Home Made Bratwurst with Apples and Pumpkin-Sweetpotato Mash

Bratwurst Thuringia-Style

There is more to German Cuisine than Bratwurst. This statement is the epitome of this blog. But a blog called “Morethanbratwurst” should probably boast at least one Bratwurst recipe. Well here it is.

With over 40 different types of Bratwurst in Germany, there is no single one that can be considered the best; although many Germans will have their favorite and probably disagree with this statement. My favorite is the Bratwurst Thuringian Style, which I will use as the basis for this post.

When it comes to Bratwurst, nothing beats the home-made Wurst. While making your own Bratwurst may strike you as strange when it is so easy to buy them cheaply at any supermarket, there are many arguments for the home made BW:

You know what went into it, you control the quality of meat used, you can spice it to your own desire and your will definitely be the star at the next BBQ you get invited to with plenty of people striking up a conversation just to get the recipe.

In a 2012 review conducted by a German consumer products evaluation organization, 19 different Bratwurst Brands were tested.  Only 5 received the predicate “good”, 10 were satisfactory, 1 was acceptable, and 3 were unacceptable. Surprising results for a country that is known for its tendency for over-correctness and, well, Bratwurst. Another reason to try homemade Bratwurst.

All you need is a meat grinder and a sausage filler attachment. But more on that later.

When you order a Bratwurst at a German Bratwurst stand as a snack, it is traditionally served with or in a roll and with mustard. No more, no less.

Another typical combination is to serve them as a main meal with mashed potatoes and sauerkraut or apples sauce.

The Bratwurst will hardly ever be ‘novel cuisine’ but in an attempt to combine tradition with the modern, I came across a recipe that uses apples, sage, pumpkin seeds, and sweet potato mash.  Thus inspired, I created a modified version, adding a bit more flavor through additional spices.

One important note, if you are a dog owner: When making your own bratwurst, lock the dog out of the kitchen!  Letting the dog watch you making bratwurst while they can’t have any, definitely qualifies as pet cruelty!

Joking aside, making your own bratwurst is a bit messy. During the preparation, some of the raw ground pork is bound to hit the floor. Raw pork is potentially dangerous for dogs. Pigs can host the Suid Herpes Virus, which is harmless to humans. Thus, the slaughtered animals are only visually inspected for signs of the virus. While the virus is harmless for humans, if you feed your dog raw meat from an infected pig and the dog contracts the disease he/she will day in 1-3 days! There is no cure! So lock the dog out of the kitchen, really!

Outlining the importance of the Wurst in Germany there is a German expression: “Jetzt geht’s um die Wurst” (literally translated: “now it’s all about the Sausage”). In everyday life situations this means “now it is all or nothing”.

When going to the effort of preparing Bratwurst. Make as many as possible, You can easily take the base recipe below and double it. Once done, freeze the Wurst for the next BBQ. Works just fine. Just don’t forget to take them out of the freezer, the night before.

So here is how:

You will need:

  • A meat grinder with sausage attachment
  • 10m sausage casing for bratwurst size 25, 30, or 32. (I use the real thing: pork intestines). You can get it at the butcher’s supply shop or EBay
  • 1.25 kg pork belly with high fat content (not smoked, deboned and without skin)
  • 1.25 pork shoulder (deboned and without skin)
  • 45g salt
  • 7g freshly ground black pepper
  • 5 g ground cumin
  • 7g mustard seed
  • 5 g nutmeg
  • 2 TB dried Marjoram
  • 1 medium clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 5 Eggs
  • 1 TS sugar
  • 100 g fine bread crumbs
  • 50 ml milk or cream (if needed)
  • 1-2 l dark beer
  • 1-2 l chicken broth
  • Kitchen string
  • 6 Apples
  • 100 ml dry apple cider
  • Olive oil
  • 2 cloves of garlic with skin
  • 1 large onion
  • 5 leaves of sage
  • Freshly ground salt and pepper
  • A sewing needle
  • Kitchen string

Making the Wurst:

You will require a solid meat grinder and a sausage filler attachment. If you don’t have one, I suggest to have a look at EBay.

Take the sausage casing out of its packaging and prepare according to the packaging insert. If you are using pork intestine it usually needs to be rinsed under running water and the soak in cold water for half an hour.

While the sausage casing is taking its bath, prepare the meat. When selecting the meat, do not go for one that is too lean. In fact, for a juicy Bratwurst you will need a higher fat content otherwise the Wurst will end up dry.

Cut the 1.25 kg pork belly and pork shoulder into small pieces. And process through the medium grinding wheel.

After grinding all the meat, at the spices which are: 45g salt 7g freshly ground black pepper, 5 g ground cumin, 7g mustard seed, 5 g nutmeg, 2 TB dried Marjoram, 1 medium clove garlic, finely chopped, 1 TS sugar, 1 medium onion, finely chopped. Add the eggs and cream and mix well. If the meat dough is too moist you can balance it by adding some finely ground breadcrumbs.

Grind the meat a second time using a fine wheel. Your aim is to achieve a very fine, almost fluffy consistency. Again, use finely ground breadcrumbs and cream to balance the dough, sometimes it may be required to run it through the grinder a third time.

To make it easier to understand the process I dug up a video on YouTube. These two BBQ fans do a pretty good job and are very close to what the process I am suggesting here. Here is another good video that I like with additional tips.

Once you have filled the sausage, take a needle and prick the skin in several places so that any trapped air can escape during the cooking process. More is better here.

Now you have a sausage filled with raw meat. You could already throw it on the grill, but I suggest an additional step.

In a large cooking pot bring 1-2 l of dark beer and 1-2 l of chicken broth to a boil.

Reduce heat so the broth does not boil anymore, but stays hot. Poach the Bratwurst for 10 minutes. Take out and let cool off.

Now they are ready to go onto your charcoal grill. Or, if you want to try something a bit more sophisticated, read on:

Preheat the oven to 200 °C (180°C with Fan). In the meantime, quarter 6 apples and remove the core. Cut the apple quarters into smaller wedges.

Cut one large onions into small wedges. Crush two cloves of garlic and do not remove the skin. Rinse 5 leaves of sage.

Grease a large baking sheet and place the apples, onions, garlic and bratwurst onto the sheet. Spread sage and pumpkinseeds on top, drizzle with a generous amount of olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Add 100 ml of apple cider. Bake for about 25 minutes until the sausage has a nice brown color.

As a side, serve pumpkin –sweet potato mash, seasoned with butter, milk, nutmeg and salt. Serve with a cold beer, cider, or a dry white.

Now all you have do is awe your guest with you ability to make bratwurst and turn it into in a meal that has a touch of gourmet.

And Now:

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Jellied Goose with Home-Fried Potatoes and Frankfurt Green Sauce

Gänse- Sauerfleisch

Gänse- Sauerfleisch

This is a variation of a very popular Northern German Christmas leftover dish, that I have taken and completely re-vamped. My mother used to make a crude version of this on Christmas Eve.  As a child I always liked it and it has been many years since I had the opportunity to eat it.

Traditionally, on Christmas a roast Goose or Duck is served as the big holiday meal. If there are leftovers, one using them was by marinating them in spiced and sour gelatin on one of the days after Christmas.

The dish may have roots in the regions of Pomerania where goose farming has been practiced since 1500. However, I have not found any reliable source that this recipe did indeed originated there.

Home Fried Potatoes (Bratkartoffeln) is probably the dish that any German apprentice Chef learns how to prepare first. When prepared well, it is pure simplicity with great taste, so it is a bit of a surprise that truly well prepared Bratkartoffeln are so hard to find in German restaurants (abroad). I will prepare a dedicated blog post for them in the future.

The Frankfurt Green Sauce had its origins (you may have guessed) in Frankfurt. It is a salsa type cold sauce made from hard-boiled eggs, oil, vinegar, salt, sour cream and generous amount of seven fresh herbs, most commonly borage, sorrel, garden cress, chervil, chives, parsley, and salad burnet. Depending on the season sometimes other fresh herbs including dill, shallots, lovage, lemon balm, even spinach can be used. If you live in the Frankfurt area, any Supermarket and open-air-market sells these herbs per-packaged as a green sauce herbs bundle.  If you can’t get them all, don’t be discouraged, just use what you can find and experiment, it will still taste great.

In Grüne Soße, the eggs are usually hard-boiled, then finely chopped or even pureed before they will be combine with a white base from sour cream and / or yogurt. It is a true herbal taste buds explosion and goes very well with boiled potatoes, fried potatoes, white meat, fish, pasta, even Schnitzel (remember, a true Wiener Schnitzel is always served without sauce).

In fact, one of the simplest and yet surprisingly tasty regional dishes in Frankfurt is Green Sauce with nothing but boiled potatoes. Green sauce was supposedly Goethe‘s favorite condiment.

The jellied goose meat, the home fired potatoes, and green sauce is a typical combination of two regional specialties, and a bit of work to prepare, but in essence a truly German meal.

with Frankfurter Green Sauce and Home Fries

with Frankfurter Green Sauce and Home Fries

Serves: 4                Difficulty: Medium                  Preparation time: 2.5 hours

Note: the Jellied Goose needs to be prepared the day before.

For the Jellied Goose you will need:

    •  4 Goose Drumsticks (300g or 10.6 oz each)
    • Salt, freshly ground white pepper
    • 1/4 l (8.5 fl ounces) quality White Wine Vinegar
    • 4 medium Bay leaves
    • 6 Cloves
    • 6 Kernels Allspice
    • 6 Juniper Berries
    • 1 TBS Mustard Seeds
    • 10 white Peppercorns
    • 2 Onions
    • 2 large Carrots
    • 2 TBS Olive Oil
    • Gelatin Powder for 1l (34 fl oz) liquid
    • 1-2 TBS Sugar

Preparation:

Rinse the drumsticks, place into a cooking pot large enough to accommodate. Add 1.5 – 2 l of water or until meat is covered. Add 3 TS of Salt, 5 TBS White Wine Vinegar, 4 Medium Bay leaves 6 Cloves 6 Kernels Allspice, 6 Juniper Berries, 1 TBS of Mustard Seeds, 10 White Peppercorns and bring to a boil. In the meantime peel the 2 onions and the 2 large carrots. Add 1 onion and 1 Carrot to the pot and let simmer for one hour on low heat.

Remove drumsticks and let cool off. Remove the skin and give to the dog if you want.  Remove meat from the bones (DONOT feed the bones to the dog!) Cut meat into mouth size pieces and combine meat with 2 TBS olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Thoroughly remove fat from broth using for example a fat separator jug. Filter the broth through a very fine sieve or clean kitchen towel. Measure 1 l of the broth, add the remaining vinegar and bring to a boil. Slice the remaining carrot and onion, add to broth and let simmer for 10 minutes. Soak enough gelatin powder to gel 1 l of liquid in cold water according to packaging instructions. Remove broth from heat. Drain access liquid from Gelatin if needed and dissolve in the now still hot BUT NOT BOILING broth. Season broth with salt, white pepper, and sugar as needed.  Arrange meat in e.g. a casserole and spread onions and carrots over it. Add broth until everything is evenly covered.  Place in fridge overnight and serve cold with the home fried potatoes and green sauce.

The Frankfurt Green Sauce:

      • 2 Eggs (hard boiled)
      • 3 EL White Wine or Herbal Vinegar
      • 1/2 TS Salt
      • Pinch of freshly ground white pepper
      • 1 TS Sugar
      • 300 ml (10.1 fl oz) Sour Cream
      • 300 ml (10.1 fl oz) Yogurt
      • 50 ml (1.7 fl oz) Olive Oil
      • 1 -2 TS Quality medium spicy Mustard
      • 250 g fresh or frozen mixed Garden Herbs (e.g. borage, sorrel, garden cress, chervil, chives, parsley, salad burnet, dill)

Preparation:

Hard boil 2 eggs for 10 minutes, rinse with cold water and peel. Let the eggs cool. Combine 3 TBS White Wine Vinegar, ½ TS salt, pinch of freshly ground white pepper, 1 TS sugar, 300 ml (10.1 fl oz) Sour Cream, 300 ml (10.1 fl oz) Yogurt, 50 ml (1.7 fl oz) Olive Oil, 1 -2 TS Quality medium spicy Mustard and 250 g fresh or frozen mixed Garden Herbs to a sauce. Very finely chop cooled off hard boiled eggs and gently stir into the sauce. Season with salt, pepper, sugar and mustard as desired and place in fridge until ready to serve.

