Recipe of the Week: Choucroute Garnie

This simple Alsatian dish, abridged from my book “Cooking Meat”, takes some time to make but it is rustic comfort food at its best, and truly celebrates many of the cuts the pig offers us. On the next cold night, invite some friends over and throw this popular French bistro dish in the middle of the table with a baguette, some good mustard, a jar of gherkins, and plenty of Riesling. You’ll be a star.

Serves 8 to 10


2 Tbsp butter (divided)
½ pound sliced bacon, cut in 1-inch dice
3 large onions, thinly sliced
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 large smoked ham hock , 1 ¼ lbs, cut in quarters (ask your butcher to cut it on the band saw)
1 small head Savoy cabbage , shredded
1 herb sachet (1 Tbsp juniper berries, 10 thyme sprigs, 6 bay leaves – all tied in a cheesecloth or a tea-ball)
2 cups sauerkraut, drained
2 cups dry white wine
4 smoked pork chops
4 large good-quality smoked pork sausages
4 weisswurst (found at German/Eastern European delis)
4 pork wieners (hot dog–style)
1 pound mini potatoes, washed
1 Tbsp sliced chives
Salt and pepper


  1. In a heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat, melt 1 Tbsp of the butter with the bacon. Add the onions and garlic and sweat until translucent.
  2. Add the pork hock, turn down the heat to medium-low, and cover the pot. Sweat for 15 minutes, then add the cabbage and herb bundle. Stirring frequently, cook for 30 minutes, or until the cabbage is translucent. Add the sauerkraut and wine, cover, and simmer for 1½ hours.
  3. Turn the heat off the cabbage and keep warm. Using a pair of tongs, remove the ham hock and cool slightly. When cool to the touch, discard the skin and the bone, and shred the meat. Add the shredded hock meat back to the pot with the smoked pork chops, smoked sausages, weisswurst, and wieners. Cover and steam for 12 to 15 minutes.
  4. While the meats are steaming, bring a medium pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the mini potatoes and boil until fork-tender, 12 to 15 minutes. Drain the potatoes, return them to the pot, and toss with the remaining 1 Tbsp of butter and the chives. Season with salt and pepper.
  5. Using a slotted spoon or tongs, transfer the chops, smoked sausages, weisswurst, and weiners to a cutting board. Slice them into attractive, bite-sized pieces. Taste the cabbage, and season with salt and pepper, if needed.
  6. To serve, pile the cooked cabbage and hock-meat stew onto a large platter and arrange the smoked meats on top. Serve with the mini potatoes.





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