Monday, April 10, 2017

Rhineland Himmel Unde Erde with Jalapeño Chicken Bratwurst, Smoked Bacon and Onion







     Heaven and Earth!
     Himmel Unde Erde translates to "Heaven and Earth."  Apples represent heaven and potatoes represent earth.  Himmel Unde Erde is a classic German recipe that is hearty and delicious.  Himmel Unde Erde is a traditional fall and winter entrée that will keep a person warm and comfy in chilly weather.
     Either fresh apples are cooked with the potatoes or home made apple sauce is added to the mashed potatoes.  Fresh made apple sauce or fresh apples cooked with the potatoes is a better choice, than adding a pre-made sugar free apple sauce product.  Himmel unde erde is best when the apples and the potatoes are only partially mashed, but many people like a smooth himmel unde erde texture.  Any kind of starchy potato can be used for this recipe.  I chose red bliss potatoes and I left the skins on the potatoes for more color.  The apples should be semi sweet or tart.  Gala Apples or Granny Smith Apples are a good choice.
     Sausage can accompany Himmel Unde Erde.  Any kind of Bratwurst or traditional German sausage is a classic choice.  I found some Jalapeño Chicken Bratwurst Sausages that looked quite nice at the market and I figured that a mildly spicy sausage would add an interesting flavor contrast.  By classic definition there really is no such thing as a Chicken Bratwurst except for in America, but Chicken Sausages have become popular worldwide in recent years, because they are a healthy option.
     There are a few traditional recipe variations for Himmel and Erde.  Pears take the place of apples in some recipes.  Bacon and onion is another traditional accompaniment for Himmel Unde Erde.  Rhineland Himmel Unde Erde is often served with Blutwurst (blood sausage).
     A variety of Blood Sausages are available in German delicatessens and Eastern European food markets.  Nearly all traditional Blood Sausage is made with bits of grain in the sausage meat mixture.  The grain absorbs the pig blood, which is the key flavor.  Warm whole Blood Sausage can be served on the side with Himmel Unde Urde, but if the Blood Sausage is just used to flavor the Himmel Unde Urde, then sautéing a small amount and placing it on top is a good way to feature this unique sausage flavor.  When sautéed, the Blood Sausage pieces will crumble, because of the grain content.
   
     Himmel Unde Erde: 
     This yields makes 1 hearty portion.
     While the apples and potatoes are cooking, the rest of the ingredients can be prepared.  
     Step 1:  Peel and core 1 Granny Smith Green Apple (or a Gala Apple).
     Cut the apple into fourths.
     Step 2:  Place the apple pieces in a sauce pot.
     Add 9 ounces of red bliss potatoes that are cut in half.
     Add enough water to cover the ingredients with 1" of extra liquid.
     Add 1/2 teaspoon of lemon juice.
     Step 3:  Place the sauce pot over medium high heat.
     Gently boil till the apples and potatoes become soft.
     Step 4:  Drain the water off of the potatoes and apple.
     Step 5:  Return the sauce pot with the apple and potatoes to very low heat.
     Add 2 tablespoons of unsalted butter.
     Add 2 pinches of nutmeg.
     Add 1 pinch of sea salt and white pepper.
     Use a heavy wire whisk or a potato masher to mash the apples and potatoes till the texture is almost smooth.
     Step 6:  Place the Himmel Unde Erde in a ceramic bowl.
     Keep it warm on a stove top or in a 135ºF bain marie.

     Jalapeño Chicken Bratwurst:
     This recipe yields 1 portion.
     Step 1:  Heat a griddle (or sauté pan) over medium low heat.
     Add 1 tablespoon of unsalted butter.
     Add 2 Jalapeño Chicken Sausages that weigh 4 to 5 ounces apiece.
     Grill the sausages, till they are browned and fully cooked.  Turn the sausages often, so they cook evenly.
     Step 2:  Place the sausages on a platter.
     Keep the Jalapeño Chicken Bratwurst warm on a stove top.
 
     Smoked Bacon and Onion:
     This recipe yields 1 garnish portion.
     Step 1:  Heat a sauté pan over medium/medium low heat.
     Add 1 teaspoon of unsalted butter.
     Add 1 strip of smoked bacon that is cut into 1" long pieces.
     Pan fry the smoked bacon pieces till light brown highlights appear.
     Step 2:  Add 1/2 cup of chopped onion.
     Sauté till the onions are lightly caramelized.
     Keep the smoked bacon and onions warm on a stove top.
 
     Sautéed Blutwurst (Blood Sausage):
     This recipe yields 1 garnish portion.
     Step 1:  Heat a small sauté pan over medium low heat.
     Add 1 teaspoon of unsalted butter.
     Add a 3 ounce piece of Blood Sausage.
     Sauté the Blood Sausage till it crumbles apart and the bits are lightly browned.
     Step 2:  Remove the pan from the heat.
     Remove the spent piece of sausage casing.
     Keep the Sautéed Blutwurst warm on a stove top.

     Rhineland Himmel Unde Erde with Jalapeño Chicken Bratwurst, Smoked Bacon and Onion:
     Step 1:  Mound a generous portion of the Himmel Unde Erde in a shallow single portion casserole dish.
     Step 2:  Use a perforated spoon to place the grilled bacon and onions around the border of the Himmel Unde Erde.
     Place the crumbled Sautéed Blutwurst on top of the Himmel Unde Erde.
     Place 2 jalapeno bratwurst on top of the himmel unde erde.

     Viola!  Classic Rhineland Himmel with traditional and modern sausage flavors!

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