In a traditional Alsatian choucroute, sundry pork products, such as pork belly, ham, bacon and various kinds of sausages, are heaped on a pile of sauerkraut braised with hock meat. This version substitutes fresh Brussels sprouts for the kraut (no hock meat) and marries them with sausages and stout-braised pork shoulder, cooked low and slow according to a method gleaned from cookbook author Shirley Corriher. A food processor fitted with the slicing blade makes short work of slicing the carrots and Brussels sprouts.
You'll have some leftovers: Reheat the choucroute in broth and add the sausage and pork, cut up.
Make Ahead: The dish can be prepared (including cooking the Brussels sprouts) 2 days in advance, up to the point where the sausage would be added. Refrigerate the pork shoulder and cooking liquid in its casserole. To finish the dish, bring the liquid to a boil over medium-high heat, place the sausages around the pork and cook covered for 1 hour at 200 degrees, turning the sausages over halfway through. Reheat the Brussels sprouts in a 350-degree oven for 20 minutes or in a microwave until hot, about 6 minutes.
Servings: 8 - 10
- For the pork
- 3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon ground cumin
- 1 tablespoon ground coriander
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- One 4-pound pork shoulder, boned, rolled and tied
- 1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
- 12 ounces stout beer, such as Flying Dog Imperial Porter
- 3 large bay leaves
- 1 small bunch thyme, tied
- 1 tablespoon dried juniper berries
- Four 4-ounce mild sausages (uncooked), such as bratwurst or Italian
- Four 4-ounce spicy sausages (uncooked), such as chorizo, andouille or merguez
- For the choucroute
- 6 strips (9 ounces total) thick-sliced good-quality smoked bacon, preferably Black Forest
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 pounds Brussels sprouts, trimmed, rinsed and cut into thin slices
- 6 medium carrots (12 ounces total), trimmed, peeled and cut into thin coins
- 8 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
- 1/2 cup pork cooking liquid
- Freshly squeezed juice of 1 lime (1 tablespoon)
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
For the pork: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Spread a large sheet of aluminum foil on the counter.
Pile the brown sugar, cumin, coriander, chili powder, pepper and salt in the center of the foil; mix, then use the mixture to coat the roast on all sides, pressing it onto the roast to ensure that none remains on the foil. Transfer the roast to a Dutch oven or lidded casserole. Pour the Worcestershire sauce around the roast, along with the stout. Place the bay leaves, dried juniper berries and thyme bunch around the roast. Press a large piece of foil directly onto the roast (molding it to the pork), with the excess foil draped over the side of the pot. Cover with the lid, and crimp the draped foil around the edge of the lid to create a seal.
Place the roast in the oven; immediately reduce the temperature to 200 degrees. Slow-roast for 4 hours.
Uncover the casserole and transfer the roast to a bowl. Strain the cooking liquid into a fat-separator cup. Reserve a half-cup of the cooking liquid, and return the roast and remaining defatted cooking liquid to the casserole. (Discard the strained solids.) Pierce the skins of the sausages on two sides at 1-inch intervals and place them around the roast. Cover the pot and cook for 1 hour, turning the sausages over after 30 minutes so they are browned on the second side.
While the sausages are cooking, prepare the choucroute: Line a plate with several layers of paper towels.
Fry the bacon in a large saute pan over medium-high heat until golden brown on both sides. Remove from the heat and transfer the bacon to a paper towel-lined plate. Blot the bacon on both sides, then cut the strips crosswise into 1-inch pieces.
Remove all but 2 tablespoons of the bacon drippings from the pan, and add the oil. Return the pan to medium-high heat and heat until the oil shimmers. Add the Brussels sprouts, carrots, and bacon to the pan, then scatter the garlic on top. Do not stir; let the vegetables cook for about 10 minutes undisturbed, until they begin to caramelize on the bottom, then add the reserved cooking liquid and lime juice and stir well.
Reduce the heat to medium; cover the pan and cook for about 5 minutes, until the vegetables are just cooked through. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
To assemble, mound the choucroute in the center of a platter. Cut the roast into thick slices and cut the sausages crosswise in half. Arrange the meats over the choucroute. Ladle some of the cooking liquid over the choucroute and meats, and serve the rest on the side.
From Real Entertaining columnist David Hagedorn.
Tested by David Hagedorn.
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