While chili, ribs, and seven-layer dips are Super Bowl standbys, why not consider impressing fellow fans with something different this year — Choucroute Garni.
Pronounced shoo-KROUT gahr-NEE, this dish is a combination of smoked pork, sausage, frankfurters, sauerkraut and potatoes. Easy to prepare, the recipe can be made ahead of time, then either packed up for tailgating or put out in a crock pot to keep warm on a buffet table.
Choucroute translates into “cabbage crust” and this German-inspired dish was born along the country’s border with France. Garni refers to the garnishes that are served alongside the dish.
“Any combination of your favorite sausages from either your local butcher or your favorite supermarket will work perfectly in this dish,” explained Culinary Institute of America Chef-Instructor Cynthia Keller. “I try to find a nice assortment that includes well-spiced knockwursts and bratwursts. If you’d like to lighten up the dish, you can also select a variety of sausages made with leaner meats like chicken.”
The following recipe has been adapted from the Culinary Institute of America’s “The Professional Chef,” ninth edition (Wiley, 2011) available at bookstores nationwide or at ciaprochef.com/fbi/books.html.
To watch CIA’s Chef-Instructor Cynthia Keller demonstrate how to prepare Choucroute Garni go to ciachef.edu/ChoucrouteGarni.
5 pounds sauerkraut
1 clove garlic
8 juniper berries
1 bay leaf
1 sprig thyme
8 to 12 black peppercorns
2 branches of celery
4 ounces vegetable oil
2 medium sliced onions (approximately 2 cups)
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1 cup dry white wine
3 cups chicken stock
1 smoked ham hock
2 pounds smoked pork loin
1 pound, 4 ounce slab of bacon, cut into thick slices
4 pounds waxy potatoes, peeled
1 pound, 4 ounce garlic sausage
10 beef frankfurters
10 weisswurst (veal and pork sausage)
Drain the sauerkraut and rinse well in several changes of cold water. Drain and squeeze out water.
Place the garlic clove and spices in a small square of cheesecloth and tie with butcher’s twine to create a spice “sachet” bag. Tie the carrot, leek, celery, and parsnip with butcher’s twine to create a “bouquet garni.”
Heat half the vegetable oil in a large “Dutch oven” over medium heat. Add the onions and sweat until tender without browning. Add the garlic and sweat briefly to release aroma. Add the sauerkraut to the onion mixture.
Add the wine and chicken stock. Bury the spice sachet, vegetable bouquet, and ham hock under the sauerkraut. Bring the liquid to a simmer.
Place the pork and the bacon on top of the sauerkraut. Cover tightly and braise in a 325-degree F oven for approximately 45 minutes. Add the potatoes, garlic sausage, and frankfurters to the pan, return the cover, and continue to cook approximately 15 to 20 minutes until the potatoes are tender and the frankfurters are heated through. Add more liquid if needed.
While the potatoes and frankfurters are cooking, place a sauté pan on medium heat. Add the remaining oil. Place the weisswurst in the pan and gently brown on all sides while heating the sausage through.
Remove the meats from the sauerkraut and keep warm. Slice the pork loin and garlic sausage.
Spoon the sauerkraut onto a warm platter, and garnish with sliced pork loin, garlic sausage, sliced bacon, frankfurters, weisswurst and potatoes.
Serve with mustard and a loaf of crusty French bread.