Home Fried Potatoes

      • 1 Onion
      • 3 El Clarified Butter
      • 80 g Bacon Bits
      • 500 g unpeeled boiled and cooled off potatoes (best prepared the day before)
      • Salt and Pepper
      • 2 TBS Finely Chopped Parsley

Preparation:

Finely chop 1 onion. Heat clarified butter in a frying pan. Fry bacon bits until they begin to brown, than add onions and fry for two more minutes until onions are soft and beginning to brown (onions must not turn dark color). Remove bacon and onions from frying pan and set aside.

Peel potatoes and cut into 5mm thick slices. Heat 2 TBS clarified butter in a very large frying pan (or use 2 smaller frying pans). Fry the potatoes slowly on medium heat, giving them a flip every now and then until they have developed and nice golden brown crunchy exterior.

Add onions and bacon and fry for 2 more minutes. Add chopped parsley and serve immediately with the jellied goose and green sauce.

And now:

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The Perfect Wiener Schnitzel with Austrian Potato Salad

Wiener Schnitzel mit steirischerm Kartoffelsalat

Wiener Schnitzel mit steirischem Kartoffelsalat

It will come as a surprise to some. But strictly speaking, the Wiener Schnitzel (Schnitzel Vienna) is not a German dish.

“I knew that…,” many of you might say. “Wien or Vienna, is after, all the Capital City of Austria, so it must be Austrian!” Well, there seems to be an ongoing dispute on that very subject, and strictly speaking, today’s Wiener Schnitzel may actually stem from the Cotoletta Milanese and may go as far back as to the Romans of the 1th century BC. So the origins of the Wiener Schnitzel may actually be Italian.

The Cotoletta Milanese was usually a veal chop pounded and breaded and served with lemon. Today’s Wiener Schnitzel is traditionally a thin veal cut without bone.

Another legend states that the origin of the Schnitzel go back to the 7th century Byzantine Empire.

According to the legend, Emporer Basileios I (867-886AD) liked his meat coated with golddust. The wealthy soon began to copy this and the poor used breadcrumbs to at least achvieve the look of gold.  Over the years, the use of bread crumbs in coating meat spread to neighboring lands.

The legend that Field Marshal Joseph Radetzkey brought it to Austria in 1857 from Italy seems to have been disproven in 2007 by the Austrian Professor for Linguistics Heinz Dieter Pohl.

Here are some more facts:

  • “Wiener” means Viennese and in Austria and Germany, the term “Wiener Schnitzel” is protected by law and refers to a breaded and fried 4 mm thin and lightly hammered veal slice. So if you order a chicken Schnitzel in an Austrian restaurant by calling it a Wiener Chicken Schnitzel, you will be arrested on the spot by the Waiter by special authority vested in him or her by the Austrian Government. (I am kidding)
  • If in a German Restaurant you order a “Schnitzel Wiener Art” – Schnitzel Vienna Style, it is usually a slice of pork, not veal – something to be aware of, if you want to order the real thing.
  • When frying the Schnitzel large amounts of clarified butter and butter are used. It is fried at temperatures of around 160°C and should almost swim in clarified butter.
  • Sometimes several frying pans are used to prepare several Schnitzel at the same time. Once fried, it should be served immediately.
  • During the frying process the breading should slightly detach itself in a wavy souflée fashion without falling off the meat.
  • Serving it with Lemon, Anchovies, and Capers is an influence of Northern Germany. At least the lemon has found its way back to Austria.
  • Austrians seem to think Germans mutilate this classic by serving it with sauce. Not entirely true, and in fine cuisine this would be considered a major fauxpas. Serving or eating it with Ketchup is another offence that would be heavily frowned upon in Germany and Austria.
  • In German the word Schnitzel is both Singular and Plural meaning when ordering, it is one Schnitzel and it is two Schnitzel (not Schnitzels).

While a Wiener Schnitzel is actually quite easy to make, there are a few tricks I will try to outline in the below text. I serve it with a cucumber potato salad.

Serves: 4                Difficulty: Easy                    Preparation time: 60 mins.

For the Austrian Potato Salad

  • 600g (21 oz or 1.3 lbs) waxy potatoes
  • 2 Cucumbers
  • Salz
  • 100g (3.5 oz) Bacon Bits
  • 2 Schalotts
  • 50 g (1,7 oz or 2 TBS) Butter
  • 50ml (1.7 fl oz) White Wine Vinegar
  • 150 ml Chicken Bouillon (instant)
  • 1 TBS Medium Spicey Mustard
  • 30ml (1.1 fl. oz) Olive Oil
  • freshly ground Salt and Pepper
  • 20ml (0.7 fl oz) Pumpkin Seed Oil
  • 50g (1.7 oz) Watercress

For the Schnitzel:

  • 4 Escalopes of Veal ( à 160g – 200g) – ask your butcher to pound it flat
  • Salt and White Pepper
  • Paprika Powder
  • 1 cup of flour
  • 5 TBS of cream
  • 2 Small Eggs
  • 2 cups of fine bread crumbs
  • 150g (5.3 oz) Clarified Butter
  • 6 Capers
  • 50g (1.7) Butter

Garnish

  • 4 Lemon Wedges
  • 4 Anchovies
  • 1 TBS Capers
  • Parsley

Additionally you will need:

  • Ceram Wrap
  • one large (or several smaller) frying pan

Start with the potato salad as it will need to soak for a while in its vinaigrette.

Boil 600g (21 oz or 1.3 lbs) waxy potatoes with skin for about 20 minutes. Drain hot water and fill pot with cold water. Peel the skin and cut potatoes into 3 mm thin slices.  Peel 2 Cucumbers and cut in halves lengthwise. With a tea spoon, scrap out the seeds. Cut the cucumbers into thin slices, season lightly with salt and set aside. Finely dice the shallots, cut the bacon bits into smaller bits if they are too large. Heat 50g (1,7 oz or 2 TBS) Butter in a frying pan. Add the bacon bits and fry until it begins to brown. Add unions and fry for 3 more minutes. Deglaze with 50ml (1.7 fl oz) White Wine Vinegar and 150 ml Chicken Bouillon (instant). Add 1 TBS Medium Spicy Mustard and let simmer for 3 Minutes on low heat. While stirring, slowly pour in 30ml (1.1 fl. oz) Olive Oil. Combine and sauté the warm vinaigrette and potatoes.  Season with salt and pepper. Drain any liquid that may have accumulated in the bowl with cucumbers. Add Cucumbers and 20ml (0.7 fl oz) Pumpkin Seed Oil and chill for 1 – 2 hours.

Preparing the Wiener Schnitzel:

If your butcher was not able to flatten the veal cut for you it is easy to do this yourself: Place a sheet of Ceram wrap on a chopping board. Rinse and dry the meat and place one slice at a time onto the Ceram wrap. Cover with another layer of Ceram wrap. With the bottom of a small frying pan, beat the meat until you have the desired thickness of about 4 – 5 mm. Repeat with the other slices of meat. Season meat from both with white pepper, salt, and a pinch of paprika powder.

In a small bowl whisk the cream for a few minutes, add the eggs and whisk again until all is evenly combined.

Prepare 3 deep dishes: one with one cup of flour, one with the egg / cream mixture and the 3rd dish with 2 cups of fine bread crumbs

What follows is a bit complex, so read it first before you start to cook:

Heat 150 g of clarified butter and 50 g of Butter in a large frying pan. Take care that the fat does not get too hot. I use setting 50% of full heat. Once melted, place onto the back burner until ready to fry.

Preheat and oven to 90°C (190°F), place a layer of paper towels onto a baking sheet.

Turn one slice of veal in the flour until evenly covered, and shake of any access flour. Turn in the egg / cream mixture until evenly covered, followed by turning it in bread crumbs until evenly covered. Never press the breadcrumbs into the meat.
Set breaded meat aside. Repeat this with the other 3 pieces. By the time you have done your second slice of meat, but the frying pan back onto 3 /4 of full heat. (Depending on your stoves power setting you may need more or less heat. The frying grease should never be so hot that smoke develops.)
Finish breading as described and place all Schnitzel into your frying pan.

Tip: the Schnitzel needs to swim in fat. If your frying pan is too small, use 2 or even 3 if you have to.  In that instance you need to increase your amount of fat. Never cramp the Schnitzel into a frying pan that is too small.

Carefully place the Schnitzel into the frying fat, add 6 capers. Move the pan back and forth, tilting it so hot grease can run over the topside of the Schnitzel, and/or ues a spoon to scoop hot grease over the meat. Once the underside is golden brown (usually 2-3 mins), turn the Schnitzel and repeat on the other side. Traditionally, the Schnitzel is only turned once. Take care not to let it turn too dark. Remove Schnitzel form pan and place onto paper towel and keep warm in the oven. (Don’t waste too much time now, the Schnitzel must be served as soon as possible now.)

Arrange the potato – cucumber salad on a plate. Sprinkle with fresh watercress. Place one Schnitzel next to it. Decorate with a thick lemon slice, one filet of Anchovies, some capers and a sprig of parsley per plate.

Serve immediately.

And now:

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Lentil Stew with Frankfurter Sausage and Spaetzle

Linsengemüse mit Würstchen und Spätzle

Linsengemüse mit Würstchen und Spätzle

Region: South-West Germany, State of Baden Württemberg, Swabia

Can you whip up something delicious with the 3 main ingredients being lentils, Spaetzle, and Frankfurter Sausages?

Ask any Houswife from the southwestern German Region of Swabia and they will say: Sure, it is one of our classics!

Regional cooking in Swabia is much more down to earth and simpler when compared to the other areas of Germany. In traditional Swabian Cuisine one still sees the influences of times of hardship much more than elsewhere in Germany.

Mean people say: The Swabian will eat anything as long as it comes with enough gravy. Well, there may be some truth to it, if one considers, that the signature dish of Swabia, the Speatzle, really need lots of sauce.

This dish is a perfect winter meal. Quick and easy to prepare, very filling and the lentil stew makes a perfect left over dish. Give it a try.

You will need:

Serves: 4                Difficulty: Easy                    Preparation time: 75 mins.

  • 500g (1 lbs) Fast Cooking Lentils (e.g Pardina Lentils)
  • 3 Medium Carrots, diced
  • 1 Large Onion,
  • ½ Leek
  • ½ small Celery Root
  • 1 Bunch Fresh Lovage Herbs (use 1.2 TBS dried if you cannot get fresh),
  • 1 TBS Clarified Butter
  • 5 Cloves
  • 1 Bay Leaf
  • 5 Juniper Berries
  • 1 -2 TBS fresh Marjoram (use dried if you cannot get fresh),
  • Salt, Pepper, 2 Pinches of Sugar
  • 800ml (28 fl oz) Unsalted Liquid Vegetable Broth in a Glass
  • 400 ml (14 fl oz) Liquid Beef Broth in a Glass
  • 5-10 TBS Quality White Wine Vinegar
  • 150g (5.3 oz) Bacon Bits
  • 2 TBS Butter,
  • 2 TBS Flour,
  • 8 Quality Frankfurter Sausages (get organic is you can)
  • 1 Paper Tea Filter
  • 1 Bunch of Parsley, finely chopped (save a few leaves for decoration)
  •  A decision if you want to make the Spaetzle yourself or if you want to use off the shelf product in which case you will need:
  • 200g (7 oz) Quality Brand ready to use Spaetzle.

