Bratwurst, Beer & Cheddar Pretzel Pot Pie
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 bratwurst sausages
4 slices bacon, chopped
1 large yellow onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 medium carrots, diced
2 celery stalks, diced
1 pound crimini mushrooms, sliced
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon crushed dried red pepper
2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon grainy mustard
1 cup beef (or chicken) stock
1 (12-ounce) bottle beer (Oktoberfest beer would be great!)
6 to 8 small red potatoes, diced
3/4 cup half and half
2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1 large egg
1/4 cup pretzel salt or sesame seeds
Homemade Pretzels (recipe follows) or Store-bought pie crust
1 1/2 cups warm water (110 to 115 degrees F)
1 tablespoon sugar
2 1/4 teaspoon (1/4-ounce packet) active dry yeast
4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1/2 cup baking soda
2 tablespoons barley malt syrup (optional)
1 large egg (whisked with splash of water)
1/4 cup pretzel salt, coarse salt, and sesame seeds
Set a heavy-bottomed pot over medium-high heat with the oil. Once hot, cook the sausages until browned on all sides, about 6 to 8 minutes in total. Don't worry about cooking them all the way, because it'll continue to cook later on. Remove from the pot and let cool on a cutting board. Slice into thin rounds and set aside.
Add the chopped bacon and cook until crispy, about 6 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the bacon onto a paper towel lined plate. Set aside.Pour out most of the bacon grease, leaving about 1 to 2 tablespoons in the pot. Add the onions, garlic, carrots and celery and cook until soft and translucent, about 5 minutes. Stir in the mushrooms and cook until browned, about 5 minutes. Season with the salt, pepper, crushed red pepper flakes and thyme. Add the potatoes.
Sprinkle the flour over the veggies and cook for about a minute. Then stir in the sliced sausage, dijon mustard, beef stock and beer. Cook until the potatoes are almost fork tender and the sauce has reduced and thickened, about 15 minutes. Stir in the half and half and shredded cheese until melted through. Taste and adjust seasonings accordingly, adding more salt and pepper as needed. Lastly add the bacon back into the pot.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Divide the filling among 4 to 6 individual ramekins or into a 9 by 13-inch baking dish. Top each with a pretzel (or line the pretzels onto the large baking dish). Brush them with egg wash (egg whisked with a splash of water) and sprinkle with pretzel salt.
Bake until golden brown, about 15 to 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool slightly before serving/eating.
In a small bowl, combine 1/2 cup water, 2 teaspoons sugar, and yeast. Let rest in a warm spot until foamy and frothy, about 10 minutes.
In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the flour, remaining water, remaining sugar, yeast mixture, and butter. Mix with the dough hook attachment until the dough comes together. Turn the speed up to high and knead until soft and somewhat elastic, about 4 to 5 minutes. You can also knead the dough by hand on a lightly floured work surface for about 7 to 8 minutes. Transfer to a well oiled bowl and cover loosely with plastic wrap and a damp kitchen towel. Let rest in a warm draft-free spot until doubled in size, about 1 1/2 hours.
Punch the dough down and cut into 12 even pieces. Working with one piece at a time, roll each into a long rope and shape into a pretzel. Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and lightly greased with cooking spray. Continue shaping the rest of the dough. Let rest for about half an hour.
Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the baking soda and barley malt syrup and return to a boil. Boil the pretzels, in batches, for 1 minute. Flip over and cook for another minute. Using a slotted spoon, drain the pretzels and return to the baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining pretzels.
Place the boiled pretzels onto the pot pies (or just leave on baking sheets if you don't want to use as a crust), brush with egg wash, and sprinkle with pretzel salt. Bake for about 15 to 20 minutes, until golden brown. Remove from oven and allow to cool slightly before serving.