Saturday, November 13, 2010

Bratwurst with Cabbage and Granny Smith Apple

I'm a little obsessed with sausage right now. We sell our Sugar & Salt products out of the case at The Swinery and they make fantastic sausages (at first I thought the price was too high for our budget, but now that I've tried them it's hard to go back to the cheaper ones). They make the best bratwurst I've ever had. And they make Bacon Brats. Since the grill is covered for the season, I've been trying to come up with an excuse, I mean a recipe, to use these brats. There's one more complication - I don't love sauerkraut. I don't hate it, but if I bought some and didn't use the whole container it would sit in my fridge until it went bad. Maybe it can't go bad, but still, my fridge is full of pickles, I can't have sauerkraut taking up space. So here's a recipe that uses brats, fresh cabbage, and an apple to make it more interesting. We had it with buttered egg noodles on the side, but it would be great with boiled potatoes too. And some good mustard, if you like that sort of thing.

Brats with Cabbage and Apple
serves 4

1 pound (usually 4) bratwurst, substitute pretty much any other German sausage
1 onion, sliced thin
1/2 a cabbage (about 4 cups), use green or purple or savoy or your favorite
2 T butter
2 t caraway seeds (optional)
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1 t mustard
1 Granny Smith Apple, grated
  • In a large, high-sided frying pan brown the brats on both sides over medium heat. You may need to add a little oil depending on the fat content of the sausages. Set aside - no need to cook them through because they're going back in later.
  • Melt the butter in the same pan and add the onion. Saute until it's very soft.
  • Shred the cabbage as thin as you can and add it to the pan with the caraway. Saute for about 10 minutes - until the cabbage has softened.
  • Turn the heat to medium-low and add the brats back to the pan with the vinegar, mustard and salt & pepper to taste. Cover and cook for 15 minutes. Check in once during that time and add a splash of water if the pan seems dry.
  • Add the apple and cook for 5 more minutes. If you like the liquid level in the pan, put the lid back on. If it seems too wet, leave the lid off.
  • Serve with egg noodles or potatoes, dollops of sour cream and mustard, and maybe a sprinkle of parsley.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Warm Spinach and Brussel Sprout Salad

This didn't start out as a blog post dinner, it started off as a way to use up a huge stalk of brussel sprouts I impulse-bought when I was at a pumpkin farm. My favorite way to eat brussel sprouts is shredded up in this salad, but here's the part I hadn't thought of: I have an on-again-off-again relationship with vegetables anyway, I certainly wasn't going to be in the mood for a cold salad when it's been so dreary here lately. So the brussel sprouts were just sitting there taking up half my fridge. Then I thought to adjust that great salad recipe into something better suited for a seriously rainy day and now I'm hooked on warm salad. If you want to leave out the bacon and/or bacon fat, just substitute warmed olive oil. If you make extra dressing it will keep for at least a week, just reheat in the microwave before using.

Warm Spinach and Brussel Sprout Salad
serves 2 as a dinner

2 - 3 cloves garlic
4 slices of bacon
1 t mustard
3 T red wine vinegar
olive oil (maybe)
S & P to taste

1/2 a bunch of spinach (about  6 cups), roughly chopped
12 - 15 brussel sprouts
  • Shred the brussel sprouts just like they are mini heads of cabbage (cut off the ends, cut them in half from top to bottom, then cut in super thin strips).
  • Cut the bacon into bite-sized pieces and cook in a pan until crispy. 
  • Remove the bacon, but leave the fat in the pan. You need 3 tablespoons of fat and it depends on the bacon you use if you'll have that. If it seems like you don't have enough, add some olive oil. If it seems like you have too much, take some out of the pan (but save it in case you want to adjust the flavor later).
  • Add the other dressing ingredients (not too much salt because most bacon is salty) to the pan on very low. Whisk well for a minute or two to heat the dressing and combine all the flavors.
  • Toss the spinach, brussels, bacon, and dressing together and you're done (unless you want to add toasted walnuts, which I'm going to try next time).

Monday, November 1, 2010

Middle Eastern Meatball Soup

This soup inspired me to add (finally!) something new to the Basics page because it was yet another easy and delicious dinner and it also uses every one of my "Soup Tricks." It's a little on the complicated side because you have to make the meatballs and do some pureeing, so I'll call it a weekend or entertaining soup - great for a day when you have a little more time, but of course you still don't want to slave at the stove. I love the combination of lamb and mint and lemon and tomatoes. Right after I took this photo, I dropped in a dollop of plain yogurt and, oh my goodness, that tangy, creamy addition pushed it up to the level of New Favorite. Serve with warm pita or flatbread, a little hummus as an appetizer maybe, and you have a whole evening set.

Middle Eastern Meatball Soup
Serves 4 to 6

For the meatballs:
1 pound ground lamb (it's a little pricey, but the rest of the soup is pretty inexpensive)
1/4 cup fine bread crumbs or Panko
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 t cumin
pinch of red pepper flakes
1 T parsley, minced
1 t fresh mint, minced
1/2 t oregano (I used dried, but fresh would have been great)
1 t salt
1/2 t pepper
  • Put all meatball ingredients together in a bowl and mix gently. Try not to mix anymore than is needed.
  • Roll the mixture into small, bite-sized balls and set aside.
 For the soup:
4 T butter
1 onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, chopped
2 T paprika, hot and smoked if you can find it
2 T cumin
pinch of red pepper flakes
pinch of cinnamon
1 28oz can whole tomatoes
2 15oz cans of garbanzo beans/chick peas
4 to 5 cups stock
juice of 1 lemon
1 t fresh mint, minced
1/2 cup parsley, chopped
3 cups spinach, chopped
  • Saute the onion in the butter in the bottom of a soup pot. When it starts to brown, add the garlic and saute until it just starts to brown.
  • Add the paprika, cumin, cinnamon, and red pepper flakes and saute for about a minute to get them a little toasty.
  • Have the tomatoes open in case the spices start to stick too much - you can quickly dump them in and prevent anything from burning.
  • Simmer for about 20 minutes to cook off the extra liquid in the tomatoes. Stir occasionally, breaking up the whole tomatoes.
  • Puree this in a blender or food processor or with a hand blender. You can make it as smooth or chunky as you want. I like it pretty smooth.
  • Put the puree back in the soup pot and bring it back to a simmer. Drop in the meatballs (do your best to not have them piled on top of each other) and simmer for about 5 minutes.
  • Add the stock and garbanzo beans and simmer for about 30 minutes to finish cooking the meatballs and get all the flavors happy together.
  • About 5 minutes before serving, add the lemon, mint, parsley, and spinach. Once the spinach is wilted, you're ready to go.
Related Posts with Thumbnails