When I first received this German lamb sausage from Lava Lake Lamb, I wasn’t really sure what to do with it. The obvious choice would have been to grill it (or beer-braise and then grill it), slide it into a bun, and enjoy. While that would have been tasty, I wanted to do something a little different. Still, I used the beer as my starting point, and then thought of other things you’d put on a brat, like mustard or cheese. Eventually, I decided to incorporate all those ingredients into a German style risotto. The peas…well, those were mostly to make it look a little prettier and add a little more nutrition. But I do love peas in my pastas and risottos as a rule.
This turned out fabulous and ended up being one of my favorite risottos. The beer was very much a background note (I may even use a little more next time), but you’ll still want to use a good beer (this is not the time for Miller Lite). We had this with a sharp white Cabot cheddar, which was just perfect. I had initially intended on using smoked gouda, but it completely escaped me when it came time to make my grocery list for some reason. Give the gouda a try if cheddar is not your thing. (Is cheddar not everyone’s thing, though?)
1 Tbsp. butter
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 small onion, thinly sliced
1 lb. German lamb sausages, casings removed and crumbled (or sliced)
3 cloves garlic, minced
1.25 cups arborio rice
1/4 tsp. dry mustard
1 cup beer
4 cups chicken broth, kept warm on the stovetop
1/3 cup peas
2 oz. sharp white cheddar or smoked gouda, shredded
Heat the butter and oil in a heavy pan over medium heat, and then add the onions. Stir occasionally, until onions are golden, about 8 minutes. Add the sausage and brown. Stir in the garlic. (Drain any extra fat, if necessary.)
Add the rice and stir a few times until it gets toasty and opaque. Add the dry mustard and the beer. Cook until nearly all the beer has evaporated.
Add 1-2 ladles full of broth. Stir the risotto frequently until nearly all the broth has been absorbed. Add the remaining broth 1 ladle-full at a time, allowing the rice to absorb the liquid before adding more. Continue this process until the rice is cooked–it should still be a little firm and have a slight bite in the center. Just before it’s finished, stir in the peas and a little extra broth. The risotto should be creamy, and a bit loose (not like regular rice).
Off the heat, stir in the cheese. Season to taste and serve immediately.