Winter must be on the way, despite the current 20ºC , we ate our 1st choucroute of the season this lunchtime. All ingredients were purchased in my favorite shop in town and namely „La Ferme“.
What is choucroute exactly?
Choucroute (from the German Sauerkraut or “sour cabbage”, altered to “cabbage” and “crust”) is a dish made from finely chopped cabbage that is lacto-fermented in a brine and served with a side dish (meat, fish).
The fermented cabbage is usually cooked in white wine but can also be cooked in cider, beer or champagne. Other, more recent variants replace the meat and cold cuts with an assortment of fish, called “sauerkraut of the sea”, or soy sausages “vegetarian sauerkraut”.
It is a dish that is mainly eaten in Europe with local variations. In France, it is emblematic of Alsatian cuisine.
This way of preparing cabbage is said to have originated in China and was spread by the Huns during their conquests (Bavaria, Austria and Alsace). At that time, lacto-fermentation was one of the methods used to preserve vegetables such as turnips.
In France, the first references to the cooking of lacto-fermented cabbage date from the 15th century. In the 17th century it was called compost cabbage, and in the following century it became widespread in Alsace. In the 19th century, sauerkraut became the name for a dish of cooked cabbage and its accompaniment.