Beer-Braised Bratwurst | Cabbage with Andouille Sausage, Granny Smith Apples, and Onions
SOMETIMES, WHEN I HAVE SEVERAL different recipe ideas floating around in my head at once, I tend to merge them for the purpose of expedient creativity.

So, having my decades old recipe for collard greens (which I use ham hocks or bacon for, with mustard and cider vinegar), seeing a recent episode of Anthony Bourdain's No Reservation (in which a Hudson Valley cook made a dish with sauerkraut cooked with kielbasa and apples), I decided to make, and being in the mood for the last several weeks to make my beer-and-onion-simmered bratwursts, I pooled the best ideas from each of those dishes and made a nice, new wintertime dinner dish that I can now proudly add to my repertoire!

After picking up a head of cabbage, a Vidalia onion, and a Granny Smith Apple from nearby Food Emporium, I stopped by 100+ year old Old Germantown butchers, SCHALLER & WEBER, for some uncooked brats, andouille sausage, and two thick slices of smoked bacon.

Once home, I sliced the bacon into bits and rendered their fat in a big pot, tossing in the onion which I had cut into long, thin strips, and giving that a good stir with salt and fresh cracked pepper for about 4 minutes, until the onions started to sweat and the bacon started to brown.

I then peeled, cored and sliced the Granny Smith into skinny, long sticks and threw them into the pot to stir as well, followed by the andouille sausage, which I sliced into "coins" so that they would impart more of the seasoned "fat" flavors. I used only half the cabbage, shredded thin, throwing them into the pot as well and gave the whole thing a few big stirs to get the cabbage fully coated with the flavored oils.

I then poured in two bottles of Heineken beer, four cups of water, one cup of cider vinegar, three tablespoons of spicy brown mustard (although any spicy mustard would do, I'm sure), a couple good shakes each of smoked paprika, chili powder, and cinnamon, and lastly topped it all off with the uncooked brats.

After giving all those ingredients a few last big stirs, I brought the pot to a boil, then reduced the heat to a simmer, covered it with a lid, and let it alone for 90 minutes—while cleaning the apartment, reading Food & Wine magazine, and playing Scrabble on Facebook—until it was done, checking the softness of the cabbage "knob" I tossed in, to be sure.

I plated the cabbage with a slotted spoon and carefully placed bursting-at-the-seams bratwurst on top and, well, voila...!

Simply, yes, as good as it looks. Even better, not only did the sweetness from apples of the cabbage notoverwhelm or fight with the natural flavors of the brat, it actually helped by complimenting the brat's for more savory tastes, spices, and aromas, letting the brat be the main "speaker", if you will, of the dish as a whole.

I can always find new cuisine inspirations when I pull from different resources, whether inside or outside my head. So, when people argue that "That's not all your recipe!" or "Thta's not even close to the traditional dish", with all the "rules" that come with cooking and appreciating foods and its traditions, is the tradition of breaking all of those rules that is arguably most common (and too people like me, necessary)!

Bun Apple Tea!


Beer-Braised Bratwurst | Cabbage with Andouille Sausage, Granny Smith Apples, and Onions