Choucroute Garnie

Choucroute Garni is French for "sauerkraut garnished." It is particularly popular in the Alsace region of France, which has often come under German rule. That would explain all the tubular meat in this particular favorite recipe of Marczyk Fine Foods. The sauerkraut is the focus of this dish with a 'garnish' of veggies and meats. No other dish shows off the love put into Marczyk Fine Foods's meats, sausages, and grocery items like this two-pot adaptation of this definitive Alsatian classic.

The best part? There are no rules to this recipe, only guidelines. As long as you use a lot of pork products and make the dish with "plenty of love," the rest is entirely up to you. "The great thing about choucroute, is that you can make it your own without worrying about it," says our chef David Bumgardner. "Don't like kielbasa? Prefer Strasbourg sausages to brats? Have red potatoes in your pantry? Only need half the recipe? No problem! Be creative." You can't mess this one up. Do what you want and what tastes good to you! Let your creativity run free!

Serves 6-8

Ingredients

THE BASICS:
3 pounds sauerkraut, such as MM Local or Boar’s Head Sauerkraut
6-8 Niman Ranch pork rib chops, Frenched by your friendly Marczyk butchers
6-8 Market made French sausages
½ pound Niman Ranch applewood smoked bacon
12 small potatoes
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 bottle Riesling
Fresh Italian flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped

*OPTIONS! There is no set recipe for choucroute. Add to or replace the basic sausages with any or all of these, as you like:

2 ham steaks, sliced into chunks
1 pound Market made Toulouse sausage
1 pound Market made bratwurst
1 pound Continental veal bratwurst
1 pound Continental kielbasa, sliced
1 pound Continental frankfurters
1 pound  Fabrique Delices Boudin Noir
4-6 carrots diced
4-6 apples, such as Braeburns, cored and sliced
1 medium yellow onion, coarsely chopped
Bouquet Garni of 1 smashed head of garlic, 3 whole cloves, 6 juniper berries , 6 coriander seeds, 1 teaspoon caraway seeds, and 6 bay leaves wrapped in a cheesecloth.

PREPARATION
1. Preheat oven to 350F.
2. Season pork chops with salt and pepper. Coarsely chop bacon. *Clean and chop fruit and vegetables, if using.
3. Over medium heat, render bacon in a Dutch oven, or in a large roaster with a lid. Just before it gets crisp, pull the bacon and reserve on paper towels.
4. Sear pork chops and fresh sausages in bacon fat until they're lightly browned. Remove chops and sausages and reserve with bacon.
5. *Optional: Add carrots, onions and apples to pan, and cook until soft, 10-15 minutes, adding a bit more bacon fat if needed.
6. Add pork chops, sauerkraut, bacon, sausages, *bouquet garni, ham, and half the bottle of wine to the Dutch oven. Season with salt and pepper, cover, and cook until meats are tender, about one hour.
7. While you're waiting, drink what's left of the Riesling.
8. About 35 minutes before serving, place potatoes in a pot of salted water over medium-high heat and cook until tender, 20-25 minutes. Drain and keep warm.
9. To serve, spoon sauerkraut onto a large platter, *discarding bouquet garni. Slice sausages, if desired, and arrange on platter with pork chops, and potatoes.
10. Garnish with fresh parsley.