Monthly Archives: October 2010

Beer Braised Bratwurst and Greens

It’s Austin Beer Week, and this meal celebrates local produce, charcuterie, and craft beer all in one pot!  In this easy recipe, bratwurst and chopped onions are browned in a skillet, and then slow cooked in a whole bottle of beer for half an hour.  A bunch of dark greens are added in the last 5 minutes of cooking, creating a wholesome, hearty meal with great flavors.

For my version of the dish I paired peppery mizuna from this week’s local box with Independence Brewing Co.’s Sunshine Wheat, but you can use any dark green and beer combination you have on hand.  (The picture above is from another iteration of the recipe, in which I used arugula and Real Ale Oktoberfest. Yum.)  I adapted this one-dish wonder from Anne Dailey’s recipe for Beer Braised Sausage at SustainableTable.com, a terrific slow food resource for home cooks.

Beer Braised Bratwurst and Greens (serves 4)

1-2 tablespoons butter
4 links of any flavor local bratwurst
1 large or 2 medium yellow onions, sliced
2 cloves garlic
1 bottle locally brewed beer
1 pound dark greens, such as mizuna, mustard, spinach, arugula, or a mix of these
Fresh ground pepper to taste

Slice onions.  In a large skillet, saute onions in butter over medium heat for about 10 minutes.  Meanwhile, peel and chop garlic.  Add garlic and whole brats to the pan and brown sausage on all sides.

Pour in entire bottle of beer, turn heat to low. Simmer, covered, for 30-45 minutes until beer has thickened some and sausages are cooked through.  While sausage is cooking, chop greens.  Cook greens with sausage and onions for the last 5 minutes on the stove, until they’re just wilted. Season with fresh ground pepper.

The greens in this dish taste best the same day they’re cooked.  However, the braised sausage and onions keep well and make excellent pizza toppings later in the week.  I really like to pair them with shaved sweet potatoes or winter squash and goat cheese on homemade pizza dough.

Local Box Meal Plan: Oct. 25-29

A few exotic items coming this week, such as mizuna, sunchokes and French breakfast radishes – yum! Here’s the full list:

Arugula – Acdian
Mizuna – My Father’s Farm
Bibb lettuce – Bella Verde
French breakfast radishes – Acadian
Okra – Bradshaw
Summer squash – TX Naturals
Sunchokes – Animal Farm
Eggplant – Acadian
Cameo or Granny Smith apples – Apple Country
Meyer lemons and Persian limes – G&S Grove
Yellow onions – Naegelin
Sweet potatoes, green beans, or red potatoes – Naegelin

I will be making:

Wok-sauteed mizuna and chicken – Make a few substitutions here to use what you’re getting in your box. Specifically, add arugula to the mizuna (I doubt we’re going to get a full pound of either, so have them join forces with their peppery goodness). Also, use summer squash instead of the carrots – it’ll cook in slightly less time, but no matter. If you’ve never had mizuna before, you’re in for a treat. It’s much like arugula in flavor, but the leaves are a little more hardy, like mustard greens.

Vegetable stew with sunchokes – Again, we’ll need to make some substitutions. If you don’t get red potatoes, use your sweet potatoes or trimmed green beans (that may sound odd, but I promise it’ll taste good – we’re making this an all-purpose veggie stew). Use more zucchini in place of the carrots. Depending on the amount of sunchokes we get, you may be able to substitute the extra for celery. You can also toss in some eggplant if you want.

Caramel apples! – It IS Halloween week, right? If you don’t want to go to the trouble of making your own caramel, just use one of those packaged mixes at the grocery store. I won’t tell.

Eggplant burgers – I’m linking to a recipe here if you need a guide, but I imagine you can go a million different ways with eggplant burgers. I have some friends who made them Italian-style, with mozzarella and some red sauce on toasted buns. I’m thinking of using mustard, cheese, sliced radishes, and Bibb lettuce. Yum.

Callaloo (creamy spinach and okra) – I’m excited about this recipe because 1) it involves coconut milk, and 2) I’m betting that pureeing everything together will negate the okra sliminess we’re always looking to avoid. Good times.

Fresh Fettucine with Roasted Chicken and Broccoli Rabe

I love this recipe for several reasons. First, it’s easy to fix. Second, it’s light and healthy. And finally, if you aren’t the biggest fan of broccoli rabe, there are a lot of flavors going on here to distract from it. You could also toss in some other veggies, such as zucchini, when you blanche the rabe if you need to use any up.

