It takes balls for an American to challenge a Frenchman over how to make a traditional French dish. However, choucroute is not just the exemplary dish of Alsace, it is also served in Germany, in slightly different form. My recipe comes from my aunt Musch and calls for apples and apple cider, which lends a slightly sweet tinge to what is normally sour–sauerkraut cooked in Riesling with sausages.
Our group of regulars at the Tuesday France Grande Bretagne conversation group were the Guinea pigs, er, judges. The event was held at Nicole’s apartment on the port–a rambling, 19th century layout that seems to promise secret chambers or perhaps the cask of amontillado. No amontillado was served, but there was champagne, red and white wine and beer.
I’ll admit defeat right off the bat on presentation. Andre’s masterpiece was composed using the 4 types of traditional meat (ham hocks and 3 kinds of sausages).
Nevertheless, both versions were polished off with gusto by the 10 guests, with my version admired if not loved.
And we had a wonderful time, with a cheese course and a homemade creme caramel, in case anyone was still hungry.