bratwurst with apples & onions: the most october meal ever

fullsizeoutput_93b.jpegLately it seems like everyone is obsessed with fall. October, especially. And guess what… I’m shamelessly obsessed too. Not only do I yearn for the perfect, crisp, sunny day where fall foliage can be seen creeping out from the green leaves, I crave autumn cuisine — soups and stews and basically any sweet or savory dish with apple or pumpkin involved. A serious favorite of mine is the pumpkin cookie recipe I shared a few years ago.

I have been wanting to post this dish for a while because it’s one of my favorite October dinners. It is a warm and hearty meal worthy of that perfect fall day, which yesterday was just about the closest we’ve come so far on Long Island! After a stop in to the lab like a good Ph.D. student, Mike and I picked up a pumpkin and some local apples (and maybe some apple cider donuts too…) to celebrate a beautiful October Sunday.  I then spent the evening preparing this dish, apple crisp, and tonight’s vegetable lentil soup — which I am going to make every effort to post sooner rather than later!

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bratwurst with apples & onions

Ingredients:

  • 2 tsp. fennel seeds
  • 1 Tbsp. Wondra flour
  • 1/2 tsp. fresh ground black pepper
  • 4 cups sauerkraut, rinsed, drained, & squeezed dry
  • 1 large onion, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced
  • 3 large apples, peeled, cored, and thinly sliced
  • 8 whole smoked bratwurst
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 1 cup beef broth
  • 2 Tbsp. dry vermouth
  • 2 Tbsp. ketchup

Method:

Preheat the oven to 400 F. Place fennel seeds in a small plastic bag and crush with a mallet. Add the flour and pepper to the bag and shake to combine. Spread the sauerkraut over the bottom of a 13 x 9 inch ceramic baking dish. Sprinkle 1/3 of the flour mixture over the sauerkraut. Arrange onion slices over and sprinkle with half of remaining flour mixture. Spread half of the apple slices over and then sprinkle with remaining flour mixture.  Place bratwurst on top and then arrange remaining apple slices around bratwurst. Tuck in the bay leaves. Mix the broth, vermouth, and ketchup in a measuring cup. Pour the broth mixture evenly over the dish. Cover tightly with foil.

Roast the bratwurst 40 minutes. Uncover and then roast about 25 minutes longer until sausages and apples begin to brown.

Serve with fresh Pumpernickel bread.

Recipe adapted from: Bon Appetit (a super long time ago!)

How I eat it: with a tall glass of apple cider on the side

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autumn happiness

Yes, I am still blogging.  I apologize for being MIA for the last few weeks.  The craziness of being a student teacher has started to kick in.  I am enjoying it, but it feels as if I get more and more tired every day!  The long Rosh Hashana weekend has brought some much needed relaxation and celebration, and I finally got to really enjoy my favorite season.  Besides welcoming in the Jewish new year, Mike and I celebrated five years of our wonderful relationship by renting a cabin in Montauk for the night.  It was perfect.  We enjoyed some cheese and crackers, chips and dip, and pumpkin beer with a cinammon sugar rim (as seen above) in the cabin while it rained outside.  It cleared up just in time for a walk to the beach around sunset and then we ate a late dinner at Dave’s Grill (arancini with smoked mozerrella and chipotle tomato sauce, monterey jack and goat cheese quesadillas, and chocolate banana bread pudding).  It was a short, sweet, and delicious escape from reality.

   

As I said, autumn is truly my favorite season.  I love the crisp weather, the hearty food, and the occasions that fall into the months of September, October, and November.  So, I will leave you with my first seasonal recipe of autumn: cinammon apple crostata — a fall twist on this summer fruit crostata.

Cinammon Apple Crostata

Ingredients

For the pastry:

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tbsp. granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, diced
  • 1/4 cup ice water
 
For the filling:
  • 2 1/2 lbs. apples (I used a mix of Gala and Granny Smith) 
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tbsp. cornstarch
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cinammon
  • 1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • 2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
 
For the crumb topping:
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup oatmeal
  • 1/4 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1 stick cold unsalted butter, diced

Method

For the pastry, place the flour, sugar, and salt in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Pulse a few times to combine.  Ad the butter and toss with your fingers to coat each cube of butter with the flour mixture.  Pulse until the butter is the size of peas.  With the motor running, add the ice water all at once through the feed tube. Keep hitting the pulse button to combine, but stop the machine just before the dough comes together.

Turn the dough onto a well-floured board and form into a flat disk. Wrap the disk in plastic and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Roll the pastry into an 11-inch circle on a lightly floured surface. Transfer to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

For the filling, whisk together the sugar, corn starch, cinammon, and nutmeg. Add the apples and lemon juice and toss to coat the apples.

Transfer the apples to the crust, leaving a 3-inch border. Fold outer edges of crust over apples, pleating as needed.

For the topping, combine the flour, sugars, salt, and oatmeal in a large bowl. Add butter and combine with fingers until butter is evenly distributed and crumbs form. Sprinkle topping over the crostata.

Bake until juices are thick and bubbling, about 1 hour. Let crostata cool for 5 minutes and then transfer to a wire rack.

Recipe inspired by Ina Garten’s summer fruit crostata and Bon Appetit’s apple crostata

How I eat it: right out of the oven with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.