Green Beans & Red Peppers with Bratwurst

Bratwurst with Green Beans and Red Peppers

Chop 1/4 of a small yellow onion and mince one clove of garlic. Heat 1 TBSP of olive oil in a saute pan and add the onion and garlic. While that cooks, chop up 2 red peppers into inch long pieces. Add to the onions and garlic when they are tender. Add salt and pepper. Add 3 TBSP of barbecue sauce and 1 TBSP of mustard. Toss in bratwurst and let cook for a while until bratwurst is done and peppers are tender. Add a few handfuls of frozen or fresh green beans, 1/2 cup of water, stir and let cook until tender.

Brussels Sprouts in Brown Butter Sauce & Bratwurst

Steamed Brussels Sprouts in Brown Butter Sauce and Bratwurst

As I have said many times, I am a lazy cook. I also don’t have lots of gadgets. One item I don’t have is a veggie steamer, but I just use a colander inside my pan instead. To make this, I put some water on to boil. While it was heating, I cut the ends off and quartered 10 brussels sprouts and put them in a metal strainer/colander. By then the water was boiling, to clean fewer pans, I tossed the two links of bratwurst in to cook and put the strainer on top of them and put a lid on. The strainer handle made the lid uneven, but that really didn’t matter that much in steaming these fast cooking veggies.

I put a small nonstick pan on medium high and chopped up 2 TBSP of almonds and tossed them in the un-greased pan to roast, shaking the almonds so the flavor bloomed but they didn’t char. I set them aside and added 1 TBSP of butter to the pan, swirling the pan to keep it cooking very evenly and cooked until the butter turned brown. This gives it a rich nutty flavor. I poured the brown butter in a bowl, added 1 tsp of dill weed, salt, pepper and reamed half a lemon into the bowl. I then tossed the brussels sprouts, which were now done, in the bowl. I took the bratwurst and tossed them in the pan for a few seconds to brown a bit.

Bratwurst always tastes good with any of the brassica cultivars, cabbage, kale, brussels sprouts, etc. It’s a perfect complement. Brown butter is such a flavorful and easy sauce and I love the flavor you get when you mix it with lemon. This sauce is also delicious on pasta. And just two small pans to clean.

Velvet Green Bean Casserole

The Velvet Green Bean Casserole

While I was at The Velvet last night, I started cooking supper during Lux’ set. I tossed 2 cloves of minced garlic and 2 TBSP of chopped onion plus 1 jalapeño into a medium heat skillet with 1 TSBP of olive oil. I added salt and pepper and let them start to saute. I sliced a bratwurst sausage into 1/2 inch wide pieces and tossed them in. I then chopped up a tomato and tossed it in as well.

While they cooked, I asked for direction from the folks at the Velvet, where I was with the meal, I could go any direction, but was dithering between kale and green beans. They all said green beans, so I added 1 cup of green beans, 1 oz of ground parmesan and 1 TBSP of green salsa. I added a bit of salt and pepper. I sauteed and then just before serving squeezed in the juice of one fresh lemon.

It was a delicious meal with a bit of heat from the chili and salsa, some fresh tang from the lemons and tomatoes and the hearty umami of the bratwurst and green beans.

Toasted Brussels Sprouts and Tortellini with Bratwurst & Tomatoes

Toasted Brussels Sprouts and Tortellini with Bratwurst and Tomatoes

This was a fast and simple meal. I first put a little olive oil in a skillet and turned the heat up to a medium low (4 out of 10 on the dial). Then I trimmed the ends off 6 brussels sprouts and cut them in half, placing them cut side down in the skillet. I sprinkled with a bit of kosher salt and put a lid over them and let them cook away.

Meanwhile, I put a tbsp of olive oil in a sauce pan and grabbing a medium sweet onion and sliced off two slices about 1/4 inch thick and diced and tossed the onion into the oil. I grabbed one bratwurst and cut it into chunks a little less than an inch long. I added salt, pepper, cumin and garlic powder (I used this instead of fresh garlic because while looking for the cumin in the cupboard, I knocked it off the shelf and a bunch of garlic powder spilled on the counter. I quickly opted for the powder over fresh in order to not let it go to waste.) and stirred everything together. Then I diced up a tomato and tossed it in, gave a quick stir and put a lid on. Then I checked my email.

