Saturday, October 22, 2011

October Bratwurst Stew

Somehow I seem to accumulate bratwurst. Family members always give me their leftover packages from picnics. Now I know I have a strong German family history, but I had never actually eaten a bratwurst until I made this stew. I had to do something with them before they turned into freezer-burned mystery sausages, and it being Octoberfest time of year, I thought I would cook them somehow.

After much searching I found a reasonable recipe from Better Homes and Gardens called Loaded Bratwurst Stew. I am sure most everyone has found a recipe that looks good, but something is wrong with it. Either you don't have an ingredient, or something is on your dietary no-eat list, or you don't see the value of buying an ingredient that you will have no use for after using only a small amount. This recipe is adapted from the BHG recipe, but lots of changes have been made based upon what I can eat and what I had in the pantry. It tastes even better the second day. The moral of this recipe - mess around with what you find and you might create something delicious!

October Bratwurst Stew
2 14.5-ounce cans of fat-free low-sodium chicken broth
2 pounds uncooked regular bratwurst
1 softball sized savoy cabbage, chopped (about 4 cups)
1 large yellow onion, chopped
1/4 cup uncooked hulless barley (or use pearled)
1/4 cup roasted sweet red peppers (drained from a jar that is vinegar based), chopped
1 heaping tablespoon of Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon dried parsley
1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon celery seed
Shredded Swiss cheese

Place the barley, chopped red peppers and cabbage in a slow cooker. Combine broth, mustard, vinegar and seasonings and pour over top. In a skillet, cook bratwurst until cooked through and a nice brown color. Remove from skillet. Slice bratwurst into small 1/4-1/2 inch pieces and place over top of cabbage in slow cooker. Drain all but a teaspoon of grease from the skillet and brown onions until a nice golden brown. Remove onions and any crispy bits from skillet and place on top of brats in slow cooker. Cook on low for 7 hours or on high for 3-5 hours. Mix well and serve with shredded Swiss cheese on top.