Sauerkraut is a typical dish of French gastronomy, mainly from the Alsace region, whose base is fermented cabbage. This is a food widely used also as a companion to meat in eastern countries such as Poland or Germany. However, the dish that we are going to prepare is not based solely on vegetables nor is it a light recipe, quite the opposite.
Alsatian sauerkraut consists of a lot of meat, a bit of sautéed onion and sauerkraut and boiled potatoes, all made in a huge pot and bathed in white wine, ideally from Alsace. Traditionally this dish is prepared with smoked sausages, very typical in France, and difficult to find in Spain. It is therefore difficult to get close to the original flavor of this French recipe, but the substitutes that can be closest to these sausages are the longaniza and the sausage.
Another remarkable factor of the original Alsatian sauerkraut is the use of lard instead of olive oil and Alsace vinegar instead of any other, but it can be made with either of them. However, if you ever want to try the 100% original recipe, you should use lard and try to get Alsace vinegar and a package of French sausages when you travel there or when a friend or family member visits the neighboring country.
Since it is a heavy dish due to the amount and type of meat used, it is preferable to prepare it for lunch rather than dinner. In addition, at the time of year, we are in, this is a perfect option as a main dish in the Christmas meals that lie ahead. Won’t leave anybody indifferent.
- To begin with, if the sauerkraut is raw, wash it several times with plenty of water to remove the acidity it presents as much as possible.
- Dry it well and reserve for later. Then wash the onion as well and chop it.
- Heat the lard or olive oil in a large pot and when it reaches temperature, sauté the chopped onion.
- Let the onion cook for a few minutes without turning any color and add half of the washed sauerkraut with the bay leaves, the two cloves of garlic, and 3 juniper berries.
- Add salt and pepper to taste and pour in a little white wine to bathe the mixture.
- Then distribute all the meat little by little over the sauerkraut while it continues to cook.
- Finish off the Strasbourg or Frankfurt sausages and cover everything again with the remaining sauerkraut and two more juniper berries.
- Add another touch of white wine, cover the pot, and let it simmer for about an hour and a half.
- While everything is cooking, wash the potatoes well and peel them.
- If they are very large, you must cut them into pieces.
- After the necessary cooking time previously indicated, add the potatoes to the pot and let everything cook for another hour.
- After a time, check that the potatoes are well cooked and leave a few more minutes if not.
- Once ready, let it rest for a few minutes and your Alsatian sauerkraut will be ready.
- To serve, the idea is to distribute the sauerkraut on one side and the meat cut into pieces on the other. In this way, each diner will be able to serve himself the quantity he prefers of one thing and another.
Juniper berries are optional.
If you use sauerkraut in a pot, which is already cooked, you just have to make the onion sauce and add all the ingredients in the pot (including the previously washed potatoes) and cook for an hour and a half.