Saturday, October 10, 2009


Sausages. Despite my many day dreams to the contrary, sausages have not been designated a food group by the FDA. My mom likes to tell stories of how I would devour numerous bratwurst at a single sitting. So, it's little wonder that this recipe for Bratwursts in Burger Form led me to: 1) put it on tonight's menu immediately, 2) buy a meat grinder for my Kitchen Aid mixer, and 3) spend more time tonight than is sane grilling in 90 degree heat.

The Method
Brat Spice Mix
2 TBs ground white pepper (this was TOO much; cut it in half)
2 tsp rubbed sage
1 tsp ground mace (we used fresh grated nutmeg instead)
1 tsp ground celery seed
1 3/4 pounds pork shoulder, diced
1/4 pound fat back, diced (we used salt pork, which I should have parboiled to desalt)
2 TBs kosher salt
1 tablespoon brat spice mix
(Okay, this step is confusing. First, it seemed there was a commercial spice mix to be added. Then I figured it was a reference to the ingredients above. This latter interpretation is probably correct. However, I then failed to remember the portion size when making the dish. We used the entire batch of spice mix instead of 1 TB. After a little thought and before grinding the meat, we washed 2/3 of the meat to remove the seasoning. The end result was not too heavily seasoned. I think 1-2 TBs total for the dish would be adequate.)

  1. Combine all the spice mix ingredients.
  2. Toss the pork shoulder and fat back with the salt and the spice mix and refrigerate for 30 minutes. 
  3. Grind through the coarse die of a grinder and form into 4 (8-ounce) patties. (I ran into problems here. The connective tissue in the meat clogged the grinder plate a couple of times. It probably would have helped to have chilled the meat - even to freezing - and to press smaller amounts through the grinder.)
Spicy Sauerkraut
1 C store-bought sauerkraut (Publix had Hebrew National brand on sale today. YAY!)
  • 1 TB diced bacon (We like bacon. We used 2-3 slices.)
  • 1/4 C onion, sliced (No gum chewing, but the small portion presented no difficulties.)
  • 2 TBs white wine
  • 2 juniper berries, crushed (Yes, we have these in the pantry and use them every so often.)
  • 1/4 tsp caraway seeds
  • 1/4 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1 TB garlic-chili paste (Found this in the Asian food section at Publix. Very, very tasty.)
  1. Soak the store-bought kraut in water for 20 minutes, drain excess water. 
  2. Render the bacon; add the onion and saute until translucent. 
  3. Add white wine and cook off the alcohol. 
  4. Add sauerkraut and spices and enough water to cover. 
  5. Simmer for 1 hour. Cool. Mix in garlic-chili paste.
  • slices gruyere cheese
  • slices bacon, cooked
  • Large hamburger buns, toasted

  1. Cook burger patties until medium-well. 
  2. Melt 2 slices of cheeses on top of each patty. 
  3. Place on toasted bun and top with spicy kraut.
The Method (Spicy Greens)
Another DDD recipe. We have eaten so many greens recently, in many forms, that I wasn't sure that a straightforward greens-only dish would be interesting...but this seemed worth a shot.

6 C water
2 1/2 pounds collard greens, cleaned (We used OPO collards and rutabaga leaves
2 pieces smoked neck bones
1/2 C beef base
1/4 C seasoning salt
1/4 C black pepper (Yes, it calls for a 1/4 C. I would reduce this considerably next time.)
1/4 C garlic chopped
1/2 C chopped onions
1/2 C chopped bell peppers
2 pieces fresh basil leaves

1/4 C sugar

  1. In a large pot over medium-high heat, add the water to pot, and all the remaining ingredients. 
  2. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and cook for about 45 minutes to 1 hour. 
  3. Drain and transfer to a serving bowl to serve.
The Results
Spicy! The burger was tremendous. Just like eating a fresh brat, but TOO much white pepper (IMHO). Gruyere was a perfect topping. It was creamy and tangy enough not to be lost. We added mustard. The spicy sauerkraut paled in comparison to the heat of the greens, which were delicious but very, very spicy. We discovered how spicy everything was before we ate, so we heated some baked beans as a side. This was a smart - and sweet - choice. (Speaking of sweet...we then had our cake.)

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Kudya Bwino Bwino (Eating Well) © 2009