Choucroute garni - precooking the sauerkraut

In an old recipe for choucroute, the sauerkraut was cooked with wine and juniper berries at low heat for 4 hours. Does this sound familiar to anyone?

  • Posted by: DebJ
  • March 13, 2020


Lori T. March 14, 2020
Yes, it sure does. Sounds like the recipe my grandmother used for years, and close to the one I use. The dish is a one pot braise, which uses a few tough cuts of pork that benefit from low and slow cooking. Although some recipes will call for everything to go into the pot at once, the leaner cuts - pork loin and the sausages won't do well that way. They ought to go in nearer the end of cooking time. So far as the cooking time- it was originally done on a wood fire stove, or in the embers of a fire. My grandmother said it would normally be put on at night, to slowly cook as the heat dissipated, and be ready for the big noontime meal the next day. I tend to cook mine in a modern oven, at around 325F, for between 1-2 hours depending on how the meat is tenderizing. Modern pork is leaner, and younger- so more tender, and less fatty. Modern American pork cuts and smoked products are also a little different. So that long braise time isn't as critical as it once was. You can do it if you like, starting with the tough cuts and adding in the leaner ones nearer the end of cooking time. And yes- the wine and the juniper berries are essential add ins. I suggest a good white version from the Rhine or Alsace region. The juniper berries also bring a unique spice flavor that you won't get from anything else, either. A sort of piney, herbal flavor- reminiscent of the gin they could be used to make. If you can find them, I urge you to use them in this dish. To me, it just doesn't taste right if they aren't there. Grandma said they helped with digestion of the rich pork- all I can say is they make it taste good. Anyway, choucroute garni - or schlachtplatte in German, is a wonderful winter dish that sticks to the ribs.
DebJ March 14, 2020
Great info - very helpful. Thank you!!
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