Pete Marczyk and Barbara Macfarlane do not leave their work behind when they leave Marczyk Fine Foods and head for their great old Denver house with the big, new kitchen. They often bring some of their market's choicest ingredients home with them, and cook up a feast.
"This is really peasant food, and damn it's good," says Barb of this week's choucroute recipe, a dish that former Marczyk employee (and now sous chef of Highland Tavern) David Bumgardner made popular during his stint at the market. "Recipes like this are going to get some play in this new economy," predicts Barb. "Bye-bye avocado foam, and hello stews, braised cuts, and big piles of sausages." No other dish. she insists, "shows off the love put into Marczyk Fine Foods' meats, sausages, grocery items and wines like David's two-pot adaptation of this definitive Alsatian classic."
The recipe recommends using sausages from Continental Sausage, a local company that operates Continental Deli at 250 Steele Street and Black Forest Deli at 9535 West 58th Avenue, in Arvada. But Bumgardner says that so long as you use plenty of pork products and make the dish with "plenty of love," the rest is entirely up to you. "The great thing about choucroute, is that you can make it your own without worrying about it," says Bumgardner. "Don't like kielbasa? Prefer Strasbourg sausages to brats? Have red potatoes in your pantry? Only need half the recipe? No problem! Be creative."
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1 28-ounce jar Gundelshein Barrel sauerkraut 2 13.58-ounce cans Zuccato Crauti al Naturale 6-8 Frenched pork rib chops 6-8 French sausages 2 ham steaks or petit hams, sliced into chunks 1 pound Continental veal bratwurst or stadium brats 1 pound Continental kielbasa 1 pound Continental wieners or frankfurters 1 pound Continental Avalanche beer brats ½ pound applewood smoked bacon 2 pounds fingerling potatoes, halved lengthwise 4-6 Apples, such as Braeburns, cored and sliced 1 medium yellow onion, coarsely chopped Fresh Italian parsley, finely chopped Bouquet Garni of 1 smashed head of garlic, 3 whole cloves, 6 juniper berries and 6 coriander seeds, wrapped in cheesecloth Salt and freshly ground black pepper 1 bottle Riesling
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 2. Clean and chop fruit and vegetables. Season pork chops with salt and pepper. Coarsely chop bacon. 3. Over medium heat, render bacon in a Dutch oven, or in a large roaster with a lid. Just before it gets crisp, pull the bacon and reserve on paper towels. 4. Sear pork chops and French sausages in bacon fat until they're lightly browned. Remove chops and sausages and reserve with bacon. 5. Add onions and apples to pan, and cook until soft, 10-15 minutes, adding a bit more bacon fat if needed. 6. Add pork chops, sauerkraut, bouquet garni, ham, bacon, sausages and half the bottle of wine to the Dutch oven. Season with salt and pepper, cover, and cook until meats are tender, about one hour. 7. While you're waiting, drink what's left of the Riesling. 8. About 35 minutes before serving, place potatoes in a pot of salted water over medium-high heat and cook until tender, 20-25 minutes. Drain and keep warm. 9. To serve, spoon sauerkraut onto a large platter, discarding bouquet garni. Slice kielbasa and large sausages, if desired, and arrange on platter with pork chops, potatoes, and small sausages. 10. Garnish with fresh parsley.