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Sautéed cabbage and pork chop over riceIn honor of our losing to the Germans but advancing to the Knockout Stage of the World Cup, I thought I’d share a little Louisiana-German culinary history today. When you think of Cabbage and sauerkraut, I bet the first culinary culture you think of is Germany. Definitely not Louisiana Cajun culture. BUT since Louisiana has been a great melting pot of cultures over the last 300 years, a German cultural identity managed to establish itself on the German Coast (Cote des Allemands) in the early to mid-1700s. The Germans brought their blue-collar work ethic, farming traditions, and of course their culinary heritage with them. In fact, the modern day andouille that we love to eat so much in our dishes here originated with the Germans on the German Coast. Many of the traditional German dishes have filtered into our menus at The Cabin Restuarant and the Coffee House in The Cajun Village, like cabbage, for instance.

Here’s an excerpt from Thomas Robert in The Cabin Cook Book on our “Cabbage Heritage” in Louisiana:

“Cabbage was widely grown in Europe and on the German Coast. Most of the cabbage was turned into sauerkraut. My mother had a 12 gallon earthenware crock in which she made the sauerkraut. 

Young cabbages were selected for harvest and the outer leaves and the hard core were discarded. The cabbage was sliced very thinly on a homemade slicing board. As the cabbage was sliced it was liberally sprinkled with salt and firmly packed down tightly into the crock. The crock was finally filled to within a few inches of the top, and a tight fitting lid made of cypress wood was pressed down on top of the cabbage and enough weights were placed on the lid to cause it to submerge below the level of saltwater which formed in the crock. If there was not enough liquid
to overflow the lid she added brine as necessary.

The crock was covered with a clean cloth and set aside in an unheated room. Within days the fermentation of the cabbage began and in cool weather it took about three weeks to complete. The sauerkraut was then ready to eat and as long as the lid was kept submerged it would last till the crock was empty. The sauerkraut could and was eaten as it was, but most of the time it was used in full dishes. We had a constant supply of salted pork (which did not need refrigeration) and this was the meat most often used and cooked with potatoes and the sauerkraut.”

At The Cabin and the Coffee, we like to serve our cabbage sautéed with a smothered pork chop over rice (picture above). You’ll have to come give it a try sometime, or try the traditional way of making sauerkraut yourself!