If you want to make the Spaetzle yourself you will need:

  • 300g(10.6 oz) Flour
  • 4 Eggs
  • 2 Pinches of Salt
  • ½ TS Freshly Ground Nutmeg
  • 6 TBS Sparkling Mineral Water

Here is how it is done:

Dice 3 medium carrots, 1 large onion, ½ leek, ½ small celery root, and finely chop lovage herbs, marjoram, and parsley.

Place 5 cloves, 1 bay leaf and 5 juniper berries in a large paper tea filter, close it with a knot.

Place bacon in a cold large cooking pot and bring to high heat. Let the bacon roast for a few minutes until it begins to brown. Remove from pot and set aside. Add 1 TBS of clarified butter and roast the vegetables for 4 minutes.

Add 500g lentils and 800 ml unsalted vegetable broth. Add water if needed. Lentils should be covered with water. Toss in the tea filter with herbs. Add 1 TBS Majoran and lovage. Bring to a boil and once boiling reduce heat to a simmer. DO NOT ADD SALT YET!

Let cook according to the lentil packaging instructions. With the product I used it took 45 minutes.

If you want to make the Spaetzle yourself prepare the dough while the lentils are simmering away:

Combine 300g (10.6 oz) flour, 4 whole eggs, 2 pinches of salt, ½ TS freshly ground nutmeg, and 6 TBS Sparkling Mineral Water in a bowl and blend using your favorite mixer for 5 minutes.  Use more water if the dough is too dry.

If you ever wondered what the wooden cooking spoon with the hole in the center is for…; well, it is made for beating Spaetzle dough.

What follows is what scares people about making Spaetzle: It is beating the dough; a bit of a work out. You need to beat air into the dough. With a wooden cooking spoon, beat the Spaetzle dough for 5 minutes or until you see air bubbles. I use my hands for doing this; messy, but less strenuous. Let the dough rest for a while.

In the meantime, check your lentils. Add more water if needed, they should remain covered.

In a small sauce pan, melt 2 TBS of Butter. Once melted and hot, add 2 TBS of flour and whisk well, While frequently whisking let the flour turn light to medium brown until you begin to smell roasting aromas. You want a cappuccino type of brown, not chocolate dark. Once browned, Remove from heat and add ½ cup of liquid beef broth. Return to heat and stir vigorously. It will turn into a thick paste. Remove from heat and add another ½ cup of broth and stir vigorously. Repeat this process of adding broth, heating and stirring until you have liquid but thick gravy. Give it a short bubble on heat then set aside.

Once lentils are done, pour in 1 cup of the gravy, season with a generous amount of salt. Season with Pepper, more marjoram if need and 5 – 10 TBS of high quality white wine vinegar (Tip: use one with a well balanced acidity) and 2 pinches of sugar. Keep warm.

In a large cooking pot bring water to a boil. Reduce heat to a silent simmer. Add 8 Frankfurter Sausages and let them soak in the hot but not boiling water for 10 minutes.

In another large pot bring salted water to a boil.

Place dough onto a wet wooden board, and using a long knife, spread it thin on the board, keep it wet using the boiling salt water and then scrape it into mildly boiling water. If it gets sticky, wet with water from the pot.

Cook for a few minutes until Spaetzle start to float.

I found a video that shows how to do make Spaetzle the original way. It is in German, but you will get the main points outlined above. Note how he beats the heck out of the dough.  Must be a good way of relieving tension.

Again, as mentioned above, if you have access to good quality off the shelf spaetzle, go ahead and use them. In fact, any type of pasta will work fine.

Serve everything in a large and preheated soup dish. Decorate with some parsley.

A cold beer is a good companion.

And now:

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Hamburg Panfish

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Hamburger Pannfish (Hamburg Panfish)

Region: Hamburg, Northern Germany

How about a fish meal that your kid will actually eat?

Try this one: Hamburg Panfish

Hamburg  Panfish is a very traditional dish from (you guessed it) Hamburg and popular in northern Germany and beyond.  In some way it is closely related to the German Farmers Breakfast I recently introduced.

Traditionally, it was a left over dish of the working class in Hamburg when there was fish and potatoes left from the previous day’s dinner.  Everything was munched together and drowned in a mustard sauce.

Nowadays, the preparation is a much more sophisticated with only the best and freshest fish, a light mustard sauce, and lots of fresh herbs. Sometimes the fish is first breaded then fried others dust it with flour.

It is popular to the extent that any good German Restaurant in Hamburg has it on the menu.  Try it yourself and see why.

Serves: 4                Difficulty: Easy                    Preparation time: 75 mins.

Here is what you need

For the Fish:

For the fried potatoes

  • 600 g (22 oz) Potatoes
  • 3 Medium Carrots
  • 100g (3.5 oz) Peas (deep frozen)
  • 2 TBS Clarified Butter
  • 1 Medium Onion
  • 1 Scallion
  • 50g (1.8 oz) Bacon Bits
  • 5 – 6 Cornichons
  • Freshly ground salt and pepper
  • ½ Bunch of fresh Parsley
  • ½ Bunch of fresh Chives
  • ½ -1 Bunch fresh Dill

For the Mustard Sauce

  • 2 Small Shallots
  • 2 ½  TBS Butter
  • 2 TBS white flour
  • 1 TBS Ground Mustard Seeds
  • 200ml (7 fl oz) Liquid Fish Stock (in a Glas)
  • 50g (1.8 oz) Cream
  • 50g  (1.8 oz) Sour cream
  • 2-5 TBS of Horseradish Mustard (or Regular Mustard if you can’t get)
  • 2 Egg yolks
  • Freshly Ground Salt and Pepper.
  • A Pinch of Sugar
  • A Pinch of Freshly Ground Nutmeg

Here’s what to do

First, there are a few things to chop and dice:

Peel 600 g (22 oz) potatoes. Cut the larger ones in half and then into not too thin slices; place in cold salt water. Peel and dice one medium onion. Peel and slice one scallion, peel and slice 2 shallots, grind 1 TBS of mustard seeds in a mortar, peel and slice carrots. If required, cut the bacon bits into smaller dices, slice the cornichons, cut ½ bunch of chives into rings, remove leaves from ½ bunch of parsley and roughly chop; do the same with ½ – 1 bunch of dill. Needless to say, keep all of the above nicely separated in little bowls. Should you have mixed it by now, well you are in trouble.

Place the potatoes in a pot add cold water so they are almost covered and 2 TS of salt. Place on oven and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and let simmer for only 10 minutes (we want them a bit crunchy). After 10 minutes drain hot water and rinse potatoes in cold water to cool the off. Drain and set aside.

Rinse and dry the fish and cut into smaller pieces. Squeeze lemon and in a glass bowl, combine lemon juice, fish and 2-3 pinches of salt. Let sit for 15 minutes.

Preparing the mustard sauce:

In a small sauce pan, melt 2 TBS of Butter and dust in 2 TBS of flour. Stir with a whisk until flour / butter mixture starts to bubble. Gradually add fish stock while constantly stirring. Continue cooking, whisking constantly, until the mixture bubbles and becomes thick. Remove from heat. Add the ground mustard seeds, 2-5 TBS of Horseradish (or regular) mustard. (The amount depends on how mustardy you like your sauce. Start with 2 TBS and work your way up as needed.) Add 50g (1.8 oz)  cream and 50g (1.8 oz) sour cream, stir. Season sauce with a pinch of sugar, freshly ground salt and pepper and a pinch of nut meg. Thicken your sauce with two egg yolks. Tipp: if you just dump the egg yolks into the hot sauce, they yolks with set and become chunky. You’ll end up with an egg drop sauce. Instead, in a bowl, one by one add a TBS of warm sauce to the egg, while stirring well. Do this with about 5-6 TBS one after another. Once you have adjusted the temperature of the egg, you are ready to whisk it into the warm (i.e.: not boiling sauce). Set the sauce aside and keep warm on a very low flame (never boil it from here on). Give it an occasional stir.

In a large skillet, melt 2 TBS of clarified butter on high heat. Add the carrots and give a regular pan flip. After two minutes, add the potatoes. Fry for about 10 minutes until the potatoes begin to brown. Add in the bacon and continue to fry for a few more minutes, add the onions and scallions and continue to fry doing the pan flip. Season with salt and pepper as needed. Add the sliced cornichons, the chives, parsley and dill stir and remove from heat and keep warm.

Frying the fish:

Darin juices from the fish bowl. Dust fish with flour. Melt two TBS of clarified butter in a frying pan, fry the fish filet for a few minutes on each side until it has a straw golden crust. Season with a pinch of fresh white pepper.

Serving: On a preheated plate, arrange fried potatoes and fish, and add a generous amount of mustard sauce. Decorate with a slice of lemon and a sprig of dill.

And now:

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Heaven and Earth (Himmel und Erde)

Region: Rhineland, Westphalia, Lower Saxony and Silesia.

I was on a quest to get the ingredients for this meal today. It required visits to three different supermarkets to get everything. Oh sure, apples, potatoes, most of what was needed was available… but black pudding…blood sausage? … the sort that can be fried…? It earned me a few questioning looks to say the least.

Here I am in the middle of November in the  2nd largest city in Germany and I struggle getting the ingredients for a very traditional dish with a 200 years history. What is wrong with that picture?

I guess that means my international audience will run into similar issues, thus I am making alternative suggestions at the end of the recipe if you can’t get or don’t fancy black pudding .

The name of the dish: Heaven and Earth (Himmel und Erde or in the Rhineland dialect: Himmel un Ääd) originates from the name of two of the main ingredients: the apples “of the heaven” and the apples of “the Earth” (an old word for potatoes is Erdapfel (English: Earthapple), still today in the Rhenish dialect). Malicious tongues claim that adding the black pudding makes it Himmel, Erde und Hölle (Heaven, Earth, and Hell) but I beg to differ.

If you trust me (and I won’t let you down -have I ever-; you may will find a new taste sensation.

Serves: 4                Difficulty: Easy                    Preparation time: 60 mins.

Ingredients

  • 1 kg (2 lbs) Potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 1 kg (2 lbs) acidic  Red Apples such as Boskoop or Cockpit, cored, cut into wedges (don’t peel)
  • Juice of one Lemon
  • 200 ml (7 fl. oz) Apple Juice
  • 100 ml (3.5 fl oz) Balsamic Vinegar
  • 50 ml (1.75 fl oz) sweet port wine
  • 2 TBS Sugar
  • 1 Pack Vanilla Sugar
  • 1 Cinnamon Stick
  • 6 TBS Butter
  • 6 Shallots, cut into Rings
  • 12 slices of Black Pudding or Blood Sausage, buy the best quality
  • Flour
  • 1 TBS Clarified Butter
  • 150 ml (5.25 fl oz) Milk
  • Freshly Ground Nut Meg
  • Freshly Ground Salt and Pepper
  • ½ Bunch of fresh Parsley, finely chopped. Leave a few whole leaves for decoration

Preparation:

Place 1 kg (2 lbs) potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks into a large cooking pot with cold, salted water. Add lid and bring to a boil on high setting. Once boiling, reduce heat to 1/3 and let slowly cook for 20 minutes or until tender.

Cut the shallots into rings. Do not skin the apples but remove pits and cut into wedges. Squeeze lemon juice and toss apple wedges in the lemon juice.

In a separate frying pan, melt 2 TBS of butter. Add the onions and sauté the onions until they begin to brown. This will take some time, be patient. Remove onions from frying pan and keep warm. In the same pan melt 2 TBS of sugar and 1 pack of vanilla sugar together with one cinnamon stick. Once caramelized, add 200ml (7 fl oz) of apple juice and 100 ml (3.5 fl 0z) of balsamic vinegar and 50 ml (1.75 fl oz) of sweet Port Wine. Add apples and sauté for a few minutes until apples are almost soft and the liquid has reduced a bit, season with salt, pepper and more sugar if needed. Keep warm in oven for a few minutes.

