Friday, October 13, 2017

Kaiser Wiener

Well it's October so you know what that means, pumpkin spice everything! Well, yes, but it's also Oktoberfest! So, I'll be putting out a couple recipes celebrating classic German flavors that go perfectly with a cold pint. Let's start off with something I actually came up with last year, that I affectionately call my Kaiser Wiener.

My goal was to come up with a dish that contained as many prototypical German things as I could, and, outside of using a pretzel roll, I think I've done pretty well.

This recipe calls for a slightly obscure dried meat called speck. Speck is a smoked German version of prosciutto. Like prosciutto, it is great raw with cheese or wrapped around melon or asparagus, but when it's fried it cooks up like bacon. If you can't get your hands on speck you could use prosciutto, but I'd recommend very thinly sliced bacon.

The ingredients listed below are per serving so you can scale easily for any size gathering. Also, it is a one skillet method that minimizes clean-up.


1 club roll
1 tbsp unsalted butter
1 German style bratwurst
1 tbsp vegetable or olive oil
¼ c speck, cut into thin strips
1 tbsp German mustard
¼ c sauerkraut, well drained*


Heat a cast iron skillet over medium heat for a few minutes until water sprinkled on the surface boils and skitters away. Butter the inside of a club roll and toast, butter side down, in the skillet until lightly brown and toasted. Lightly frying in butter helps create a moisture barrier that will help maintain the integrity of the roll when wet toppings (ie. sauerkraut) are introduced.

Set the toasted buns aside and then brown the bratwursts in the skillet until lightly browned on all sides and heated through. Evacuate from the pan.

Pour in the oil and then add the speck. Fry the speck for 3-5 minutes until lightly crisped and browned before removing from the pan and draining.

To assemble, spread mustard on the inside of the bun, layer on the sauerkraut, place on the bratwurst, and cover with the speck. Serve with a nice cold pint of amber and enjoy!

*When I say well drained, I mean I wrapped the sauerkraut in paper towels and squeezed it out. Anything less and you get a very soggy roll even after it has been lightly fried in butter.

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Shrimp Bisque

Ok so I actually have a pretty lengthy history with this one. My parents used to do a thing called home exchanges, where a family from somewhere you want to go on vacation to comes and stays in your house and you go stay in there's. It is a good way to get cheap lodging on vacations. One time, when I was still in college, they did one over Mother's Day.

This Mother's Day coincided with my spring break, so I had to leave campus, but I couldn't go home cause there was someone else staying there. I ended up staying with my best friend and celebrating Mother's Day with his family. His mom picked 2 recipies for us to cook for her, a shrimp bisque and beef bourguignon (which my friend kept calling beef boing-boing).

Because Maryland is weird and all spirits stores are closed on Sundays, we ended up having to drive about 45 minutes to go buy the wine from the vineyard. I was helping mostly with the bisque and I liked it so much that I decided to make it my own and it's been one of my go to recipes ever since!


1lb of shrimp
4 C seafood stock
3 tbsp olive oil
2 C chopped leeks
3 cloves garlic
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp flour
2 C heavy cream
½ C white wine*
⅓ C tomato paste
¼ tsp cayenne powder
2 sprigs of thyme leaves
salt and pepper to taste


Peel and devein 1 lb of shrimp and reserve the shells. In a 2 quart sauce pan, pour in the seafood stock and the reserved shrimp shells and bring to a simmer and cook, covered, for 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and reserve your new shrimp stock, straining out the shrimp shells.

In a 4 quart stock pot add the olive oil over medium heat and once the oil is shimmering, add the leeks and garlic. Sweat the leeks and garlic for about 3 minutes until the leeks are translucent. Add the butter and melt it down before adding the shrimp and cooking the shrimp until it is pink and opaque. Next, add the flour and stirring until the flour has soaked up all the liquid and the bottom of the pan is dry.

Reduce the heat to low and slowly pour in the heavy cream, stirring constantly. Once the cream is worked in, add the white wine, tomato paste, and shrimp stock. Stir to thoroughly combine everything. Increase heat to bring to a simmer before adding the remaining spices and cook for 3 minutes.

Use an immersion blender to puree to desired consistency. You can do this in batches in a normal blender, but it is way easier to keep it all in the pot. Salt and pepper to taste and serve.

To make it a meal I serve it with my roasted garlic tomato spread on crostini and some seared trout seasoned with cayenne.

*I recommend a semi-sweet riesling or gewurztraminer. If you go with a dry white it can make it too spicy and overwhelm the shrimp taste and too sweet can really clash with seafood flavors. If you are near or in MD and can get a bottle of Boordy's riesling, that is my personal favorite.