‘Tis the season. It is week three of the NFL season and while the artisanal or slow food movement folks overlap with professional football fans in very few cases, the tailgates of many fans are loaded with sausages and other cured meats finer than many restaurants serving either. The Green Bay Packers are my team, and have been the duration of my existence, and Packer fans take special pride our food.
As an astute reader may have noticed, towards the end of last season, I posted good luck pictures of Green Chile Cheese Curd Bratwursts and they were damned good. With the biggest game of the season so far against the rival Bears, I knew that I wanted that luck on my side again, but I also knew that, at any point this week, Butcher Rob would be pulled from his scabbard to attend to major life events and I may be left bratless. The easiest remedy would be to make my own version of those bratwurst.
Making the brats would allow for me to push them even further into ‘Sconnie territory. If you talk to anyone from Wisconsin and mention the third member of the triumvirate after cheese curds and sausage, nearly everyone would mention beer. Beer and brats are a winning combination, so why not put the beer in the brats? I used just of bit of a seasonal weiss beer from New Glarus.
Next, I wanted to feature the green and gold a little more, so I added some yellow chiles to the green. The chile collection from Leaning Shed farm at the Green City Market was very good this morning, so I picked up some Trinidad Spice chiles and some cayenne-like yellow chiles to go with a random green chile and jalapeno. The heat on these chiles varies with the jalapeno being somewhere in the middle. No major heat, but no sweet numbers either.
With these two material modifications in place, I went back to the basic bratwurst recipe. There are a couple good bratwurst recipes out there, but I started with Ruhlman’s from Charcuterie. I knew that there were some modifications that I wanted to make. Namely, I wanted to up the nutmeg and bring the protein power down (realizing that it has to do with the emulsion, but protein powder?). Nutmeg is one of those flavors in bratwursts that set apart the great from the good. I went double. Additionally, since I added beer, I took a little cream from the recipe to keep the liquids in line with the solids.
After combining and emulsifying, I stuffed the sausages. I saw green, gold, and a smooth emulsion. The quenelle test revealed a mild sausage with spicy bites from the chile, sweet bites from the nutmeg, and salty bites from the cheese with pork as a constant. The final tasting would be done ‘Sconnie style. Simmer in beer, mustard, and onions and then grill.
After simmering in beer, mustard and onion, I discovered that this is a serious sausage. The texture is soft and creamy inside and the pork/veal/nutmeg carries the flavor between the cheesy and spicy bites. There is a little hint of beer which could be the beer in the sausage, the beer in which the brats simmered, or the reduced cooking liquid served with the onions. Let’s hope the great flavor is matched by the great play of the Packers this week.
Chile Cheese Curd Bratwursts
adapted from Charcuterie
- 2 lbs. fatty pork (I used the collar), ground twice
- 1/2 lb. veal, ground twice
- 20 grams kosher salt
- 25 grams soy protein concentrate
- 5 grams grated nutmeg
- 3 grams ground black pepper
- 3 grams ground ginger
- 1 egg
- 3 ounces heavy cream
- 2 ounces beer
- Assorted yellow chiles (I used 5 Trinidad and 2 yellow cayenne), minced
- Assorted green chiles (I used the miscellaneous green chiles above and 2 jalapeno), minced
- 4 ounces cheese curds, chopped