Sunday, February 21, 2016

Bratstickers-Fusion Cuisine at it's Finest

This idea came to me last week when I was thinking about how much I love potstickers and have always wanted to make them myself but haven't yet. For those of you unfamiliar with potstickers, they are also called Gyoza and you can find them at most teriyaki places and Chinese or Japanese restaurants. They originated from China but have been adopted by Japan over time. They are basically a round, thin piece of dough with filling inside. They are sealed up, set in a pan with both oil and water, and covered. They are steamed and fried simultaneously until they get soft and crispy. They are absolutely delicious.

As I was thinking about these, I started thinking about the other kinds of fillings that could be used for potstickers and that made me think of how much I love German food. Potsticker filling is basically ground pork, chopped cabbage, vegetables, and seasoning. Cabbage and pork are pretty much the basis of German cuisine. It was a perfect thing to combine into a potsticker. And normally I hate it when people combine two words into one in a sort of cutesy way, like "stoup" or "cronuts" but when you are using Bratwurst in a recipe, and "brat" rhymes with "pot," you sort of have to go for it. It works in this case. So, I present to you:

1 pkg. gyoza wrappers(usually found in the refrigerator section near the tofu at the grocery store. You won't use the entire package. Wrap well and use or freeze. These can also be made to make ravioli.)
1/2 can sauerkraut, not drained
2 bratwurts, casings removed (This would work with traditional brats or chicken brats. Safeway makes a fantastic chicken brat. Try it sometime, you won't regret it.)
1 tsp. caraway seeds
2/3 cup beer of choice, German preferably

Combine the sauerkraut, caraway seeds, and beer in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer. Stir occasionally for about 20 minutes. Remove from heat, drain well, and place in the refrigerator to cool off so you can handle it with your hands. You don't want to cook the meat at this stage, so let the sauerkraut cool off as much as you can to room temperature.

When the sauerkraut has cooled down enough to handle, place it on a large plate. Add the bratwurst and use your hands to mix together. This will take a couple minutes to combine well.
Take a gyoza wrapper and place a teaspoon of filling in the center of it.(A literal teaspoon, like the measuring spoon, not just a regular spoon.) I preferred to do this for as many gyoza wrappers would fit on a standard-size sheetpan, until there was no more room. I like to do all of one step before moving on to the next. I don't know if it really saves time, but it feels more efficient.
When you have no more room, take a small bowl of water and use a finger to wet one half of the gyoza wrapper's edge. Fold up the wrapper, carefully pressing out any air as you go. Press the edges together firmly. The above picture shows the unfolded and folded wrappers. Don't worry if your edges aren't crimped and pretty like a commercially-prepared potsticker, it will cook just fine.

Continue with filling, wetting, and folding the gyoza until you run out of filling. I only needed some of them for my dinner so I left the rest on the sheetpan and froze them. I packed them up and will have them available the next time I crave them!

To cook the Bratstickers, place about a Tablespoon of cooking oil and a half cup of water in a frying pan. Place the Bratstickers in the pan and cover with a lid or a piece of foil, which is what I did. Bring them to a simmer. Let them simmer until the water evaporates and then remove the lid and let fry in the remaining oil. If you have ever made frozen, commercially-prepared potstickers, you will notice that these will look much different. The dough is thinner and turns almost translucent and you have to be much gentler when turning them over to fry on all sides.
Don't crowd the pan too much because the Bratstickers stick to one another, making it difficult to turn them over. When they have turned nice and golden on all sides, they are done. Remove them to a plate and eat up! You can use a fork, but I tend to eat them with my hands.
As I suspected, these were fantastic! They were delicate, yet crispy, and the German flavors really came through. I was highly impressed with them. I will definitely continue experimenting with potstickers, now that I know they are not that difficult to make!

1 comment:

  1. I'm trying to imagine what the dipping sauce for these would be...