When the potatoes are tender, drain off most of the water, add 2 TBS of butter, 150 ml (5.25 fl oz) milk, salt, pepper and freshly ground nutmeg. Using a potato masher, mash the potatoes adding chopped parsley.  Season with additional salt, pepper and nutmeg as needed.

Cut black pudding into slices, dust with flour and fry in 1 TBS clarified butter on medium heat for 2 minutes on each side. Remove from pan and let grease drain on a paper towel.

On preheated plates, arrange mashed potatoes and cover with apple quarters. Arrange black pudding around it and top with onions. Garnish with some parsley leaves.

Tip: Can’t get, or don’t like black pudding? Try liver sausage slices, even bratwurst slices, prepared the same way. Still not your cup of tea?  Try pork chops, small hamburger steaks or crispy bacon instead. Never forget the onions.

And now:

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Cheese Spaetzle with Porcini Mushrooms

Region: Southwestern Germany, Switzerland, Austria

Meet the parents of the American Classic Macaroni and Cheese:

Mr. Gruyère and Mrs. Spaetzle

I introduced Spaetzle in the previous post but did not elaborate on its history and region.

Spaetzle, a German pasta variation are very dominant in southwestern German cooking, namely Swabia. It is said, that Swabian cooking without Spaetzle is unthinkable and torturous to the indigenous Swabian. It would be like removing Pasta from Italian cuisine. And while an Italian without pasta would most likely live in hell, a Swabian without Spaetzle would at least experience the pains of purgatory (figuratively speaking, of course).

Just like Italian pasta, Spaetzle are so much more than just a side dish. They come in a myriad of variations: as liver spaetzle, herbed spaetzle, spinach spaetzle, pumpkin spaetzle, boiled, gratinated, fried or, as in our case, in a hearty and very filling cheese sauce.

Spaetzle are surprisingly simple to make and I recommend giving it a try. While there are very good off the shelf products out there, nothing beats the home made version. And when you make them at home, think of the fact that you are preparing a dish that dates back as far as the 1700s.

Recipes for Cheese Spaetzle are available in abundance. My recipe adheres very much to the classic version. It is okay to experiment with different types of cheese and ingredients, as long as everything is in balance and no ingredient becomes too dominant.

I use Gruyère Cheese with greetings to Switzerland.

Serves: 4   Difficulty: easy    Preparation time: 60 minutes

Ingredients

For the Spaetzle:

  • 400g (14.1 oz) Flour
  • 4 Eggs, 1 Egg yolk
  • 2 Pinches of Salt
  • ½ TS Freshly Ground Nutmeg
  • 12 TBS of Beer or Sparkling Mineral Water

For the Cheese Sauce:

  • 300g (10.6 oz) Fresh Pocini Mushrooms  (if you cannot get fresh Porcini, use 30g  (1.6 oz) of freeze-dried product and soak in hot water for 30-60 minutes)
  • 3 Medium Onions
  • 1-2 Pinches of sugar
  • 3 Sprigs of Parsley
  • 100ml (3.4 fl oz) Chicken Stock
  • 100g 3.5 oz Sour Cream
  • 3 TBS Butter
  • 50-100g (1.8 oz – 3.6 oz) Gruyère Cheese
  • Freshly Ground Nutmeg
  • Freshly Ground Salt and Pepper
  • A few leaves of Parsley or chervil for decoration

Preparation:

Unlike what you read or see on YouTtube, you don’t need fancy equipment. At minimum, you can make spaetzle with a wooden spoon, a bowl, a wooden board, and a long knife:

Combine 400g (14.1 oz) flour, 4 whole eggs, 1 egg yolk, 2 pinches of salt, ½ TS freshly ground nutmeg, and 12 TBS of beer or sparkling mineral water in a bowl and blend using your favorite mixer for 5 minutes.  Use more water if the dough is too dry.

If you ever wondered what the wooden cooking spoon with the hole in the center is for…; well, it is made for beating spaetzle dough.

What follows is what scares people about making spaetzle: It is beating the dough; a bit of a work out. You need to beat air into the dough. With a wooden cooking spoon, beat the Spaetzle dough for 5 minutes or until you see air bubbles. I use my hands for doing this; messy, but less strenuous. Afterwards let the dough rest for 1 hour.

Tip: It is okay to use a Kitchen Aid for the above process.

Heat a large pot with salted water.

There are several ways of getting the dough into spaetzle shape and into the boiling water. The easiest method uses a wooden board with a handle. Wet the board well with your boiling water, place a small amount of dough on the board, spread it thin and then scrape it off into the boiling water using a long knife.

It will only take a few minutes before the spaetzle are done. As soon as the spaetzle begin to float, remove them from the boiling water with a sieve and rinse with cold water. Set aside for later processing Confused by these instructions? Watch this German lady with a thick Swabian accent demonstrate it.

Once all spaetzle dough has been processes, cover them with a moist towel.

In the meantime, clean the mushrooms, and cut into small slices. Peel onions and cut into rings and chop parsley.

Heat 2 TBS of butter in a medium skillet on low heat, add onions and a pinch of sugar and glaze the onions for 20 minutes, while occasionally stirring. They should have a nice brown color, but not be burned. This will take some time, most likely around 20minutes. Be patient and keep stirring.  Remove onions from skillet and keep warm. Melt another TBS of Butter and fry the mushrooms for 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Pour in 100ml of Chicken Stock, 100g Sour Cream and add the Spaetzle, and cheese.

Tip: use half of the cheese first. Test if it is “cheesy” enough. You want to achieve a fine balance between the flavors of spaetzle, mushrooms and cheese. Add more cheese as needed. Stir in parsley and season with freshly ground salt, pepper and nutmeg.

Place into buttered oven-prove dish, sprinkle more cheese over it and bake at 200°C  (390°F) for 10 minutes or until you have a fragile, straw-golden cheese crust (not dark brown, and definitely not black).

Remove from oven and decorate with melted onion rings and a few sprigs of parsley or chervil.

It is easy being cheesy and unbelievably delicious. You will never go back to Mac&Cheese from a box!

And now:

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Beef Ragout a la Stroganoff with Spaetzle

Region: Russia, France, all over Germany

Russia had a strong influence on (East) German Cuisine after the second world war. Former East Germany, the DDR (Deutsche Demokratische Republik) or GDR (German Democratic Republic), used and modified many dishes from Russia and other Eastern Bloc States. If Bœuf Stroganoff found its way to Germany though the GDR is unclear. With food being rationed, filet of beef was probably an ingredient not many had access to. Strictly speaking, Bœuf Stroganoff  might not even be Russian. It is most likely French, with Russian influences.

There are at least three theories on how the original recipe was created:

One states that a French cook, Charles Brière, worked for Count Pavel Alexandrovich Stroganov and influenced by his time in St.Petersburg he is said to have submitted the recipe to the French Magazine La Revue de l’Art Culinaire in 1891. Almost all Russian noble families afforded the luxury of employing a French cook in those times.

Another version describes that an unknown cook created the meal for Count Grigory Stroganov (1770-1857) and because the count was without teeth chewing tough beef was impossible.

A simpler version of the refined Bœuf Stroganoff appeared in 1871 edition of “A gift to young housewives or a help to reduce housekeeping charges” by Elena Molokhovets. Her version included a simple sauce based on a butter and flour roux with bouillon, mustard, sour cream, salt and pepper.

It became popular in Germany in the early 1950s. In 1958 the German Composer and author Friedrich Holländer wrote the Stroganoff Song in which he described how Count Stroganoff in a restaurant requested a raw piece of filet of beef and a sharp knife. He used the meat to demonstrate to his present friends how he had cut up Mr. Schmutschkinoff who he had caught in flagrante with his very pretty wife. Afterwards he returned the butchered meat to the cook who whipped up a ragout he then named after Count Stroganoff.

Somehow, this version has a bit more drama than the others. It is, however, purely fictional.

Traditionally, the real Bœuf Stroganoff calls for filet of beef, which would be cut into small strips. I think that this is a mutilation of that prime cut, and given the cost of it and the actual culinary value of this simple dish not necessary.  I am sure that there will be some people who call my version a mutilation of this all time classic. However, I feel confident, that this simple version I suggest here, using ground beef, will win over many people.

Serves: 4   Difficulty: medium    Preparation time: 90 minutes

Ingredients

  • 300 g (10.6 oz) Mushrooms
  • 150 g (5.3 oz) Pickled Cornichons (small Gherkins)
  • 80g (3 oz) Pickled Pearl Onions
  • 5 Shallots, finely chopped (of which on TBS will be used for the vinaigrette)
  • 2 TBS Butter
  • 500g (1 lbs) Ground Beef
  • Freshly Ground Salt and Pepper
  • 1 heaped TBS Flour
  • 200ml (7 fl 0z) Beef Stock
  • 250g (8.8 oz or ½ lbs) Sour Cream
  • 2 TBS Dijon Mustard
  • 2 TS ground Mustard Seeds
  • 1 TBS Vermouth
  • 4 Sprigs of Parsley

If you want to make the Spaetzel yourself you will need:

  • 300g Flour
  • 4 Eggs
  • 2 Pinches of Salt
  • ½ TS Freshly Ground Nutmeg
  • 6 TBS Sparkling Mineral Water

Serve it with a Romaine Salad with Vinaigrette

  • 2-3 Small Romaine Salads
  • 4-6 TBS White Wine Vinegar
  • 4 TBS Olive Oil
  • 2 TS Dijon Mustard
  • 1 TBS Finely Chopped Shallots
  • ½ Bunch Freshly Chopped Chives
  • ½ Bunch of Freshly Chopped Parsley
  • Freshly Ground Salt and Pepper
  • 2-3 Pinches of Sugar

Preparation

Start with the spaetzle dough. Unlike what you read or see on YouTtube, you don’t need fancy equipment. At minimum, you can make spaetzle with a wooden spoon, a bowl, a wooden board, and a long knife:

Combine 300g (10.6 oz) flour, 4 whole eggs, 2 pinches of salt, ½ TS freshly ground nutmeg, and 6 TBS Sparkling Mineral Water in a bowl and blend using your favorite mixer for 5 minutes.  Use more water if the dough is too dry.

If you ever wondered what the wooden cooking spoon with the hole in the center is for…; well, it is made for beating spaetzle dough.

What follows is what scares people about making spaetzle: It is beating the dough; a bit of a work out. You need to beat air into the dough. With a wooden cooking spoon, beat the Spaetzle dough for 5 minutes or until you see air bubbles. I use my hands for doing this; messy, but less strenuous. Afterwards let the dough rest for 1 hour.

In the meantime, prepare the salad:

Cut 2-3 small romaine salads into bite size pieces. Rinse and drain. In a non-metal bowl combine 4-6 TBS white wine vinegar, 4 TBS olive oil, 2 TS Dijon mustard, 1 TBS finely chopped shallots, ½ bunch freshly chopped chives, ½ bunch of freshly chopped parsley, freshly ground salt, pepper, and 2-3 pinches sugar.

Preparing the Ragout:

Finely chop 5 shallots. Cut 300 g (10.6 oz) Mushrooms into slices. Tip: use an egg cutter for this to safe time.

Safe the smallest mushrooms and cut into quarters. Keep quarters separate from slices; we will use these at the very end.

Cut 150 g (5.3 oz) Pickled Cornichons (small Gherkins) into slices, cut 80g (3 oz) Pickled Pearl Onions into halves.

