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Choucroute Made Simple

Serves: Makes 8 servings

Ingredients:

  • 8 ounces salt pork, cut into 12-inch pieces
  • 2 medium yellow onions, sliced
  • 3 cloves garlic, pressed or minced
  • 112 pounds smoked kielbasa, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 pound boneless pork butt, cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 2 dried bay leaves
  • 10 whole black peppercorns
  • 10 juniper berries
  • 6 whole allspice berries
  • 3 pounds fresh sauerkraut
  • 6 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 1 smoked ham hock, split
  • 2 cups top-quality beef broth

Procedures:

  1. Cook the salt pork in a large heavy pot, such as a Dutch oven, over medium heat for 5 to 7 minutes, until the meat is browned and the fat is rendered. Use a slotted spoon to transfer to paper towels to drain, reserving the fat in the pot. Add the onions and garlic to the pot and cook, stirring occasionally, for 8 to 10 minutes, until tender. Scoop into a bowl. Add the kielbasa and pork butt to the pot and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 15 minutes, until browned. Add to the bowl with the onions.


  2. Preheat the oven to 350°F.


  3. Tie together the bay leaves, peppercorns, juniper berries, and allspice in a piece of cheesecloth, secured with kitchen string. Rinse the sauerkraut several times and drain.


  4. Add the tomato paste to the pot and cook, stirring, for 2 to 3 minutes, until lightly browned. Stir in the wine, then add the sauerkraut, spice bundle, and ham hock. Simmer moderately for 15 minutes. The mixture should not boil vigorously; decrease the heat if needed. Stir in the salt pork, onions, kielbasa, and pork butt. Add the beef broth and bring to a low boil over mediumhigh heat. Remove the pot from the heat, cover with foil, and top with its lid. Transfer to the oven and braise for 112 to 2 hours, until the meat is very tender.


  5. Transfer the ham hock pieces to a plate and let cool until easy to handle. Separate the meat from the bone and gristle and add the meat back to the pot. Discard the spice bundle. Spoon the sauerkraut and various meats into individual bowls and serve.

by Sur La Table & Renée Behnke

 
 
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