CHOUCROUTE GARNIE (with sauerkraut and sausages, for six)
a 3 pound, boneless Boston butt pork roast
For the braised sauerkraut:
2 pounds sauerkraut (buy kraut – preferably German –packaged in a plastic bag or glass bottle in the meat or dairy aisle, not canned kraut which can taste tinny)
3 cups thinly sliced onions
1 cup beer (preferably German)
3 cups chicken broth
½ teaspoon each caraway seeds and thyme
2 bay leaves
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
For the choucroute garnie:
1-1/2 pounds assorted smoked and precooked fresh sausages (frankfurters, bauernwurst, bratwurst, weisswurst, mettwurst, knockwurst, or smoked kielbasa cut into thick slices)
1 cup (more if needed) beer (preferably German)
1. Drain the sauerkraut from its packaging and soak it in a large bowl of cold water for 20 minutes. Drain and squeeze by handfuls to remove moisture.
2. In a heavy, ovenproof casserole simmer the onions in the beer and stock for 8 to 10 minutes, or until tender. Add the sauerkraut, caraway, thyme, bay leaves, a little salt and several grinds of pepper. Bring to a boil on top of the stove, reduce heat, cover and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the sauerkraut is tender. The liquid should have almost completely evaporated. If not, uncover the pan and boil rapidly until it has reduced to nearly nothing. Correct seasoning.
3. Preheat the oven to 400*.
4. While the kraut is simmering, prick the sausages with a fork in several places and brown lightly in a skillet. Set aside on a plate, dry the pork roast with paper towels, and brown it on all sides in the sausage fat remaining in the skillet (about 10 minutes). When the sauerkraut is ready, bury the browned pork loin in the sauerkraut in the casserole, season with salt and pepper and add beer. Cover, bring to a simmer on top of the stove, then place it in the lower third of the preheated oven and immediately turn heat down to 325*. After 1 hour, add the sausages to the casserole, buried in the sauerkraut, and add more beer if the casserole is dry. Cover, return to the oven and cook for another hour. Serve from the casserole or transfer to a platter.
adapted from Julia Child, The Way to Cook