In a large skillet, melt 2 TBS of butter, and glaze shallots. Add ground beef and fry until it begins to crumble. Add mushroom slices (not the quarters) and fry for a few minutes. Dust with 1 heaped TBS of flour and stir. Add 200ml (7 fl oz) beef stock, 2 TBS of Dijon mustard, 2 TS of mustard seeds, and 250g (8.8 oz or ½ lbs) sour cream. Set to low heat and add cornichons, pearl onions, and chopped parsley. Season with salt, pepper and 1 TBS of vermouth. Keep warm on very low heat.

Boiling the Spaetzle:

Bring a large pot of salt water to a boil.

Place dough onto a wet wooden board, and using a long knife, spread it thin on the board, keep it wet using the boiling salt water and then scrape it into mildly boiling water. If it gets sticky, wet with water from the pot.

Cook for a few minutes until spaetzle start to float.

I found a video that shows how to do make spaetzle the original way. It is in German, but you will get the main points outlined above. Note how he beats the heck out of the dough.  Must be a good way of relieving tension.

And yes… It does make a big mess… that is the fun part!

Again, as mentioned above, if you have access to good quality off the shelf spaetzle, go ahead and use them. In fact, any type of pasta will work fine.

Melt one TBS of butter in a small pan, fry the mushroom quarters we saved until they are well browned.

Serve ragout with spaetzle on a pre-warmed plate, decorate the fried mushrooms over it and sprinkle with freshly chopped parsley.

Cover Romaine salad with vinaigrette and serve on a separate plate.

Serve with a dry white wine or beer.

And now:

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Savoy Cabbage – Potato Casserole

Savoy Cabbage-Potato Casserole — Wirsing-Kartoffelauflauf

Region: Northern Germany, all over Germany

It’s Krauts again!

I may as well try to meet the cliché. I have already elaborated on this nickname in my post on Stuffed Cabbage Rolls. No need to do it again.

Here is a dish I came across the other day in one of the German Cooking Magazines. Since it is Cabbage season, it is not hard to find all sorts of cabbage variations. I saw this one, and as I am a big fan of all types of casserole dishes, I figured I’ll give it a try. At first I thought it looks a bit boring. But then it turned out to be so tasty that it deserves a place in my favorite German Food blog.

Good food does not have to be complex or difficult to prepare. I think this is a good example.

Serves: 4   Difficulty: easy    Preparation time: 60 minutes

  • 1 kg (2 lbs) Small Potatoes
  • 1/2 (750 g or 1.5 lbs) Savoy Cabbage
  • 3 TBS Butter
  • Freshly ground Salt and Pepper
  • Half a Can Chunky Tomatoes (200g or 7 oz)
  • 2 Medium onions
  • 2 Cloves of Garlic
  • 80g (2.8 oz) Bacon Bits
  • 4 Sprigs of Thyme
  • 3 Sprigs of Parsley
  • 2 large Carrots
  • 1 TBS Vegetable Oil
  • 375g (13.5 oz) Ground Meat / Minced Meat
  • 2 TBS Tomato Paste
  • 2 TBS Flour
  • 375ml (12.7 fl oz) Instant Vegetable Broth (Instant)
  • 250g (8.8 oz) Cream
  • Freshly Ground Nutmeg
  • 60g (2 oz) Parmesan Cheese

Preparation

Peel 1 kg (2 lbs) Small Potatoes and place in a pot with cold salt water. With the lid on, bring to a boil on high heat. Once boiling, reduce heat, to 1/3 power. Cut savoy cabbage into quarters, remove any hard or woody core stem and slice into strips.

Heat 1 TBS of butter or vegetable oil in large skillet and stir fry cabbage on medium heat for 5 minutes. Season with freshly ground salt and pepper.

Peel and finely chop 2 medium onions and two cloves of garlic. Strip 4 Thyme sprigs of its leaves and finely chop. Do the same with the parsley. Peel and chop the carrots into bit size chunks.

Heat 1 TBS of vegetable oil in a skillet and add 80g (2.8 oz) Bacon Bits,  onions, garlic, carrots, and ground meat and fry on high heat for 5 minutes. Add 2 TBS of tomato paste and half a can (200g or 7 oz) of chunky tomatoes. Add the herbs and season with salt and pepper.

In a small saucepan, heat 2 TBS of butter and dust in 1 TBS of flour using a sieve. Stir until flour/butter mix starts to bubble. While constantly stirring, using a whisk, pour in a little bit of your vegetable stock. Whisk well, and as soon as it thickens and bubbles again, poor in a little bit more vegetable stock, while constantly whisking the sauce. Repeat these steps until all vegetable broth is in the sauce pan. Add 250g (8.8 oz) of cream, bring to a short boil and season with freshly ground salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Grate 60g (2 oz) of Parmesan Cheese and stir into the sauce.

Distribute cabbage in a large casserole and layer potatoes and meat mixture over cabbage and layer the cheese sauce on top.

Bake in a preheated oven for 30 minutes at temperature setting: 175°C (350°F) top and bottom heat, 150°C (300°F) in circulating heat of gas setting 2.

Serve warm but not too hot.

Tip:  One word of caution when it comes to any type of instant broth/stock. I try to avoid any instant product that contains monosodium glutamate or yeast extract, simply because I believe it corrupts the natural taste of things, and adds an unnatural flavor: so read the labels carefully. I use liquid vegetable stock. While they do contain yeast extracts as well, it is usually at much lower volume and less dominant than instant products. Instant products are also very high in salt. Liquid versions are not.

Crunchy Eggs in Mustard Sauce with Potato-Carrot Mash

Region: Saxony-Anhalt, former East Germany, all over Germany

This is pure simplicity: Eggs, a sauce made with Mustard on mashed potatoes and a fresh cucumber salad. It is more a spring than winter dish, but I received the instructions to cook more vegetarian food.

Eggs in Mustard Sauce  is a dish you will probably never find on the menu of a German Restaurant outside of Germany, yet it is a dish that every German knows.  It might have its roots in the Ukraine and Russia where eggs with mustard or horseradish sauce are not uncommon.

Interestingly, it is a meal, that most Germans associate with their childhood and they probably did not like it very much. It takes some growing up to appreciate eggs in mustard sauce, I guess.

It is an inexpensive, fast and easy to make dish, commonly served with mashed potatoes and a fresh leafy salad. The sauce is often made with a white roux and mustard. I personally am not a fan of the combination of flour and mustard, thus I have adopted a version using yogurt and butter for the sauce. I turn the peeled eggs in Panko, and give them a quick fry. Everything is served with lots of sauce, Potato-Carrot Mash and a fresh cucumber salad.

If you know Eggs in Mustard sauce; starting today you will never go back to the traditional version.

Oh, and something else: Though hard to fathom, but this meal is completely vegetarian.

Serves:     4                    Difficulty:     easy                     Preparation time:     60 minutes

Ingredients

  • 8-12 Eggs
  • 300 g (10.5 oz) Panko (buy in Asia Shop) or alternatively fine bread crumbs
  • 200 g (7 oz) Flour
  • 1-2 Eggs, beaten
  • 1 l (35 fl oz) of frying oil
  • Some Vinegar and Salt
  • 500g (1 lb or 17.6 oz) low fat Yogurt
  • 2-5 TBS Mustard (medium spicy)
  • 1 TS dried Estragon
  • 80g (2.8 oz) butter
  • 1 TS Mustard Seeds
  • ½ TS Sugar
  • Salt and Pepper
  • 500g (1 lb or 17,6 oz)  Carrots
  • 500g (1 lb or 17,6 oz) Potatoes
  • 2 TBS Butter
  • 100 ml (3.5 fl oz) Milk
  • Salt, Pepper, freshly ground Nutmeg
  • 2 Cucumbers
  • 2 Shallot, finely chopped
  • 1/2 Bunch TBS Dill, finely chopped
  • 4 TBS White Wine Vinegar
  • Sugar, Salt and Pepper
  • 5-10 TBS Cream
  • 3 TBS fresh Parsley, finely chopped.

Preparation

Peel carrots and potatoes and place in a pot. Add Water to almost cover the potatoes/carrots. Add a lid and bring to a boil on high heat. Once boiling, reduce heat to 1/3 and let simmer for 20 minutes

Wash the cucumber thoroughly under warm water. Cut into very fine slices, (consider using a cucumber slicer). Sprinkle one TS of salt over the cucumber and in a glass or plastic bowl, massage the salt into the cucumbers (using your hands). Chill the cucumbers for later use.

In the meantime, prepare the mustard sauce: Combine 2TBS of medium spicy mustard in a sauce pan, add 5 TBS of yogurt and carefully apply heat. Gradually add butter and let melt. Add more yogurt and mustard depending on your preference on how “mustardy” you want the sauce to be. Season with freshly ground salt and pepper and 1/2 TS sugar. Be cautious not to boil the sauce but only heat it up. Boiling will make the sauce flaky. Place a lid on the sauce and set aside.

In another cooking pot, bring water to a boil. Add a splash of vinegar and some salt to the boiling water. Pierce the egg shells on one side using a needle or egg pricker. Carefully place eggs in boiling water and let cook for exactly 8 minutes. Place eggs into cold water for 30 seconds, remove from water and set aside.

Drain vegetable stock from Potatoes/carrots. Add 2 TBS of butter to potatoes/carrots and roughly mash. Add milk and mash until you have the desired consistency. Generously season with salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Add some freshly chopped parsley, mix and keep warm.

Remove cucumbers from fridge. A lot of liquid will have collected. Drain it, and squeeze any access liquid from cucumbers. Add 2 finely chopped shallot,1/2 bunch finely chopped Dill, 4 TBS White Wine Vinegar and 5 -10 TBS of cream. Season with Sugar, Salt, and Pepper to your liking. (The amounts mentioned for the salad dressing are just rough guidlines. Experiment and adjust tu your liking.)

Prepare 3 deep dishes, one with 200 g (7 oz) flour, one with 2 beaten whole egg, and one with 300 g (10.5 oz) Panko/bread crumbs.

Carfully peel all eggs, then one by one turn and cover well first in flour, then in egg, and finally in Panko/Breadcrumbs. Firmly (without popping the egg) press the Panko onto the egg.

Heat 1 l (35 fl oz) of frying oil in a medium pot and fry several eggs at a time for 3 minutes, carefully turning them occasionally.

Serve on individual preheated plates: First arrange the mash, then the sauce, place 2 eggs onto sauce and sprinkle with freshly chopped parsley. Serve cucumber salad on a side plate.

Tip: You may want to experiment with different type of Mustards such as: Dijon, Sweet Mustard, herbed Mustard, Honey Mustard, or even Chili Mustard. Also consider serving 2-3 different types of Mustard sauce if the mood strikes you.

And then:

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Pretzel Dumplings with Creamy Mushrooms and Oregano Butter

Region: Bavaria

Introduction:

Not much to the eye of the casual observer, this Bavarian classic has a lot to offer. It is almost vegetarian if you exclude the bacon (which is rather untypical for Bavarian cuisine), it is relatively easy to prepare, inexpensive and it tastes great. On the downside, at 995 kcal per serving, it does not the most common diet regimens and unless you are expecting a hard winter and a failing central heating, I would advise against serving it every other day. And that is exactly what you will want to do once you have tried it. Be careful, it only takes one serving to get hooked. There is something to be said, for dumplings in creamy mushroom sauce. This meal is usually a winner at any dinner table and kids love it, too. Just don’t expect that you will have the desire to eat again for quite some time.

I have modified the classic only slightly. Why change a winner?

