This French version of choucroute  is less tart than the American version.   The apples here lend a touch of sweetness.
Servings: 8 servings
  • 2 pounds fresh choucroute (salted fermented cabbage), 1 kg
  • 3 tablespoons duck or goose fat
  • 4 onions peeled and thinly sliced
  • 3 sweet apples cored, peeled, and thinly sliced
  • 2 cups Riesling or other fruity white wine
  • 1 cup water 250ml
  • Freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 2 whole cloves
  • 6 juniper berries
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 6 smoked knackwurst
  • 6 fresh German frankfurters
  • 1 pound smoked pork sausage such as kielbasa, 500g
  • 2 pounds small potatoes 1kg
  • 1 pound slab bacon cut into large chunks, 500g
  1. Preheat the oven to 350° F (180°C).
  2. Soak the choucroute in cold water for one hour. If it is very acidic or salty, soak it until you can eat it and not pucker up. You do want some - but not all - of the acidity to remain in the choucroute so taste it as it is soaking.
  3. In a large, flameproof casserole over low heat, melt the fat and add the onions. Sauté until the onions are tender, about 8 minutes. Remove from the heat.
  4. Remove the onions from the pan. Place one-third of the choucroute in the pan, and top with half the onions and half the apples. Season with salt and pepper. Repeat the layering, topping with the remaining choucroute.
  5. Add the cloves, juniper berries, bay leaves and garlic, pushing them down into the choucroute. Pour over the wine and water, place the pan over medium heat and when the liquid comes to a boil, cover the pan and place it in the oven until it is cooked and tender, but still has some texture, about 1-1/2 hours. Check it occasionally; add additional water if necessary. You want it moist, not soupy.
  6. While the choucroute is baking, pierce all of the sausages throughout, so they don’t burst during cooking. Poach each variety in a separate saucepan in gently simmering water, each for about 20 minutes. Drain all the sausages, slice the kielbasa, cut the longer sausages in half, and keep all warm until serving time.
  7. Meanwhile, cover the potatoes with water, add 2 teaspoons salt, and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat so the water is boiling gently and cook until the potatoes are tender, about 18 minutes.
  8. Sauté the bacon until it is very golden and crisp on all sides, which will take about 8 minutes. Keep it warm.
  9. To serve, make sure the choucroute is blistering hot. Drain it, and remove all the herbs and spices (if you find them. If not, warn your guests…!) Mound the choucroute in the center of a big platter. Surround it with the sausages that are whole and halved, and top it with the bacon and the sliced kielbasa. Serve with plenty of mustard and chilled beer, or Riesling.

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