After about 5 minutes or so, I checked the sprouts for tenderness. Once they were tender, I took the lid off so they could toast up a bit more. I put some water on to boil. Once it boiled, I tossed in some four cheese tortellini to cook. I turned the heat off the bratwurst sauce and the brussels sprouts so they were a serving temperature when I strained the tortellini. I threw the tortellini in with the sauce, gave a few quick stirs and turned it all out on a plate. I then used a spatula to gently lift the brussels sprouts from the pan and turned them onto the plate as well. I didn’t want to use a spoon and have the outer leaves come off. I shredded a bit of parmesan over the plate and enjoyed.

The caramelizing on the brussels sprouts was perfect, giving it a bit of nuttiness in contrast to the rich, velvety goodness of the brussels sprout. The pasta was a nice, bright mix of sweetness and acidity from the tomatoes and hearty umami from the bratwurst and tortellini.

Kale Soup

This is a quick and easy soup recipe that has lots of rich, multi-layered flavors. It takes a little over 30 minutes from start to finish and tastes like it took all day. I had picked up some kale to make a salad, but didn’t get to it quickly and the kale got a bit wilty, so I knew I would have to cook it. I thought about making a kale hash or something and then got a brainwave to try and make a caldo verde, a soup I had when I was in Spain that was made with potatoes, kale and sausage. I didn’t have linguica or chorizo and probably should have compensated by adding a bit more spice, but to be honest, this mild version is truly delicious and it didn’t need the spicier sausage.

So, to begin, mince 3 cloves of garlic and dice 1 onion. Saute in olive oil with one bay leaf, salt and pepper. Cooking just until softened, but without any caramelizing. Add 2 quarts of water and 4 cups of diced new potatoes (I used fingerlings) and let boil for 20 minutes. Meanwhile, in another pan, cook 2 sausages, drain and slice. I used bratwurst because that is what I had. While the sausage is cooking, trim the stems from a pound of kale, rinse the kale, squeezing it dry and chop up fine. By now the potatoes should be softened so you can take a masher and mash them up in the soup pot. If you’re ambitious, you can pull them out and puree them, but I didn’t bother. Once they are mashed, I added the sausage and the kale, put the lid on and let cook another 5 to 10 minutes. I pulled out the bay leaf and let cool a bit and it was done.

It has a rich, earthy heartiness with the subtle spiciness of the bratwurst. I could have added a tiny bit of jalapeño with the onion and garlic, but it’s delicious without as well. A linguica or chorizo would be a bit spicier and would definitely not need more spice. I think it will be even better tomorrow.

Ragout of Bratwurst, Mushrooms & Tomatoes with Kale & Carrot Salad

Ragout of Bratwurst, Mushrooms and Tomatoes and Kale Salad

I made the salad this morning to let the dressing marinate and be more absorbed into the kale. I took about 6 cups of chopped kale. Be sure to remove the ribs before chopping. I chopped the kale and then diced two carrots. I took a handful of pecans (about 2 oz) and chopped them with my knife as well. I tossed the large nut pieces into the salad and tossed the pecans, kale and carrots together. The tiny bits of pecan I put into a bowl with a 1/2 teaspoon of cayenne, a 1/4 teaspoon of cumin and the cloves of three garlic that I put through a garlic press. I added 1 tbsp of mustard and 1 tbsp of white vinegar and 1 tbsp of soy sauce. Then I added about 1/2 cup of mayo and mixed together. With salt and pepper to taste, it was ready to dress the salad. I mixed it all in well and stored in the fridge to marry. It has a delicious garlicky tang and a little bit of heat. The nuts add a bit of sweetness to the mix.

For the ragout, I put a small amount of liquid in a skillet and put two bratwurst in to cook. I sliced up two mushrooms and chopped up a tomato. When I turned the bratwurst, I added the mushrooms and tomato to the liquid and put the lid on it. About 8 minutes later, I sliced up the bratwurst and added 1 TBSP of mustard and 1/4 cup of sour cream. A little salt and pepper and it was good to go. Bratwurst has enough spice and flavor that the little mustard and sour cream were plenty of flavor. It made a rich, creamy ragout with plenty of bite.