Foie Gras Bratwurst, Luxury Comfort Food

Take a classic comfort food dish and add something extravagant to it, and you'll be participating in one of the hottest restaurant trends these days.

From Kobe beef hamburgers to lobster mac 'n' cheese, dishes that pay tribute to food Americans love by elevating them to luxuries have proven to be a hit with customers.

One of the latest iterations of this concept is the foie gras hot dog.

They're not made entirely of the fatty duck liver, with chefs usually just folding some of the excess fat from the foie gras into the hot dogs to make them extra rich.

John Critchley, chef at Urbana Restaurant & Wine Bar in Washington, D.C., offers a "foie brat" on his menu.

The sausage's base is chicken leg meat, which he mixes with pork fat back and cubed pieces of foie gras left over from making torchons.

He purees the chicken finely, mixing in sherry, dry milk powder, coriander seed, salt and pepper. Then he adds the foie gras and fat back, purées it until its smooth, stuffs it in a hog casing and poaches it in milk with bay leaf and lemon peel.

At service, he sears it in butter and olive oil, "so it gives the hog casing a crispy snap." Then he warms it through in a cider reduction.

He uses that reduction to make a sauce with butter and herbs and serves it over slowly cooked, lightly caramelized onions. It costs $7.

Critchley started adding foie gras to sausage several years ago, when he was the chef of Toro, Ken Oringer's tapas restaurant in Boston.

There, he replaced some of the pork back fat usually used in the mostly-veal Catalan sausage butiffara with foie gras fat.

"That went over really well," he said.

Red Apron Butchery's mobile cart, which began operating last summer in Washington, D.C., also serves a foie gras brat.

Chef Nathan Anda starts with pork and uses foie gras fat to emulsify it.

"It's delicious," he said. He added Italian black truffles to it and sold it in a bun for $10, a $2 premium to the other hot dogs.

Michael Fiorelli, chef of Mar'sel restaurant at the Terranea Resort in Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif., also makes foie gras brats.

"It's a pretty traditional bratwurst. We just replaced some of the veal with foie gras," he said, noting that both bratwurst and foie gras terrines are cooked by poaching them.

During last year's Oktoberfest celebration he served it with truffle mustard and onion jam on brioche buns.

"People went nuts," he said. "Fans of it rave about it like professional wrestling fans."

He charged $9 per link, or $16 with a German beer.

"We sold them by the tableful — 10 to 12 per table." "We'll bring it back, for sure," he said.

Contact Bret Thorn at
Follow him on Twitter: @foodwriterdiary