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Entries in Woodchuck Draft Cider (2)

Thursday
Nov212013

Bratwurst and Apple Kale Kraut Sandwiches

Bratwurst and Apple Kale Kraut Sandwiches

You’re going to love these! Bratwurst simmered in hard apple cider, served with a tangy, slightly sweet “kraut” made with sautéed apples and kale. It’s a little vinegary, a little sweet and a little spicy from cinnamon and cloves. Add some spicy coarse mustard and tuck it all into a bun and you’ve got my twist on sausage and peppers. German style! (Once again, I’ve continued the tradition of not being able to photograph a sandwich to save my life. They may not be gorgeous, but they’re damn tasty!)

I’m back with another Nature’s Greens kale post. It’s been a while, right? We’ve still been eating, I just haven’t been posting. Moving on though, and please read on to see how you can win a trip for two to Myrtle Beach or Charleston, SC for a two night hotel stay--plus $1,000 in spending money from Rawl/Nature’s Greens!

This contest is the Show Us Your Heritage Recipe Contest. It’s all about--you guessed it--your family heritage. I’ve touched on my husband’s heritage here once or twice, but not mine. I’m mainly German, with some Scottish, Irish and French tossed into my family tree.  I’m kind of hot tempered, but very interesting. Ha!

The Nature’s Greens products are washed, chopped and ready to go at a moment’s notice. It’s a full line of pre-cut and triple-washed leafy bagged greens like kale, collards and mustard greens. It’s available in both one and two pound packages, and ready for you to pick up year round.

Nature's Greens/Rawl

You’re probably wondering their policies on GMO’s. I asked Nature’s Greens about GMO products and was very happy with their reply:

“We support sustainability by incorporating integrated pest management into our growing practices. Integrated pest management means we release beneficial insects into the growing area, and grow certain types of flowers to attract these beneficial insects. In addition, our products are bred using traditional breeding methods and they are not genetically modified.”

Nature’s Greens are available in at Hannaford, Wegmans, Whole Foods and Wal Mart, they’re available in one and two pound packages, and available year round. They’re produced by WP Rawl, a leading producer of fresh bulk and packaged greens based in Pelion, SC.

· Visit www.rawl.net for recipes

· Like Nature’s Greens on WP Rawls’ Facebook at www.facebook.com/wprawl to stay connected

Bratwurst and Apple Kale Kraut Sandwiches

I was thinking about my German heritage. I don’t have any family recipes from that side, my dad’s side. His grandmother did all of the cooking when he was a kid--his mom? Zero. Zilch. Her idea of cooking was not to cook. And my dad never thought to carry on with his grandmother’s recipes--he was just a kid. To hear him talk about her cooking, though--my great grandmother and I would have been like two peas in a pod.

I was thinking about kale, and then Bratwurst came to mind. We love sausage and pepper sandwiches, so what if I could make a twist on those? Yeah, why not?! Since the Brats were going to simmer in hard apple cider, why not go that route and make an apple-onion-kale type kraut to serve with them? It worked beautifully! These are so different and delicious. Funny, we went to an Oktoberfest last month that was catered. THE most bland food I’ve ever had. When I got the “how did you like us” survey in an email? I told them I could cook circles around their caterer--and I just did. His brats and kraut were dismal. These are not!

Bratwurst and Apple Kale Kraut Sandwiches

Makes 5 servings

1 package of original style Bratwurst (I had a pack of 5)
2 - 12 oz. Hard Apple Ciders (I always have Woodchuck on hand, so I used that)
1 medium onion, peeled, cut in half and sliced thinly
2 apples, peeled and sliced thinly (I used Macouns, but use what you have - just not too soft of an apple)
2 medium garlic cloves, minced
oil for sautéing
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 tsp cinnamon
2 - 3 pinches ground cloves
1 tbsp honey
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
3 cups Nature's Greens Kale

Rolls for serving the Brats on
Coarse pub-style mustard

Bring the two ciders to a low boil in a medium sized pot. Poke just a couple of holes in each brat and add them to the cider. Reduce to simmer and let them go for 12 minutes. Remove from the cider and set aside.

In a large skillet, heat a bit of oil--just enough to cover the bottom of the pan. Finish the brats by browning them on all sides, about 2 minutes or so per side. Remove from the pan and set aside.

Using the oil that's still in the pan, sauté the onions and apples for about 5 minutes over medium heat. Add the garlic, a bit of salt and pepper, the cinnamon, cloves, honey, vinegar and kale. Cook for just a few more minutes, until the kale is wilted and everything is mixed together well. Taste for seasonings and adjust.

Spread some of the mustard inside the buns, add some of the apple-kale-onion kraut, and a brat to each bun.

  • These are incredibly simple to make. From a quick weeknight dinner to just before the game, you’ll be eating in no time. Tailgating? Try these this weekend and give your friends something different to eat!
  • I made these this morning and didn’t know if I’d want to eat one so early in the day after photographing it, but I could not stop going back for just one more bite. I ate the whole damn thing, and loved every single bite. In fact, the leftovers are for dinner tonight and I can’t wait to have more!
  • I think my great grandmother would have loved these. I know my dad will, and I can’t wait to share.
  • Oh! The kraut would be a nice side dish to any pork dinner, as well!

