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Recipe: Braised Sauerkraut with Pork

This is our version of Choucroute Garnie, a classic French dish of sauerkraut ("choucroute" is French for sauerkraut) slowly braised with duck fat, onions, and spices in white wine and chicken stock. Smoked pork chops and sausages are nestled into the sauerkraut to cook. The sauerkraut's flavor mellows and absorbs the flavors of the spices, cooking liquid, and pork, and its texture turns meltingly tender. We've tossed in some apples for a little extra sweetness. For a German twist on this dish, try substituting an amber beer for the white wine. No matter how you make it, though, be sure to pass a pot of good mustard at the table.

Ingredients

Serves
8
  • 2 pounds fresh or jarred sauerkraut
  • 4 tablespoons Graisse de Canard Gold®, divided
  • 4 thick slices smoked bacon, cut in 1-inch pieces
  • 2 large onions, sliced
  • 2 firm, tart apples, cored and sliced
  • 3 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 2 sprigs fresh parsley
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 6 peppercorns
  • 10 juniper berries, lightly crushed
  • 2 cups dry white wine (or, for a heartier flavor, use 2 cups amber beer)
  • 1 1/2 ounces Glace de Poulet Gold® dissolved in 4 cups hot water, divided
  • 8 small smoked pork loin chops (or 4 large ones, halved)
  • 2 pounds kielbasa or other smoked sausage

Methods/steps

  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.  Rinse and drain the sauerkraut in a colander.  Press on the sauerkraut with a spatula or squeeze it with your hands to release as much excess moisture as possible.
  2. Melt 3 tablespoons of the Graisse de Canard Gold® in a large skillet over medium-low heat.  Add the bacon and cook until it is lightly browned.  Add the onions and cook until they are translucent, about 10  minutes.  Add the apples and cook 2-3 more minutes, until the apples are just tender.
  3. Transfer the apple/onion mixture to a large Dutch oven, add the sauerkraut, and stir to combine.  Roll up the thyme, parsley, bay leaves, peppercorns, and juniper in a small piece of cheesecloth and tie the bundle with some kitchen string.  Add it to the Dutch oven.  Pour in the wine and 2 cups of the diluted Glace de Poulet Gold® and stir to combine.  Cover the pot and bake for 1 1/2 hours.
  4. While the sauerkraut is braising, melt the remaining duck fat in a clean skillet over medium heat.  Add the smoked pork chops, working in batches if necessary, and lightly brown them on both sides.  Remove the pork chops from the pan, then add the sausage pieces and brown them on all sides.  Set the pork chops and sausage pieces aside.
  5. After the sauerkraut has cooked for 1 1/2 hours, lay the sausage pieces on top of the sauerkraut, and add some more diluted Glace de Poulet Gold® if the sauerkraut looks dry on the top.  (Reserve any remainging stock for another use.) Replace the lid, return the pot to the oven, and bake for 30 minutes.
  6. Add the pork chops to the pot, pressing them down into the sauerkraut, replace the lid, and bake for 30 minutes more.
  7. Remove pot from the oven and discard the herb and spice bundle.  Serve each person some sauerkraut topped with a pork chop and a couple pieces of sausage.

Additional Tips

Wine Pairing: Alsatian Riesling or Gerwurztraminer, or, if you make the dish with beer, pair it with the beer used in the dish.

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Classic French Stocks and Sauces