Do you stereotype your food? When was the last time that you cooked a turkey outside of the Thanksgiving to Christmas window? And cooking a turkey you were given at the office in January does not count. You probably have turkey sandwiches from the deli now and then, or even a turkey burger, and perhaps you prepare a turkey breast, but a full turkey? Probably not.
That is likely the same situation with bratwurst. I would guess that the vast majority of brats are sold and consumed between Memorial Day and Labor Day. A classic German sausage they have been relegated to the ballpark or the backyard grill. And there is nothing wrong with that, but I asked myself, can the brat be used in other ways?
The recipe below is a creation of my own, and as you will see, there are three ways to serve … for a dinner, for causal supper or heavy appetizers, or for a finger food party. One thing to note, like anything you want to start with a quality brat. I used some brats I purchased from G&W Bavarian Style Sausage. I was introduced to them through Groupon and have loved all of the items I have tried. And, when you want to do the classic grilled Brats, they make the same brats served at Grant’s Farm.
1-2 TBSP of butter
2 pounds of onions, cut into large slices
1 ½ pounds of bratwurst (about 8 links)
1 ½ bottles of beer (I used 12 ounce Fat Tire)
Worcestershire sauce – a few shakes
Sauté the onions until they are translucent and close to browning. Add the brats. Continue to cook as you peel the apple and slice, thick slices are fine. Add the apples and one bottle of beer. Bring the heat up to a simmer, and then turn down. Cook, while covered, slowly. I cooked for about 2 hours. If needed, add more beer. You want the apples to completely dissolve into the broth, and for the onions to begin to dissolve. Note: This would be great in a slow cooker, just sear the brats first so they are brown.
Serve with a side of buttery mashed potatoes and green vegetable or salad. Use the apple/onion mixture as gravy.
Reduce the apple/onion mixture a step or two past gravy so it is more of a spread. Cut the brats into halves or thirds and slice in half. Place the brats into a toasted bun. Consider using dinner rolls, dollar rolls or small pretzel rolls. Depending on the pickiness of your group, you can spread the apple/onion mixture on one side and some mustard on the other side of the bread. For an extra treat, add some of the bacon jam.
Remove the brats from the apple/onion mixture and slice into bite-size pieces. Return them back to the apple/onion mixture and cook for a bit longer so the flavors are absorbed into the brat. Remove them and reduce the apple/onion mixture. Use the apples and onions as base for serving on a platter or a warming dish; serve with toothpicks and dipping sauces. I would suggest a sour cream/horseradish blend, spicy dark mustard, and milder, sweeter mustard, but use whatever you think your guests will prefer.