Sauerkraut, carrots, potatoes, onions, juniper berries, and Riesling wine are the base for this delicious “plant-friendly” choucroute garnie — a French classic — from the region of Alsace.
To start the dish, first prepare all of your mise en place. Note: If your sauerkraut is really tart, you may want to drain and rinse the kraut first.
Next, heat a Dutch oven, over medium-low heat. Once hot, add the onions and garlic and dry-sauté. If desired, you could use a tablespoon of oil to sauté the onions. Let cook for about 10 minutes, or until soften, but not browned.
Note: Essentially, the carrots can be cut however you like; however, the roll or oblique cut just makes for nicer presentation. Watch this short technique video, to learn how to perform this cut.
At this point, remove half of the onion mixture and reserve. Next, start to the layer the ingredients into the Dutch oven. To start, add half of the sauerkraut to the remaining onions, then add the potatoes, carrots, whole onion with cloves, juniper berries, bay leaves, caraway seeds and seasoning. Lastly, scatter the reserved onions over top, followed by the remaining sauerkraut. Season again.
Note: For an example of the onion with cloves, see the photo above: you’ll see an onion stuck with cloves, next to the bay leaves in the bottom row.
Note: Traditional recipes typically call for the potatoes to be cooked separately. To do this, add the potatoes to a pot of generously salted water and boil until tender.
Pour the white wine over top, cover and bring to a simmer over medium-low heat. Then turn the heat to low and let cook for about 45 minutes. Alternatively, this can be cooked in a 350°F (175°C) oven.
After approximately 45 minutes, check the potatoes and carrots, if they are still a bit hard, let cook for another 15 to 20 minutes. If the mixture seems a bit dry, add a bit of water at this stage as well.
When done, the vegetables should be fully cooked through and tender. Note that the amount of time will ultimately depend on how big the vegetables were cut, the pot they were cooked in and/or your oven.
Once done, let the dish sit for 10 to 15 minutes, before serving. This will give the potatoes and carrots time to soak up some of the liquid.
Note: This dish goes extremely well with plant-based sausages (such as a Frankfurters, bratwurst and beer sausages). If adding sausages, bring a pot of water to a bare simmer and add the sausages. Allow them to simmer until they plump up, then remove them from the water. Add the sausages to the choucroute and return to the oven uncovered for a few minutes to allow the skins on the sausages to crisp, just a bit.
This dish can also be made a day ahead and re-heated in the oven. In this case, you may need to add a bit of water when re-heating, so that it does not completely dry out.
Serve with Dijon mustard (or an assortment of your favorite mustards), horseradish and a light salad.
Fun Fact: Choucroute Garnie is French for dressed sauerkraut.