In Germany's Pfalz region, cooks braise sauerkraut with onions, apples, seasonings, a touch of sugar and a little of the region's Riesling wine, creating an addictive accompaniment for juicy weisswurst or bratwurst.
The vibrant coconut milk-based sauce Jeff Smith serves with this simple roasted lamb is a great example of his homespun Mediterranean-Asian cuisine. Substituting brown sugar for white when glazing vegetables is a trick Smith discovered during a cooking experiment: "It adds a deeper kind of sweet note."
Pairing: 2008 Bandit Cabernet Sauvignon California
Richard Blais crashed in the final moments of Top Chef Season 4 when his pressure-cooked pork belly did not turn out to be as delicious, or nearly as tender, as he had hoped: He didn't leave the meat in long enough. Gail Simmons chooses to stick with a more classic cooking method, marinating the pork overnight and braising it in a savory soy-and-mirin broth.
This recipe for vaca frita ("fried cow") is a close cousin of Cuba's famous ropa vieja, stewed shredded beef in tomato sauce. The beef for vaca frita, however, is marinated in lime, garlic and salt, then seared until crispy. The key to achieving the perfect texture is to cook the beef in small batches, so it sautés rather than steams.