While chili, ribs, and seven-layer dips are football standbys, why not consider impressing your fellow fans with something different this year: Choucroute Garni. It might sound complicated, but don't let the fancy French name scare you away from trying something deliciously different on game day. Pronounced shoo-KROUT gahr-NEE, this dish is a combination of smoked pork, sausage, frankfurters, sauerkraut, and potatoes. Easy to prepare, the recipe can be made ahead of time, then either packed up for tailgating or put out in a crock pot to keep warm on a buffet table.
Choucroute translates into 'cabbage crust,' and this German-inspired dish was born along the country's border with France. Garni refers to the variety of garnishes that are served alongside the dish. Consisting of any combination of pickled cabbage and meat, the feast typically features a variety of sausages, including Frankfurt sausage which served as the predecessor to the modern day frankfurter. Boiled potatoes are the starch of choice, and the dish is seasoned with black pepper, cloves, and juniper berries, along with onions and white wine to sweeten the deal and brighten the flavors.
"Any combination of your favorite sausages from either your local butcher or your favorite supermarket will work perfectly in this dish," explains CIA Chef-Instructor Cynthia Keller. "I try to find a nice assortment that includes well-spiced knockwursts and bratwursts. If you'd like to lighten up the dish, you can also select a variety of sausages made with leaner meats like chicken."
The chefs of The Culinary Institute of America have enthusiastically embraced this dish for game day, and thanks to their recipe, you too can enjoy this 'stick-to-your-ribs' combination. Serve all the components of this dish on a big platter with slices of French bread, spicy mustard, and your favorite ice-cold beer—and let the game begin!
The following recipe has been adapted from The Culinary Institute of America's The Professional Chef, 9th Edition (Wiley, 2011) available at bookstores nationwide or online. The Professional Chef, iPad Edition, a revolutionary iPad app that PC Magazine calls "a new frontier for books," is also available at (Wiley, Inkling; $49.99).
Nutrition analysis per 6-ounce ounce: 270 calories, 12g protein, 5g carbohydrate, 21g fat, 1,050mg sodium, 50mg cholesterol, 2g fiber.