Fauxcroute is our version of choucroute. We first had choucroute when in Alsace last January, and it’s probably not my most favorite food. Choucroute is french for sauerkraut (chou means cabbage, choufleur is cauliflower and S’s friend Marc’s favorite French word, and chou is also a term of endearment for a loved one, kind of like our honey– so many fun chou word facts!). The idea is a big plate of its namesake piled high with lots of sausages and fatty meats and boiled potatoes. It has a certain charme as a regional dish, but we didn’t exactly run back to the States to recreate it.
But that’s what kind of happened. Back when S and I met, I started making a red cabbage and sausage dish that my dad made growing up. Basically, it was a big pan of canned red cabbage with a Hillshire Farms sausage nestled in the middle. It was a good day when the sausage was cheese filled. My first change was to use fresh cabbage, and eventually we subbed more high brow sausages. After our trip to Alsace, we adapted it further. S had the brilliant idea – use green cabbage, add bacon and white wine.
Unlike choucroute, we cooked the cabbage less and less, until our most recent version had the crispness of a coleslaw rather than the sogginess of sauerkraut. Although our fauxcroute is a pretty far cry from both its sources, it brings up fond memories whenever we make it.
6 links sausage (we usually use Cibola Farms French tarragon)
1/2 package bacon (the thicker cut, the better)
1 onion; cut in half, and sliced thinly
3 cloves garlic; sliced thinly
1 c white wine (we use whatever’s open, but an Alsace varietal, gewurtz or riesling, would be best)
1 small green cabbage; cut in half, cored, and then very thinly sliced (as thin as possible)
2 small apples; in small chunks
Ground black pepper (no salt, though!)
Cook the bacon in a very big skillet (14″) until cooked but not crisp. Remove bacon and drain on a paper towel lined plate, but keep most of the bacon fat in the pan. Meanwhile, cook the sausage in another pan. To keep the sausage from sticking, slowly add a little bit of water to the pan. Cook until browned and cooked through, then remove to a plate. Deglaze the pan with half of the white wine, and scrape up the sausage bits. When everything’s scraped up, turn off heat and set aside.
In the bacon skillet, cook onions and garlic on medium to low heat until the onions are lightly browned. Add cabbage and apples and saute until the fat and onions are evenly distributed. Nestle in the sausage links and bacon slices. Grind a healthy amount of pepper over top. Pour over the rest of the wine and the deglazing wine from the sausage pan, mix, and then cover. Reduce heat to low, and let simmer for maybe 10 minutes or so.