Serves: 4                   Difficulty: Easy                    Preparation time: 60 minutes

 Ingredients

  • 600 g (21.2 oz, 1.3 lb) Mixed Mushrooms
  • 1 Medium Red Onion (finely chopped
  • 1 Medium Regular Onions (finely chopped)
  • 1 Clove of Garlic
  • 1 TBS Clarified Butter
  • 1 TBS Flour
  • 80 g  (3 oz) Bacon Bits
  • Zests of one Organic Lemon
  • 50 g (1.8 oz) Parmesan Cheese (grated)
  • 1 TBS Fresh Oregano
  • 1 TBS Olive Oil
  • 80g  (3 oz) Butter
  • Salt, Pepper
  • 100ml (3.5 fl oz) Chicken Stock
  • 200 g (7 oz) Cream
  • 300 g (11 oz) German Pretzels (if you can’t get them, substitute with 300 French Croutons)
  • 250ml (8.5 fl oz) Milk
  • 2 Whole Eggs, 1 Egg Yolk
  • Salt, Pepper
  • Freshly Ground Nutmeg
  • 2 TBS Fresh Parsley (finely chopped)
  • 2 TBS Chives (finely chopped)

 Preparation

For the dumplings, finely chop 300g (11 oz) of German Lye Pretzels (consider the use of an electric grinder). If you cannot get the Lye Pretzels substitute with French Croutons. Place ground Pretzle bits in a large mixing bowl.

Finley chop one medium red onion. With 1 TBS of clarified butter glaze the onions in a pan. Heat 250ml (8.5 fl oz) of milk (but do not boil). Mix two whole eggs and one egg yolk.

Add warm milk, eggs mixture, finely chopped parsley and chives to the Pretzels. Season with salt pepper and freshly ground nutmeg. Mix well until you have an even dough. Let the dough rest for 20 minutes, than mix again. With wet hands form dumplings about 4-5 cm in diameter (slightly smaller than a tennis ball). Place into softly boiling salt water and very gently cook for 20 minutes, then remove from salt water and set aside.

Tip: Should the dough be too moist so it is difficult to form dumplings, gradually add some finely ground bread meal to it until you have the right consistency.

Clean the mushrooms and cut into fine slices (leave very small mushrooms as they are).

Peel one medium onion and 1 clove of garlic and finely chop both. Grate 50g parmesan cheese. Using a lemon zester, remove lemon zests from 1 organic lemon.

For the oregano butter, heat 1 TBS of olive oil and 80g (3 oz) of butter, add 1 TBS chopped, fresh oregano and fry the dumplings from all sides for 8 minutes in the oregano butter.

For the mushroom sauce, melt 1 TBS of clarified butter in a separate frying pan and fry 80g (3 oz) bacon bits, chopped onion, garlic and mushrooms for about 3-4 minutes. Using a sieve, dust with 1 TBS flour. Add 100ml (3.5 fl oz) chicken stock and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and add 200g (7 oz) of cream and let simmer for 1 minute. Stir in cheese and season with salt and pepper.

Place dumplings on a plate, add mushroom sauce. Sprinkle a little oregano butter, lemon zest and some fresh parsley over the plate and serve warm.

And then…

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Pork Chops in Dark Beer Gravy

Region: Bavaria

I have already posted a few meals using wine in the preparation. (e.g. Riesling Chicken). Using beer for cooking might not be as popular outside of Germany but it sure is in Germany and particularly in Bavaria.  Bavarian Cuisine is the embodiment of German food. At least that’s common wisdom outside of Germany. Throughout this blog and over time, I will post the Bavarian Classics. Let me start with a simple Bavarian dish – one that might not be too known outside of Germany.

This is truly food that men will love: Thick pork chops, given a quick roast and then slowly cooked to tenderness in a hearty sauce made with dark beer and cumin. Not too many veggies and served with dumplings of any kind.

Quick to prepare and very filling, it’s a man’s dream of comfort food. (This does not mean that the girls won’t like it, too).

Enjoy

Serves: 4              Difficulty: Easy                 Preparation time:  45 minutes

Ingredients

  • 3 Carrots
  • 2 Onions
  • 2 Clove of Garlic
  • 3 single Stalks of Celery
  • 4 thick and high quality Pork Chops with Rind (about 220g or 7.8 oz each)
  • Salt and Pepper
  • 1 heaped TBS of Cumin Powder or (more if needed)
  • 2 TBS clarified Butter
  • 400 ml (14 fl oz) of Dark Beer
  • 2 TBS of freshly chopped Parsley

Preparation

Rinse and peel 3 carrots and cut into thin slices. Peel 2 onions and cut into wedges. Peel and dice 2 cloves of garlic. Rinse 3 single stalks of Celery and cut into thin slices.

Rinse the meat, cut groves into the rind, so the meat does not roll up when heated in the pan. Rub meat with salt, pepper, and cumin powder.

Melt 2 Tbs of clarified butter in a large frying pan. Give the pork chops a sharp roast on each side (without letting it turn black, of course). Add all the vegetables and sauté for a few minutes. Deglaze with 400ml (14 fl oz) of dark beer and let simmer on mild heat for 20 minutes.

After 20 minutes, remove the pork chops and keep warm. Reduce the sauce for a few minutes on high heat. Remove from heat, mix in 2 TBS of freshly chopped parsley and season with salt and pepper.

Serve the meat in the sauce. Bread Dumplings are best with this – and of course a nice cold beer.

You can find the recipe for Bread Dumplings here.

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Liver Berlin on Mashed Potatoes

Region: said to have originated in Berlin, found all over Germany

Liver…??…. That’s gross!!

If that’s your reaction, hang on. I bet you, I can win you over, if you give it a try.

Liver in not everyone’s favorite – and there are many reasons why.  I can’t say that I am the biggest liver fan myself. Often it is overdone, bitter, or has a strange, crumbly consistency that just doesn’t sit right.

Apparently, this is a traditional Berlin dish. It is true, that you can find it in pretty much any local restaurant in Berlin. But if it is really that traditional, is questionable. My research did not reveal the combination of liver, onions and apples anytime earlier than the 19th century.

The combination of liver, onions, and apples balances very well. It takes away some of the liver’s natural bitterness. The sauce and the mashed potatoes are in symbiotic harmony, and I will go as far and say: even the kids will eat it (as long as you don’t tell them it is liver).

I have tried to make this dish more contemporary by using less bitter turkey or chicken liver and by keeping the gravy a bit on the sweet side.

Are you feeling adventurous? I look forward to your feedback.

Serves: 4   Difficulty: medium    Preparation time: 45 minutes

  • approx. 600 g (21.2 oz) Turkey or Chicken Liver
  • Flour
  • 3 Tbs of Clarified Butter
  • 1 Tbs of Regular Butter
  • 2 Sprigs of Thyme
  • 1 Clove of Garlic cut into quarters
  • 4 Shallots
  • 3 red Apples
  • 1 Lemon
  • 1 TBS Sugar
  • 1 Pack or 1 TBS Vanilla Sugar
  • 200 ml (7 fl oz) Apple-juice
  • 100 ml (3.5 fl oz) Balsamic Vinegar
  • 30 ml (1 fl oz) of Port Wine
  • 1 Cinnamon Stick
  • 400 g Potatoes
  • about 100 ml (3.5 fl oz) Cream or Milk
  • 1 generous TBS of butter
  • freshly ground nutmeg
  • 1 Bunch fresh parsley
  • Salt and Pepper

Preparation

Rinse and scrub potatoes thoroughly using a vegetable brush (the skin will not be removed for the mash). Place into a cooking pot and add water until the potatoes are almost completely covered. Add a lid and bring to a boil. Once steam is coming out from under the lid, reduce heat to 1/3 of max power and let cook for 20 minutes.

In the meantime, cut the liver into chunks the size of your liking, if necessary. Rinse the liver and turn in flour.

Cut the shallots into strips. Do not skin the apples but remove pits and cut into wedges. Squeeze lemon juice and toss apple wedges in the lemon juice.

Preheat oven to 70°C

In a separate frying pan, melt 1 TBS of butter. Add the onions and sauté the onions until they begin to brown. Remove onions from frying pan. In the same pan melt 2 TBS of sugar and 1 pack of vanilla sugar together with one cinnamon stick. Once caramelized, add 200ml  (7 fl oz) of apple juice and 100 ml (3.5 fl 0z) of balsamic vinegar and 30 ml (1 fl oz) of Port Wine. Add apples and sauté for a few minutes until apples are almost soft. Add onions and season with salt, pepper and more sugar if needed. Keep warm in oven for a few minutes.

Melt 1 Tbs of clarified butter in a frying pan and brown liver on each side and season pepper.  Add 1 TBS of butter, two sprigs of Thyme and 1 clove of garlic cut into quarters and continue to fry for another 3 minutes on each side. Season with salt remove garlic and thyme and place in the oven and keep warm for a few minutes.

Using a potato masher, mash the potatoes adding 1 TBS of butter and enough milk or cream until the mash has the desired consistency. Season generously with salt, pepper, and freshly ground nutmeg.

Arrange everything on a plate, starting with the mash. Place liver on and around the mash and generously cover with the apple/onion sauce. Sprinkle freshly topped parsley over the arrangement and serve while hot.

Goes well with beer or a dominant white wine like Gewurztraminer or a mild red wine such as a burgundy.

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Farmers Breakfast (Bauernfrühstück)

Region: Northern Germany, with variations all over Germany

The potato is probably the most versatile vegetable there is. Easy to grow, easy to store, and rich in carbohydrates, it was a source of nutrition in Germany during times of famine leading to such a large variety of potato dishes one could fill another blog with just potato recipes.

Bauernfrühstück, literally means “Farmers Breakfast”.  I am not entirely sure if this name was given because German farmers actually ate or are eating it for breakfast.

The traditional Bauernfrühstück is made from leftover boiled potatoes, onions or shallots, bacon bits, egg, seasoned simply with salt and pepper, and decorated with one pickled gherkin.

It is simple, fast, inexpensive, and yet filling meal (and a perfect breakfast after a long night out, including hangover).

My version adds deeps sea shrimps and North Sea Shrimps (Grey Shrimps) and a simple, yet tasty cucumber salad. If you cannot get the North Sea Shrimps, substitute it with diced ham.

And yes, I serve it with Ketchup, that’s the twist 🙂

Enjoy

Serves: 4   Difficulty: Easy    Preparation time: 45 minutes

Ingredients

  • 750 g (26.5 oz) Potatoes, cut into chunky dices
  • Salt
  • 2 TBS clarified butter
  • 100 g (3.5 oz)  bacon bits
  • 2 medium onions, diced
  • 1 bunch of fresh chives
  • 4 eggs
  • freshly ground pepper
  • freshly ground nutmeg
  • 2 Cucumbers
  • 2 Shallots
  • 2-3 TBS White Wine Vinegar
  • 2-3 EL Olive Oil
  • 4 TBS cream
  • 1 TS Sugar
  • 100 g (3.5 oz)  Deep Sea Shrimps
  • 100 g (3.5 oz)  North Sea Shrimps
  • 1/2 bunch of fresh dill, chopped + some extra twigs for decoration
  • Tomato Ketchup

 Instructions

Peel and dice 750 g (26.5 oz) of potatoes. Chop the onions, wash the chives and cut into small rolls.

Beat 4 egg and mix in the chives, season egg mixture with freshly ground salt, pepper and nutmeg.

In a bowl, combine 2-3 TBS white wine vinegar, 2-3 TBS olive oil, 4 TBS cream, 1 TS sugar. Season the dressing with salt, pepper, and more sugar as needed. Cut 2 shallots into rings. Wash the cucumbers and cut into slices. Marinade the cucumber and shallots with the dressing and keep in the fridge while preparing the rest.

Melt 2 TBS of clarified butter in a large frying pan. Add the potatoes and fry for about 20 minutes, given them a regular toss or stir so they don’t burn. (Here is how to do a cool pan flip).

About five minutes before the potatoes are done add the bacon and onion and keep tossing.

Add the deep sea shrimps to the potatoes and toss. Drain some of the grease from the pan if it is too greasy.

Evenly distribute the egg mixture over the potatoes. On low to medium heat, let the eggs set. Season with salt and pepper if needed.

Serve on a pre-warmed plate. Distribute the North Sea Shrimps over the meal and decorate with some dill. Serve with the cucumber salad and some ketchup.

