Saturday, December 3, 2011

Sauerkraut and Bratwurst Brötchen Sandwiches

I created these (with heavy inspiration from Kramarczuk's) for a German themed dinner party. I made the hard rolls from scratch from the Joy of Cooking recipe, though you could buy them for a faster meal. I couldn't help spicing them up, so maybe they have some Hungarian influence?

1 dozen small hard rolls (see below)
5-6 uncooked bratwurst
1 large can sauerkraut
1 large carrot, grated
1 medium onion, sliced thinly
1/2 c. white wine or vermouth
1/3 c. water
2 Tbsp. oil
2 Tbsp. sweet paprika
2 tsp. sharp paprika
1 tsp. dried sage
1 tsp. white pepper
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
2 Tbsp. salt
2 bay leaves

Hot mustard or horseradish from Kramarczuk's

Begin by browning the sausages whole in the oil in a heavy-bottomed pot.  Turn the sausage occasionally so that they brown and sear. Once they are browned nicely (they do not have to be cooked through), remove them from the pot and allow them to cool enough to handle. Chop them coarsely. Save the fat and drippings in the pot.

Meanwhile, drain the sauerkraut in a colander and rinse twice, then squeeze out the moisture.

Add the sliced onion to the pot and cook them, stirring occasionally, so that they turn brown on the edges and the moisture they release releases any drippings from the pot. Stir in the ground spices so that they coat the onions. Once the spices start to sizzle, add the wine and allow it to evaporate somewhat. Add in the sauerkraut, grated carrot, chopped sausage, and bay leaves, and stir to combine. Lightly tap the mixture down so that it sits on the bottom of the pot and pour the water over. Cover and simmer for 45 minutes, checking and stirring occasionally so that it doesn't scorch. The ingredients will release more moisture. Adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper.

Joy of Cooking Hard Rolls

1/4 c. warm water
1 package active dry yeast
1 c. warm water
2 c. AP flour
2 Tbsp. vegetable shortening
1 Tbsp. sugar
1 1/4 tsp. salt
2 large egg whites
2 c. AP flour
Dissolve yeast in 1/4 c. warm water for 5 minutes. Add the remaining warm water, the sugar, salt, shortening, and 2 c. flour and mix well. The dough will still be very wet and shaggy.

Beat the two egg whites into soft peaks (honestly I'm not sure why this is necessary) and then fold into the bread. Gradually stir in the remaining two cups of flour until the dough is moist but no longer sticky. You may need to switch to kneading to get the last quarter cup of flour in.

Knead on a lightly floured surface for 7 minutes until the dough is smooth and elastic. Transfer to a lightly oiled bowl and turn it once to coat with oil. Cover and allow to rise in a warm place until doubled--1 to 1.5 hours.

Punch the dough down, knead it briefly, and return to the bowl to let it double again, about 1 hour.

Punch down the dough and pinch into 12 rolls. Knead the rolls lightly and roll them so that they have a smooth top surface. Sprinkle a flat surface with cornmeal and place the rolls on the surface for their final rising. Cover with lightly oiled plastic wrap and allow them to double again, about 1 hour. 20 minutes before baking, remove the plastic wrap to allow the surface to dry, and make a slash across each roll with a sharp knife 1/4" deep.

Heat oven to 425°F. Place a 9x13" baking pan on the lower rack, underneath where the rolls will go. Place the rolls on cookie drying racks, or a similar fine-gauge mesh rack and place the racks on the top oven rack. Pour 2 c. boiling water into the baking pan to create a steam source for the rolls (this will make them crisp on the outside).

Bake for 14-20 minutes until brown and crusty. Move the rolls around once of your oven heats unevenly. Internal temperature should be 190-200°F. Serve while still hot or reheat later for 4-6 minutes in a 400°F oven.

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