Ryan Thomas is a university graduate who enjoys cooking recipes from a wide variety of culinary traditions.
What Is Choucroute Garnie?
Choucroute garnie, or garnished sauerkraut, hails from Alsace in eastern France. It is composed of a combination of potatoes, sauerkraut, and various types of charcuterie such as bacon, salt pork, ham, sausage, etc. These are cooked with cider or beer and then served hot and invitingly to ward off the winter chill.
I prefer to make my choucroute garnie with cider; it makes for a rich, warm, comforting meal. It is wonderfully simple to make, although it takes a bit of time to cook (about an hour, though I should note that the active cooking time is just a few minutes).
Making choucroute garnie results in a significant amount of leftover liquid. You could use it for plenty of different dishes, but one of my favorites is using it to make a chicken stew. It gives a superb boost to the flavor with the cider and the mild zing of the sauerkraut liquid. The resulting stew is very comforting and extremely tasty—a distinct but welcome variant on traditional chicken noodle soup.
For the choucroute garnie:
- 1 (32 oz) container sauerkraut
- 1 quart apple cider or apple juice
- 1 onion, peeled and diced
- 4 bay leaves
- 4 medium potatoes or 8-10 fingerling potatoes
- 5 savory sausages, not too spicy
- 6 slices bacon, cut up into smaller pieces
- olive oil, for sauteeing
- salt, to taste
- pepper or juniper berries, to taste
For the chicken cider soup:
- 2 pounds chicken, combination of dark and white meat, cut into cubes and pieces
- 1 large onion, peeled and diced
- olive oil for sauteeing
- 2 stalks broccoli, chopped
- apple cider broth, drained from choucroute garnie
- water, to cover in conjunction with the broth
- 6 ounces egg noodle pasta
- Make is the choucroute garnie: Add the olive oil into a large casserole dish, then add in the onions, and once they started to turn translucent add in the bacon and fry a few minutes more. Then add in the potatoes and sausages and sautee them briefly in turn.
- Add in the sauerkraut and apple cider. Stir to mix together and season with salt, pepper or juniper berries, and bay leaves. Turn heat to low and simmer for 1 hour.
- Drain away the broth into a separate container, and array the choucroute garnie on a serving dish. Serve immediately.
- Making the chicken soup: Heat the olive oil in the previous casserole dish. Sautee the onion until it starts to turn translucent, then add in the dark meat chicken and sautee a few more minutes. Then add in and brown the white meat chicken, moving it around constantly to prevent burning. Add in the broccoli, and then cover with the broth.
- With heat on high, increase the temperature of the liquid. Then add in the noodles. Continue to cook until the broccoli and the noodles are mostly cooked, then reduce to a simmer and allow them to gently cook the rest of the way.