Alsace is a region of France right along the German border. This classic Alsatian all-in-one meal blends the best of both countries in one flavorful dish.
The direct translation of choucroute garnie is "dressed sauerkraut." This has always been one of my dad's favorite meals, first experienced decades ago when his brother moved to Strasbourg in France. It is heavily influenced by German neighbors and is rich with smoked meats and sausages. The wine comes from the French side, and the blending of the two is something you'll never forget.
I've streamlined the recipe for an American kitchen, but you can certainly attempt one of the classic versions of this dish as well. To do the recipe justice, you want to get as many German sausages as you can. Yes, that even includes your favorite type of frankfurter. Knockwurst, bratwurst, and smoked pork chops are all excellent in this recipe.
Choucroute Garnie (serves 6-8)
2 fresh smoked ham hocks
1 lb. baby potatoes, scrubbed clean
1 cup baby carrots or a large carrot, peeled and sliced
2 lbs. of prepared sauerkraut, squeezed dry
1 cup of white wine (I used a German Riesling)
1 kielbasa, cut into 2" chunks
1 lb. prepared knockwurst or bratwurst (do not use raw bratwurst from the meat counter)
1 package of hot dogs
1 bay leaf
3-4 dried juniper berries (optional)
finely chopped parsley to garnish
In a large soup pot, cover the ham hocks with water and cook, uncovered, over medium-high heat for 1 hour and 45 minutes. Remove the ham hocks from the pot and finely chop the meat (there won't be much). Add the potatoes, chopped ham, and carrots to the ham stock, boiling for 10 minutes.
Add the drained sauerkraut, wine, sausages, and herbs to the pot. Cook on medium-high for 30 minutes, lowering the heat to medium when it comes to a hard boil.
Remove everything from the pot with a slotted spoon, reserving the stock in case you want to cook additional sausages or vegetables later. *Don't discard the liquid until you're sure you have enough to fill the platter and feed all your guests.
Arrange on a large platter and garnish with a bit of parsley. Serve with mustard, crusty bread, butter, and a simple green salad for the perfect hearty autumn meal.
- If you can't find ham hocks or want to shorten the cooking time, start the recipe by sauteeing a few slices of chopped, raw bacon and adding about 5 cups of water with some ham stock bouillon cubes. Boil it all together for about 20 minutes to soften the bacon and render the fat.
- The original recipes call for pork products, but you could recreate this with smoked turkey wings and turkey sausage if you'd prefer.
- Juniper berries can be expensive, so don't worry if you omit them.
- The best wine for this recipe would be a dry German white, something you'd be happy drinking along with the meal.
- This is a great meal to prepare for a crowd. You can stretch it out with extra veggies and inexpensive sausages quite easily.
**All of the photos in this article are by Sarina Petrocelly.
Have you had choucroute garnie before? Where do you get your sausages for this elaborate dish? Let us know in the comments!