It's been a glorious autumn, and although I'm not ready to say au revoir to summer just yet, we're starting to enjoy hot meals once again.
Here's J. B. Raboul's Provençal rendition of a classic Alsatian dish:
714. Choucroute garnie for 6
Line a colander with a clean muslin and strain:
1 kg (2 lbs.) fresh sauerkraut
Blanche with boiling water, and then refresh in cold running water while separating the strands with your fingers. Gather the cloth and squeeze out as much liquid as possible. Season with salt, pepper and nutmeg.
Preheat oven to 180°C (350°F).
Grease a large casserole dish, and line with:
about 200 g (¼ lb.) thinly sliced fatty bacon ‹‹de minces bardes de lard››
Top with half the drained sauerkraut, and then:
2 sliced onions
3-4 whole carrots
a large bouquet garni (parsley, bay, thyme, rosemary, a celery stalk)
2 cloves garlic
about 1 dozen juniper berries (tied in a small tulle cooking sack or teabag)
Over that place (depending on number of servings desired—about 750 g/ 1 1/2 lb. total for 6 people):
canadian bacon ‹‹ un morceau de petit salé››
chunk of ham, if available
Cover with the remaining sauerkraut; pour on:
500 ml (2 C) dry white wine
Add just enough water to barely cover the sauerkraut. Dot with small pieces of:
lard or goose fat
Bring to a gentle simmer. When the boil is well pronounced, place a greased parchment paper over the sauerkraut, cover with a lid and cook for at least 3-4 hours.
Check the cooking from time to time to be sure that the ham is not breaking up from overcooking. If that is the case, remove the cooked pieces, and set-aside until serving.
The sauerkraut is finished cooking when the liquid is completely absorbed.
Strain the mixture to remove any excess fat, meanwhile, prepare the serving platter by forming a crown of boiled potatoes [I roasted mine], the sliced cooked carrots, the sausages and sliced ham, and any other cooked pork products you care to add. Spoon the drained sauerkraut in the center, and serve hot.
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