Wednesday, 17 June 2009


Cabbage is such a maligned vegetable, yet it is delicious as long as it is not over-boiled to sulphurous rags. It's the star of coleslaw, plays well in stirfries, and can be preserved into kimchee or sauerkraut. I buy it in those huge 900g Benino brand jars from Poland. It keeps well in the fridge, and it's good just as it comes from the jar, heated up to go with German style sausages or corned beef. But sometimes it's fun to do a more fancy version - something along the lines of an Alsatian choucroute garni.

Recipe: Sauerkraut and smoked pork in wine
1 900g jar of sauerkraut
1 bottle white wine (riesling)
1 large onion
2 large green apples
2 tsp juniper berries
2 bayleaves
1 600g chunk smoked pork loin

Drain sauerkraut and rinse.
Put in a pot, and add the wine, chopped onion, peeled and chopped apple, juniper berries and bayleaves.
Simmer uncovered for 15 minutes, then cover and simmer 30 minutes more.
Add the pork, and bury it in the sauerkraut.
Add a little water if it seems to be drying out.
Simmer another 30 minutes.
Slice up pork into steaks.
Serve with boiled new potatoes, or some heavy rye bread. And mustard.

Notes:The wine should be riesling, but it's a waste to use the really good stuff since the sauerkraut and juniper flavours are so strong. Especially if you bite into a juniper berry - they are edible but very strong so you might like to pick them out. A cheap bottle or fancy cask is about right. Or you can use champagne for a French "choucroute royale".

You can add all sorts of meats to this: if they are not pre-cooked, put them in earlier. Sausages, ham, ham hocks, pork chops, and even poultry can be used. Even veggie hot-dogs, I would imagine. You can also cook the potatoes in the same pot for a true one-pot meal, but I prefer them separate.


seepi said...

Oh great - I had lost my sauerkraut recipe - even tho I think of it every time I look at the remains of the packet of juniper berries.

I've just been adding some ham/bacon, onion and chopped apple, but it isn't the same as doing it properly.

Great time to eat it now too - remember they said sauerkraut might cure bird flu!

Cath said...

Hi seepi, thanks. I'm not at all snobby about "proper" cooking: I'm sure that your versions have been delicious too. It can be fun to do the research to see what's authentic, but I'd never insist on it!

Lorna McKenzie said...

I adore sauerkraut and pork, so I shall try your take on this soon.

I have an ex's family sauerkraut recipe that I must post one day, its scrumptious.

Pickled veg is full of Vitamin C and other goodies, was used well before lemons et al on long voyages.

uno said...

I am very fond of German food. especially the food. I will try to make at home. thank you, your articles are very helpful