This was a dish I made for the superbowl - the idea being it should be delicious, easy to eat, and hearty. I wanted to take classic football food - like bratwurst, cheese, and onions - and turn it into something more gourmet!
So hence the idea for this appetizer! The Fondue is a cheese sauce that is already placed on the bread. You could just as easily skewer some brats and onions and dip them into a bath of this hot, gooey cheese and mustard fondue! Yum! —VivekS
For the bratwurst: Put the bratwurst in a pot and cover with water (or beer). Bring the pot up to a boil, then reduce the heat to simmer and cover the pot. Leave the pot on the heat until the brats are cooked through, about 10-15 minutes. Remove the brats from the liquid and then slice each brat into 6 pieces (that means you’ll have 36 appetizers, so if you need more, cook more brats).
Get a saute pan out over medium high heat. At this point, we are just going to brown the sausages up for some extra flavor. Add the sausage into the pot (you may need to do this in batches) until all of the sausage is nicely browned. Drain on paper towels, and wait until ready to assemble.
For the Caramelized Onions:
Get a pan over medium heat and add the butter. Once the butter melts, add the onions and season with salt. Toss to coat in the butter and turn the heat to medium low. Add the thyme, and let the onions slowly brown and caramelize, about 20-25 minutes. Add the garlic cloves and cook for another 5 minutes. Remove the thyme sprigs, add the black pepper, and taste to ensure there is enough salt. The onions should be sweet, brown, and still retaining a lovely silky texture.
If your onions are browning too fast or getting black, add a little bit of water (1/4 cup) to the pan to deglaze and let you control temperature. You could easily use the water (or beer) you are boiling for the brats
For the Dijon-Cheddar Fondue:
Let the butter melt in a pot and add the onion. Season with the salt and let cook until the onion is translucent. Add the flour and using a wooden spoon, get all of the flour incorporated into the butter. Let cook for about 5 minutes to get rid of the raw flour taste. While whisking, add in 2 cups of milk and make sure to incorporate, and then add the other two cups. Let the mixture come to a boil and then reduce it to a simmer.
*NOTE: The sauce must come to a boil in order for the flour’s thickening agent to start working. If you simply simmer the sauce, it will never get thick.
When the sauce is at the proper consistency, whisk in the 2 cups of cheese, over low heat and whisk until melted. Keep your heat low here, because if it is too high, then the cheese will curdle, and you’ll have a grainy sauce.
Right at the end, once the cheese is fully melted, add the mustard, whisk it in, and then shut off the heat. Taste it – it should be rich, cheesy, and mustardy!
First, toast your hot dog buns. When toasted, split the buns in half, and cut each half into 6 equal pieces. This way, you’ll have 1 bun for each brat (again, adjust to how many people you are serving, you’ll have plenty of onions & fondue for whatever you do).
On the toast, add a little bit of cheese sauce, cradle the brats in the cheese, add a little bit on onions on top, and garnish with a small basil leaf. When you put the brats on a plate, add some paprika for a touch of color and spicy kick. You could also add cayenne.