Deliciously Easy

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Traditional German Sauerbraten with glazed Red Cabbage and home made Bread Dumplings

Region: Several regions boast local versions of the Sauerbraten including: Franconia, Rhineland, Saarland, Silesia, and Swabia.

The German word Sauerbraten consists of one adjective and a noun rolled into one word:  sauer = eng.: sour or pickled + Braten = roast meat.

Apparently, the original receipt goes back as far as the 9th century when it was considered a leftover dish.

Even Julius Cesar may have been involved in this dish when he suggested that beef should be sent across the Alps while marinated in wine. We are not sure if all this is true.

In Germany, the traditional ingredient for Sauerbraten was horse meat with a marinade designed to soften the tough meat.

Today, however, horse meat is not commonly used anymore since horses are now not considered livestock but “recreational” animals.

Venison, Beef, Veal, even Pork and Turkey are nowadays used to prepare a “Sauerbraten”.

A true Sauerbraten is marinated in a spiced marinade for a long time. The more intense, or wilder in terms of taste and toughness your meat is, the longer is the marinating time needs to be.

Despite its regional variances, this dish is traditionally served with a spiced red cabbage and potato dumplings.

The objective of the side servings is to balance the sour taste of the meat and gravy with a sweeter side.

I have tweaked the traditional recipe onyl slightly.

I have probably reviewed 20 different Sauerbraten receipts to come up with this contemporary version.

Enjoy. I look forward to your feedback.

Serves: 4   Difficulty: Medium    Preparation time: 4 days marinating the beef, 4 hours preparation time

Ingredients

For the Sauerbraten

  • 1.5 kg (3.3 lbs) beef roast
  • 2 Medium Carrots
  • 1 half of a medium sized celery
  • Half a stem of leek
  • 2 shallots or 1 onion
  • 2 TBS clarified butter
  • 2 medium bay leafs
  • 4 cloves
  • 1 TBS black peppercorns
  • 8-10 juniper berries
  • 200ml (6.8 fl oz) red wine vinegar
  • 200 ml (6.8 fl oz) balsamic vinegar
  • 350ml (8.5 fl oz) dry red wine
  • 150 g (5.3 oz) gingerbread-the no chocolate kind, finely crumbled or chopped
  • 2 slices of Pumpernickel Bread, finely chopped
  • 4-5 TBS  raisins
  • 1 TBS maple Syrup or honey
  • I TBS of red currant jelly
  • 50 ml (1/4 cup) Cream and 2 TBS of (corn) starch
  • 1 large freezer bag

For the glazed red cabbage

  • 1 red cabbage (ca. 1 kg or 35 oz)
  • 2 onions
  • 2 TBS clarified butter or lard
  • 1 Bay leaf
  • 1 Cinnamon stick
  • 200ml  (7 fl oz) Red Wine
  • 10 Tbs Apple Vinegar
  • 3 Tbs Sugar
  • Salt to season
  • 2 apples with high acidity
  • 3-4 Tbs Redcurrant Jelly

For the dumplings

  • 300 g (10.5 oz) bread crumbs (ideally French croutons)
  • 250 ml (or 1.cups and 2 TBS) full fat milk
  • 3 Onions, very finely chopped
  • 2 TBS Butter
  • 3 TBS parsley, finely chopped
  • 3 TBS of wild chives, finely chopped
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1 Egg Yolk
  • Dashes of: Nutmeg, freshly ground salt and pepper

Instructions

Preparing the Sauerbraten:

  1. Clean and chop 2 medium carrots, 1 half of a medium celery, half a stem of leek, and 2 shallots (or 1 onion).
  2. 200ml (6.8 fl oz) of red wine vinegar,  200ml (6.8 fl oz) Balsamic Vinegar, and 350ml (8.5 fl oz) dry red wine into a cooking pot. Add 2 Bay leafs, 4 Cloves, 1 TBS black peppercorns, and 8-10 Juniper Berries and the vegetables. Bring to a boil and let  softly boil for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and cool to room temperature.
  3. Rinse meat, dry off and place into a large freezer bag. Add the cooled off marinade. Tie the bag with a double knot, put in a bowl and place in the fridge. Let meat marinade for at least 4 days turning the bag every day.
  4. After 4 days, remove meat from marinade pad dry with a paper towel.  Pour liquid through a strainer. Keep the vegetable in the strainer
  5. Heat up 2 Tbs clarified butter in a large roasting pot. Add meat and give it a strong roast on each side. (Don’t let it turn black, though).
  6. Season with salt and pepper.
  7. Add vegetable/spices mix from the strainer and fry for a minute or two.
  8. Add marinade and remove from heat.  Add 150 g (5.3 oz) Gingerbread, and two slices if Pumpernickel Bread, both finely crumbled or chopped.
  9. Stir well.
  10. Place meat into sauce.
  11. Add lid to roasting pot and place in a preheated oven at 150°C or 300°F. Bake for 2.5 – 3 hours turning meet every hour. Should the sauce evaporate too much add a little bit of beef stock
  12. While the meat is roasting, prepare the red cabbage and the dumplings (refer to below instructions).
  13. After 2 hours, remove vegetables and spices form roasting pot using a skimmer, set aside
  14. Add 2-3 TBS Raisins or alternatively 2-3 TBS of dried Cranberries at let simmer for the remaining time.
  15. Remove pot from oven at the end of the time. Remove meat and keep warm. Poor marinade into a smaller sauce pan. Using a large cooking spoon, press the vegetables through a fine sieve into the sauce
  16. Combine 100 ml (1/2 cup) of cream and 2 TBS of starch and carefully stir ½ of the mixture into the sauce. Bring to a soft boil and assess the thickness of the sauce. Add more of the cream/starch mixture if too thin.
  17. Season with salt, pepper, and a choice of Maple Syrup / Honey / Redcurrant Jelly. I prefer redcurrant jam as it adds additional fruity taste. Remove any unwanted material like bay leaves. Keep warm with meat until ready to use.

Preparing the spiced red cabbage:

  1. Take 1 whole red cabbage (1 kg or 35 oz), remove outer leaves, and cut cabbage into quarters. Grate or cut the cabbage into fine strips. Peel the onion and cut into small strips or dices.
  2. In a large cooking pot, heat 2 TBS if lard or clarified butter. Glaze the onions and add the cabbage, Bay leaf, 1 Cinnamon stick, 200 ml (7 fl oz) red wine, 10 Tbs Apple Vinegar, 3 Tbs Sugar, and 2 TS salt.
  3. Let cook on low heat for 1 hour, occasionally adding water so it does not burn.
  4. Peel and pit the apples, cut into dices and add to red cabbage about 15 minutes before cooking time is over. Season with 3-4 Tbs red currant jelly and more sugar and vinegar if needed.

Warm serving plates

Preparing the dumplings:

  1. Heat 250 ml (or 1 cup and 2 TBS) milk and poor over 300 g (10.5 oz) bread crumbs (ideally French croutons) Let soak for 30 minutes.
  2. Peel and finely chop onions. Melt butter at medium heat and glaze onions until soft.  Combine bread dough, glazed onion, 2 full eggs, 1 egg yolk,  3 TBS of finely chopped parsley and 3 TBS of wild chives. Season with salt, pepper, and nut meg.
  3. Knit dough well with your hand or with a blender until you have an even and malleable dough.  Should the dough be too dry add more milk and continue to mix and season as appropriate.
  4. Rinse your hands with water and with wet hands form round dumplings larger that a golf ball and smaller than a tennis ball (somewhere in-between).
  5. Once all your dumplings are formed, place into salted boiling water. Remove from heat and let soak for 15 minutes or longer until dumplings float.

Serve:

Serve 3-4 cut slices of the Sauerbraten with cabbage and dumplings on warmed plate.  Decorate with chopped herbs.  Burgundy red wine, Beaujolais Wine, even a Lager beer will accompany this dish well.

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Stuffed Cabbage Rolls with Curry Sauce

Region: Northern Germany and in variations all over Germany

Krauts“… isn’t that what the name created by the Brits and Americans during the first and second world war and that the international community still associates with the Germans because supposedly we eat so much Cabbage? If a name should be based on a certain vegetable that is consumed in largest quantity we should probably be called Tomaten (Tomatoes) or Kartoffeln (Potatoes) because the annual consumption of those two vegetables rank 1st and 2nd  in popularity in Germany. With those options in mind, I say we stick with “Krauts”.

Despite an internet search, I could not even find reliable data on how much Cabbage is truly eaten in Germany – thus I conclude that the stereotype is a myth.

That said, the cabbage belt, i.e. the area with the highest cabbage production in Europe is located in Dithmarschen, in the very north of Germany.  There, over 80 million different types of cabbage are produced annually and lined up back to back they would cover a distance from the North to the South Pole.

Cabbage has always had the reputation of being a poor people’s meal, and was thus not really popular with the well to do. In the 13th century, the medical profession agreed that Cabbage is not good for you as it “makes the blood go bad”.  Fact is however, that cabbage is low in calories, and high in Vitamin C and B and the minerals Calcium and Iron. Cabbage is also said to lower Cholesterol.

Thus, I pledge: Eat more cabbage.

But in what form, you ask?

Here is a variation of the traditional Cabbage rolls that are popular all over Germany. Strictly speaking, it is not a German dish as it originated in Byzantine Empire and the Mediterranean regions. In fact, Cabbage itself reached what is Germany today only in the 8th Century under Charles the Great.

When I was a kid, my mother would often serve canned cabbage rolls, which I hated. It has only recently that I discovered that homemade cabbage rolls are actually a simple to prepare and tasty fall and winter food, that definitely deserves its place in the ranks of my German food blog.

Serves: 4     Difficulty: Easy     Preparation time: 45 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 500g potatoes
  • 1 large pointed sweat heart cabbage
  • freshly ground salt and pepper
  • 2 medium sized onions, finely chopped
  • 500 g (17.5 oz) of ground/minced pork meat and ground/minced beef
  • 8-10 thin bacon slices
  • 100 g of Bacon bits
  • 1 Egg
  • 3–4 TBS ground bread crumbs (e.g. Matzo Meal)
  • 4 Tbs Milk
  •  200 ml (6.8 fl oz) Cream
  • 2 TBS Tomato Paste
  • 2 TBS clarified butter
  • 500 ml (17 fl. oz) vegetable broth/stock
  • 2 TBS Butter
  • 2 level TBS Flour
  • 1–3 TBS Hot Madras Curry (I use this one)
  • Fresh Parsley for garnish
  • Kitchen twine

Preparation

Peel potatoes and cut into quarters. Place in a pot and add water so that potatoes almost covered. Add 2 TS of salt.

Rinse the cabbage and remove any stale or damaged outer leaves. Remove 8 large leaves. In a large pot, bring saltwater to a boil and blanch several leave at a time for 2 minutes. Remove and immediately place into cold water. Repeat with the other leaves.

With a sharp knife, cut the center rib parallel to the leaf to flatten it so the leaf can be easily rolled.

Finely dice two onions. Combine ground/minced meat, 1 egg, half the amount of diced onions, 4 TBS milk, 2 TBS tomato paste, freshly ground salt and pepper and knead with your hands until mixed well. Take two cabbage leaves and place on top of each other. From the meat dough, form 4 meat paddies of a size that the leaves can still be completely warped around them. Warp two slices of bacon around the meat paddy, place the meat in the center of the leaves and warp to and even parcel folding over the sides. Tie the leaves firmly in place with kitchen twine.

Place a lid on the potatoes and bring to a boil. As soon as steam comes out from under the lid, reduce heat to 1/3 of max. setting.

Heat 2 TBS clarified butter in a deep roasting pan. Sear the wraps well from all sided. Add 500ml (17 fl. oz) of vegetable broth/stock and let everything stew for 25 minutes.

