Brats & Wine

You've likely been hearing whispers about fermented and cultured foods these days. It could be the girl at the farmer's market offering little cups of something mildly vinegary (it's kombucha, most likely), or the neighborhood hippie who has what looks like a moldy science experiment in the corner of their home (it's sauerkraut, let's hope). Not only do fermented foods like these improve digestion, but they also help your body absorb more vitamins and minerals. While things like yogurt or sourdough bread are pretty easy to figure out what to do with, what the heck do you do with a jar of sauerkraut or kimchi? If you'd like to do something more elegant than eat it out of the jar while you're making dinner, a la me, this series is for you. This recipe takes the flavors of a favorite German dish, gives it a Hungarian twist, and adds the sauerkraut at the end to make sure all that great fermentation power doesn't get cooked away.

1 TBSP olive oil

4 bratwurst or chicken sausages

1 medium onion, thinly sliced

3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced

1 large red bell pepper, sliced

1 lb creamer potatoes, quartered if large

1 bay leaf

¼ tsp liquid smoke

½ tsp freshly ground pepper

½ tsp smoked paprika

½ tsp cumin

1 tsp sea salt

1 ½ cup dry white wine

1 ½ cups sauerkraut, drained

Heat oil in large skillet over medium heat.  Add onion and cook, stirring frequently, until beginning to brown, about 2 minutes. Move onions to the side of the pan and sear sausages for about 2 minutes per side, until solidly browned.

Add garlic and cook for 30 seconds, or until fragrant. Add bell pepper, potatoes, spices, salt, and wine. Bring to a simmer, cover, and reduce heat to low. Cook for 20-25 minutes, until the potatoes are fork-tender and most of the liquid has evaporated. Remove from heat and stir in sauerkraut. Remove the bay leaf and season with extra salt to taste. Bonus points if you sop up the delicious sauce with sourdough bread.