Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Sauerkraut with Apples and Sausage

I realize most people consider sauerkraut and apples to be fall fare, and so this post may seem out of place amongst all the blog posts and magazines currently bursting with recipes for asparagus and broccoli raab. If you are one of those people, feel free to pin this to your recipe board and forget about it until next October, but if you're like me and enjoy warm, hearty meals all year-long, you can make it now.

This recipe came from a cookbook called The Un-Constipated Gourmet: Secrets to a Moveable Feast. I'll be the first to admit, it's not the most appetizing premise for a cookbook, but let's be real, sometimes we all need a little help now and then. I'll gladly take advice from a book with such a witty title. And even if you are so lucky not to have, ahem, issues in that department, I think you will agree that this is a meal that everyone can enjoy.

Sauerkraut with Apples and Sausage
adapted from The Un-Constipated Gourmet: Secrets to a Moveable Feast
Serves 4

Notes: Instead of bratwurst, we used chicken apple sausages. 

4 bratwursts (precooked), whole or chopped into 1-inch pieces
3 slices thick-cut bacon, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 medium onion, peeled and chopped
1 tablespoon butter
1 pound sauerkraut, drained
1/2 cup beef or chicken broth
2 tart apples, such as Granny Smith, peeled, cored, and chopped
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 bay leaf
1/4 cup dry white wine
salt and pepper, to taste

In a large skillet (we used cast iron), cook the bacon until crisp, about 7 minutes. Remove the bacon to a paper towel-lined plate with a slotted spoon. Remove all but 2 tablespoons of bacon fat from the skillet.

At this point, the recipe suggests you just toss the excess bacon fat. I say, keep it, you fools! Leftover bacon fat is great to use instead of butter for pan-frying potatoes, caramelizing onions, sauteing veggies, and making any kind of beans (such as refried). We strain it through a paper towel into a jar and store it in the fridge where it will keep for weeks (months too, probably?). 

Spoon one tablespoon of the bacon fat plus a tablespoon of butter into another large skillet, and leave the remaining tablespoon in the original skillet. In the new skillet, saute the onion until tender, 5-7 minutes. Add the sauerkraut, saute 1 minute. Add the broth, apples, sugar, bay leaf, and wine. Cover and cook for another 10 minutes or so over low heat. Add the bacon and continue cooking for another 10 minutes while you do the next step.

In the original skillet, where you left that tablespoon of bacon fat, saute the sausage for about 10 minutes, until it's browned in spots.

At this point, you can either add the sausage to the sauerkraut mixture and cook the whole thing for another 10 minutes, then serve in a bowl, or you can let the sauerkraut mixture cook for another 10 minutes by itself while keeping the sausage warm, and pour the mixture over the sausage to serve. It's up to you, just don't forget to remove the bay leaf.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Broccoli Bacon Quiche

Apparently I've been eating quiche the Weight Watcher's way my whole life, thanks to my mom. I had no idea this was a "light" version of a quiche until I asked my mom for her recipe last week. Normal quiche recipes call for heavy cream and lots of eggs, but this recipe only uses 4 eggs total and 1 cup of evaporated milk.

We've been eating variations of this quiche for brunches and holiday breakfasts as long as I can remember. Sometimes we use chopped leftover ham instead of bacon, and you could use different vegetables like red pepper or spinach instead of broccoli. I don't know what the Points+ value is for this recipe; the original cookbook is from 1981 which used an entirely different method of tracking. You could easily enter the ingredients into a recipe builder yourself if you wanted to figure it out. What is nice about a quiche is that you get to decide how many servings you want it to be, based on how you slice it, so you can raise or lower the Points+ as you'd like.

Broccoli Bacon Quiche
adapted from Weight Watchers 365-Day Menu Cookbook
Makes 1 quiche

Notes: My mom has made many tweaks to this recipe over the years. For example, it originally calls for imitation bacon bits, but we use either real bacon bits or chopped cooked bacon. You'll notice that it calls for 1 cup of evaporated milk, yet most cans are 12 ounces. I don't know what to do with extra 4 ounces of evaporated milk. If you have a deep pie pan, you could probably use the whole can. Sometimes my mom would just buy two cans and just make three quiches (8oz x 3 = 24oz). We usually made at least two if it was for a family gathering anyway, and it makes great leftovers so having an extra one was nice.

1 standard prepared pie crust (I used a frozen one, placed in the fridge to thaw that morning), or make your own from scratch
1 cup steamed broccoli (from fresh or frozen), chopped into small pieces
2-3 heaping tablespoons cooked bacon, chopped into small pieces, or bacon bits
2 green onions, sliced
8 ounces shredded Swiss cheese
4 eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup (8 ounces) evaporated milk, regular or low-fat
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper

Preheat the oven to 325 F.

Prepare the pie crust in a pie baking dish according to package directions, if applicable (mine came in an aluminum pie plate so I just baked it in that).

In a medium bowl, combine the broccoli, bacon, and green onions.

Sprinkle half of the cheese over the bottom of the pie crust. Top with the broccoli-bacon mixture.

In another medium bowl, mix together the eggs, evaporated milk, salt, and pepper. Pour over mixture in pie crust.

Top with the remaining cheese.

Place the pie baking dish on a baking sheet (in case there are any spills) and bake in the oven for 50-60 minutes, or until a knife inserted into the center comes out clean. Let stand for 10 minutes before slicing and serving. 
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