Monday, September 07, 2009

Deconstructing sausage with sauerkraut

Last week we had a cookout, and, as is not uncommon, we bought too much food. Extra meats (mostly sausages) and breads (hot dogs buns and those "deli thins" for making sandwiches with grilled eggplant) could easily be frozen, but the sauerkraut, well, it doesn't really freeze well and there was no way we could eat all that sauerkraut with a little bit on each brat. So, taking a page from Mark Bittman's "reverse the ratio of sauce to pasta" approach, I decided to make a leftover dish that features the sauerkraut a little more heavily...

1. For each adult portion (our kids aren't eating sauerkraut yet), I pulled apart a hot dog bun, spread the insides with a flavorful fat (in this case, a garlic-and-thyme-flavored mixture of olive oil and chicken fat that was a byproduct of making chicken confit awhile ago), and put them fat-side down in a hot non-stick skillet.

2. Once the hot dog buns were well toasted, I pulled them out (they became the starchy base for the meal) and put in a little extra fat and a couple of sausages (in this case, those fully-cooked chicken sausages that are called "Italian" and taste good but not really at all like Italian sausages), cut on a bias into 3/4" slices, and browned them on both sides.

3. I removed the sausages and reserved, added a bit more fat and some sliced onions. Once the onions were well browned, I added quite a bit of sauerkraut and the browned sausages, heated through, then served over the hot dog buns.

It was delicious; a more liquidy sauce would have dissolved the super-processed-white-bread hot dog rolls into nothingness, but the sauerkraut was fairly dry so the toasted side of the bread stayed crisp even with all the sauerkraut and onions laid over it. The sweetness of the sausages and hot dog rolls was an excellent complement to the sourness of the kraut and sharpness of the onions. And, we used up a lot of sauerkraut.

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