Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Cooking with the Prude: Bratwurst Stew

Brat Fry at the Pig!

Our pastor and his wife lived in California for several years before they moved to the midwest.
When they first heard there was a ‘Brat Fry at the Pig’ they checked their legs to see if someone was pulling them.
No, he was assured, this was not the farming community taking drastic disciplinary measures to deal with naughty children.
They were being invited to partake of a dandy type of sausage known as ‘bratwurst’.
German immigrants brought the recipe and in 1920 the good folks of Sheboygan, Wisconsin shared it with the rest of the world.
We have great affection for our brats here in Wisconsin. We know they taste best grilled but, when lack of charcoal or propane, or a visiting convention of mosquitoes make grilling a challenge, they aren’t too shabby pan-fried. We usually draw the line at boiling them, unless we do it in beer and it precedes the grilling/pan-frying.

However, the recipe for Creamy Bratwurst Stew neither fries nor grills brats and it is still amazing. As a good Wisconsin girl with links to Sheboygan I prefer the Johnsonville brand. Our pastor (you know, the guy who had lived in California) likes anything exotic stuck in his brats–apples, sage, peppers, maple syrup, you-get-the-picture. We try to explain that you start with a good base brat and top it with what-you-will (if the centuries-old tried-and-true hot mustard and sauerkraut aren’t good enough for you) but he remains unconvinced. Maybe if we stuffed one with avocado and pine nuts and sprinkled a nice little vinaigrette on top...

Are you ready for the recipe? I take no credit for this dish other than having the good sense to try it out. Susan Holmes from Germantown Wisconsin (naturally) submitted this to ‘Quick Cooking’ magazine in 2005. I’ve been bringing it to church fellowship meals and bringing home an empty Crock Pot ever since.

4 medium potatoes, cubed
2 medium carrots, coarsely chopped
2 celery ribs, chopped
1 cup chopped onion
3/4 cup chopped green pepper
2 pounds bratwurst links, (remove casings) cut into 1-inch slices
1/2 cup chicken broth
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon pepper
2 cups half-and-half cream
3 tablespoons cornstarch
3 teaspoons cold water
In a 5-qt. slow cooker, combine the potatoes; carrots, celery, onion and green pepper. Top with bratwurst slices. Combine the broth, salt, basil and pepper; pour over top. Cover and cook on low for 6-7 hours or until vegetables are tender and sausage is tender.
Stir in cream. Combine cornstarch and water until smooth; stir into stew. Cover and cook on high for 30 minutes or until gravy is thickened. Yield: 8 servings.

You don’t want to know what the calorie content is per serving, do you? You do?
O.K. Don’t say I didn’t warn you. 516 calories and and 36 grams of fat.
Best calories and fat you will ever consume.

Now you know what a brat fry is. When you hear it is at the Pig don’t assume it is a sadist's way of making Porky watch his granny being grilled over an open flame and doused in mustard. The Pig is just an affectionate Midwest name for our local
Piggly Wiggly grocery store. And yes, we can say that with a straight face.

1 comment:

Robin J. Steinweg said...

Most fun I've had reading a recipe in a l-o-n-g time, Prude! Thanks.