Tuesday, November 20, 2012

parfois il faut des compromis

A proper choucroute alsacienne follows the Alsatian flavor profile, which leans heavily toward the Germanic. French cuts of pork and sausages like saucisse de Montbéliard are jumbled together with choucroute (sauerkraut) and big, hefty baking potatoes. Herbs, seasonings, and aromatics like bay, cloves, onions, and juniper also make appearances. A typical recipe for choucroute alsacienne might look like this (from here):

2 kg de choucroute (sauerkraut)
3 ou 4 oignons (onions)
1 ou 2 échalotes (shallots)
1 vingtaine de baies de genièvre (juniper berries)
2 cuillères à café de baies de coriandre (coriander seeds)
2 cuillères à café de cumin (ou carvi) (cumin or caraway)
1 peu de poivre (black pepper)
sel (salt)
1 palette fumée (a cut of pork that looks like this)
1 kg de lard à cuire (bacon cut)
1 douzaine de viennoises (basically, franks)
8 montbéliards (Montbéliards are smoked, fatty, and look like this)
1,5 kg de pommes de terre (potatoes)
1/2 l de bière blonde (blonde beer, pale ale)
1/2 l d'eau (water)

I can't find all those luscious French products-- not where I live, anyway. So I've got to compromise. On today's shopping run, I bought:

Kirkland dinner franks (in place of the viennoises)
ham steaks
thick-cut bacon
pork sirloin tip roast (in place of la palette fumée)
large baking potatoes
2 types of grainy mustard


...and I'll be sprucing the cooking up with my two remaining bottles of Heineken (from-- Jesus-- two Thanksgivings ago!), plus some cloves, cumin, bay leaves, and onion.

I think the above mix of meats will turn out OK. It's just that sometimes, you have to make compromises.



The Maximum Leader said...

Danger Will Robinson! Danger! Check the beer before using it! It might be bad by now!

Charles said...

Comprises or no, that's going to be awesome. The version we cooked is still one of my all-time favorites.

I've seen recipes (although they are usually called "choucroute garnie) that call for white wine and a bit of gin (for the juniper) instead of beer. Next time I make this I think I might try that and see how it turns out.

Kevin Kim said...


I'm reading up on bad beer now. Thanks for the heads-up.


Yeah, I think the garnie and the alsacienne are basically the same thing, with variations on sausage and alcohol type. Happy Carne-val!

Elisson said...

I'm thinking that the baies de coriandre are coriander seeds and that the baies de genièvre are juniper berries.

This looks like a classic choucroute alsacienne indeed. Hoo-HAH!

Could not kimchi be considered choucroute coréen?

Kevin Kim said...


Berries/seeds, indeed. A "sprig" is un brin in French. I shouldn't be so quick on the draw! (I'm so used to hearing "graines" for "seeds.")

As for whether kimchi would make for une bonne choucroute coréenne... eh ben, je crois que oui.

Kevin Kim said...

Update: post corrected!