Confession: I have never been to Germany or eaten German food. I know, I know. It is a shame, considering I come from a family whose ancestors are full-blown German. I even took German in high school. My first apartment nickname in college was Deutschland. Does that count? Well luckily, thanks to advancing to the second round of Project Food Blog (thank you for your support and votes!), I have now stepped completely out of my comfort zone and have gone back to my roots. My German roots that is.
Before researching for this post, all I knew about German cuisine was bratwurst and sauerkraut. I knew they like to drink beer, which of course I can’t do unless it is gluten-free. But, while researching, I learned they love to drink Riesling. SCORE! I happen to be a lover of all types of wine. I enjoy cooking with it, drinking it, and I love to critique it. Starting with Riesling, I began scouring the depths of my brain for different types of flavor combinations Riesling would work well with. Since the most widely used animal protein in Germany is pork, I decided to cook some sort of Bratwurst dish. Bratwurst is THE classic German dish.
I served my bratwurst dish with a raw cabbage slaw and mashed turnips with a smoky beet puree.
Now where do I begin? I immediately went to my neighborhood book store to search the different German cookbooks. One in particular really stood out. It is called The German Cookbook: A Complete Guide to Mastering Authentic German Cooking, by Mimi Sheraton. Authentic German Cooking were the magic words I was looking for. I wanted to get in touch with my roots by whipping up a classic German dish that even my Great-Great-Grandmother would be proud of. I bought the book and read it cover to cover in one day. All the while, mentally picking out certain spices and herbs that would pair well with the Riesling and Bratwurst ingredients I had already decided on. I don’t know about you, but I normally like to pick out 1 or 2 ingredients and build a dish off those using my experience in pairing flavor profiles. I never use cookbooks or magazines for recipes. I just create. I have a notebook that I carry around everywhere; where I write down different flavor combinations and recipe ideas I think of. I am never without it. This is another reason I am out of my comfort zone. I had to start my inspiration with a cookbook. I am cooking a dish from a cuisine I was completely unfamiliar with. That is, until I found this great cookbook and it provided me with the ideas and foundation to create a completely authentic German dish, all on my own. My ancestors would be proud. Behold a bit of sweet and sour German goodness…
Braised Bratwurst in Riesling with Apples, Onions and Fresh Parsley
Inspired from the flavors of The German Cookbook: A Complete Guide to Mastering Authentic German Cooking, by Mimi Sheraton
1 lb. (about 3 bratwurst links) pork German bratwurst
2 sticks unsalted butter, divided
1 large onion, sliced
¼ teaspoon white pepper
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons dried marjoram
½ cup distilled white vinegar, divided
2 cups Riesling wine
1 bay leaf
¼ cup packed Italian flat-leaf parsley
3 teaspoons raw honey
1 apple, sliced thin
1 heaping tablespoon sour cream
Brown bratwurst in Dutch oven in 1 stick butter, move aside in pot. Sauté onion in same pot with the next stick of butter, vinegar, white pepper, salt and marjoram. Add in sliced apples, Riesling, next 1/4 cup vinegar, bay leaf, honey, parsley, sour cream and nutmeg. Bring to a boil and simmer on low for 1 hour minimum or until sausage is cooked through and liquids are reduced (about 1 1/2 hours). Top with fresh parsley.
Served with mashed turnips and a raw cabbage slaw.