Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Let it Simmer

It's officially slow-cooker season in my household. This week, I got out the machine and set it on the counter by the coffeemaker, where it will likely stay until March. I'm going to admit right now that I splurged last year and bought myself a combo pressure cooker/slow cooker/rice maker and it's genius. I'm still learning the fine art of pressure cooking, but that's a topic for another post. For now I want to talk about the slow cooking. Get ready for the writing/food metaphors...

I love to labor over details as much as the next neurotic writer and cook, but there's something to be said for not watching the pot. For set-it-and-forget-it. For putting all your ingredients together, walking away and letting the thing do itself.

Of course, with writing it never exactly happens on its own. (If only!) But a lot of important developments happen when we're not in front of the computer and not consciously thinking about the WIP. There's that slow simmer just barely bubbling under the surface that can happen when we sleep or go for a walk or watch a movie. And when you come back to the keyboard, it's like a revelation—ideas just pop, seemingly out of nowhere. So much can be accomplished with so little strain! We should all use our slow cookers more.

Anyway, onto the eats. I found this recipe online last winter. Then I proceeded to make it about four times over the following weeks. As Jamie Oliver would say, it's dead easy. (And this makes even his laziest recipes look Julia Childesque). I like to serve it with mashed potatoes, but sandwiches are good, too.

  • Slow Cooker Brats and Sauerkraut
  • From
  • Serves 8

  • 8 uncooked bratwurst links
  • 1 can (14 ounces) sauerkraut, rinsed and well drained
  • 2 medium apples, peeled and finely chopped
  • 3 bacon strips, cooked and crumbled
  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1 teaspoon ground mustard

  • 1. Place the bratwurst in a 5-qt. slow cooker. In a large bowl, combine the sauerkraut, apples,
  • bacon, brown sugar, onion and mustard; spoon over bratwurst.

  • 2. Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours or until a thermometer inserted in the sausage reads 160°.


  1. Great writing comparison! Just yesterday, while driving to work, I came up with a new YA idea. Just letting things simmer and be can be the answer.

  2. Ooh, that is awesome. Eager to hear more about it as it evolves!

  3. YUM. I love brats! I think one of my most favorite things about writing is the 'simmering' process of stories. It's thrilling when the next cool idea shows up. Margie, just in time for NaNo! :)

  4. I absolutely believe in letting things simmer during the writing process. Great post!

  5. I can not live without my slow cooker. And I love how you use simmering to tye into writing--I couldn't agree more! And the hubs has been bugging me forever to make a brat/sauerkraut recipe. This one looks like the winner. YUM-O