Choucroute garnie is a classic cold-weather tour de force. Making it well requires advance planning but no special skill, and you can’t help but feel proud placing this impressive display before your guests. (This is a recipe for a crowd, on the theory that if you’re going to this trouble, why not have a crowd enjoy it?) If you don’t have a very large pot, you can do the sautéing in batches in a skillet and transfer everything to a roasting pan covered with foil for the long oven cooking. The traditional accompaniment is boiled potatoes tossed with parsley.
do ahead Everything may be made up to five days ahead and stored in the refrigerator. Before serving, reheat, covered, in a 350° oven until hot, about 30-45 minutes.
12 ounces sliced bacon, cut into 1-inch pieces
11⁄2 pounds kielbasa, cut into 1-inch pieces
11⁄2 pounds bratwurst or knockwurst, cut into 3-inch lengths
2 large yellow onions, thinly sliced
2 cups carrots, peeled and cut into 1⁄2-inch slices
8 garlic cloves, crushed
4 pounds sauerkraut, rinsed well with water squeezed out
4 long lengths orange peel
3 smoked ham hocks
1⁄4 cup dark brown sugar
2 tablespoons juniper berries
2 tablespoons black peppercorns
2 teaspoons coriander seeds
3-4 pounds boneless pork butt or shoulder
4 bay leaves
3 fresh thyme sprigs
3 fresh parsley sprigs
2 fresh rosemary sprigs
2 fresh sage sprigs
31⁄4 cups white wine (ideally Riesling)
1 cups chicken stock
1⁄4 cup chopped fresh parsley, for garnish
1 Place ham hocks in a large pot and cover with water. Add brown sugar, bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer until meat is tender, about 11⁄2-2 hours. Allow to cool. Trim away skin and fat and cut meat into bite-sized pieces. Reserve 1 cup cooking liquid.
2 Make a bouquet garni by wrapping juniper berries, black peppercorns and coriander seeds in a small square of cheesecloth. Tie packet.
3 In a large Dutch oven or other large, heavy pot, stir bacon over moderate heat to render fat and just cook through. With a slotted spoon, remove bacon and set it aside. In the residual fat, first brown kielbasa. Remove and brown bratwurst or other sausage. Remove and brown pork butt or shoulder. Be patient and brown everything well, leaving residual fat in the pot each time.
4 In the same pot with the same fat over moderate heat, sauté onions, carrots and garlic until onions lightly brown, about 20 minutes. Add sauerkraut, bacon, ham hocks, orange peel, bay leaves and the bouquet garni. Mix well.
5 Preheat oven to 300°. Place browned pork on top of sauerkraut mix. Place sprigs of thyme, parsley, rosemary and sage over top. Cover and bake until pork is very tender, about 3 hours. If serving right away, add kielbasa and bratwurst around the perimeter of pot to heat during the last 30 minutes of cooking.
6 Remove pork and set aside to cool. Remove and discard herbs, bouquet garni, orange peel and bay leaves.
7 To serve, cut pork into approximately 3⁄8-inch slices. Arrange sauerkraut on a large platter and arrange slices of pork down the middle; arrange sausages around pork. Sprinkle with chopped parsley. If you are serving potatoes and have a large enough platter, arrange potatoes around and just off the edge of the sauerkraut.