Thursday, November 18, 2010

Sauerkraut a l'alsacienne

Sauerkraut is popular in several regions of Europe.  Alsace, France is a great sauerkraut area and some say that is the birthplace of sauerkraut.  The correct sauerkraut to use for this recipe is salt fermented sauerkraut.  (Regular sauerkraut.)  Wine packed sauerkraut and sweet Bavarian sauerkraut are better for other recipes.  I used boneless pork country rib meat to make this entree.  Almost any pork cut as well as sausages are baked with sauerkraut in Alsace.
     Recipe:  Soak a few dried juniper berries in water overnight to soften them.
     Wash some salt fermented sauerkraut twice with cold water. 
     Set the sauerkraut in a baking pan. 
     Add a half of a peeled medium diced apple. 
     Slice the other half of the apple into wedges with the skin on and place the apple wedges next to the sauerkraut in the baking pan, after the sauerkraut is mixed together.
     Add a handful of chopped onion.
     Add a minced garlic garlic clove. 
     Add the juniper berries to the kraut. 
     Add a few thick salt pork pieces to the kraut. 
     Add a few fennel seeds.
     Add black pepper to the kraut. 
     Add a bouquet garni of rosemary, thyme and bay leaf to the kraut.
     Toss the sauerkraut ingredients together.
     Set the sliced apples next to the kraut. 
     Place a few thick boneless pork slices on top of the kraut.  (You can set sausages on top too.) 
     Place a handful of peeled thick carrot sticks next to the kraut. 
     Place a few whole purple potatoes next to the kraut. 
     Add enough water to barely cover the kraut. 
     Sprinkle sea salt and black pepper on the pork.
     Bake in a 350 degree oven till the pork and potatoes are fully cooked. 
     It is necessary to flip the pork a few times so it does not brown.
     Set the apple wedges, carrots and potatoes on a plate. 
     Drain off the excess water from the kraut. 
     Remove the bouquet garni. 
     Set the sauerkraut on the plate. 
     Set the pork and/or sausages on top of the sauerkraut.
     Delicious!  Baking all of the ingredients in one pan allows all the flavors meld.  The apples and carrots help to sweeten the sauerkraut.  The juniper berries, fennel seed and herbs add a traditional complimentary depth of flavor to this sauerkraut. 
     It is necessary to cook sauerkraut with pork fats, so the sliced salt pork is there for more than just flavor. 
     The pork cutlets are tender and they go well with sauerkraut.  Purple potatoes are a nice break from bliss potatoes.  Surprisingly, this French entree is very light feeling on the tummy!  I haven't made any sausages lately, so none were used for this recipe.  Sausages are traditional in this recipe though.  Making fresh sauerkraut cabbage in your own kitchen is easy to do too.  A quality canned sauerkraut is acceptable.  Why do people associate sauerkraut with Germans only?  This sauerkraut recipe is old fashioned French!  Yum!  ...   Shawna

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