It’s hard to stop me when I get a craving for something. The worst ones are when I get excited about experimenting with cooking something for the first time, research how to do it, find an ideal recipe, and then for one reason or other, can’t pull the trigger on the project. I’ll obsess about it until I can make it happen.
Thus was the case back in October. I was all psyched to try making homemade soft pretzels for a Octoberfest party then due to multiple scheduling problems, the party never happened and the pretzels never got made. I suppose there’s no real reason why I couldn’t go ahead and try making pretzels without the party, but it somehow seemed like a lot of salt and carb consumption for just 2 instead of 8.
And then it occurred to me– pretzel rolls! All the fun of making pretzels but in a more multi-purpose use form. In this case, I had a head of purple cabbage from the CSA and some bratwurst bought on sale from our grocery delivery service. I thought about how perfect would it would be to sandwich those brats and sautéed cabbage between the sides of a chewy, salty, yeasty, pretzel roll.
I chopped up the cabbage and some onion and sautéed them in a big Dutch oven pot. I set my brats on top of the cabbage mixture and poured in a bottle of beer that we had on hand. That beer? A pumpkin lager which I had bought even though neither John or I are particular fans of pumpkin beers but for some reason, I thought that this brand had been the exception to the rule. Turns out… meh. Still not a fan. I’d read that regular lager or lighter, German wheat beers are ideal, but the pumpkin beer was what I had, and I have to tell you– once I put the lid on and turned up the heat, the smells from the spiced pumpkin beer mixing with the cooking brats was a-maaaaaa-zing! So warm and heady with clove and mace, it was autumn central in our house.
When the brats had cooked through, I added them to a hot pan to brown the sides and tweaked the cabbage with some whole grain mustard, celery seed, and a splash of red wine vinegar. All that was left to do was pile a bit of the cabbage on a split pretzel roll and place the sliced brats on top of that. Served with the leftover cabbage on the side and some extra mustard for drizzling, these were so good, with a balance of spicy mustard, sweet yet acidic cabbage, and salty, chewy bread. Wunderbar!
- 1 recipe pretzel rolls or you can buy some from a bakery
- canola oil
- 1/2 large head of purple cabbage, chopped
- 1 small white onion, halved and thinly sliced into half moons
- 1 large clove garlic, minced (about 3/4 teaspoon)
- 1 package bratwurst
- 12 oz bottle pumpkin beer (or lager style or wheat beer of your choice)
- 2 tablespoons stone ground mustard
- 1 tablespoon whole grain mustard
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 1 teaspoon celery seeds
- salt and pepper
Add 1 tablespoon of canola oil to the bottom of a large Dutch oven pot and heat over medium heat. Add the cabbage, onion, and garlic and lightly saute for about 5 minutes or until vegetables soften and wilt slightly. Top with the bratwurst and add the beer. Cover with a tight fitting lid and turn heat up to medium high to bring to a boil then reduce heat to a simmer. Cook for 10-15 minutes or until brats are cooked through.
Heat 1 tablespoon of canola oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add the brats to the pan and cook until browned on all sides, about 3-4 minutes per side. While brats are browning, stir in the mustards, vinegar, butter, and celery seeds into the cabbage then season with salt and pepper to taste.
To plate, cut the bratwurst in half then split them lengthwise. Pile a small layer of purple cabbage onto the bottom half of a split pretzel roll and top with a couple of slices of sausage. Top with the top half of the roll and serve with brown mustard at the table. Place remaining cabbage to eat as a side to the sandwiches.
CSA Count: 3
Purple cabbage, onion, garlic