage tomorrow  !!!  ( Saturday ) and get working on making sauerkraut  !!!!!

Glad the 29th of  September is a  Saturday  !!!  Worked out perfectly .. 

Have a nice wkend .. 







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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TasunkaWitko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24 August 2018 at 09:30
I agree that Julia's "Choucroute Royale" recipe definitely takes the concept away from Alsace, as is evidenced by the carrots etc.; having said that, this goes to show that the basic idea is quite versatile, and can in theory be bent this way or that to push a local terroir or point of view. I am sure that the results are still good, in any case; but for me, I'd personally like to stick to tradition.

I have another recipe from her book that looks (at first glance) to be more true to the Alsatian profile; I'll try to get it posted ASAP.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TasunkaWitko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24 August 2018 at 10:35
Here is a recipe and photo from Time/Life’s Foods of the World - The Cooking of Provincial France, 1968.

This recipe also uses carrots, which in my opinion would be omitted if one wants to keep the dish in Alsace. The recipe also adds a tart apple, which is something I have tried before with delicious results, although I am not sure how "Alsatian" the concept would be. I have marked both the apple and the carrots as "optional."

Quote Choucroute Garnie
Braised Sauerkraut With Meat


In a village on the outskirts of Strasbourg, an old wooden cart filled with plump white cabbages is a familiar harvest-time sight, its load of cannonball-sized choux destined to be shredded into sauerkraut for choucroute garnie.


To serve 6:

4 pounds fresh sauerkraut
1.5 pounds lean salt pork in 1 piece
2 quarts water
6 tablespoons lard
2.5 cups finely chopped onions
1 cup 2-inch carrot chunks [optional]
1 teaspoon finely chopped garlic
1 large tart apple, peeled, cored and coarsely chopped [optional]
3 cups chicken stock, fresh or canned
2 cups dry white wine
1/2 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground black pepper
6 slices smoked baked ham cut 1/4-inch thick
1.5 pounds uncooked plain or garlic pork sausage, fresh or smoked (French, [German] or Polish)

Bouquet garni made of 4 parsley sprigs, 1 bay leaf and 10 juniper berries, tied together in washed cheesecloth (or add 1/4 cup gin to the casserole to substitute for the juniper berries)

6 whole, peeled potatoes, boiled just before serving time


Wash the sauerkraut in several changes of water to get rid of excess saltiness, then squeeze it vigorously to dry it. Blanch the salt pork by simmering it in 2 quarts of water for 15 minutes; drain and set aside.

Preheat the oven to 325°F. In a heavy 4-quart flameproof casserole that has a cover, melt the lard over moderate heat. Add the onions, carrots and garlic, and cook, stirring frequently, for 10 minutes, or until they are soft but not brown. Stir in the chopped apple and cook for 2 or 3 minutes; then stir in the sauerkraut.

Cover the casserole, reduce the heat as low as possible and braise the vegetables for 15 minutes. Then add the chicken stock, wine, and gin if it is being substituted for juniper berries. The stock should almost cover the sauerkraut; if it doesn't, add more stock. Season with salt and 4 or 5 grindings of pepper, and bury the bouquet garni in the sauerkraut. Bring the casserole to a boil on top of the stove; lay the salt pork on top. Cover the casserole tightly and place it on the middle shelf of the oven.

After the sauerkraut has cooked for 3 hours, prick the sausage in 4 or 5 places and add it to the casserole. Cover and braise for another 30 minutes. Then spread the ham slices over the sauerkraut. Cover and braise for about 20 minutes longer, or until the ham is heated through.

To serve, discard the bouquet garni, transfer the sauerkraut to a deep, heated platter and mound the ham slices over it. Peel the sausage and cut it into 1-inch chunks; carve the salt pork into 1/8-inch slices. Arrange the sausage, salt pork and potatoes attractively around the sauerkraut.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TasunkaWitko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04 September 2018 at 14:25
Here is another Julia Child recipe for Choucroute; this recipe comes from her book, Mastering the Art of French Cooking, 1971. For the sake of clarity, I re-arranged the ingredients list a bit, as compared with the published recipe, so that the bouquet garni and needed equipment were at the end of the list.

Note that the base recipe (braised sauerkraut) is given first, with the garnie variation appended afterward; this, in my opinion, goes to show the versatility of this dish. Julia does not mention trout in her description or recipe, but there is no reason that I can see why the same base Choucroute recipe couldn't be used.

Quote Choucroute Braisée à l'Alsacienne
Braised Sauerkraut

In France before sauerkraut is braised with wine, stock, aromatic vegetables, and spices, it is always drained and soaked in cold water for 15 to 20 minutes to remove all but a suggestion of its preserving brine. If you have never cared for the sour flavor of most sauerkraut dishes, this recipe may well change you into an enthusiast. sauerkraut makes a savory accompaniment to duck, goose, pheasant, pork, ham, or sausages any of which may even cook along with the sauerkraut and give it that much more flavor.

