Not quite a summery food post but I learned about this particular dish while we were checking out a new brewery in our neighborhood, Dovetail. Dovetail makes German, Belgian, and Czech style beers. We really like them a lot. After the brewery tour on Saturday we struck up a conversation with one of the owners about sausages. The two owners had spent time in Germany doing the Siebal Master Brewer program and he asked if I made blaue zipfel (or was it sauer zipfel? not sure, I’d had a few beers and they’re the same thing apparently). I replied, what’s that?
Blaue zipfel is a sausage dish (obviosuly) and one which goes well with beer. Research told me it is little skinny sausages simmered with onions in a vinegar braise. The name comes from the fact the vinegar bath turns the sausages from a porky pink to blue. Zipfel means tips so if your sausages are tied off then you end up with blue tips. Thus the name. From scanning the interwebz I realized it’s a simple dish to make. Braise onions in a vinegar and wine, then add the little sausages which cook in about 5 minutes.
Ah but what kind of sausages. Blau Zipfel is from Franconia, and the sausage chosen for this is the Nurnberger (Nuremberg is in Franconia). Nurnbergers look a lot like what we know as breakfast links but do not taste like them at all. Don’t you dare substitute them here!
Of course being a German sausage comes with rules and the Nurnberger has some. They are stuffed into skinny casings and can weigh no more than 25 grams. Legend has it they were made this small in order to fit through the keyhole of the city gate so the sausages could be sold after the gates were shut and locked for the night. A more probably story is butchers could sell more of little sausages for greater profit than bigger ones. You can easily eat a dozen of these and not be filled up at all. Either way, the Nurnberger brat is a little guy.
I had a little bit of pork shoulder left over from some other sausage making so I cranked some out. Of all the Nurnberger recipes I came across, all had marjoram in common. Some had mace, a little nutmeg but all had marjoram. They are good! Very tasty and savory and you could easily eat a dozen of them and not feel stuffed. I need to add these to the rotation. Ok, back to blaue zipfel.
I don’t know if my vinegar and wine ratios are correct here. A lot of the recipes were all over the place. Some used a liter of broth and 100ml of vinegar (didn’t seem very vinegary) and some just used vinegar (too vinegary).
My earlier reservations about sausages cooked in onions and vinegar were unfounded. Eating blaue zipfel I could see that yes, this would be an excellent dish to have while sitting in a beerhall drinking good German beer. I can see now why the owner was so excited asking if I made this!
- 1-2 large onions, sliced
- 1 C cider vinegar
- 2 C white wine
- 6 juniper berries
- 3 bay leaves
- 1 tsp sugar
- 12-18 Nurnberger bratwurst
In a large pan or pot combine the onions, vinegar, wine, juniper berries, and bay leaves. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to simmer and cover. Cook for 10 minutes or until onions start to soften.
Add the sausages to the simmering onions. Cover and cook 5 minutes, or until sausages are cooked. Shouldn’t take long, the Nurnberger brat is really small.
Spoon onions and sausages onto a plate, eat with beer.