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RUSSELL'S RECIPES have been tested over the years in a notably inefficient kitchen. They have proven their reliability and can withstand late-arriving guests, mismatched cutlery, and requests for Coca-cola, beer, or iced tea.

Monday, December 17, 2012


With the freezing temperatures and misty fog that has been rolling through Burgundy the past week, nothing warms the soul like the hearty Alsation tradition: choucroute and dry riesling!

For 6 to 8 people

Total preparation and cooking time: 3.5 hours.  If possible, prepare the night before as this dish just gets better with reheating!

3.3 lbs raw sauerkraut (about 9 oz per person)
1 large onion
6 garlic cloves
3 large carrots
12 small onions
Assorted meats: ideally four different kinds (two salted versions and two smoked)
-small smoked pork sausages or even hot dogs! (3.3 lbs per person)
-bacon (enough for 4 people)
-smoked pork shoulder (1 small slice per person)
-smoked sausage (1 large to serve 6 people)
1/2 a bottle of dry white wine
tiny pinch of salt
12 or so juniper berries

Rinse the raw sauerkraut at least twice in cold water, squeezing tightly each time so it softens.
Peel the onion and 3 garlic cloves and chop into smaller pieces (removing the garlic germs).
Peel the other three garlic cloves and leave them whole (again removing the germs).
Brown the cut onion and garlic in a large pot with sunflower oil.
Add the rinsed sauerkraut, the carrots (cut in large chunks), the juniper berries, the whole garlic cloves, pepper, a tiny pinch of salt (in function of how salted your meats are), and the white wine, blending all ingredients together.  Add the meats (except the hot dogs), at least one liter of water, then cover, and slowly increase the temperature to a medium heat.  Let cook for about one and half hours. Next, add the peeled potatoes, recover, and let cook for another hour or so.  No need to panic if it smells like it's starting to's only because the bottom ingredients are a bit hotter than the top, but it won't be ruined.

About 15 minutes before the cooking time is finished, bring a pot of water to boiling with a bit of salt and then cook the hot dogs.

Before serving, cut the larger pieces of meat and spread them out for display on a plate, adding the hot dogs.  Serve the sauerkraut with carrots on another plate, and the potatoes on a third one.

The best and only fail-proof wine pairing is a DRY RIESLING FROM ALSACE.  Mmm, c'est bon, ├ža!

Keep any leftovers with the cooking juice in the refrigerateur, adding a bit of water if it seems too dry.  Reheat with the sauerkraut and carrots at the bottom of the pot and the meat on top, keeping the heat low.  The dish just gets better with each reheating as the flavors blend and enhance each other.

Vive l'Alsace!