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Plenty of nostalgia in a dish

Nothing brings me back to my German upbringing more than the smell of sauerkraut simmering on the stove, and some sort of smoked meat nearby. On Saturday mornings my dad would head to the market to get all things German for our weekly breakfast:  fresh crusty buns, foot-long wieners, a container of ‘fleischsalat’ and a special treat of beef tartar for my mom.

Now and then my brothers and I re-create the German breakfast, and most recently I’ve introduced it to Andrew Coppolino (www.waterlooregioneats.com). Jody and I have been filming videos for his website demonstrating various cooking techniques, from poaching eggs to de-boning a chicken to making polenta.

And each time we get together for filming I’ve brought along an element of the Saturday morning German breakfast for Andrew to try, as the flavours are also a large part of this region as well.

So this week we bring you a traditional dish with roots not only in Germany, but also in France. The beautiful thing is that all of the best of those ingredients are found at our local markets. This is a simmering dish, one that perhaps many have had before. Coming across this recipe was a reminder of how much I love it.

Choucroute Garnie

  • 1 onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 leeks, sliced thin
  • 1 tbsp each canola oil and butter
  • 1 lb sauerkraut, well rinsed and drained
  • Handful of chopped herbs, such as thyme and parsley (optional)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tbsp juniper berries
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 2 smoked pork chops
  • 2 smoked sausages
  • 2 German wieners
  • Salt and pepper to taste

In a large, deep skillet with a lid, heat oil and butter and begin to sweat onion and leek (soft, but not browned), about 5 minutes;

Add sauerkraut, herbs, bay leaves, juniper berries and white wine; stir; add smoked pork chops and sausages;

Add just enough water to cover;

Cover with lid and let simmer 45 minutes, stirring occasionally;

Uncover, add wieners and let simmer about 10 minutes, until liquid is reduced and wieners are hot through;
Season with salt and pepper.

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