Mimi’s Choucroute

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Coleslaw, old world style.  Another family favorite and a must-have dish at any family get-together.

When I got married, I had to learn how to make my mother-in-law’s coleslaw, (and her potato salad, too).  Since I wasn’t a big fan of either, I had no idea what my husband was talking about when he said, it’s just cabbage-finely shredded, eggs and mayonnaise.  Hmmm.  I was clueless.  Then, finally, I ate Mimi’s Choucroute.  And eventually, I understood.  And was hooked, like most members of his extended family.

It is rich, and creamy, and oh so good.

Mimi’s Choucroute’s job is not to exert itself, not to overpower any other flavors on the plate.  But instead, to complement them, like fresh butter on fresh baked bread.  Mimi’s Choucroute served alongside Mimi’s Brisket is a memorable meal, indeed.

I’d tell you how to make Mimi’s Brisket, but, she’d probably disown me.  And then, I wouldn’t get anymore of Mimi’s Brisket, and that would be very bad for me!

The recipe is simple, as all good things are.

To serve 8-10, you will need:

8 cups cabbage, very finely shredded
6 eggs, medium hard boiled, peeled, and grated
1 1/2 cups Hellman’s mayonnaise

**If you use any mayo other than Hellman’s, you risk serious ostracism from the family. Very serious.

In a nutshell, that is the recipe. I don’t like my eggs hard boiled, but a little soft still. If you use your vegetable steamer, like Mimi does, and set the timer for 15 minutes, and then walk away for 20 minutes.

Also, I try to keep the ratio of eggs to cabbage 3:4, approximately three eggs to every four cups of cabbage. The photo below is about 16 cups of cabbage and 11 eggs.  That served 24, alongside Mimi’s Brisket at a recent family get-together.

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Salt and pepper are optional.  I’ve made it with salt and pepper added, and without.  If you are using good eggs, good mayonnaise, and a nice and fresh cabbage, the flavors will shine through.

Also, pull out the cheese grater to grate the eggs.  Use the standard grating hole.  The grater makes quick work of mincing the eggs.  It is much easier than trying to chop the eggs by hand.  Plus, the eggs get incorporated into the dressing, becoming virtually invisible, just adding richness to the cabbage.  However, the grated eggs will only “melt” into the dressing when they are still warm.  For best results:  Do not cook the eggs too far in advance before combining the ingredients.  Do not cook the eggs, and then refrigerate them.  If you need to cook the eggs in advance, have them come to room temperature before peeling either on the counter for a few hours, or be letting sit in warm water (not hot) to get to room temperature.

Best results are obtained if the cabbage and the mayonnaise are also at room temperature.  When I’m preparing this for a large family function, I usually open a new jar of mayonnaise, just to have it at room temp (safely).

This is one salad where it is worth taking the time to cut the cabbage yourself.  We’ve tried using the store-bought finely shredded cabbage, and it didn’t pass the family taste test.  So, I now travel with my kitchen knife every time we go to my mother-in-law’s so that I can prepare the cabbage myself.

Because it is worth it.

This salad is best served at room temperature just after mixing, and then quickly refrigerating the leftovers.

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3 thoughts on “Mimi’s Choucroute

  1. I don’t know. I’ve never had coleslaw like that. It always has vinegar and bell pepper and lots of other stuff in it. But if you say it is good, I have to believe it. When I have some extra eggs after Christmas, I will have to try it. We have cabbage in the garden.So it would be all local, except the mayonnaise. I could make the mayonhaise, but it wouldn’t be the same. I’ll save that for a later time.

    • It is not like any other coleslaw. It’s more like a potato salad, but without the potatoes. When we have a large get together, I usually make Mimi’s Choucroute, and JoAnn’s Coleslaw, too. Her’s is simply red wine vinegar, honey (not sugar-too sweet), and mayonnaise. When I serve them side-by-side, people usually eat equal amounts of both, and go back for seconds on both. They are so different that it’s not like you are eating two coleslaw’s. I think that Mimi’s Choucroute grew out of an abundance of eggs, and cabbage, from life on a farm.

      There is only one other coleslaw I’ve tried that I actually liked. It was a Buttermilk and Maytag Blue Cheese Coleslaw at a restaurant in Baton Rouge.

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