This Northwoods idea comes with a little history lesson. Although sauerkraut is a traditionally German and Eastern European dish, this “dressed sauerkraut” recipe has a taste France. It was cooked up back in 1648 during the annexation of Alsace and Lorraine (areas bordering France & Germany near Baden-Baden). So this dish is very-very good-good.
- 3 lbs sauerkraut (preferably bagged or jarred)
- 1/2 lb Trig’s Smokehouse slab bacon, cut into 1/2-inch dice
- 2 large onions, chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 green apples, peeled and finely chopped
- 1/2 tsp dried thyme
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 tbsp juniper berries, bruised
- 1 tsp peppercorns, bruised
- 2 cups dry white wine
- 4 cups chicken stock
- 1/4 cup goose fat (available in tins at specialty shops)
- 16 small new potatoes
- 8 World’s Best bratwurst or a Trig’s Smokehouse Smoked Kielbasa, cut into 4-inch lengths
- 8 smoked pork chops
- Chopped fresh parsley
Drain sauerkraut in a colander and rinse under running cold water. Place in a large bowl of cold water and soak for 30 minutes. Drain in a colander and squeeze by the handful to remove excess liquid. Set aside.
In a large casserole, sauté bacon over moderately low heat, stirring occasionally, until it has browned and rendered most of its fat. Add onions and sauté until tender. Add garlic for the last minute of cooking.
Add sauerkraut, apples, thyme, bay leaves, juniper berries, peppercorns, wine, and stock. Spoon goose fat over the top. Bring to a simmer, lay a buttered round of waxed paper over the top, cover, and cook at the slightest simmer for 4 hours.
Add the new potatoes, pushing them down into the sauerkraut, and cook for 1 hour more.
Meanwhile, in a skillet, place bratwurst or kielbasa with 1/2 cup water. Bring water to a boil and cook, turning sausages a couple of times and pricking them with a fork. When water has evaporated, brown the sausages in the fat that remains in the skillet. Set aside. Brown the pork chops quickly in the sausage fat over moderately high heat and set aside.
When the potatoes have cooked for 1 hour, or are nearly tender, add sausages and pork chops to the casserole, pressing them into the sauerkraut. Cook for another 30 minutes.
Place the sausages, pork chops, and potatoes around the edge of a heated serving platter. Heap the sauerkraut in the middle and garnish with the chopped fresh parsley.