This was all Chris' idea.
Yummy little baked bites filled with smoked sausage, caramelized onion and cheddar cheese...
It started with my very strong desire for corndogs. Baked corndogs.
We talked about corndogs a lot.
How to bake them and still get that fried-crunchy crust.
We didn't want puffy-bumpy cornbread with hotdogs stuck in the middle.
Then, he suggested the crispy-golden fried beer-batter we use for fish.
I bought smoked sausage.
He said he really likes the onion he cooks in beer when he makes beer brats.
Oh yeah, baby -- caramelized onions.
Then came the cheese.
And I was like -- yeah. This beats the corndog idea.
But it still had to be BAKED. No frying. I hate frying.
It took three tries to nail the baked beer-batter recipe, but, several sausages later, we got it:
A golden crispy crust (just like it had been fried) with a little pocket of flavorful sausage, sweet caramelized onion and a bit of cheddar baked right in.
I'm sure it would make a great app, but we had ours for dinner. Lunch and dinner.
- 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1 egg
- 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons beer (we've found Heineken has the most flavor)
- 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon canola oil
- 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
- 3 smoked sausage links (I highly recommend Johnsonville "Beddar with Cheddar" -- either the smoke sausage or the smoked turkey sausage)
- 1 medium-sized yellow onion, chopped
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- Salt, for sprinkling
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Spray a 24-cup mini cupcake pan with canola spray or grease cups thoroughly.
In large saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add onions to pan, sprinkle generously with salt and stir. Cover and cook over medium heat for several minutes, stirring occasionally. Cook until onions begin to soften and turn brown. Uncover and continue to cook until onions brown and caramelize. Caramelization may take 15 to 20 minutes. Set aside.
Slice smoked sausage links in half lengthwise, then slice each half into about 14 pieces (one sausage link will make about 28 little "chunks).
Place 3 sausage pieces in bottom of each cup in the mini cupcake pan. Place about 1 teaspoon of caramelized onion on top of the sausage. Top each sausage-onion pile with about 1 teaspoon of the shredded cheese. Set the mini cupcake pan aside.
To make batter:
In large bowl, whisk together flour, cornstarch, baking soda and salt.
In small bowl, whisk together egg, oil and beer.
Quickly stir the beer mixture into the flour mixture until just combined. Do not overmix. The batter will be thin.
Pour about 1 tablespoon of batter over the sausage-onion-cheese in each cup. Pour the batter so that it pools around the sausage, as well as over the filling.
Bake for about 13 to 15 minutes, until tops are golden and crisp around the edges.
Allow bites to cool in the pan for 3 to 4 minutes. Carefully remove from the pan. Allow to cool somewhat before eating (the flavors taste even better when the bites aren't super hot).