Choucroute, a popular French dish, is traditionally eaten by Jews from Alsace-Lorraine on Simchat Torah as well as on Purim. Choucroute, or choucroute garnie is French for dressed sauerkraut. The word choucroute, pronounced Shoo-kroot, is a phonologically francophonic form of the Alsacian word Sürkrüt, which is the German word for sauerkraut.
This dish, German in origin became part of French culture after the French annexation of Alsace-Lorraine in 1648. The culinary preferences of the French and the Germans is extremely obvious in the ingredients of this recipe. Both recipes call for fatty meats, sausages, potatoes and sauerkraut, the difference being that the Germans stew their dish in beer while the French stew their dish in white wine.
My wonderful readers might now be saying to themselves, “this dish doesn’t sound very healthy”. So, here’s a little secret, this dish is about as unhealthy as you can get. So to answer those of you who might be wondering why I make this dish, here’s the answer in a nutshell-my husband’s mother (z”l) came from Strausberg (hamevin yavin).
Two things I have learned about this dish. First of all, people either love it or hate it. Secondly it actually makes sense to serve it on Simchat Torah and on Purim. Children, even children who have eaten a lot of candy can always find room for a hotdog and for grown-ups who like to have a l’chaim on these occasions, let me just say, this meal screams out for beer.
For those of you who are missing the healthy recipes, they will return next week, after the holidays are over.
- 2 tbsp oil
- 1 onion, diced
- 4 cloves garlic, chopped
- 8 juniper berries
- 3 bay leaves
- 1 tsp caraway seeds
- 1/2 tsp black pepper corns
- 2-3 cans sauerkraut, rinsed and squeezed
- 1 bottle Emerald Riesling, medium quality
- 1 kilo (2.2 lb) corn beef
- marrow bone (optional)
- 12 frankfurters/sausages, assorted flavors (the stronger flavors are better here)
- 6 chorizo sausages
- 6 medium-sized potatoes, peeled and halved
Heat the oil in a very large pot. Lightly saute the onion until it begins to soften. Squeeze and rinse the sauerkraut and add one of the cans. Add the wine, spices, corn beef and the remaining sauerkraut. If necessary, add a little bit of water or some more wine so that the corn beef is completely covered. Cover the pot and cook for two-three hours or until the corn beef is tender. Add the chorizos, potatoes and assorted sausages and cook for thirty minutes more.
Serve hot on a bed of mashed potatoes.