Let it Roll
BRATWURST PRETZEL ROLL WITH SAUERKRAUT AND TARRAGON MUSTARD
Like most Americans, my first experience with sausage rolls was eating “pigs in blankets” as a child. They were typically Vienna sausages or hotdogs wrapped in puff pastry. Like most, I grew out of them (college excluded), until they resurfaced as a larger roll that I discovered while working in New Zealand and traveling through Australia. Particularly intriguing were Australia’s kanga bangas, similar to the American hotdog but made with kangaroo meat. It would be quite a few years before larger sausage rolls would surface again in rural Texas under the alias “kolache”.
Kolache (koh-LAH-chee) has it’s roots in the Czech Republic but enjoys a near zealous following in some parts of the US. Kolache are very often sweet pastries that resemble what most people might consider a Danish. On a recent horn-to-horn road trip through Texas I stumbled across countless roadside spots selling different styles of kolaches. Rather than the Danish-like sweet fillings, a lot of Texans were wrapping big smoked sausages in soft breads. It was a Texas-sized approach to ‘pig-in-a-blanket’.
Amongst many others, Texans take their kolache serious and there are several festivals there that celebrate all things kolache. While this recipe isn’t intended to represent either the kolaches of Texas or the sausage rolls of New Zealand or Australia it does pay homage to all things sausage wrapped in all things pastry.
I buy my pork from Palmetto Creek Farms in Central Florida. They run a transparent operation and raise big happy pigs in line with The Butcher’s Guild’s principles of ethics and sustainability. We try to bring in whole animals as often as possible. In my recent Wild Board Porchetta di Testa post I demonstrated what to do with the heads from pigs or boars. Here we utilize the shoulders, belly, and fatback to make bratwurst in house.
At Boxpark (now closed), we ferment our own sauerkraut and typically allow it to age for a couple of months before we serve it. The longer it sits the better it gets. Young sauerkraut can be crunchy and squeaky. As it sits it will develop more depth of flavor and, as a matter of opinion, a more pleasing texture.
The same is true for the mustard. Sample it on the same day that you make it and it will resemble a spicy Chinese mustard. Allow it to sit for a few weeks and the spicy notes mellow out and allow the other flavors to shine through.
1 ¼ cup dry mustard, packed
2 tsp sea salt
12 oz eggs
1 cup tarragon vinegar
¼ cup honey
Mix all ingredients together and allow to sit at room temperature for an hour.
Whisk over a double boiler until smooth. Refrigerate for at least 24 hours. It’s best after a week or two.
30g sea salt
1 head of green cabbage, sliced into ¼” ribbons
5 juniper berries, smashed
Toss the shredded cabbage with sea salt and juniper berries and allow to sit at room temperature until the cabbage starts to sweat. Gently squeeze the cabbage and pack into a glass or ceramic jar. Place a dinner plate on top of cabbage and weigh down with a gallon jug of water. Cover with cheesecloth and leave in a cool dark place. The salt will pull water out of the cabbage and make a brine. Push the cabbage down periodically to make sure that it stays in the brine. After it ferments for about a week it can be packed into jars and stored in the refrigerator.
13 oz pork belly
13 oz pork shoulder
4 oz pork fatback
2 oz cold pilsner beer or lager
12g sea salt
2g black peppercorns, toasted, ground
1g caraway seeds, toasted, ground
1g dried oregano, ground
8g evaporated milk powder
Cut all the pork into large dice and place in freezer until the edges start to freeze. Mix in salt and seasonings.
Grind through a 3/8” grinding plate. Place mixture along with beer into an ice cold mixing bowl and paddle on low speed until tacky. It should take less than 5 minutes.
Stuff the mixture into 1 ½” hog casings and twist into 5” links.
Refrigerate at least 12 hours.
Brown the sausages slightly in clarified butter being careful not to cook too much. They will be going in the oven, so you are just looking for color.
30g fresh yeast
20g sea salt
30g evaporated cane juice
175g bread flour
Dissolve yeast in water. Add in the salt and sugar. Gradually mix in enough flour to form a stiff dough.
Using a dough hook on medium speed, knead the dough for about 8 minutes adding flour as necessary.
Ferment about 45 minutes then wrap around bratwurst. Reserve a small piece of dough.
Bring the following to a boil:
2 qt water
36g baking soda
15g sea salt
Add wrapped sausages to the boil along with reserved piece of pretzel dough. Boil until the small piece of pretzel dough floats to the surface and remains at the surface for 1 minute.
Brush pretzels with egg wash and top with sea salt and/or caraway seeds. Bake at 475F for approximately 20 minutes.