Yesterday was a very important game for the Greenbay Packers against the Chicago Bears to determine whether or not they would go the playoffs, and Aaron Rodgers was back after his injury. And my husband says I don't pay attention. It's more a matter of caring, and I only care to the extent that I care that he cares.
To support Greenbay in their playoff goals, I made a Packers themed snack. A few months ago, I made steamed bao with a pork filling. While the dough recipe that I got from the LA times website was great, I didn't feel like the filling was even worth posting the recipe for. Not so this week! I decided to change from steaming to baking the bao and filled them with a mixture of sharp Wisconsin cheddar, fresh bratwurst, beer, and onions. And they were amazing! So delicious that I feel they could convert people into Packer's fans.
Greenbay Packers Baked Bratwurst Buns
First, follow the recipe at LA Times to make the basic yeast dough, or I've rewritten it below (in case they ever take it off their website)
1 1/2 teaspoons instant dry yeast
3/4 cup lukewarm water
2 tablespoons canola oil
2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
Scant 3 cups (12 1/2 ounces) flour
Put the yeast in a small bowl and mix in the water. Set aside for a few minutes, and then whisk in the oil.
In a food processor, mix together the sugar, baking powder, and flour. While the processor is running, slowly pour in the yeast mixture. The dough mixture should start to come together to form a ball. If it doesn't, add in lukewarm teaspoons of water one at a time. I find that I need to mix this together by hand a bit to get it to form a ball of dough.
The dough should be tacky, but not sticky. If it is sticky, add in a little bit of flour.
Knead the dough a couple of times to form a ball. Lightly oil the inside of a clean bowl. Place the dough in the bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Place the dough in a warm draft-free place for about 40 minutes. I like to set my oven to the lowest setting while I prepare the dough (about 170 degrees) and then turn it off just before I put the bowl in the oven. This way the oven is nice and warm.
1 lb fresh bratwurst removed from casings
1 cup shredded sharp cheddar
1/2 can of beer (I used a lager)
2 tsp corn starch
1 tsp mustard powder
1 small onion, chopped fine
2 cloves garlic minced
Heat a large skillet to medium high heat. Add in the bratwurst, half a can of beer, onion, garlic, and mustard powder. Cook until the bratwurst is no longer pink and the onion is translucent. Make sure to crumble the bratwurst as it cooks.
In a small bowl, mix corn starch with about a tablespoon or so of the remaining beer. If you already drank the extra half can of beer, just use a little cold water. Pour in to the pan and stir to mix. The mixture should thicken and create a sauce. Add in your cheddar cheese and stir until incorporated into the sauce.
Remove the filling from heat.
Heat your oven to 400 degrees.
Divide your dough into 16 equal parts. Most recipes will have you roll out perfect circles of dough, but I find the easiest way is to hand form each round. Slowly pinch out the sides of your piece of dough to form a circle, leaving the inside portion of the dough thicker than the outside.
Place about a tablespoon of filling in the center, and then create pleats and twist to close the dough. Check out the photos on the LA times website... how to assemble buns. Don't worry about doing so many pleats (I only do about 5) because you're actually going to place these seam side down on a parchment lined baking sheet.
Beat an egg and a little bit of milk to form an egg wash. Brush the top of each bun with a bit of the egg wash and bake for about 14 minutes or until golden brown. Some of them may "pop" a little when they bake, but that's ok. If you like, add a little bit of extra shredded cheese to the top of each bun before baking.
I served these with coleslaw with caraway seeds from Food Network.
I feel like I should also mention that the Packers won their game and will be headed to the playoffs.