Tuesday, May 24, 2011


You know, sometimes I just love this blog. Just when I think that I've run out of things to post, somebody sends me an email with a new direction. A lady that lives in Mountain View sent me some recipes that I can't wait to try. The sound drop-dead delicious! (literally)

The following recipe is obviously man food, but I'll include our emails first. Marianna van Erp saw my post on Sausage. She emailed me to let me know that our families were acquainted, and give me one of her family recipes.

From Marianna:
The Rathjens brothers were friends of William van Erp, and probably of his father Dirk van Erp, both notable metalwork artisans in San Francisco.
I am the widow of William's son, also named Dirk van Erp, a SF architect. Whenever we had kale and frankfurters, William always mentioned the Rathjens and their wonderful sausage.

From our family cookbook:
Kale and Frankfurters
This recipe, stampot van boerenkool met worst, was brought from Holland by Great Grandma Mary Benama, mother of Josephine van Erp.. The thrifty Dutch use mashed potatoes to extend many vegetables. Be sure to make them buttery. This is better the second day made into patties and sautéed in still more butter. Serve with more butter and good quality frankfurters. Proportion of kale to potatoes is about 1/4 pound kale to 4 or 5 potatoes but may vary as the cook pleases. Dirk van Erp

kale, thoroughly washed, finely chopped
salt pork or bacon (optional but yummy)
mashed potatoes
salt and pepper to taste

Cook kale with salt pork in a covered pot in an inch or two of water until kale is tender.. Drain. Remove salt pork. Chop fine. Make mashed potatoes laced with butter and mix with kale and pork. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve with heated frankfurters.

Of course, I immediately emailed her and ask for her permission to publish, then she sent me the following:

You have my permission to use the letter.

When choosing the sausage, I suggest one with a firm texture, a contrast to the rich soft potato mixture.
BTW, I found your blog while looking for an answer in a knotty NYT crossword. I spotted the name Rathjens. Sure brought back memories.
Marianna van Erp
Mountain View CA

Bratwurst is pronounced Brahtwurst. Which means fry (brat) wurst (sausage) in German. Bratwurst is made of pork and veal, or pork and beef, then stuffed into a casing. It is seasoned, and was originally sold fresh and ready to cook. The sausage needed to be cooked thoroughly. Pork should never be served raw. Though cooking bratwurst can be done many ways, the best way is grilled over a bed of charcoal. It is almost impossible to find fresh raw bratwurst anymore. The shelf life is not long enough and has too many chances to pass a food borne illness.

Now that we are past the yucky part, lets talk about Man Food. Bratwurst is usually best served with German potato salad, or the kale/potato recipe above. It is great with sauces, of which there are hundreds. And of course, a good German dark beer. Hot dog wieners are bratwurst, but the off the shelf kind can be particularly disappointing. Bratwurst can be served with a good German sweet mustard. I like Fred's Stone-ground Horseradish Mustard, from Payne's Creek CA.

My only problem lately is finding a really great premium bratwurst. There are lots of recipes for serving them up, but just like anything else, if it going to be great, you will need great ingredients.

What is your favorite Bratwurst???




charlie two crows said...

Ernie, my personal favorites come from evergood foods in SF. If your ever in the city, on thursday afternoon you can buy direct from the plant in 10 lb. Lots. Fresh made that day. Not frozen, even fresh Head cheese. Call and ask for correct day and time. Look at evergoodfoods.co. I have mine sent by fed-X with dry ice to nv.

Anonymous said...

The Brat worst looks delicious, but isn't there a better BBQ happening soon?

Ernie Branscomb said...

Thanks Anon, I'll do a post about that Barbecue in a day or two. I don't want to leave it up too long.

samoasoftball said...

Johnsonville. But I will eat pretty much anything.

spyrock said...

so where's the barbeque. i'm getting hungry looking at that picture.

Kristabel said...

I'm a little late to this sausage party, but I just wanted to let you know that the Loleta Meat Market carries homemade bratwurst.