Choucroute Garnie (Turnip Sauerkraut)
1.5 kg (3.3 lb) turnips, peeled and shredded
15 g (1 tbsp) coarse salt
2 tsp juniper berries, ground
1/2 tsp black pepper, ground
Grate the turnip into a bowl and evenly mix in the salt, juniper and black pepper. Cover with parchment paper and cling wrap. Place another container on top to weigh it down. Ferment for two to three days at room temperature. Once it’s fermented, rinse and squeeze out any excess water. Yields 16 portions.
1 small smoked pork hock
225 g (1/2 lb) double-smoked bacon, cut into fairly big lardons
2 duck legs, confit (optional)
75 g (2.5 oz) lard or duck fat
1 onion, sliced
2 cloves of garlic, smashed
75 mL (1/3 cup) Riesling wine
Water or chicken stock
Red wine jus
At Biff’s Bistro we use a beautiful milk-fed piglet from a farm in Quebec called St-Canut Farms. We buy whole pigs, and butcher them into whole muscles, getting three different cuts to use for our dish. At home, you could use any cut of pork. A nice pork chop would be fantastic, or pork tenderloin. Soak the smoked pork hock in water for 30 minutes, then put in a pot with water, bring to a boil and simmer for five minutes. Taste the water and if it is very salty repeat the blanching process one more time.
In a hot rondeau pan, heat the lard and sweat the lardons to golden brown. Add the onion and garlic and continue to sweat until lightly browned. Add half of the sauerkraut, spreading it evenly over the bottom of the pan. Add the smoked pork hock and duck legs and cover with the remaining sauerkraut. Add the white wine and enough water or broth to cover by two-thirds. Season with a little pepper.
Cover with parchment and foil and cook in the oven for two to 2.5 hours at 300F, or until the meat and sauerkraut are tender; almost all the liquid should have evaporated. Taste and adjust seasoning. (The dish will store in an airtight container for up to a week, and it freezes well.)
Trim the bottoms off the Brussels sprouts and cut in half, seasoning with salt, pepper, thyme and a sprinkle of olive oil. Roast at 350F for 10-15 minutes, or until tender. Reserve, and just prior to plating, sauté in a pan with two tablespoons of butter.
There are a number of ways you can serve this dish. At Biff’s Bistro, we will pan-sear the pork and baste it in butter. We will then finish it in the oven at 400F, until it reaches 145F (medium-rare).
Heat your apple butter and put around the choucroute at the base of the plate. In a sauce pot heat the red wine jus. Slice the pork if you are using pork tenderloin and sauce with red wine jus.
Optional: If you have a great butcher shop you can buy boudin noir (blood sausage). Pan-sear the blood sausage and put in the oven to heat through for 10-12 minutes. When the pork and boudin comes out of the oven to rest, we heat the choucroute in a sauté pan with a quarter cup of chicken stock and a tablespoon of butter.
What to Drink: The savoury and sweet flavours of this “elevated” choucroute garnie are highlighted by the robust and slightly rustic West Avenue Heritage Dry Cider, crafted with 100% Ontario apples (westavenue.ca).