Introduction: General Eng's Kraut Rolls

Every human endeavor takes the best of what's new and makes it its own. Chinese cusine is no exception. Case in point: Tsingtao Brewery of Qingdao, China. Started in 1903 for German settlers that wanted a taste of home, Tsingtao is now China's second largest brewery.
Based on its ingredients and brewing method, Tsingtao beer is actually a German plisner.  In fact, one of their beers, '1903' is made with the original German recipe.  Of course, this means one must ask oneself "What goes great with a German plisner?".  Bratwurst and Sauerkraut of course! "What goes great with beer in general?"  Honestly, just about anything fried.  And so, General Eng's Kraut Rolls were born.
Perfect in their simplicity, the crunch of the wrapper is then greeted by the savor of the bratwurst and tang of the sauerkraut, making your mouth just crazy happy.  General Eng's Kraut Rolls are the ideal finger food on those summer days when friends are enjoying the game over a few beers. They're also an easy appetizer before a larger meal.

Step 1: Gather the Ingredients

Ingredients (Makes 10)
1 lb Sauerkraut
2 strips Bacon
1 tbs Butter
1 tsp Soy Sauce
1 tsp Balsamic Vinegar
1/2 tsp Black Pepper
1/2 to 1 tsp Oil for cooking Bratwursts
3 Johnsonville Bratwursts
1 pkg Spring roll wrappers (200mm x 200mm {8" x 8"})
1 egg
2 to 4 qt Oil for frying (Peanut, Canola, Corn, any light oil with a smoke point above 400° F)

Deep Fryer or 4 qt, deep, sauce pan or stock pot
Frying thermometer
Sauce pan with tight fitting lid for cooking Sauerkraut and Bratwurst
Cutting board
Measuring spoons
Cooling rack or baking pan
Paper towels
Moist towels for wrappers
Brush for applying egg to wrappers  (Fingers will do in a pinch)

a) Gather up your ingredients and equipment. 
b) Read through this entire Instructable and know what equipment you're going to use when.  The only thing worse than a sink full of dirty dishes when you've got to wash a cutting board is needing a clean bowl and finding it in the dirty dishes.
c) Moisten two cloth towels with warm water.  Moisten means to make moist, not to make wet.  If the towels are too wet, they're going to make the wrappers a mess when it comes time to use them.
d) Remove the spring roll wrappers from their plastic bag and place them between the two towels.  The goal is to have the wrappers moist and at room temperature, which means pliable,  by the time you are ready to wrap.

Step 2: Cook the Kraut

a) Strain sauerkraut to remove most of its moisture.
b) Dice the bacon into small pieces.
c) Cook bacon in the sauce pan on medium heat until the bacon is crispy and most of the fat has rendered out.
d) Add the strained sauerkraut to the bacon and cook 1 to 2 minutes, stirring occasionally.
e) Stir in butter, soy sauce, balsamic vinegar, and pepper.
f) Continue cooking on medium heat until sauerkraut has soften.  Total time 6 - 8 minutes.
g) Remove from heat and allow to cool.

If you're using the same pan to cook the Bratwurst, transfer the sauerkraut mixture to a bowl.
If you want to see what the kraut should look like, see Step 5 for a photo of the kraut and brats together.

Step 3: Cook the Brats

a) Heat a small amount of oil in a sauce pan over medium high heat.
b) Add brats to the pan and brown on all sides. (About 5 minutes)
c) Add 1/3 cup water to pan and cover with tight fitting lid.
d) Reduce heat to medium and allow steam to cook brats for 10-15 minutes.  If your lid is loose fitting, you may have to add water during this process.
e) Once cooked through, remove from heat and allow to cool.

Obviously, cooking Brats on a barbeque grill is always an option.

Step 4: Dice the Brats

NOTE!:  Before dicing the Brats, wash the cutting board if you just used it to dice the raw bacon!

a) Once the Brats have cooled enough to handle, quarter the brats lengthwise.  You may have to sixth or eighth the brats depending on how thick they are.
b) If the brats are not cooked through, return them to the pan and finish cooking them with a small amount of water.
c) Rough dice the brats.

Step 5: Add Brats to the Kraut Mixture

a) Add brats to the sauerkraut mixture.
b) Stir until combined.
c) Resist the urge to eat all of the filling.  (Don't worry, we're getting there.)

If you're multi-tasking, now is the time to start heating your oil.

Step 6: Assemble the Rolls

a) Crack the egg into a small bowl and whisk until well beaten.
b) Gently remove a wrapper from the moisten stack.  If it tears, that means it's gotten too wet. Remove the towel and let the stack air dry for a minute or two.
c) On a clean surface, lay out the wrapper on the diagonal.
d) Apply egg wash to the upper two edges of the diamond.
e) Place 1/2 cup of mixture on the wrapper as shown in the first photo.
f) Fold up the bottom corner until you still have an inch to an inch and a quarter of the bottom edge of the wrapper still on the surface.  (See the left side of the wrapper in the second photo.
g) Fold over right corner as shown in the second photo.  Make sure the ends are sealed by the fold so oil cannot get into the filling while frying.
h) Fold over left corner as you did the right.
i) Roll up the roll, adding a little additional egg to the upper tip as needed to make a good seal.

If you have your oil heating, look at the oil's temperature after making each roll.  You want the oil at 375 degrees F to cook and you don't want to accidentally reach the oil's smoke point.

Repeat steps (b) through (i) until you have used up all of your filling. 

If you need additional instructions on how to roll an egg roll, see this great Instructable.

Step 7: Fry Them Up!

If you have a deep fryer, great!  It's much safer and much easier.  If not, use a 4+ qt sauce pan or stock pot and at least 2 qts of oil.  If you don't use enough oil, the oil temperature will drop when you put the rolls in and they will end up greasy.  If you're using a pot, have a loose cover for it to keep splatters to a minimum.  You will have a cleaner kitchen and fewer burns if you do.

You want an oil temperature of 375 degrees F.  Lower can make the rolls greasy and higher can make them burn.

Use long handled tongs to keep your hands as far from the oil as possible.

a) Work in small patches to keep the oil temperature from dropping too much.
b) Cook for five minutes, rotating once or twice to cook evenly.  The filling is already cooked, you're just looking to reheat the filling and have a nice golden brown wrapper.
c) Remove from oil and place on cooling rack or paper towels to drain and cool enough to eat.

Step 8: Enjoy!

Serving Suggestions:
If you're looking for a condiment, most mustards work well with the flavors of General Eng's Kraut Rolls. Yellow, deli, hot, and horseradish all add a great overtone to the roll.  The rolls work with just about any beer, but some wines will go great as well. (You'll have to investigate that on your own.) Of course, when serving children, beer and wine are obviously not an option. Acknowledging that most children will probably have a different opinion, a really sweet drink tends to overwhelm the subtlety of the roll. For the younger crowd, or those that don't drink beer or wine, an unsweetened ice tea is probably a better choice than a root beer.

German sauerkraut is fermented cabbage, and Asian cuisine also has a long and rich heritage of fermented cabbage dishes.  Perhaps the most famous, and easiest to find in Asian markets, is the Korean Kimchi.  (If you want to make your own, you can even find several recipes on Instructables.) Another variation would use Chinese "Suan Cai", which is pickled cabbage or mustard greens.  Depending on how they're made, either of these would add additional color to the filling.  If you make your own Kimchi or Suan Cai, you can even shift the flavor palette in any direction you'd like. Spicy, savory, salty, or hot, you choose! Take what's best of this endeavor for you, and make it your own.

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