Let’s talk cooking with beer.
Do you love it? Hate it? Indifferent? Never tried it?
There are so many cool ways to use beer in cooking:
- You can add beer to your frying batter (think beer-battered deep fried fish or onion rings).
- You can add beer to your chili or stew before simmering for hours (it leaves an amazing layer of flavor at the end of each bite).
- You can use beer in a marinade to give some extra depth to your meat before grilling.
- You can steam shellfish in beer and aromatics to impart way more flavor than water.
- Or, you can do as I did in this recipe, and braise your sausages in beer before throwing them on the grill.
Braising sausages in beer before grilling gives them a nice pop of extra flavor.
And you can totally choose the type of beer based on your personal preferences. I used Anchor Steam, because… Anchor Steam… but you could use a lager or IPA or pale ale, or WHATEVER YOU WANT! The world is your oyster.
You just add the sausages to a large pan, add 2 beers + water to almost cover, and simmer for a few minutes on each side until the sausages are cooked through.
This type of cooking method only makes sense with raw sausages. You want the meat to absorb the beer flavor as it cooks. Smoked pre-cooked sausages are already saturated with flavor and won’t pick up much else if you add them to a pot of beer.
I usually use pork sausages, like German bratwursts, for this type of cooking, but you could also experiment with chicken sausages if the mood strikes you!
Here’s what they looked like after the beer braise + quick pop under the broiler:
Lip-smackingly good. Make sure you broil or grill them long enough to get that nice char on the outside.
Now you could totally serve these as-is, tucked inside a grilled bun with some stone ground mustard & grilled onions, OR you can get wild and serve them over lentils!
Yep, lentils! Or more specifically, a nice sauté of Le Puy lentils (my favorite) and some aromatic vegetables and herbs (onion, carrot, celery, garlic, thyme, parsley).
Stir in some Dijon mustard, white wine vinegar, and a splash of beef broth, and you’ve got a delicious, flavorful, and filling pot of veggies & legumes waiting for you.
Then you just slice your sausages, lay them out all beautifully on a bed of lentils (or, let’s be real, just toss them on top) and dig in!
Beer Braised Bratwurst with Lentils
- 4 large raw German bratwurst sausages (about 1.5 lbs)
- 2 12-oz beers of your choice (I used anchor steam)
- 1 lb Le Puy green lentils
- 1 bay leaf
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus more for serving
- 1 large yellow onion, diced
- 2 large carrots, diced
- 3 large celery sticks, diced
- 7 cloves garlic, 5 minced & 2 whole and peeled
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh thyme
- 1/2 cup beef broth
- 3/4 cup minced fresh parsley
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
- Kosher salt and ground black pepper
- Add the lentils to a stock pot and cover with a few inches of water. Add the 2 whole cloves of garlic and bay leaf and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer until tender but still toothsome, about 20 minutes. Drain and discard the garlic and bay leaf. Set aside the lentils for later.
- Add 3 tablespoons of olive oil to a large nonstick skillet, warm over medium heat, and add the carrot, celery, and onion. Season with fresh cracked salt and pepper. Sauté, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes, until well cooked and the onions are starting to turn golden.
- Add the minced garlic and thyme to the pan and sauté for a minute or two more, until fragrant. Add the lentils to the pan, plus 1/2 cup beef broth. Stir and cook for a minute or two until warmed. Turn off the heat, stir in the parsley, mustard, and white wine vinegar. Season liberally with salt and pepper, and set aside.
- In another large skillet, place the bratwurst. Add the two beers and as much water as necessary to almost cover the sausages. Turn the heat to high, bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 10 or 15 minutes, flipping halfway through, until cooked through. Remove the sausages from the pan and set aside. Discard the beer.
- Turn on the broiler, place the sausages on the broiler rack and put a pan underneath if needed to catch the juices. Broil the sausages on high for 5 to 8 minutes on each side until nicely charred (exact timing depends on the strength of your broiler and how done you like your sausages). Remove from the broiler and let rest for a few minutes before slicing into rounds.
- Add a few scoops of lentils onto each serving plate, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with flaky sea salt. Top with sliced sausage and enjoy!