Friday, March 16, 2007

Irish Eyes Can Smile, But We're Making Choucroute

As the most significant holiday to revolve, at least to a certain extent, around cabbage, St. Patrick's Day isn't exactly a gourmand's dream. If you're a food person the dry meat, boiled potatoes, chalky bread, and the aforementioned boiled cabbage (with the distinctive aroma of your 12-year-old's gym socks) is enough to turn you green. And since Americanized cuisine associated with St. Patrick's Day is as authentic to Ireland as deep-fried ravioli is to Italy, I don't feel bad recommending my Alsatian-style Choucroute (sauerkraut) with Pork and Sausages. In my thinking, good sauerkraut is to cabbage what caviar is to fish roe. So skip the faux Irish feast and try this true homage to the sublime cabbage. If you still don't feel right about it, buy some Guinness.

Alsatian-Style Choucroute with Pork & Sausage
Serves 6-8

Roasted Pork Loin, Bone-in 5-6#, Sliced into Chops
Assorted Cooked Fresh Sausage 6-8 Sausage, Cut in 1/2
(use a variety: chicken sausage, good-quality hot dogs, bratwurst, etc.)
Peeled, Cooked Creamer Potatoes 6-8 potatoes

Thick-Cut Bacon, Cut into 2” 8 Pieces
Onion, Sliced 1 Onion
Carrot, Shredded 1 Medium
Celery, Shredded 1 Stalk
Bagged Sauerkraut, Rinsed/Drained 2#
Juniper Berries, Sachet 8
Bay Leaves, Sachet 2
Kosher Salt 1 Teaspoon
Fresh Black Pepper To Taste
Green Lentils, Cooked (optional) 1 ½ Cups
White Wine 1 ½ Cups
Chicken Stock ¾ Cup
Tuscan Kale, Julienned (optional) 2 Cups

Italian Parsley, Minced (to garnish) 1/2 Cup

Preparation Procedure- Preheat oven to 350d.
In a large braising pan, brown bacon over medium-high heat. Add onion, carrot and celery. Cook for 5 minutes or so, add sauerkraut, sachet (juniper and bay leaf wrapped in cheesecloth), and kale. Cook until kale is wilted, add wine, lentils (if using) and chicken stock. Bring to a boil, season with salt and pepper. Cover with parchment and foil (or lid). Bake for 1 hour. Remove from oven, add pork, potatoes and sausage, bake for 25-30 minutes. Garnish with parsley.