Bratwurst in a Crock Pot
To say that I’ve been relying on my slow cooker a lot lately is a massive understatement. We’re in soccer season now, which means twice weekly soccer practices that don’t end until 7:15. This is a huge issue. I can’t pick the boy up and feed him dinner at 4:00 so he has time to digest before practice, but I don’t have time to cook since we’re not rolling home until after he’s already supposed to be fed, showered and nearly ready for bed. I don’t know what I’d do without my slow cooker.
Because I do work from home, I don’t necessarily need to start something cooking first thing in the morning. That’s how I came up with the bratwurst idea. There’s no reason why you couldn’t do this entire meal on the stovetop if you happened to be home to do it.
- 2 packages Trader Joe’s Nurenberger bratwurst (serves about 4)
- 2 onions, roughly sliced
- 1 beer
- 1 Tbsp butter
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground pepper
On the stovetop, saute onions in butter. Why butter? Because butter brings out the best in onions. Also a pinch of salt and a dash of pepper. When golden brown, add onions to the slow cooker.
In the same pan, now empty, bring one 12 ounce beer to a boil for approximately 5 minutes. This reduced the beer from 12 ounces to roughly 4 ounces. Add that to the onions at the bottom of the crock. (For those of you worrying that I’m getting my kid drunk on beer sauce, less than 10% of the alcohol remains after cooking, and he’s not exactly drinking the sauce. With most beer being between 5%-6% alcohol by volume to start with, this reduces the effective alcohol to less than 0.5%, and that’s for the full serving.)
Again, in the same pan, sear the outsides of the sausages for flavor. You don’t have to worry about cooking them through, just giving them some color. Add to the crock.
Set for two hours at low heat. Pick up the kiddo, wrestle him into his soccer cleats and shin guards, sit through 90 minutes of practice, and come home to a fully cooked dinner.
Serve with crusty bread and your fruit or veggie of choice. We had watermelon and carrot sticks. Gourmet? You bet.
The beer gives it a depth of flavor that other ingredients just don’t, and just enough moisture to properly heat the sausages without burning.
I asked the Assistant for his opinion. He didn’t answer because he was too busy stuffing his face full. No, really. Of the 16 tiny sausages that I cooked, he ate seven of them. I’d call that a success.