Now, go enter the contest! Dig down into your family heritage and twist those recipes up with some greens from Nature’s Greens and Rawl! Once again, one grand prize winner will win a trip for two to Myrtle Beach or Charleston, SC for a two night hotel stay--plus $1,000 in spending money from Rawl/Nature’s Greens! Hurry up!

Bratwurst and Apple Kale Kraut Sandwiches

Thursday
Mar032011

Woodchuck Draft Cider Chocolate Truffles

Woodchuck Draft Cider Chocolate Truffles

Yeah…so I’m still in love with Woodchuck Draft Cider. It’s such a refreshing drink when you want an alternative to an ice cold beer--have an ice cold cider! It’s crisp and packed with flavor. Or even better? Have some Woodchuck Draft Cider Chocolate Truffles with your ice cold cider!

Some of you may remember my Woodchuck Draft Cider Sorbet from last summer. That incredibly easy recipe has become my #1 viewed recipe on this whole blog! Thanks to all of you that keep Stumbling it. Truly appreciated. I was thinking about different ways to use it, and in honor of St. Patrick’s Day, which is just around the corner, I decided to try making Woodchuck Cider infused chocolate truffles.

I’ve made flat truffles before (which are one of the simplest and most velvety truffles I’ve ever had), but this time, I wanted round ones. I also wanted to coat them in chocolate instead of a dusting of cocoa. I needed a way to infuse the cider into the ganache--and as you know, you can’t add too much liquid to your ganache, there are limits here, people! Universe fabric and strands of time may be altered if you ruin your beautiful chocolate. It’s true. (Or maybe you’ll just break your ganache and then you’ll have to try to fix it.) I decided that the best way would be to reduce the cider and intensify the flavor.Chocolate Ganache

Woodchuck Draft Cider Chocolate Truffles

makes about 32 truffles (I can’t be sure because of truffle thieves wandering in and out of the kitchen while my back was turned.)

2 12 oz bottles Woodchuck Draft Cider
1/2 cup heavy cream
11 1/2 oz bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
1 tbsp butter, at room temp
For coating:
1 1/2 cups chocolate, chopped
1 1/2 tsp shortening

Pour the ciders into a small saucepan, and bring to a boil. Watch the pot carefully, as the cider will really foam up when it hits a boil. Stir if it does foam up, and it will go back down. Set the pan to simmer (just a bit of bubbling) and let it go, stirring occasionally, for about 45 minutes to an hour. I went from 24 oz cider to about 6 oz (3/4 of a cup). Set aside to cool.

Place the chopped chocolate and the butter in a medium sized bowl. Heat the cream and 4 tbsp of the reduced cider in a small saucepan to just a simmer-swirl it around a bit a couple of times. As it starts to bubble around the edges and a bit in the middle, remove from the heat and pour over the chocolate and butter. Let it sit for about 2 minutes, then stir it gently with a rubber spatula. Don't stir it vigorously, or you'll add too much air to the ganache. Fold it all in gently until completely combined, and you have a bowl of velvety chocolate that you'll want to stick your whole face into. Seriously, you'll want to. Let me just look away and give you some privacy…

If you haven’t devoured the ganache with your face yet, cover it with plastic wrap, touching the surface of the chocolate, and refrigerate for about an hour to an hour and a half. When it's chilled, pull it out of the fridge. Cover a baking sheet with a piece of parchment paper or foil. Instead of rolling the truffles in my hands, I used my 2 teaspoon cookie scoop from OXO. This was a huge timesaver and made so much less of a mess. I highly recommend using one if you can.

Scoop up the ganache and place the truffles on the baking sheet. I found that if a truffle was shaped a little funny, I could fill an empty space with more ganache and smooth it out easily with the warmth of my fingertips. When you've finished, place the baking sheet back in the fridge so the truffles can chill.

When you're ready to coat them, melt the 1 1/2 cups of bitter or semisweet chocolate and the 1 1/2 teaspoons of shortening in the microwave. (I like to use a small bowl that's deep rather than shallow. That way, you're not hitting the bottom of the bowl when you dip them.) Start with a minute, then melt it in 30 second increments, stirring after each time. Keep going until it's completely smooth. Take the truffles out of the fridge, and using a candy fork or regular fork, dip one truffle at a time in the melted chocolate. Lift it out of the chocolate and let it drain, gently tapping the fork against the bowl. Place the truffles back on the sheet. If you're going to sprinkle something over the top, do it now, and quickly, because they set up fast.

Chill them all completely in the fridge. In cooler weather, I'd say store them at room temp, because the chocolate will taste so much better. But if it's warm in your part of the world, the fridge would probably be the best place. Just take out a couple at a time and let them warm up a bit before you eat them.

  • They taste great! I mean, they’re chocolate truffles infused with hard cider--they’ve got lots going for them already! I’d definitely store these at room temperature, because that brings out the flavors even more.
  • I’d love a super intense cider flavor, and I can taste the cider in there, but I want more. This may call for more experiments in truffles. Not a bad thing when you think about it.
  • EDIT! It seems that a few days later, the flavor of the truffles has significantly intensified. Very happy about that! The coating has lost it's shine, though, so bummed about that. It hasn't lost any flavor, though! So--maybe make the ganache balls and let them age for a few days, then dip in chocolate. Or, I may have to temper some chocolate, after all. Further updates will follow!

Woodchuck Draft Cider Chocolate Truffles