Superbowl Sunday – Bite Sized Brats!
Superbowl Sunday is coming up. One of my favorite times of the year and without a doubt the sporting event I look forward to most. Football is my favorite sport and it doesn’t get any bigger or better than the Superbowl.
When we were kids, we always went to my friend, Sarish’s house to watch the big game. All of our parents watched on the big screen, while we were relegated to the smaller tv downstairs, but in a basement that had a ping pong table and other activities (foosball) to entertain us with. Our snacks then consisted of chips and salsa and if we were lucky, his mom’s lasagna! During college, we upped the ante a little bit – we ordered tons of wings from Buffalo Wild Wings and had many cases of beer. It was the ultimate “MAN” night.
At home now, I get a little bit more creative. Still fun food that you want to eat during a game, but just updated with a little twist. The other day, I picked up some bratwursts since my dad is a fan of all types of meat in tube form. We boiled some, grilled others and enjoyed. I had a few brats leftover and I got to thinking about how I could use it for the superbowl. I like my brats with grilled onions and mustard. But since the Packers are in the superbowl, I figured cheese would be a welcome addition.
And voila, there it was – a toasted hot dog bun, with a cheese-dijon fondue, grilled bratwurst, caramelized onions, and a little fresh basil. It’s a perfect bite. Easy to assemble, easy to eat, and nothing that will require you to put your beer down. It looks great, tastes even better. And what I love about it is that it’s still just a brat with some cheese and onions – if that doesn’t scream football food, I don’t know what does.
Superbowl Bratwurst Bites (makes 36 appetizers)
(recipe courtesy of Vivek Surti)
In order to make this really easy to assemble, prioritize. Get the onions and cheese sauce done first (up to a day beforehand) because they take the longest. While you are browning the brats, heat them back up, and assemble quickly so everything is nice and hot.
6 bratwurst sausages (or any sausage you like)
Put the bratwurst in a pot and cover with water (or beer). Bring the pot up to a boil, then reduce the heat to simmer and cover the pot. Leave the pot on the heat until the brats are cooked through, about 10-15 minutes. Remove the brats from the liquid and then slice each brat into 6 pieces (that means you’ll have 36 appetizers, so if you need more, cook more brats).
Get a saute pan out over medium high heat. At this point, we are just going to brown the sausages up for some extra flavor. Add the sausage into the pot (you may need to do this in batches) until all of the sausage is nicely browned. Drain on paper towels, and wait until ready to assemble.
2 onions, very thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 sprigs of fresh thyme
1 tablespoon butter
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Get a pan over medium heat and add the butter. Once the butter melts, add the onions and season with salt. Toss to coat in the butter and turn the heat to medium low. Add the thyme, and let the onions slowly brown and caramelize, about 20-25 minutes. Add the garlic cloves and cook for another 5 minutes. Remove the thyme sprigs, add the black pepper, and taste to ensure there is enough salt. The onions should be sweet, brown, and still retaining a lovely silky texture.
If your onions are browning too fast or getting black, add a little bit of water (1/4 cup) to the pan to deglaze and let you control temperature. You could easily use the water (or beer) you are boiling for the brats
This will make a lot more cheese sauce then you need, but you can use leftovers as cheese dip or for mac n cheese!
3 T unsalted butter
1/4 cup chopped onions
1/4 cup all purpose flour
1/2 tsp kosher salt
4 cups of milk
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
2 tablespoons dijon mustard
Let the butter melt in a pot and add the onion. Season with the salt and let cook until the onion is translucent. Add the flour and using a wooden spoon, get all of the flour incorporated into the butter. Let cook for about 5 minutes to get rid of the raw flour taste. While whisking, add in 2 cups of milk and make sure to incorporate, and then add the other two cups. Let the mixture come to a boil and then reduce it to a simmer.
*NOTE: The sauce must come to a boil in order for the flour’s thickening agent to start working. If you simply simmer the sauce, it will never get thick.
When the sauce is at the proper consistency, whisk in the 2 cups of cheese, over low heat and whisk until melted. Keep your heat low here, because if it is too high, then the cheese will curdle, and you’ll have a grainy sauce.
Right at the end, once the cheese is fully melted, add the mustard, whisk it in, and then shut off the heat. Taste it – it should be rich, cheesy, and mustardy!
6 hot dog buns
First, toast your hot dog buns. When toasted, split the buns in half, and cut each half into 6 equal pieces. This way, you’ll have 1 bun for each brat (again, adjust to how many people you are serving, you’ll have plenty of onions & fondue for whatever you do).
On the toast, add a little bit of cheese sauce, cradle the brats in the cheese, add a little bit on onions on top, and garnish with a small basil leaf. When you put the brats on a plate, add some paprika for a touch of color and spicy kick. You could also add cayenne.
Enjoy the game everyone. Here’s my prediction:
Steelers 24, Packers 21 – Should be a very close game. Big Ben wins it in the end for the Steel City.