For 6 people:

2 pounds (about 5 cups) fresh sauerkraut (canned raw sauerkraut may be used, but it is never as good as the fresh)

A 1/2-pound chunk of bacon
1/2 cup thinly-slices carrots cup sliced onions
4 tablespoons rendered fresh goose or pork fat, or butter
1 cup dry white wine or 2/3 cup dry white vermouth
2 to 3 cups white stock, brown stock, or canned beef or chicken bouillon
Salt


The following tied in washed cheesecloth:

4 sprigs of parsley
1 bay leaf
6 peppercorns
10 juniper berries (or add 1/4 cup gin to the casserole)

A 2.5- to 3-quart, covered, fireproof casserole
A round of buttered paper

Drain the sauerkraut (either fresh or canned) and soak it in a large basin of cold water for 15 to 20 minutes or more, changing water three times. Taste the sauerkraut, and when as much of the briny flavor as you wish has been removed, drain it. Taking it by small handfuls, squeeze out as much water as you can. Pick it apart to separate the strands.

Remove the rind and slice the bacon into 1/2-inch pieces about 2 inches long. Simmer it in 2 quarts of warm water for 10 minutes. Drain.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Cook the bacon, carrots, and onions, in fat or butter slowly in the covered casserole for 10 minutes without browning. Stir in the sauerkraut and when it is well covered with the fat and vegetables, cover and cook slowly for 10 minutes more.

Bury the herb and spice packet in the sauerkraut. Pour in the wine, and enough stock or bouillon just to cover the sauerkraut. Season lightly with salt. Bring to the simmer on top of the stove. Lay on the round of buttered paper. Cover and set in middle level of preheated oven. Regulate heat so sauerkraut bubbles slowly for 4.5 to 5 hours, and until all the liquid has been absorbed by the sauerkraut. Taste carefully for seasoning.

If not served immediately, set aside uncovered. Reheat slowly before serving.


To Serve Choucroute Garnie (Sauerkraut Garnished with Meat):

Braised sauerkraut may be sued as a bed for sliced roast pork, pork chops, ham, or browned sausages, or with roast goose, duck, or pheasant. The dish is usually accompanied with boiled potatoes and either a chilled Alsatian wine such as Riesling or Traminer, a white domestic wine of the same type, or beer.

If you wish to cook your meats in the sauerkraut, brown them first in a skillet in hot fat; then bury them in the casserole while the sauerkraut is braising, timing the meats so they and the sauerkraut will be done together.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Margi Cintrano Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04 September 2018 at 15:43
Ron, 

The Sepia Antique photograph is simply amazing ..  

There are so many variations from a grand variety of Chefs .. 

I like the classic  traditional récipes the best ..  

I shall stick to my Wild  Trout one since this is the one we made a few years ago -- and posted it here at Fotw ..

We had looked at all the récipes and each has a different take on something -- but the key is the Kraut  !!  and then the bacon or pancetta used .. and the spices ..  Then the wine -- Riesling and  the proteins ( porc meats or feathered game or trout ) ..  

i am excited ..  We shall do some fotos !!   

Have a lovely evening .. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Margi Cintrano Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04 September 2018 at 15:44
Thank you  Brook ..

Hope you have had a lovely summer and all is well ..  
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TasunkaWitko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06 September 2018 at 12:12
Here are two recipes and a nice write-up, from Culinaria: France (2004):

Quote Every village in Alsace is said to have its own recipe for choucroute...a delicious meal made with fermented white cabbage which is served under an impressive mountain of mixed sausages, bacon, salted shoulder, smoked ham and potatoes. Enjoyed with a jug of beer, a glass of Riesling or Sylvaner wine, choucroute is synonymous with Alsace.

The pale green white cabbage heads are decidedly larger than normal ones available in the shops. Magnificent examples can reach up to 15 pounds (7 kg) and are known as quintals d'Alsace, Alsatian hundredweights. They are mainly grown in the north of the region in and around Krautergersheim and are harvested between July and November. The outer leaves and the heart are removed. The cabbage is shredded as finely as possible. Today this is generally carried out automatically in a choucrouterie.

Years ago there were people who made a living going from door to door offering their services to shred the cabbage, because every family laid down their own supplies for the winter. When the season is in full flow there are still cabbage cutters who demonstrate their skill in the markets and the characteristic smell of freshly-cut cabbage fills the air.

To make sauerkraut, alternate layers of cabbage and salt are laid out in tall earthen pots or wooden barrels. If large quantities are to be produced, concrete or plastic tanks are used. Juniper berries often add extra flavor. The layers are pressed together - in domestic use with a wooden lid, with a stone placed on top - and the pots or barrels are sealed and made airtight. The salt draws moisture from the cabbage and forms brine, which protects it. Depending on the temperature, fermentation takes three to eight weeks to transform the cabbage. It loses half of its weight, but the process makes it easy to keep for a longer time. It has also become a healthy and easily-digested food, thanks to various trace elements and vitamins.

