Grabbing the Gusto

Deirdre Reid – Freelance Writer & Home Cook

I’m still cooking with beer in the Grabbing the Gusto kitchen. Just like wine, broths, juices and vinegars, beer adds flavor to a dish. And with dozens of beer styles, you have a large selection of flavors to choose from. It’s a cooking ingredient as well as one of my favorite beverages.

That’s why I was so steamed up yesterday morning. Jim and I went to the supermarket around 9:00 am to buy the fixings for a few nights’ meals since we’re expecting an ice storm and, most likely, a power outage. I planned to make a pot of chili and he planned to make a roast chicken. If we lost power, we could heat meals up on our camp stove.

When we got to the cashier with our cart full of groceries, including dark beer for my chili, we were reminded that in North Carolina, you can’t buy beer (or any alcoholic beverage) before noon on Sundays. Arrggh! This has happened to me before when I tried to buy red wine for beef bourguignon. What an antiquated regulation! I’d have to make a special trip back to the store after 12 just to buy a bottle of beer.

I bitched on Facebook and Twitter and then sat down and wrote letters to my state senator and representative. If you live in North Carolina, please join me in letting our state policy-makers know that the silent majority is fed up with living in olden times. I’m not anti-church, I believe some churches are the best communities around, but I can’t be silent about their imposition of restrictions on the rest of us just because they’re afraid of secular competition. I posted my letter on Google docs in case you’d like some ideas for writing a letter of your own.

I realize that in many states you can’t buy any alcohol on Sundays or you can’t buy beer and wine in grocery stores. That stinks too, complain about it. I’ve heard the reasoning behind these blue laws and, frankly, none of it resonates with me. So I’m bitching and I’ll keep writing these letters every Sunday morning I forget that I can’t buy beer or wine.

Back to the brats. I served them with a green vegetable and Beer Cheese Soup. You can make the brats and cabbage in no time at all, a definite 30-minute meal.

beer brats bratwurst sausage red cabbage recipe food cooking

photo by Jessie Terwilliger

Beer Brats

  • 3 bratwursts
  • 2/3 cup onion, chopped
  • 1 bottle beer – whatever’s in the refrigerator, I used a pale ale

With a sharp knife or kitchen fork, prick each sausage several times. In a saucepan, combine 2/3 cup onion and 1 bottle of beer and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Add the sausages and poach until almost cooked through, about 5 minutes or until they are done. Remove the sausages from the pan and set aside. Grill or pan-fry the sausages until cooked through and beginning to brown or char, about 5 minutes, turning to cook evenly on all sides.

Braised Red Cabbage

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 head of red cabbage, cored and sliced 1/4 inch thick
  • 2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • Pinch of crushed red pepper
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper

In a large pan, heat the oil. Add the cabbage and cook over medium high heat, stirring, about 3 minutes. Cover and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until just tender, about 6 minutes. Stir in the lemon juice and crushed red pepper. Season with salt and pepper.

Make ahead: The cabbage can be made up to 4 hours ahead. Warm up, stirring, over medium-low heat.

Original recipe: Braised Red Cabbage, Food & Wine

2 thoughts on “Beer Brats, Red Cabbage and a Beef with an Antiquated Law

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