French postcard (left) with enlarged recipe (right) by Combier Groupe Editor with choucroute photo by B. Arguello

|| 27 November 2016

Alsatian Choucroute

When our Chic & Slim special correspondent Kat sent a postcard from Colmar, France that featured photo and recipe for Choucroute in the Alsatian style, I was delighted. The best choucroute garni I ever ate was at a little bistro in Colmar. As soon as I had time, I tried the recipe.

Image left above is the postcard. The recipe appears in three languages: top French, middle German, bottom English. The enlarged recipe in English is image right.

French recipes are much less specific than those in American cookbooks. As typical, this postcard recipe expected you to work out your own quantities of ingredients. I looked online for guidance from Jacques Pépin via foodandwine and James Beard via epicurious websites.

For 1 − 32 oz. jar of sauerkraut I used 1 large onion, 4 cloves of garlic, 7 juniper berries and 1 bay leaf. I am not world’s greatest fan of cloves so I left those out and used bay leaf instead. For the wine, I used 1 cup dry Riesling. The only meat I served with the choucroute was a German style sausage made in a nearby small town founded in the 19th century by German immigrants. This sausage used to be wonderfully authentic German-style sausage. Unfortunately, their sausage currently sold as “mild” has morphed into a product with a heat quotient closer to Mexican chorizo. So sauerkraut part tasted delicious. Sausage tasted wrong. (Note to Windhorst sausage makers: please return to your original sausage seasonings.)

For my next attempt at choucroute garni I will use bagged choucroute sold in the supermarket deli case and find a more Alsatian style sausage. The sauerkraut I used in my first attempt was sliced fine, and it cooked into mush. Bagged is courser cut. Chic & Slim reader Ann Leslie in New York emailed her version of choucroute garni with specific instructions for preparations. I will try her version next. Next Nouvelles I will share Ann Leslie's recipe with you.

be chic, stay slim — Anne Barone

Image : French postcard (left) with enlarged recipe (right) by Combier Groupe Editor with choucroute photo by B. Arguello.

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