Saturday, November 13, 2010

Smoked Bratwurst and Sauerkraut with Rustic Potato Pancake

This is a simple Octoberfest recipe that is easy to make!
     There are many different regional styles of sauerkraut recipes.  Usually pork belly or salt pork is the flavoring grease and meat for kraut.  Sauerkraut does require an animal fat of some kind for it to cook properly.  Something to sweeten the kraut is added too, like carrots, apples, pears or sweet onions.  Juniper berries and roasting herbs are great flavors to add to sauerkraut.
     This time of year, German delis and butcher shops offer a variety of great Octoberfest sausages.  You can use any good German sausage for this dish.  I used lightly smoked bratwurst for this recipe.  There are many different ways to make potato pancakes too.  This potato pancake recipe is very rustic and it has a nice flavor.

     This entire recipe makes 1 serving!  
     Smoked Bratwurst and Sauerkraut:
     This is a basic, yet refined looking style of German sauerkraut.  There is no excess caramelization.    
     Soak 5 or 6 juniper berries in a little bit of water over night in a refrigerator.
     Rinse 2 cups of good quality standard sauerkraut twice under cold running water.
     Drain the water off with a fin mesh strainer.
     Set the rinsed sauerkraut aside.
     Dice 2 ounces salt pork.
     Heat a sauce pot over medium low/low heat.
     Add the salt pork.
     Gently saute the salt pork, till it becomes a golden color and some grease is rendered out of the fat.
     Add 1/3 cup of thin sliced carrots.
     Add the soaked softened juniper berries.
     Add the reserved rinsed sauerkraut.
     Add black pepper.
     Add 1 1/2 cups of water.
     Place two smoked bratwurst on top of the sauerkraut.  Each smoked bratwurst should weigh 6 to 8 ounces.
     Cover the pot with a lid.
     Reduce the temperature to low heat.
     Let the sausages steam over the sauerkraut.
     When the sausages become steaming hot, then the sauerkraut and sausage is ready.
     Keep the smoked bratwurst and sauerkraut warm over very low heat.
     Rustic Potato Pancake Recipe:
     This recipe makes 2 pancakes!  The recipe describes cooking 1 potato pancake.  Both pancakes can be cooked at the same time or one at a time, it just depends on the size of the pan or griddle.
     Par boil 1 peeled russet potato, till it is only halfway fully cooked and still firm.
     Cool the partially cooked potato under cold running water.
     Grate the potato into a mixing bowl.
     Add 1 whisked egg.
     Add sea salt and black pepper.
     Add 1 pinch of nutmeg.
     Add 1 small chopped green onion.
     Add 2 pinches of chopped parsley.
     Add 1 tablespoon of flour.
     Mix the ingredients together.
     Heat a non-stick saute pan or griddle over medium/medium low heat.
     Add 2 pats of unsalted butter.
     Add 1/2 tablespoon of lard or vegetable oil.
     Mound 1/2 of the potato pancake mixture on the hot grease in the pan.
     Use a spatula to press and flatten the potato mixture, so it becomes a round pancake shape.
     When the bottom half of the pancake becomes cooked firm and it becomes lightly browned, flip the potato pancake.
     Cook the potato pancake, till light brown highlights appear on both sides.

     Smoked Bratwurst and Sauerkraut with Rustic Potato Pancake: 
     Place the potato pancake on a plate and blot off any excess grease with a dry towel.
     Mound the sauerkraut across the plate as a bed for the sausages.
     Place the smoked bratwurst on top of the sauerkraut.
     Serve with vegetables of your choice.
     The entree in the photographs was served with steamed green beans, sauteed mushroom caps and a baked piece of pumpkin.  To make the baked pumpkin slice, simply brush a thick piece of peeled seeded pumpkin with melted unsated butter, then bake it in a 325 degree oven, till it becomes lightly caramelized.  The pumpkin will have a baked squash flavor when cooked this way.
     German Octoberfest food is beer food!  A nice German Octoberfest Beer is great with this entree.  Juicy steaming hot smoked bratwurst with good sauerkraut is a classic fall season plate of food!  The flavorings in the kraut make this dish special.  Ja, das ist gut!

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