Browns at Ravens, Sunday Dec. 28, 1:00 p.m., M&T Bank Stadium, CBS
After four months, 15 games, and countless consumed calories and adult beverages, both the Ravens' regular season and this column are coming to an end. Whether or not they continue into January is the question, and Baltimore can begin to answer it by beating the Browns. The Ravens also need some help from Kansas City, which must beat San Diego (the Chiefs are 2 1/2 point favorites). Sunday won't lack drama—or good food and drink.
What to Eat: When I was in Cleveland last month, I spent some time roaming through the West Side Market. It has fewer prepared food vendors than our Cross Street or Lexington markets, but far, far more sausage for sale. Polish, Italian, Slovenian, Hungarian—if you're in the market for eastern European sausage, the West Side Market has you covered. In Baltimore, Binkert's in Rosedale is a treasure trove of German sausage. It sells some of the best bratwurst around (rumor has it that the German Embassy in Washington is a customer), and I'll be using some of it to make this bratwurst stew-type dish. (Note: the market is closed on Sundays, so stop in on Saturday.)
- 3 pounds uncooked bratwurst
- 3 pounds small red potatoes, cut into wedges
- 1 pound baby carrots
- 1 large red onion, sliced and separated into rings
- 2 jars (4-1/2 ounces each) whole mushrooms, drained
- 1/4 cup butter, cubed
- 1 envelope onion soup mix
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
For each of two foil packets, arrange a double thickness of heavy-duty foil (about 17 by 15 inches) on a flat surface. Cut brats into thirds. Divide the brats, potatoes, carrots, onion and mushrooms evenly between the two double-layer foil pieces. Dot with butter. Sprinkle with soup mix, soy sauce and pepper. Bring edges of foil together; crimp to seal, forming two large packets. Seal tightly; turn to coat. Grill, covered, over medium heat for 23-28 minutes on each side or until vegetables are tender and sausage is no longer pink.
What to Drink: Great Lakes Brewing Company has been making some of the best craft beer in the country since 1988. I visited the brewery in the Cleveland's Ohio City neighborhood (not the most creative name) and came away even more impressed by its numerous offerings. You can't buy Great Lakes in Maryland, but you can get it in Virginia and D.C., and I have to say, the Christmas Ale is worth the drive. Brewed with honey, ginger, and cinnamon, it's spicy but eminently drinkable. It's seasonal, but the Eliot Ness Amber Lager, Dortmunder Gold Lager, Burning River Pale Ale, and Edmund Fitzgerald Porter are brewed year round. They're all excellent.
If you can't get your hands on any of them, I'd suggest a nice German beer to go with your brats. Total Wine stocks more than 100, including Weihenstephaner Hefe Weissbier, Hofbrau, and Warsteiner Premium Dunkel.