This dinner idea really draws upon both of my sets of grandparents. My mom’s parents were born and raised in The Badger State. When you grow up with grandparents from Wisconsin, it’s hard not to grow up eating bratwurst. They’re a staple of every Badger football game, and in my family, we couldn’t celebrate the Fourth of July or a summer birthday without them. Bratwurst are, of course, a German sausage (brat– “roast/grill/fry”, –wurst “sausage”), and there are a number of ways to prepare bratwurst. You can grill them, you can boil them in beer and then grill them, and you can also skewer them and roast them over the coals of a hot campfire. I was brought up on Johnsonville brats, but recently I have also discovered that Costco also have some very tasty brats that remind me of the ones they serve at the German restaurant I worked at one summer in college. Although both sides of my family have quite a bit of German influence, but my dad’s side of the family is where we have our Polish roots. Pierogies are a Polish dumpling that is stuffed with mashed potato and cheese. Although there are other variations, when we would visit my grandma in Pennsylvania, these were typically the ones that we would eat. For the sake of time, I usually buy frozen pierogies. One of my favorite brand is Mrs. T’s, but I also get them from Schwan’s as well. One day I’ll try my hand at making my own.
Bratwurst & Pierogies with Caramelized Onions
This dinner is great for a nice dinner at home. I recently hosted a small dinner party where we had Swiss Cheese Fondue as an appetizer and then this recipe was served with my German neighbor’s Rotkohl as the entree.
- 1 package bratwurst
- 1 package frozen pierogies
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 6 medium sweets onions, halved and cut into 1/2-inch slices
Lay out brats in a large saucepan and cover with water. Cook on medium with the lid on. If the water begins to boil over, turn the hit down to simmer. Meanwhile, in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat melt butter. I sometimes replace one tablespoon of butter with 1 tablespoon of bacon fat, if I have some handy, as it adds a bit of flavor. Add the slices of onion and cook slowly until they are caramelized, about 30-45 minutes. Lower the heat if the onions appear to be cooking too quickly. When the onions have caramelized reduce the heat to medium-low, place the frozen pierogies around the caramelized onions and cook until the pierogies have browned on both sides. When the bratwurst are done cooking, remove them. At this time you can grill them over medium-high heat in a grill pan or on an outdoor grill, however this step is optional. Place the brats into the same pan as the onions and pierogies and continue to cook the pierogies until they are heated through and have begun to brown. Remove from the heat and serve family style.