La Taverne du Passage’s recipe for Choucroute garnie á l’Alsacienne

Don’t panic! It’s just a sauerkraut dish with different sausages and meat. This recipe was advertised in a French brochure by “La Taverne du Passage” in Brussels.The restaurant is situated in the expensive Galerie de la Reine in Brussels. You’ll undoubtedly be able to order this dish there, if you have enough money.

But if you’ve prepared other sauerkraut dishes before, why not try it at home? You need some experience, not be afraid to experiment, and substitute a few ingredients.

This dish is supposedly from the Alsace region over which France and Germany repeatedly fought. So it’s kind of fushion. Some of you might know a variety called Choucroute de Colmar, or even de Strasbourgh.

The restaurant recipe uses the following ingredients for 6 people. So if there’re going to be less around your dinner table, adjust amounts.

1 kg de choucroute. They even want you to use bio cru de la ferme Frieh en Alsace. Just use ordinary, natural sauerkraut without any fancy herbs or wine. Make sure it is drained;
2 oignons jaunes hanchés. Personally, I’d still use 2 small onions, or 1 big one, perhaps even sjalots, all cut and diced;
baies de genèvrier. Juniper berries: I’d use at least one, maybe two per person, depending on what you prefer. It’s not listed in the restaurant version either, but I like to include at least one bay leaf as well;
clous de girofle. Cloves, as with the berries: one or two per person depending on your personal taste;
une bouteille de vin blanc d’Alsace, du Riesling de la maison Boeckel. Pff – that’s a bottle of white wine, preferably Riesling – from a winery I’m not familiar with. So a slightly sweet white wine. If you’re not expecting 6 persons nor using 1 kg of sauerkraut, just use the necessary amount and plonk the bottle on the dinner table to drink with the dish;
eau. No problem with water I suppose?

And then … we need:
1 palette fumé de chez Metzger Muller;
6 tranches de lard de chez Metzger Muller;
6 saucisses de Montbéliard de chez Metzger Muller;
12 knack d’Alsace de chez Metzger Muller;
6 saucisses de Colmar de chez Metzger Muller;
You now know why I told you this was a fancy dish.

Aren’t we lucky there aren’t pig trotters included! It does have lots of regional sausages, meat, and bacon. But as you and I won’t be able to lay our hands easily on products of Metzger Muller of Rue des Abeilles in Ittenheim, try your local supermarket, deli, or butcher for:
– cured or smoked pig’s shoulder according to my friends. If you’re living in France your local butcher might sell “palette fumée“. You might like to use ham hocks, or a thick slice of gammon per person, as an alternative. You can also leave this out;
– 6 thick slices of bacon;
– 6 cured sausages from Montbéliard, but any cured sausages might do I guess;
– 12 “knack” sausages. If you’re living in Belgium or the Netherlands, supermarkets sell “knakworst” in tins. In Germany, they sell the larger variety called Frankfurters in tins or jars. Hotdog sausages are the alternative. But as these and Frankfurters are bigger than the Belgian or Dutch “knakworst“, have one per person;
– 6 Colmar sausages. No Colmar sausages about? Use any 6 sausages as long as they are not the variety you have already included.

Get a large casserole pan or large pan with a high rim. All your ingredients are going to be cooked in it, so large and big is not beautiful but sheer necessity.

Melt butter in your pan over a low fire. Add the cut onions and slowly glaze them.
Add the thick slices of bacon and slowly fry these. Make sure these do not burn.
If any of your sausages need to be fried as well, add these now. Once the sausages are fried properly, remove these and put on a dish to add to the recipe later on.
If you’re using gammon slices, you might want to fry these now as well and remove them once they are ready. Keep the bacon in the pan.

Add some sauerkraut. I usually start by adding about 100 to 200 gr. This I tear slightly apart with a wooden fork inside the pan. This ensures it mixes with the onion as well as gets properly glazed.

If you don’t fancy your sauerkraut very sour, you can wash it under the tap first. But do make sure all the surplus water is drained out of it, before you start adding it to your pan.

Start adding the “palettes”, or ham hogs, as well as juniper berries, bay leave if you like, cloves. Then add another helping of the sauerkraut, mix and glaze, and continue doing this till all your sauerkraut is in your pan. If the last few helpings do not glaze too well, don’t worry for …

You now add the right amount of wine and according to the restaurant’s recipe: an equal amount of water. Personally, I’d add enough wine so most of the sauerkraut, onion, and meat mix is covered. About half or 2 thirds covered should even be enough. You can add water during the cooking when necessary.

Turn up the fire to get rid of the alcohol in the wine. Once it boils, cover and simmer. The dish needs to cook slowly for an hour. Check regularly, stir through, adding water if necessary. Make sure the mixture does not burn.

After an hour, turn down the fire and add all fried sausages as well as the gammon if you used this. Also add the hotdog sausages or Frankfurters or knaks on top – as these need to be warmed through, or slightly steamed.

Warm the dish through on a low fire for about fifteen minutes. If you have too much wine or water left, carefully drain this off just before serving.

Put your mountain of sauerkraut on a serving dish, arrange the meat on top and serve with about two boiled potatoes per person.

Why not come up with your own variety of Choucroute garnie?

2 thoughts on “La Taverne du Passage’s recipe for Choucroute garnie á l’Alsacienne

    • Hmmmm,
      not that sure about the gin, though I came across a modern take with shoarma I still need to try. Other versions I like are Hawaii with gammon, sauerkraut and pineaple mix, layer of mashed potatoes topped with cheese and popped into an oven. Or “Russian” (if you’re from Russia, you’ll laugh your head off): a layer of fried gammon or ham, onion, mushrooms; a layer of sauerkraut, layer of mashed potatoes.

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