Way back in the 1960’s, when people still thought science was a pretty good idea, the Russelmann family of New York, enjoying a quiet Sunday afternoon reading the Schenectady Gazette, happened upon a recipe for Choucroute Garnie. Choucroute Garnie means sauerkraut topped with sausages and layered with lots of salty meats. However in this version a layer of lean bacon is used to line a 9” x 9” casserole dish. Sauerkraut tops the bacon and is in turn topped with pancetta and sausages. Then, a couple of bottles of fine German Pils gets poured over the top for good measure and slow roasted to perfection. Sounds good.
Anita, from Texas, sent us this recipe and a photograph of her Choucroute Garnie, and we immediately gave this recipe a try. We did however get tired of mispronouncing Choucroute Garnie so we renamed the recipe, Anita’s German Sausage with Sauerkraut in Beer.
Anita’s Photo of her Choucroute Garnie
This recipe is pure comfort food. It takes very little prep time but does require a smattering of your attention from time to time. It does take hours in the oven to cook but do not be dissuaded, this recipe is one of the best one-pot meals we’ve ever eaten and is well worth the effort. Most of the cooking time you’re free to pursue other activities.
This recipe is a modified version of the original published in the Schenectady Gazette. That recipe had you lining the bottom of your casserole dish with pork rinds rather than lean bacon, and then layering with sauerkraut, salt pork, smoked pork loin, knockwurst and pork sausage links. Yikes that’s a lot of meat. Thankfully, Anita’s version is much simpler.
Anita tells us she often uses bratwurst or a hearty German or Polish sausage ring, as they’re really good and a lot easier to find at any grocery. She made her version with Wenzel’s German sausage rings. If you’re ever in Hamilton, Texas be sure to check out Wenzel’s. Pork butt Fridays are the best.
Anita’s German Sausage with Sauerkraut in Beer
Prep Time: About 20:00 minutes
Cooking Time: About 4:00 hours
Tools you’ll need:
A 9” x 9” Casserole Dish
2.5 lb. Sauerkraut (Anita says the jar variety is best)
3-4 Garlic cloves, Diced
Pancetta (note this is our addition to the recipe and is optional)
4 Brats or German Sausages or Polish sausage rings (enough for 4)
2-3 cans or bottles of beer – your choice
Salt and Pepper to Taste
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
Line the bottom and sides of a 9 x 9 casserole dish with bacon.
Drain the sauerkraut. Using half, arrange the kraut in a layer in the bottom of your casserole dish.
Sprinkle with half the chopped garlic and add pepper to taste.
Add second layer sauerkraut, top with remainder of chopped garlic and season with pepper to taste.
Pour two bottles of beer over the casserole and cook in your oven for two-hours.
Remove and add the pancetta, returning the casserole to the oven and baking for an additional hour at 275 degrees.
Remove and add your sausage, returning the casserole to the oven for an additional hour.
Serve with roasted rosemary potatoes, hearty homemade rye, some good spicy mustard and beer.
Note: Be prepared to add additional beer if it begins to dry out too much. This is a great dish to make, as the weather turns cooler. Enjoy!