Before the age of sterilization, deep-freezing and vacuum-packing, sauerkraut guaranteed the population of the country adequate supplies of Vitamin C in winter. Consequently it provided ideal nourishment for seafarers and protected them from scurvy. It must be crunchy, light-colored and have a pleasant smell. The local saying is absolutely right: "Sauerkraut is only good when it has been re-heated seven times."

Cabbage comes from China. The workers that built the Great Wall were kept in good health by eating fermented cabbage. Mongols and Tatars later introduced it to Europe, and in the Balkans fermented vegetables have a long tradition. Alsatians have liked sauerkraut since the Middle Ages and one suspects that they are able to enjoy it so much because there is always so much pork appetizingly served with it: smoked and green bacon, smoked pork shoulder...kasseler or schiffala (pickled and smoked pork shoulder)...boiled pork, knuckle of pork and liver dumplings, bratwurst (frying sausage), blutwurst (blood sausage), smoked sausage, knackwurst (little Strasbourg sausages), and fleischwurst (made with finely minced pork); it is just coincidental that new sauerkraut finishes its fermenting process at the same time as local meat production.


Choucroute à l'ancienne
Traditional Sauerkraut

To serve 8:

4 pounds, 6 ounces (2 kg) fresh raw sauerkraut
2 bacon rinds
2 carrots
2 onions
1/2 teaspoon peppercorns
1/2 teaspoon caraway seeds
2 garlic cloves
4 cloves
12 juniper berries
2 bay leaves
1 sprig of thyme
1 knuckle of pork
2 finger-thick slices of streaky ham*
1/2 bottle of dry Riesling wine
4 smoked Montbéliard sausages
21 ounces (600 g) Schiffala smoked pork shoulder
4 pairs knackwurst (little Strasbourg sausages)
1 boiled Morteau sausage

*(Ron's note: I think they meant to say "streaky bacon" here, see procedure below.)

Wash the sauerkraut in a sieve under flowing water, pull it apart and press out the water.

Arrange bacon rinds on the bottom of a large cast iron pot. Add half the sauerkraut. Clean the carrots and peel the onions, cut into pieces and spread on the sauerkraut. Sprinkle the peppercorns evenly over it. Tie the remaining spices with thyme in a muslin bag and add to the vegetables. Add the pork knuckle and bacon and cover with the remaining sauerkraut. Pour on the wine and 1 cup (250 ml) of water.

Cover the pot well, place in the oven and cook for about 2.5 hours at 355 degrees F (180 degrees C).

Place the smoked sausage and smoked pork shoulder in the pot under the sauerkraut. Cook for another 30 minutes. Place the Strasbourg knackwurst and boiled sausage on the sauerkraut and cook again for 20 minutes. Remove the muslin bag. Serve the sauerkraut with meat and sausages. A well-cooled Sylvaner or Riesling wine goes well with this dish.


Choucroute Maison
Homemade Sauerkraut

To serve 6 to 8:

1 pickled pork knuckle (demi sel)
2 finger-thick slices of streaky bacon
1 teaspoon peppercorns
1 Cervelat sausage
3 to 4 pairs of Strasbourg knackwurst sausages
3 pounds 5 ounces (1.5 kg) fresh raw sauerkraut
3 tablespoons goose drippings
3 onions
2 bay leaves
10 juniper berries
3 cloves
1/2 bottle dry Alsace Riesling

Rinse the knuckle and the bacon, place in cold water with peppercorns and simmer at a low temperature for 75 minutes. Add the boiled sausages and knackwurst and simmer for another 20 minutes.

Wash the sauerkraut in a sieve under flowing water, take it apart and press out the water. Heat the drippings in a cast iron pot. Peel the onions, finely chop them and lightly braise. Add the sauerkraut, bay leaves, juniper berries and cloves. Pour on the Riesling and add water until the sauerkraut is completely covered. Cover and cook at a low temperature for 40 minutes.

Pile up the sauerkraut on a large plate. Cut the knuckle and bacon into pieces and the Cervelat sausage into pieces and surround these with the small sausages. Serve with boiled potatoes. In Alsace, they drink beer with this.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TasunkaWitko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06 September 2018 at 13:18
Here is an historical perspective on the making of sauerkraut, from none other than Alexandre Dumas:

Originally posted by Akexandre Dumas Akexandre Dumas wrote:

The sauerkraut is kept in barrels, containing vinegar, wine or another fermenting liquid.... The cabbage is sliced, by grating it with a sort of plane.... The bottom of the barrel is covered with a bed of sea salt and then on this a layer of cabbage cut into strips is placed. Then a handful of juniper berries or caraway seeds is sprinkled on it to give flavor. This is repeated, layer after layer, until the barrel is full.... The last salt layer is covered with large, green cabbage leaves, on top of which a large damp sheet and a rather heavy barrel lid are laid.... The cabbage compressed together in this way exudes a foul smelling, sour, dirty liquid, which can be...drawn off through a tap and replaced by a fresh salt solution...until the strong smell disappears.
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