06 December 2015

Sunday dinner

I've been up since 5:15 preparing today's main meal. It's going to be choucroute garnie — sauerkraut with smoked meat and sausages, boiled potatoes and... yes, carrots. This is not the first time I've ever made choucroute in the Alsatian style (more or less) but adapted to our tastes. Sometimes I serve it with smoked chicken, for example, instead of just smoked pork.

Choucroute simmering in the slow-cooker, with spices and herbs contained in a spice ball

If there's one thing I want to say about choucroute as it is prepared and served in France, it's that... It. Does. Not. Contain. Any. Vinegar. It might be vinegary as it is prepared in your country, but not here. French sauerkraut is "white" cabbage that has been shredded finely and cured for weeks or even months in salt and brine. It ferments and develops its special character. I like to buy it "raw" and cook it myself rather than buying it pre-cooked. (I'm actually planning to make some "collard kraut" later this week — it's something people make in North Carolina.)

Two kinds of sausage — smoked Montbéliard and saucisses de Strasbourg

The fermented vegetable is much easier to digest than fresh cabbage is, and the vitamins in the cabbage are released in forms that the human body can more easily absorb. That's the theory, at least. Once you rinse the sauerkraut thoroughly to get rid of excess salt and the smell of fermentation, you cook it in white wine (or beer, but hey... this is France) with onions and seasonings that include bay leaves, black peppercorns, and juniper berries.

Very lean carré de porc fumé (smoked pork loin) and thick slices of smoked bacon

Okay, I'll stop there for today. There is still much to do. We're going out to a marché de Noël later this morning. It's being set up at a wine cooperative in the village of Saint-Romain-sur-Cher, just 5 or 6 miles north of Saint-Aignan. We're hoping to buy snails, foie gras, goat cheeses, and, of course, wine, to enjoy over the coming holiday season. Then we'll come home and lunch on the choucroute garnie, which will be keeping warm in the slow-cooker.

15 comments:

Gosia k said...

Can you believe I am going to do the same for dinner

chm said...

I noticed! LOL

Sheila said...

One can buy fermented kraut here at the health food store, but it is pasteurized, which kills all the good "bugs" achieved with
fermenting. Fermentation is very popular in the States now. I've even read about experts who conduct group sessions like
Tupperware parties in which they teach the proper methods of preserving food this way. All very good for one's biome.

chm said...

The recipe to make collard kraut is very simple and quite unexpensive. No carrots in it?

À la pensée de carottes dans de la choucroute, mes ancêtres alsaciens se retournent dans leur tombe! LOL

NotesFromAbroad said...

I grew up in the South / the US Carolinas ... homemade sour kraut and collard greens and homemade pickled everything !
As a child, I refused to touch any of it but now I appreciate the work and care that goes into it and the difference in taste from that found in bottles and cans.

Kristi in the Western Reserve said...

Delicious! One of my favorite meals. I grew a juniper bush known for its many berries so I could harvest them and use them in sauerkraut dishes.

chm said...

Today, for an early lunch, I had some home made cream of carrots soup. No kraut in it! A piece of Le Rustique camembert with half a slice of home made bread and, as dessert, the rest of the bread with some store bought seedless red raspberry preserves. Then, a glass of milk. All that was delicious.

Diogenes said...

Here in the States, I can't recall ever having sauerkraut that did not have vinegar. And thus we never buy it, because Danny despises anything vinegary. I'm sure, though, that we've had the kind you've made, because we've eaten it in Germany and surrounds, where it's on most menus, but I didn't know that vinegar was the difference...I'll have to look for the fermented varieties at Whole Foods or Trader Joe's...As for the carrots added, that reminds me of sauerkraut's relative cole slaw.

Ken Broadhurst said...

If you need some good 'kraut to round out your next bowl of carrot soup, I can send you some. That glass of milk was an audacious digestif after such a rich repast!

Ken Broadhurst said...

No vinaigrette on your salads? No Eastern NC pulled pork barbecue?

Many recipes for sauerkraut call for cooking a carrot or two in the 'kraut. But you aren't supposed to eat them, at least not with the 'kraut. To that I say fooey!

Diogenes said...

Ken, believe it or not, everything that has vinegar in our fridge, from pickles to salad dressing, is for my consumption alone, lol. Danny will not even have vinagrettes on salads, he opts for "ranch"...while I like everything pickled, including pickled herring, cornichons and tomatoes.

And NC pulled pork barbecue sounds like pure heaven to me. I'm sure Danny would love it if he didn't know the ingredients, lol.

Emm said...

I didn't know about collard kraut; looking forward to your report on it. And the Choucroute sounds so good.

chm said...

If you ever do collard kraut, I'd love to taste it, even with a carrot!

Ken Broadhurst said...

I like ranch dressing too, but I have to make my own from scratch.

Ken Broadhurst said...

CHM, I plan to try making the collard kraut this week. It'll take a month or so for the fermentation stage. Then I can cook the kraut (with onions and carrots!) and freeze some for next summer. I have a good earthenware bean pot, which I bought in Spain years ago, that I can use as the container for the fermentation.