Choucroute - A Grand Meal to Feed a Crowd
The perfect all-day braise that’ll leave you with lots of leftovers and a kitchen that smells... *chef’s kiss*
Choucroute Garnie comes to us from the wintery wilds of Alsace, right on the French-German border. It's a traditional braise as comforting as a hug from a big downy goose and just the thing to warm your bones once the nights turn chilly. Ideally it's served on a big wooden board alongside thick slices of rye bread with pickles and mustards aplenty.
This recipe is 100% open to interpretation and rejiggering based on what you have kicking around in the pantry and just how into it you're feeling that day. You can go all-out with the full complement of meats, seasonings, and techniques mentioned here or you can strip this thing down to the studs and still come away with something that makes you happy. If you do decide to go all-out, you’ll surely have leftovers for days and we just love chicken and sausage straight from the fridge.
Make it work for you: No wine? Use beer. No grill? Oven's fine. Couldn't find any sauerkraut? Fresh cabbage and an extra shot of vinegar will do the trick. You bought these rad Korean sausages from Rettland Farm? Bring some kimchi and rice wine to the party and you're getting pretty close to budae jjiggae territory. A cast iron pan full of sauerkraut, a little wine and sausage bubbling away on the grill (or stove) is a fine place to start, choose your own adventure from there.
|2 tbsp||Olive oil|
|1 whole||Chicken, cut into 10 pc: leg, thigh, wing, breast split in two|
|4 or 5 sprigs||Thyme|
|2 tsp||Juniper berries|
|1 tsp||Carraway Seeds|
|2 lb||Sauerkraut, drained, rinsed, and dried|
|1 cup||White wine|
|1/2 cup||Chicken stock|
|1 loaf||Pumpernickel or rye bread|
|One jar||Dijon mustard|
Note: The first step of browning chicken won’t be done in a dutch oven. It’ll be done on a grill or in the oven. Everything else happens in your dutch oven.
1. Preheat grill. Full flame for 15 minutes for gas or start a full chimney of hardwood charcoal and build two-zone fire. Clean and oil grates before cooking.
2. Grill chicken in batches, skin side down, until crisp and golden. Remove from pot and set aside.
3. Get a cast iron dutch oven hot on the grill while the chicken is cooking. Render bacon until starting to crisp. Remove from pot and set aside.
4. Sweat onion garlic, thyme, bay leaves, juniper, carraway in bacon fat until softened.
5. Add sauerkraut, wine and stock. Bring to simmer.
6. Tuck chicken, bacon and sausages into dutch oven. Close the grill and cook covered for 15 minutes, then remove top and cook uncovered for 15 more. You want the grill to stay around 350-400.
7. Serve with plenty of bread, mustard and pickles.