I had a slow start to my day. I looked for job listings, I sat on the couch, I ate lunch… I felt a slug day coming on and was determined to fight it. So, I started making my list for Practice Thanksgiving, then realized I’d need a better estimate of attendees before purchasing the turkey. And I needed to decide on the second, in-bird stuffing. So, I wrote RSVP reminders and made an appointment to get my hair cut. Progress!
Then, I started on the basement. Oh, man. Basement. I got about half of it cleaned while I watched a movie down there. I’m going to have to find another exciting-but-not-intellectually-involved movie to watch tomorrow while I clean the other half. Something along the lines of “Galaxy Quest” or “National Treasure” (both of which I’ve already watched this week.)
So, it’s dark by this time, I’m hungry and I’ve been cleaning all day, so I feel finished. I didn’t expect TCB home for another hour, at least, so I started some rice and thawed the brats without a plan in mind. I mean, I guess “brats and rice” for dinner is kind of a plan, but not really a good one. TCB gots home and wasn’t thrilled with my half-assed plan, so he sliced up the brats into medallions and quarter-pieces. I grabbed the chinese eggplant from the fridge and cut that up into similar sizes (love the eggplant. $1 for two large ones? yes, please!) These items, we dumped into the large pan and started cooking them on medium heat. And then, because they needed to be eaten, I also chopped up the large garden tomatoes that I harvested this week, which were surprisingly solid. I thought I’d play with ketchup and mustard on bratwurst flavors, so I sprinkled bavarian seasoning over the sizzling eggplant/brat mix. I liked this mix because of the herbs, but mostly because of the crushed mustard seed in it and my lack of separate whole mustard seed.
So! The brat/eggplant mix had browned nicely by then, so I turned the heat to it off, TCB got out the deep casserole dish, I dumped the tomatoes into the pan to heat up a bit, then stirred it all together with a little more bavarian seasoning, a dash or two of aleppo pepper, and some lemon peel for extra “brightness.” I tried a different method of mixing my casserole, too: layering. Instead of my previous method, dump it all in and then try to mix a full casserole, I layered rice and stuff, stirring after each complete layer. This worked out really well, especially with the soft eggplant.
Result: Tasty! The tomatoes were spectacular but, as the gardener, I may be biased. I liked the larger pieces of eggplant and the smaller bits of brat: the former stayed together better and were nice and meaty when I bit into them, and the latter browned better and were more evenly distributed. I think that a crunchy veggie, like green pepper, would have added another color and texture, but I was ok with today’s result in my belly!
- 1 package bratwurst (we used staduim brats), sliced into rounds, and then those slices, quartered
- 2 large chinese eggplant, sliced (or about a pound of sliced mushrooms, just add them later)
- 2 cups brown rice, uncooked
- 4-5 large tomatoes, diced (1-2 cans of diced tomatoes, drained, I think)
- Bavarian seasoning (or about a teaspoon of whole mustard seed, curushed, and the herb mix of your choice)
- lemon zest (or juice, whatever ya got)
- aleppo pepper, regular pepper, salt, all to taste
- optional: crunchy veggie
Cook the rice.
Brown the brats and eggplants over medium heat. When that’s nearly done, add the first round of seasoning, stir. When the brats are browned, turn off the heat, add the tomatoes, add any more mustard seasoning, add the lemon and aleppo (also add the crunchy veggie.) Start heating the oven to 350F.
Start layering the rice and meat mix in the deep casserole, stirring after each complete layer, until all mixed. (I didn’t fit about a half cup of rice in the dish, which was fine.) Bake, covered, for 20-30 minutes.