being raised and deeply cultured in germany (with parents whose origins are in eastern prussia), my first solid food when i was four months old contained potato mash and choucroute / sauerkraut plus carp (for christmas) … probably all mashed together. thus i might be biased, but i do admit that i love choucroute!
together with potato mash it really is a comfort food for a cold day:
potato and choucroute mash with fried shallots
i was so excited about it that i could not hold the camera still and the photo got out of focus!
it is easy to make too: peel and quarter five medium sized potatoes (medium meaning that they will just about fit in your hand) and boil them in salted water with a laurel-leaf until cooked – usually takes about 15-20 minutes. once they are done drain the spuds, return them to the pot and mash them with a good two tablespoonfuls of butter (for a vegan option you can use a good quality vegan margarine), adding some fleur de sel, a teaspoon of mustard and freshly ground pepper to season. don’t overmash as you still want it to have texture.
optional you can stir in a tablespoon or two of creme fraiche to give it more creaminess (for a vegan option just skip this step! it works without the creme fraiche just as well).
drain about 200g of choucroute /sauerkraut (i use a variety that had added white wine…), which is about half a can – they usually come in cans or in kilner jars – and mix in with the mash. return the pot on the stove and gently reheat at a low temperature, stirring occasionally in order to prevent the mash from sticking to the base of the pot.
while the mash is reheating, chop up a shallot into strips and gently fry in some butter or oil with a pinch of fleur de sel until golden in colour. heap the mash on a plate (the recipe should serve two with a moderate appetite), sprinkle the fried onion on top and decorate with a couple of pinches of chilli flakes. et voila, there you have a nutritious soul-lifter on your plate. creamy and sourish! no low-carb here, but every once in a while one is allowed to go wild, plus the choucroute is good for your digestion!
it is an autumnal dish as the colour of the onions mirrors the colour of the falling leaves – call me nostalgic: ‘the falling leaves drift by the window, the autumn leaves all red and gold’ … listen to some edith piaf for full-on nostalgia: