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ALSATIAN RECIPES: Bacon and Onion Tart . . . Choucroute Garni

Bacon and Onion Tart 6 slices thick-cut bacon 1 medium sweet onion Salt to taste 1 sheet purchased puff pastry (from 17.25-ounce package) 3/4 cup small-curd cottage cheese 1/3 cup sour cream 2 teaspoons olive oil Coarsely ground black pepper to t...

Bacon and Onion Tart
This Alsatian-inspired bacon and onion tart offers an intersting alternative to pizza. (McClatchy Tribune)

Bacon and Onion Tart

6 slices thick-cut bacon

1 medium sweet onion

Salt to taste

1 sheet purchased puff pastry (from 17.25-ounce package)

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¾ cup small-curd cottage cheese

1/3 cup sour cream

2 teaspoons olive oil

Coarsely ground black pepper to taste

Set a large skillet over medium heat; slice the bacon in half lengthwise and cut crosswise into ½-inch pieces. Add bacon to skillet and cook, stirring and tossing frequently, until bacon is beginning to color but is not yet crisp, 7 to 8 minutes. Lower heat if bacon browns too quickly. Remove bacon from skillet with slotted spoon and drain on paper towels; leaving grease in skillet; return skillet to heat.

While bacon is cooking, slice onion very thinly (a mandoline will yield the best results). After you remove bacon from skillet, add the sliced onion with a pinch of salt; reduce heat to medium-low and cook slowly, stirring occasionally, until onions are pale golden, about 25 minutes. Do not let onions burn; reduce heat to low toward end of cooking and stir frequently.

While onions are cooking, remove puff pastry sheet from freezer to thaw.

In a blender, combine cottage cheese, sour cream, olive oil, a pinch of salt and a generous grinding of pepper; blend until smooth.

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Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper and lightly flour a work surface and a rolling pin. Roll out puff pastry to make a rough 12-inch square and transfer to baking sheet (you can also roll the pastry out directly on the lined baking sheet).

Spread cottage cheese mixture onto pastry, leaving a 1-inch border. Distribute onions evenly over cheese then scatter bacon evenly on top. Bake at 400 degrees on middle rack of oven until crust is puffed and golden brown, about 20 minutes.

Yield: Serves 4 as a main dish.

Approximate nutritional analysis per serving: 838 calories, 58 grams fat, 60 grams carbohydrates, 19 grams protein, 20 milligrams cholesterol, 639 milligrams sodium, 2 grams dietary fiber.

Choucroute Garni

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 cloves garlic, chopped

1 each: thinly sliced onion, chopped carrot

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2 pounds refrigerated sauerkraut, rinsed

10 each: coriander seeds, black peppercorns

5 juniper berries

2 bay leaves

2 sprigs fresh thyme or 1 teaspoon dried

1 14-ounce can chicken broth

1 cup dry white wine or vermouth

1½ pounds each: ham hocks, Boston butt

½ pound slab bacon, sliced

3 smoked or unsmoked pork chops

1½ pounds assorted sausages, such as bratwurst, bockwurst, weisswurst, knockwurst or kielbasa

Heat the oven to 325 degrees. Heat the oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the garlic, onion and carrot; cook, stirring, until vegetables start to brown, about 10 minutes. Add the sauerkraut, coriander seeds, peppercorns, juniper berries, bay leaves, thyme, broth and wine; heat to a boil over medium-high heat. Lower heat to a simmer. Add the ham hocks, Boston butt and bacon; cover with the sauerkraut. Cover pan; cook 1 hour.

Add pork chops to the pan; cover with the sauerkraut. Cook 30 minutes. Stir contents; add the sausages, covering meats with sauerkraut. Bake until pork chops are fork-tender, about 20 minutes.

Remove meats to a cutting board; slice the larger cuts. Transfer sauerkraut to a large platter or shallow bowl. Arrange meats on top of sauerkraut.

Yield: Serves 12.

Approximate nutritional analysis per serving: 577 calories, 43 grams fat, 164 milligrams cholesterol, 2 grams carbohydrates, 44 grams protein, 390 milligrams sodium, no fiber.

Choucroute Garni
A variety of fresh pork products add panache, and plenty of flavor, to humble sauerkraut in the Alsatian dish, Choucroute Garni.(McClatchy Tribune)

Related Topics: FOODRECIPES
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