German Dinner 9/28

Guten tag! We had a German themed dinner this week. There were homemade soft pretzels, pickle canapes, pierogies, and the giant meat plate, choucroute garnie.

The soft pretzels were made from an Alton Brown Recipe and fairly easy if a little time consuming. You can find the recipe here

The pickle canapes are even better with a more appropriate cheese. I used leftover mac and cheese cheeses this time, a semisoft, less assertively flavoured cheese would be better. They make an excellent sandwich. The recipe is from Gourmet magazine and can be found here

The pierogies are a bit more time consuming, I used red cabbage which gave the filling the purple color.

Finally the choucroute garnie is an Alstasian (aka Alsace dish. For this make sure you get an appropriate wine, you want something white and very dry, don’t use an American Resiling. You can find reasonably priced Alstasian whites at Sahara. The other key is using good sauerkraut. Don’t get the canned variety. Marsh has some decent stuff called willie’s and bubbies which is sold at sahara/bloomingfood/butcher’s block is good if a a bit more expensive. Those are the vital things for the rest the ingredients are very malleable. You can use pork stock, chicken stock, or even water in place of the ham hocks, use whatever sausages you have on hand. You could use pears instead of apples or any other similar fruit. This is a very difficult dish to screw up if you’re using decent ingredients.

1 3/4 pounds smoked meaty ham hocks

1 pound fully cooked bratwurst
8 ounces thick-sliced bacon strips, cut crosswise into 1-inch pieces

2 large onions, chopped
1teaspoon juniper berries (optional)
1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
10 whole cloves
8 whole allspice
3 bay leaves
3 Red Delicious apples, unpeeled, cored, cut into 1-inch pieces
2 2-pound jars sauerkraut, squeezed dry
2 pounds fully cooked kielbasa, cut diagonally into 1-inch pieces
1 pound fully cooked knockwurst
2 cups Alsatian Pinot Blanc or other dry white wine

2 pounds small red-skinned potatoes
2/3 cup chopped fresh parsley

Assorted mustards
Prepared white horseradish

preparation

Place ham hocks in large saucepan.
Add enough water to cover by 2 inches.
Bring to boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer until meat is very tender, about 2 hours.
Transfer hocks to medium bowl.
Boil broth until reduced to 2 cups.
Remove meat from bones; discard bones. Place hock meat in medium bowl. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover hock meat and broth separately; chill.)
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Heat heavy large pot over medium-high heat. A
dd bratwurst and bacon. Sauté until bacon is crisp and bratwurst is brown, about 10 minutes. Place in bowl with hock meat.
Add onions, spices and bay leaves to same pot.
Sauté until onions are tender, about 5 minutes.
Add apples; sauté 2 minutes.
Mix in sauerkraut. Add all meats; press to submerge.
Add reserved broth and wine. Boil 10 minutes.
Cover choucroute and bake 1 1/2 hours.
Meanwhile, cook potatoes in pot of boiling salted water until tender, about 18 minutes. D
rain; cool slightly.
Cut potatoes in half. Dip cut sides into parsley.
Arrange sauerkraut and meats on platter. Surround with potatoes.
Serve with mustards and horseradish.

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