Sauerkraut or “choucroute” in French is a wonderful winter speciality (well actually I sometimes make it in the summer too but with fish and seafood instead of meats).
This is the (fairly classic) way I make it but there are endless variations and you should experiment using different kinds of sausages and pork cuts.
– place a knuckle of pork (smoked is best) in some stock with peppercorns, juniper berries, cloves and bay leaves. Simmer for 2 hours.
– in the bottom of a large earthenware pot or (better) a slow cooker, place a layer of sauerkraut. If using cooked cabbage, try to find it cooked in white wine (champagne is even better) but the uncooked cabbage is fine, you just need a longer cooking time.
– cover the sauerkraut cabbage with white wine and some of the stock from the knuckle, just enough liquid to cover.
– add a few crushed juniper berries and a red onion spiked with cloves.
– now place some small potatoes, the knuckle, some thick chunks of bacon, and different kinds of sausages (chunks of mortadelle, garlic sausage, even large herby sausages, but not the frankfurters, these go in later), .
– cover tightly and cook/simmer on a very low heat (100∞) for two hours. Check seasoning but usually there is no need to add extra salt because the cured knuckle stock should be very salty. Check from time to time to make sure there is enough liquid, you may need to add a little more stock or white wine.
– 20-25 minutes before the end, add the frankfurters. If the cabbage in the bottom still seems very moist you can leave the lid off for the final few minutes to steam off any excess liquid.
– serve with mustard