The Best of the Local Bratwurst: Area's Germanic Heritage Found in Great Oktoberfest Recipes

"The Best of the Local Bratwurst: Area's Germanic Heritage Found in Great Oktoberfest Recipes." Lodi News-Sentinel, 27 October 1993.

Perhaps one of the more unique aspects of living in Lodi is that there is still a strong German heritage.

Think about it for a moment. Travel to Galt, Stockton, Manteca, Tracy or Sacramento and you won't find a similar kind of heritage. Unless I've been unobservant during the last 42 years, none of these towns even come close to what we have here in the Lodi area.

I am not of German origin, but if you live in Lodi you cannot escape being touched in some way by this wonderful group of people. While many of the old-time Oktoberfest celebrations may be gone, in Lodi we are able to celebrate year-round due to an incredible abundance of sausage makers.

Let's face it, what is an Oktoberfest anyway? Beer, singing, beer, dancing, beer and bratwurst.

Bratwurst, of course, wouldn't make it on the "top 10" of low-fat foods. But, when you get right down to it, it tastes good throughout the year. And my kids prefer it to hot dogs.

The following is a collection of great Oktoberfest/bratwurst ideas and recipes - from the local sausage makers themselves.

* The three bean bratwurst casserole from Fiori's Butcher Shoppe:
3/4 lb. small bratwurst
3/4 lb. hot Italian sausage
2 tbsp. oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 large cloves garlic, pressed
2 tsp. ground cumin
1-1/2 tsp. oregano
1/4 tsp. salt, pepper to taste
1 16-oz. can tomatoes
1 19-oz. can red kidney beans
1 19-oz. can garbanzo beans
1 15-oz. can black beans

Cut sausages in 3/4-inch pieces and brown in oil for 10 minutes. Remove from heat, saute onion, add garlic, cumin, oregano, salt and pepper. Saute two minutes, add chopped tomatoes and sausage.

Simmer for five minutes, rinse and drain all beans, add to skillet and heat thoroughly.

* The Country Sausage Kitchen suggests smoked pork and beef bratwurst:

This is one of the most versatile sausages, made of both pork and beef, and gently spiced.

Cook thoroughly. Simmer for about 12-14 minutes, then serve on a bed of red cabbage or sauerkraut.

Add a dab of hot mustard, and serve with French bread.

Also can be barbecued on a grill, or microwaved. Or, saute and serve as a breakfast item with eggs or French toast.

* Lakewood Gourmet Sausage offers Paul's sausage/vegetable soup:
l lb. unsmoked sausage
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup diced potatoes
1 cup sliced carrots
1 cup shredded cabbage
1 cup sliced celery
1 cup diced mushrooms
4 cups canned tomatoes
1/4 cup rice
3 cups water
1 bay leaf

Cook the sausage until the pink has disappeared. Cut into bite-size pieces using the casing. Add all other ingredients in a large pot on top of stove and bring the mixture to a boil. Cover and simmer for one hour.

* Lockeford Meat and Sausage recommends Wisconsin style bratwurst:

Simmer the sausage slowly for about 10-12 minutes in a pan with beer, butter and onions. Leave lid on pan. Leave sausage in sauce and refrigerate over night.

The next day, grill sausage and warm sauce in pan. Serve in a roll using sauce and onion over sausage. Or, serve with rice or potatoes.

Reprinted with permission of the Lodi News-Sentinel.

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