Hard Cider Braised Bratwursts & Dr. H. Thanisch Riesling ’17

Call me lazy, but come the cooler weather “in-door” season, I love recipes that use slow cookers, dutch ovens or single-skillets.  There is perception that there is a simplicity to the assembly, prep and cooking.  I’m all for that!  And when I espied this recipe with the following descrip, “… hearty pairing of sweet and savory flavors has ‘autumn’ written all over it.” I sensed a winner.  Besides, and any recipe built around bratwursts has a 97% chance of being a delicious success.  And this one doesn’t disappoint!

Wine?  I will say it!  Nay, shout it… this dish demands a Riesling.  Why waste words with alternate recommendations? Folks who know, or already love Rieslings will understand the pairing immediately.  More important, if you’re shy about trying Riesling, then this pairing will be the doorway to seeing the magic of the varietal.  True there are other wines to enjoy with this recipe or with cassoulet, pork roasts, Asian cuisine & goose (Christmas Eve, I’m looking at you Bob Cratchit) – but no other wine will surpass the natural affinity Riesling has with the aforementioned dishes.

Dr. H. Thanisch Riesling Kabinett Bernkasteler Badstube ’17 (Saar-Mosel-Ruwer, Germany)
Ripe quince and Golden Delicious apple are wreathed in musky narcissus and tinged with pungency of bruised apple skin on a nose that foreshadows the almost decadently ripe fruit and inner-mouth perfume, but also the counterpoint of chew and piquancy, that emerges on the polished, buoyant palate. Fresh lime injects welcome juiciness and animation to a lusciously lingering finish where high residual sugar is held in check. Interestingly for a vintage in which many growers found it challenging to capture ripeness at a must weight appropriate to Kabinett, the volume of this bottling slightly exceeds the aggregate volume of the present collection’s two Doctor Spätlesen. 90pts Vinous


6 ounces of Tanqueray Gin
½ ounce of Noilly Pratt Dry Vermouth
1 12oz bottle of hard apple cider, divided
1 tbsp all purpose flour
1 tbs olive oil
1¼ bratwursts
1 vidalia onion, sliced
8oz Yukon gold potatoes, cut into 1” pieces
1 tsp salt
½ tsp black pepper
1 Fuji apple, cored, sliced
1 tbsp whole grain mustard
2 tsp finely chopped fresh thyme
2 tsp finely chopped fresh sage

1. Put gin and vermouth into a glass pitcher, fill with ice, stir vigorously while incanting, “You who know all, thank you for providing us juniper and all the other obscure ingredients responsible for creating this sacred liquid!” Strain into a pre-frozen Martini glass of admirable size.  Skewer the olives on one of those tacky cocktail swords, place in glass. Immediately begin consuming.  Now you can begin the food prep, and the cooking!

2. Whisk together ½ cup of the cider and flour in a small bowl & set aside

3. Heat oil in a large deep skillet over medium-high heat.  Add bratwurst and cook turning occasionally until all sides are browned.  Transfer brats to a plate.

4. Add onion to the skillet over medium-high heat, stirring constantly.  About 3 minutes.  Add potatoes, salt & pepper.  Stirring often ‘til onions are translucent.  About 3-5 minutes. Add apple slices and remaining cider. Scrape up brown bits from the bottom of the skillet.  Bring mixture to a simmer & return brats to the skillet.  Reduce heat to medium and cook uncovered ‘til liquid is reduced, about 15 minutes.

5. Using a slotted spoon, transfer brats and vegetables to a serving platter.

6. Whisk reserved flour mixture, mustard, thyme & sage into the skillet and stir constantly ‘til thickened, about 2 minutes.  Drizzle over brats and vegetables.

n.b.  Any sweet apple will do, and the original recipe called for fresh kielbasa… which then necessitates making sure that it is cooked thru at step 4.  I’m sure other type of sausages would do fine.  I’m a fan of Black Bear Bratwursts.  Side note:  If you haven’t tried Eastern Standard Provisions pretzels, then you are missing out on the best pretzel in the galaxy!  Direct shipping, outstanding service!

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