Thursday , 30 March 2017

Super Hot Mett with Chow Chow

So my husband is going out of town this weekend for a conference in Cleveland.  He wasn’t planning on coming home for dinner but when I was making my meal plan I kinda um…forgot about his trip *cringe* especially since I actually had it written out but then didn’t refer to my planned copy!

Since I didn’t want the food to go to waste I asked him to come home and eat before he left.  Because of that, I needed something super fast.  He wanted to leave by 7 and I don’t get home until 6.  When I looked over my menu plan, I decided that this seemed like the quickest meal I had scheduled.

The super hot metts themselves I bought from Kroeger & Sons at Findley Market.  My goal is to one day have a Kitchen Aid stand mixer so I can grind my own, but until that magical rainbow day come I’ll have to throw myself on the mercy of others.  Luckily, Kroeger & Sons makes super tasty sausages using lean meats so it’s not like it was a sacrifice.  *Oh no! Don’t make me eat a yummy bursting with flavor sausage.  Nooooooooo”

My main contribution to the meal was chow chow.  I ran across this idea on a website and I was fascinated.  For me it was a new food discovery; I’d never eaten nor even heard of chow chow.  I see the word chow chow and I think of the dog breed which luckily, has nothing to do with the actual food itself.  Apparently chow chow is a traditional summer relish that’s often used to top grilled meats and the different varieties are endless.  In my chow chow search I’ve seen recipes that use green tomatoes, red tomatoes, cabbage, corn, cauliflower, green beans, and onions all mixed with a variety of different spices.  The one constant was that there were vegetables cooked in vinegar – after that everything else seems open to interpretation. (And southern/amish traditionalists please don’t kill me.  I don’t know how it’s “traditionally” supposed to be so I made up my own.)

Image of Super Hot Mett with Chow Chow

On a side note – what is the difference between a bratwurst and a mettwurst?  According to the handy dandy Cook’s Thesaurus http://www.foodsubs.com/MeatcureSausage.html a bratwurst is “made with pork and sometimes veal, and seasoned with subtle spices” while a mettwurst has this description “People in Cincinnati use the name to describe a kielbasa-like sausage that’s made with beef and pork, seasoned with pepper and coriander, and smoked.”

Further research i.e. Wikipedia has long descriptions but as near as I can tell they both are made up (at least in Cincinnati, I guess it’s different in Germany) finely minced, or ground meat, usually pork.  A traditional brat is mildly seasoned while a mett is more highly seasoned (which might explain the red color vs. the white).  I emailed both Queen City Sausages and Kroeger & Sons (where I bought these metts from) about the difference but unfortunately didn’t get a response.

Super Hot Metts with Chow Chow

  • 4 super hot metts (could also use brats, or regular metts, etc.  If you really wanted to switch it up a bit use some chorizo or linguisa)
  • 4 whole wheat hot dog buns
  • 2 cups of red tomatoes – chopped and seeded
  • 1 yellow bell pepper (I used green for the picture but I think I’d experiment with yellow to see if it looked “prettier”)
  • 1/2 – 3/4 cup of red onion
  • 2 – 3 hot peppers, seeded and diced – options include: sport peppers, jalapenos, banana peppers, yellow wax, etc.  The amount you use just depends on how spicy you want your finished chow chow to be
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded cabbage (I just bought a bag of pre-shredded coleslaw mix and used some of it, carrots and all)
  • 1 – 2 celery stalks, sliced thinly (it’s just for a fun crunchiness factor)
  • 3/4 cup cider vinegar (could also use white or try some other vinegar)
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup white sugar (could use all of one kind if you wanted)
  • 1/2 teaspoon of tumeric
  • 1/4 teaspoon of ground ginger
  • 1 1/2 – 2 inch stick of cinnamon (could also use 1/2 tablespoon of ground cinnamon but I havn’t experimented with that yet so I’m not completely sure how it would work)
  • 6 whole black peppercorns
  • 3 whole allspice

Preparation

  • Since chow-chow is a relish, the longer it sits the tastier it gets.  I made mine two days in advance.  Chop all of the vegetables, tomatoes through celery, and combine in a large bowl and set aside.
  • Combine the liquid and spices – everything from the vinegar through the allspice in a saucepan and boil for about 4 – 6 minutes (and yes it’s a potent smell – you’re boiling vinegar!)  If you have one of those spice bag sachets – put the cinnamon, peppercorns, and allspice in it and throw that in the pot.  That way you don’t have to bother with fishing it out later.
  • Dump all of the veggies in.  Continue to boil another 25 minutes or so until it’s not as liquidy, stirring occasionally.
  • Remove from heat, and pour into another bowl.  Pick out the whole spices and discard if you didn’t use the spice sachet (I didn’t because I don’t own anything like that but I have seen it out at stores).  Remember you’re looking for 1 cinnamon stick, 6 peppercorns, and 3 allspice.
  • Move to another bowl and allow to cool down.  Cover and refrigerate.  It’s a relish so it stays good in the fridge for 2 – 3 weeks.  I guess chow chow is traditionally canned but since I’ve never canned anything before (must try that sometime though) I just did it this way.  And besides this way is faster.

Since I had an extremely limited amount of time to make the dinner with my husband leaving, making the chow chow on Tuesday worked out well.  When I got home after work, I used the leftover coleslaw mix to make – you guessed it, a quick coleslaw (light mayo, nonfat greek yogurt, vinegar, salt, pepper, dried parsley, celery seed) for the side dish. Other than that it was just a matter of cooking the mett (boil in about half a inch of water then either grill or cook in same skillet) and toasting buns.  We did use a bit of leftover toum (garlic sauce) on the bottom of the bun simply because my husband loves that stuff but use whatever you like – mayo, mustard, ketchup, banana ketchup, chili sauce, bbq sauce, etc.

Image of Super Hot Mett with Tomato Chow Chow

This was really good.  Like really, really good considering it took me 15 minutes to throw together.  The only caveat to that quick time is that the chow chow must be made ahead.  I weighed the mett after cooking and they averaged around 3.7 oz.  It was a bit of an indulgence (a cooked portion of lean meat should only be 3 oz) but worth it.

Next time I make this I’ll work on being good and actually cutting my mett in half length-wise.  That way my portion will only be half a mett and I’ll have reduced the fat and calories, but that didn’t work out so well this time.

Must find more uses for chow chow though, that stuff was amazing although I am a huge vinegar fan in general so this was right up my alley.  I’m seeing this stuff on burgers, in meatballs and salad (egg salad, chicken salad?), with grilled chicken, the possibilities are deliciously endless.

Have you ever made chow chow before?  How do you make it and what do you use it on/in/for?

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