Thursday, June 23, 2011

Cheddar Bratwurst, Kraut and Potatoes

I love anything cabbage.  Especially sauerkraut.  I love to make a big old crock of it and put it up in jars.  When cabbage is cheapest I'll be buying it up to can.  I've given up trying to raise it because of the ghetto deer that reek destruction on my garden.  Right now, I am out, so I have to buy it in the store.  Still, it is a family favorite. 
Nothing goes better with kraut than pork;  either a pork roast, some boneless ribs, or fresh sausage.  Today we are having cheddarwurst cooked slow with kraut and vegetables.  The long cooking of the kraut with the pork and vegetables really mellows the flavor.  It is not at all the same as it tastes right out of the jar. Mustard seed needs to be paired with an acid to bring out the flavor, so it is really good in this dish.  Caraway and celery seed just take it to the next level of flavor.  I like the flavor of apple with pork, so I always add some cider.  We drink a lot of it, so I always have it on hand.  If I had some good tart apples, I'd peel them and cut them in wedges to top the brats.  Baked apples taste great with pork sausage.
You can substitute beer for the cider. 
I don't use salt at all, and only add pepper when I plate it, as the long cooking can really make it spicy if you add in the pepper before cooking.

Bratwurst  Hot Dish

2 pkg fresh bratwurst
1 whole onion cut in wedges
3 peeled carrots cut in 1 1/2 inch chunks
8 red skin potatoes scrubbed and quartered
2 quarts/jars of sauerkraut
1 tsp whole mustard seed
1 1/2 tsp caraway seed
pinch celery seed
2 fresh bay leaves
1 C apple cider
In a large crock pot, layer potatoes, carrots, onion wedges,  and both jars of kraut.  Top with browned bratwurst, the spices and pour the apple cider over all of it.  Cook on low temperature for at least 6 hours.

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