Friday, November 14, 2008

Hot German Potato Salad, Brats and Sauerkraut! YUM!

My family will attest to the fact that I LOVE hot dogs. They tend to give me a bad time about this fetish of mine. "EEWWW! How can you eat those things? Do you know what are in those?" Yep, and don't care. Now, I have to say that I am not indiscrimanet in the ones I eat. My favorite are Hebrew National, and I find the Ballpark Black Angus quite delightful. And I really felt vindicated when Martha Stewart dedicated an entire show to the lowly hotdog. So there!

So, for someone with such a deep fondness for the dog (you do realize that dog spelled backwards is "god"....think about it), it is only natural that I should feel
the same about the brat. Johnsonville are my favorite. And if you're going to go brat might as well do a theme. So last night we did the full on German dinner. If I do say so myself, it was mighty tasty. One thing to keep in mind, my hubby doesn't much care for sauerkraut, but he loved the way I fixed it last night for the brats.

We'll tackle the brats and kraut first. I know that many people like to grill the brats, but I find that they dry out and are in danger of getting too charred. I follow the directions on the package. And I will get into that after the ingredients.

Brats and Sauerkraut

1 package Johnsonville brats...the package contains 5 brats
16 oz. bottle sauerkraut...I like Steinfelds

2 TBS. brown sugar
1/2 - 1 tsp. caraway seeds
hot dog buns and condiments

Cook the brats according to package directions. I cook them in the skillet for this recipe. Heat 1/2 cup water on medium in a skillet. Add the brats and cover. Turn once. Cook for 10 minutes, remove cover, and cook about another 10 minutes turning often to brown. Remove from skillet to plate. See how pretty they turn out.

I know! OK, but you're not done. Dump the kraut into the skillet, using the juice to somewhat deglaze the pan. After the skillet is fairly deglazed and a bit reduced add the brown sugar and caraway seeds. Heat for about 5 minutes. Return the brats to the pan and keep it all warm until ready to serve. When ready place brat in bun, add stone ground mustard, top with kraut. You can also add sweet relish and grated cheese, or anything else that will make your heart sing.

Now for the potato salad. These two dishes really compliment each other well.

Hot German Potato Salad

5 medium red potatoes
6-8 slices bacon
1/2 medium onion chopped
2 TBS. flour
2 TBS. white sugar
2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. celery seed
1/8 tsp. fresh ground pepper
3/4 cup water
1/3 cup apple cider vinegar

In a pot of boiling salted water add the potatoes and cook about 30 minutes until fork tender. I don't peel the potatoes. It adds a nice level of texture to the salad. And I find the red potatoes hold up better than russets. When done drain and let cool and slice. They will fall apart a bit.

Fry the bacon. Remove to paper towel to drain. Cook the onion in the bacon drippings until caramelized. If your bacon is fairly lean you may need to add more fat. I always have a cup of drippings in the fridge, but you could also use some butter. Mix together the flour, sugar, celery seeds, salt and pepper. When the onion is done and the fat is bubbly, whisk in the flour and cook for a couple of minutes. Whisk in the water and cider. When thickened, carefully stir in the potatoes and crumbled bacon coating everything. Definitely serve warm. This is great the next day. You can microwave it to heat up. This really was a nice meal on a cool fall evening. And it is fairly easy to do, although clean up is a bit much. But my hubby says it's the price he pays for good food. We have a great deal where I cook and he cleans up. What could be better?! Enjoy!

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