Fresh Fettucine with Roasted Chicken and Broccoli Rabe (from Giada de Laurentiis)

1 large bunch broccoli rabe
1 (9-ounce) container fresh fettuccine pasta
1 (14-ounce) can reduced-sodium chicken broth
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
Shredded chicken from 1 rotisserie chicken (about 3-4 cups)
3/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan
1/2 cup pine nuts, toasted*
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon lemon zest
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Wash broccoli rabe and trim off about 1/2 inch from the bottom of the stems. Cut the stems and leaves into 3-inch pieces. Add it to the boiling water and cook until crisp-tender, 2 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the broccoli rabe to a large bowl of ice water. Once cooled, drain broccoli rabe and set aside. Add the fettuccine to the same pot of boiling water and cook until just tender, about 2 minutes. Drain, reserving 1/2 cup of cooking liquid.

Meanwhile, bring the broth and lemon juice to a boil in a heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Boil until the broth reduces by half, about 5 minutes. Add the chicken and simmer just until heated through, about 2 minutes. Add broccoli rabe to the chicken broth and stir to combine. Add the pasta, 1/2 cup of Parmesan, pine nuts, parsley, oil, and lemon zest. Toss to coat, adding some of the reserved cooking liquid, 1/4 cup at a time, to moisten. Season the pasta with salt and pepper, to taste. Mound the pasta into bowls, sprinkle with remaining Parmesan, and serve.

*To toast pine nuts, place them in a dry nonstick skillet. Turn on medium heat and stir constantly once you start to smell the pine nuts. You want them to be a toasty brown color; just be careful, as they burn easily. This isn’t something you want to walk away from as it cooks. On another note, look for pine nuts in the bulk bins at the grocery store – they’re much cheaper there than pre-packaged ones.

Zucchini Breakfast Bites

These savory breakfast bites evolved from a  Crustless Zucchini Pie recipe I found on allrecipes.com a few months ago, and they have become one of my favorite healthy snacks.  Although they look like muffins, their texture is similar to firm quiche.  I like to make a big batch of these on Sunday night and store them in the fridge for on-the-go breakfasts during the week.  This recipe freezes well, too, so it’s a good way to use up extra summer squash.  If you prefer a casserole to these portable muffins, use two 9-inch pie plates and increase the baking time to 35 minutes.

Zucchini Breakfast Bites (yields 24 muffins)
1 large onion, about 3/4 cup diced
2 zucchini or summer squash, about 3 cups shredded
1 cup baking mix*
1 tablespoon dried dill weed or minced fresh parsley or cilantro
1/4 cup vegetable oil
4 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
1 cup mild cheddar cheese
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Grate squash with a hand grater or food processor.  Put shredded squash in a potato ricer to drain out as much liquid as possible.  No potato ricer?  Let the squash sit in a mesh strainer for half an hour before proceeding.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and prepare muffin tins with paper liners. (Don’t skip this– these will stick to muffin tins and make your life miserable.)  Beat 4 eggs in a large mixing bowl.  Add remaining ingredients and stir until well combined.  Divide batter evenly between 24 muffin cups and bake in preheated oven for 20 minutes, until muffins are firm and golden brown. Remove from oven and cool breakfast bites on wire racks. Store completely cooled breakfast bites in an airtight plastic bag in the fridge for up to a week.

*Either regular or gluten free baking mix work well here.

Local Box Meal Plan: Oct. 18-22

I know that fall and cooler weather are imminent when cilantro shows up in our Local Box. Did you know it’s a cool-weather herb? Anyway, this week we’re getting:

Green Beans
Summer Squash – Acadian
Okra – Bradshaw Farms
Crimini Mushrooms – Kitchen Pride
Assorted Hot Peppers – Various
Broccoli Rabe – Simmons Family
Radishes – My Father’s Farm
Green Shallots – Acadian
Cucumbers – Animal Farm
Cilantro – My Father’s Farm
Sweet Potatoes – Naegelin

Hot pepper jelly – You can freeze a few weeks’ worth of peppers to make this. I cooked up several jars of this jelly last year and can vouch for its tastiness. Pour over a block of cream cheese and you have a fantastic football-watching dip.

Broccoli rabe with sausage

Cucumber-radish raita – Serve with grilled or baked chicken.

Chicken pot pie – This is a good way to use a motley crue of veggies. I’d throw in your green shallots, sweet potatoes, green beans, summer squash, and mushrooms. A store-bought pie crust makes this come together quickly. (You can also use okra if you want, but they’re going to be a little slimy when prepared like this.)

Okra patties – Similar to fried okra, but less of a pain to prepare. In my opinion, anyway.