La Jacquerie Neuchâteloise: Sauerkraut and Snails (or Chicken?)

After seeing the huge pot of steaming choucroute (sauerkraut) at Fête des Vendanges, it reminded me that I wanted to make a chicken and sauerkraut recipe from The Swiss Cookbook. However, I didn’t realize until I read the description more closely that the recipe was inspired by another local dish, Jacquerie Neuchâteloise.

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According to my cookbook, Jacquerie Neuchâteloise is a “tasty chicken and sauerkraut stew” that’s “a must at Neuchâtel’s Fête des Vendanges.” After talking with a few lifelong residents of Neuchâtel, it seems this dish may not be as common as my book suggests. Also, I found several sources indicating this dish more typically pairs sauerkraut with escargot instead of chicken. The little snails are nestled in a bed of sauerkraut and dairy products, like butter and cream.

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While I have yet to try escargot—something I can easily purchase at our local grocery stores—I decided to take on a dairy-free version of Betty Bossi’s reinvented Jacquerie Neuchâteloise: Stuffed chicken breasts wrapped in bacon. I used store-bought sauerkraut flavored with a few juniper berries. Even though I generally associate sauerkraut with German-speaking Switzerland, it apparently has a long history in French-speaking Switzerland as well.

This modernized recipe may not be an entirely accurate interpretation of Jacquerie Neuchâteloise, and my 2-year old wasn’t thrilled by it, but I’ll definitely try making it again. I think it would be a good make-ahead dish for when we have dinner guests.


Bacon-Wrapped Chicken Stuffed with Sauerkraut

Adapted from Betty Bossi’s “The Swiss Cookbook” (Zurich, 2010).

(dairy/egg/nut-free)

Please note: This recipe calls for cooked sauerkraut. I planned to make it one night for dinner, but realized too late that my “choucroute crue” needed to be cooked in advance for about 60 minutes. Therefore, please remember to budget extra time for this dish if you have the raw stuff.

150 grams cooked sauerkraut, drained and pressed
1 boiled potato, peeled and diced
1 shallot, finely chopped
1/4 teaspoon salt
A pinch of pepper
4 chicken breasts
12 slices of bacon (3 for each chicken breast), uncooked
about 1 tablespoon dairy-free margarine

1. Mix together the first five ingredients in a large bowl.

2. Make a deep slice along the long side of the chicken breast, without cutting all the way through. Open up the breast and pound to flatten with a kitchen mallet or rolling pin. Spread the filling on one half and close it up. Wrap 3 pieces of bacon around each stuffed chicken breast.

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3. Melt the dairy-free margarine in a large pan and fry the chicken breasts over medium-high heat for about 2-3 minutes on each side until browned. Next, place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

4. Bake for about 20 minutes at 200°C/400°F.

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Have you ever heard of or tried “La Jacquerie Neuchâteloise?” I’m curious to learn more about it. Bon week-end, everyone!

Updated: September 28, 2014

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