Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Staple Recipe: Garnished Sauerkraut

Here's another super simple and versatile recipe that's a staple in the winter time when you need a hearty meal.  Called Choucroute Garni in France, this garnished sauerkraut dish is both easy and delicious.  An best of all, like Vegetarian CousCous, you can make it with what you have on hand.  It's also easy to make into a vegetarian dish like we do.

I'm a huge fan of root vegetables and my husband is vegetarian now so we've made some changes to this recipe over the years and that's just fin!  There's no real wrong way to do it.  Use the items that you'r family prefers.   I did some Goggling, compared a bunch or recipes for garnished sauerkraut, and came up with the flexible formula below:


Canned, jarred or packaged sauerkraut
Any of the following components:

  • garlic sausage
  • hotdogs or veggie dogs
  • onion
  • carrot (peeled and cut into 1 inch chunks)
  • sweet potato (sliced 1/4 in thick)
  • new potatoes (peeled)
  • russet potato (peeled and cut into large chunks)
  • bratwurst
  • thick cut bacon
  • sliced ham
  • any sausage
  • pork ribs
  • corned beef
  • diced beef
  • pitted prunes
  • sliced apples (no need to peel)

Add any of the following to the sauerkraut for added flavor:

  • a dash of white wine
  • a couple glugs of your favorite beer
  • bouillon cube or broth
  • salt and pepper
  • peppercorns
  • a bay leaf
  • minced or whole garlic cloves
  • cherry tomato garnish
  • onion
  • garlic
  • juniper berries
  • caraway seeds
  • parsley
  • a spoonful of sugar
  • any leftover meat on the bone

Step 1: Put 1-2 cans or jars of sauerkraut in a large stock pan.  Drain and rinse first if you are not a fan of the brine flavor.  I don't drain.  Add whatever flavorings you want to simmer with the kraut.  Classic choices are wine, sugar, onion, garlic, broth salt and pepper.  But you can use whatever.  We always have beer so I usually use that.  

Step 2: Prepare the components.  Peel and dice or cut into chunks, all the veggies and fruit you want.  One of each is fine, the more vegetables you use, the bigger the batch will be.  Brown franks and sausages in a pan.  Slice large sausages or meats.  Tough vegetables and whole potatoes can be steamed in a steamer first to make the whole thing cook faster.  That's usually what I do.  

Step 3: Then pile all your meats, vegetables and fruits onto of the kraut and cover.  Simmer till you are ready to eat and all the items are tender to the fork.  Pile a bit of each onto a plate and garnish with a shake of parsley or a cherry tomato or two if desired.  Serve with mustard. Dijon and fig mustard are our favorites but any will do.  Some meats are better served cold.  We usually ate cold slices of garlic sausage with hot sauerkraut.

Optional: You can also make this in a crock pot.  If you do, add a bit more broth, wine and beer to properly steam all the vegetables.  Or pre steam and place all in crackpot to simmer.  

Ta Da!

Easy right?  You can make it on the stove top or throw it all into a crock pot for later.  Store leftovers in an airtight containers in the fridge.  Easy to reheat in the microwave and makes a great lunch to go.

Our recipe changes with the ingredients we have on hand but almost always has sauerkraut, potatoes, franks, and a mustard relish.  

So there you have it.  Not so much a recipe as a choose-your-own-adventure!  Have fun mixing and matching!

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