Heat 2 TBS of butter in a small sauce pan, add the bacon bits and fry until they begin to brown. Add onions and sauté until they are well glazed. Through a fine sieve, dust with 2 level TBS of Flour and 1 – 3 TBS hot Madras curry powder (depending on how curryish and spicy you want your sauce. Form me, 2 TBS was enough). Sauté for ma few seconds than while whisking vigorously gradually add 125 ml of the vegetable broth taken directly out of the pot with the cabbage wraps. Add 200 ml (17 fl oz) of cream and refine with salt, pepper and further curry as needed. Keep warm.

Finely chop fresh parsely.

The potatoes should be done be now (don’t cook them more than 25 mins). Drain water.

Remove sting from the roll and serve on a plate with the potatoes. Sprinkle chopped parsley over potatoes. Add sauce as desired. If you want you can dust wraps with some extra curry powder (use a fine sieve).

And now:

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Pork Roast with Crackling (Schweinekrustenbraten) with Red Cabbage and Home-Made Potato Dumplings

Region: All over Germany, but most predominant in Bavaria and the neighboring countries of Austria and Switzerland.

Schweinekrustenbraten.

Now, there is a long German word for you… and it is by far maybe just average length when it comes to German nouns. We have long nouns, we chop up verbs into two parts and scatter them across a sentence so you really only get the meaning of the sentence until you have listened till the very end. Or as Mark Twain used to say: “Whenever the literary German dives into a sentence — that is the last you are going to see of him until he emerges on the other side of his Atlantic with his verb in his mouth.

When it comes to Schweinekrustenbraten, it is similarly complex. Wherever you look, be it internet, cooking magazines or your library of German cookbooks, nobody seems to agree on how the perfect pork roast with crackling is made. Even what part of meat to use (I use the shoulder) divides the nation. Yet, all agree, it is all about the crackling crusted skin of that roast. Or as Tim Mälzer, TV-cook celebrity in Germany put it: “The perfect pork roast should be 80% crackling and 20% meat, unfortunately it is always the other way around.”

So I have been reviewing an array of recipes and finally decided: “Screw it, time to do my own version…” In the end, I did stay quite traditional when it comes to the sides.

I am combining it with  sides such as a red cabbage, homemade potato dumplings and a fantastic sauce made with Malt Beer.

Follow my instructions and your guest will wonder in awe: how did you get the meat so soft and the skin so crunchy. But a word of warning. This is a traditional Sunday dinner in Germany. While it is not difficult, it is a bit of work, so don’t think you can prepare it for dinner after work on a school day. Also, if you have access to quality ready-to-use potato dumplings dough (and I don’t mean the freeze dried stuff you buy off the shelf, but the kind you find in the refrigerated section) consider using it. Makes this meal so much easier.

So here it is. Enjoy

Serves: 4              Difficulty: medium        Preparation time:  3 hours.

Ingredients:

For the Roast:

  • 1.5 kg (5.3 oz) of pork shoulder deboned, with a good layer of skin and fat
  • Water
  • 1 Ts instant chicken broth
  • 4 Ts of grainy salt
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1½ TS dried Rosemary
  • 1½ TS dried Thyme
  • 1½ TS dried Marjoram
  • ½ TS freshly ground Nutmeg
  • 8 Tbs olive oil
  • 3 cloves of garlic, not peeled
  • 2 large carrots
  • 1 small leek
  • 1 small celery root
  • 3 onions, cut into quarters
  • 1 bottle (350 ml or 12 fl oz) of dark beer or sweet malt beer
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 TS Caraway seeds
  • Freshly ground salt and pepper
  • 1 TBS redcurrant jelly
  • 1 TBS Starch (potato or corn)
  • 3 TBS of cold water
  • Meat Thermometer

For the Red Cabbage:

  • 1 red cabbage (ca. 1 kg or 35 oz)
  • 2 onions
  • 2 TBS clarified butter or lard
  • 1 Bay leaf
  • 1 Cinnamon stick
  • 200 ml  (7 fl oz) Red Wine
  • 6 Tbs Apple Vinegar
  • 3 Tbs Sugar
  • Salt to season
  • 2 apples with high acidity
  • 3-4 Tbs Redcurrant Jelly

For the Potato Dumplings:

  • 3 slices of toast or ready to use French croutons
  • 25 g  (1 oz) Butter
  • 1 kg (35.5 oz) large soft cooking potatoes
  • 1/2 l  (17 fl oz) Milk
  • 2 TS Salt
  • Freshly ground nut meg
  • 125 g  (4.5 oz) Semolina
  • 1/4 bunch of chopped fresh parsley

Preparation:

The Roast:

  1. Take the roast and cut a squares or a zigzag pattern into the skin using a very sharp knife or a carpet cutter (ideally, have your butcher do it for you, save time and work). You want to cut into the fat, but not into the meat itself. That is usually about 1 cm or a little bit less than ½  inch (0.3937 to be exact).
  2. Place roast SKIN DOWN into a frying pan or pot large enough to hold the roast. Add enough water so it levels just slightly above the fat. Add one TS of instant chicken broth and bring to a boil. Once boiling, immediately reduce heat to simmer and let cook for about 20 mins. Pre-heat oven to 240°C (460°F) and place a baking pan into the oven.
  3. After 20 mins remove roast from water and let cool.
  4. In the meantime combine salt, 2 bay leaves, 1½ TS dried Rosemary, 1½ TS dried Thyme, ½ TS freshly ground Nutmeg and 1½ TS dried Marjoram in a food blender or mortar and pestle and grind while gradually adding 8 Tbs olive oil. This will be your marinade for the pork.
  5. Roughly chop 3 unpeeled cloves of garlic, 2 large carrots, 1 small leek, 1 small celery root and cut 3 onions into quarters
  6. Massage the marinade onto the skin and sides and ensure you get it deep into the cuts.
  7. Drop 1 Tbs of lard or clarified butter into the pre-heated and hot roasting pan and place the roast SKIN UP into the grease. Insert roasting pan into the lower 3rd of the oven and roast for 20 minutes at 240°C ( 460°F) with upper and lower heat (avoid the using the fan).
  8. After 20 mins, reduce the heat to 140°C  (280°F) and place a meat thermometer into the roast. Distribute the vegetables around the meat and add the malt beer and the cinnamon stick. Insert a meat thermometer and let roast for 1. – 1.5 hours.
  9. In the meantime prepare the cabbage and dumplings (see below).
  10. The meat is done when the thermometer is on the pork meat icon, or (if you do not have a meat thermometer) when you stick a metal skewer into the meat and only clear liquid drips out.
    Remove meat from oven and off the roasting pan and set aside. Start your oven’s grill. If it does not have one, bring to the highest temperature.
  11. For the gravy, strain the liquid and vegetables from the roasting pan through a sieve. Press soft vegetables through the sieve into the liquid using a cooking spoon. Bring sauce to a boil and reduce to about 1/2 of volume. Season with freshly ground salt and pepper and 1 TBS red currant jelly.
  12. Combine 1 TBS of starch with 3 TBS of cold water and mix evenly. Pour starch mixture into the sauce and increase heat until the sauce thickens.
  13. Place the meat under the oven grill in the center of the oven and grill for 5-10 minutes. The skin will start to pop almost like pop corn. Once you have an evenly crunchy crust, remove from heat and serve.
  14. Cut the meat into slices and serve with the gravy, dumplings and red cabbage as desired.

For the red cabbage:

  1. Take 1 whole red cabbage (1 kg or 35 oz), remove outer leaves, and cut cabbage into quarters. Grate or cut the cabbage into fine strips. Peel the onion and cut into small strips or dices.
  2. In a large cooking pot, heat 2 TBS if lard or clarified butter. Glaze the onions and add the cabbage, Bay leaf, 1 Cinnamon stick, 200 ml (7 fl oz) red wine, 6 Tbs Apple Vinegar, 3 Tbs Sugar, 1 Cinnamon stick, and 2 TS salt.
  3. Let cook on low heat for 1 hour, occasionally adding water so it does not burn.
  4. Peel and pit the apples, cut into dices and add to red cabbage about 15 minutes before cooking time is over. Season with 3-4 Tbs red currant jelly and more sugar and vinegar if needed.

For the dumplings:

  1. Cut 3 slices of toast into cubes and roast in 25g (1 oz) butter until golden brown. Peel the potatoes. Fill a large bowl about half with cold water and place a clean kitchen towel into the bowl so that the sides of the towel hang over the rim of the bowl. Grate potatoes into the towel. Once done grating, close the towel by twisting it and squeeze all the water out into the bowl. Put the water aside so that the potato starch has time to settle to the bottom of the bowl
  2. Bring ½ ltr. of milk with 1½ TS salt and some ground nut meg to a boil, remove from heat and add 125g (4.5 oz) of Semolina. This will quickly create a thick paste. Set aside a let cool slightly and then combine the semolina with the grated potatoes and fold to an even dough. Pour off the water until only the starch at the bottom of the bowl remains. Add starch to the potato-semolina dough and mix evenly.
  3. With wet hands, roll dumplings placing 2-3 bread crumbs into the center. The size of the dumplings should be somewhere between a ping pong ball and a tennis ball, definitely not larger than a tennis ball.
  4. Bring a generous amount of salt water to a boil. Reduce heat and let the dumplings soak in the simmering water for 20 minutes
  5. Sprinkle some freshly chopped parsley over the dumplings when serving.

Serve with sliced roast, gravy to like and red cabbage and now…

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Goulash Supreme

Region: All over Germany, influences of Bavaria, Austria, and Hungary. The dumplings are as Bavarian as it gets.

„Never order Goulash in a Restaurant”, would be my whole-hearted recommendation to anyone. They just don’t put the amount of effort and creativity required into preparing the meal. It will be bound to be too greasy, too spicy, too stale, with the meat too tough and any variation thereof.  Rather prepare it yourself; it is bound to be better when home-made.

This one-pot stew has its origins in Hungary from where it started its journey to other European countries, including Germany.

Slight variations are found in the various countries to the extent that ingredients are changed, added, or left out. Thus, there is probably no one truly authentic goulash receipt unless prepared by a Hungarian herdsman in a steel pot (which is said to be the origin of the dish). If cooked in the proper way, goulash has a nice and evenly thick consistency, almost like a sauce. In Germany, Goulash is commonly eaten as a main dish; served with noodles, spaetzle, dumplings, or just boiled potatoes.

Goulash is a great dish to reheat the next day. With enough time for the flavors to really develop, you’ll find it tastes even better the following evening.

For my variation of Goulash, I use venison and game, (if you can’t get it, use veal and pork). I stay simple on the spices, creating a twist of finesse by adding cream and red currant jelly, serving everything on sliced and briefly fried dumplings made from pretzel dough. The dumplings dough is rolled into one long dumpling which is wrapped in a kitchen towel or linen napkin and placed into hot water. Literally translated from German these dumplings are called “Napkin Dumplings”(Serviettenknödel).

Serve a red wine, but beer will also work well.

You’ll gobble it up, guaranteed!

Serves: 4              Difficulty: Easy                 Preparation time:  2 hours.

Ingredients:

For the Goulash

  • 2 Tbs of lard or vegetable oil for frying
  • 300 g (10.6  oz) of game goulash, cubed
  • 300 g (10.6 oz) of venison goulash
  • 80 g (3 oz) of bacon bits
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 1 clove of garlic, chopped
  • 4 crushed juniper berries
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 ts of hot paprika powder
  • 1 ts of sweet (mild) paprika powder
  • 1 ts cayenne pepper
  • 1 can (200 ml / 6.7 fl oz) of chunky tomato pieces
  • 1 tbs tomato paste
  • 2 medium sized red bell peppers, finely chopped
  • The zest (skin) of ½ organic lemon
  • 1 tbs flour
  • 1-2 tbs lemon juice
  • 200-300 ml (6.7 – 10 fl. oz.) dry red wine
  • 200-300 ml (6.7 – 10 fl. oz.) of game stock
  • 1 tbs redcurrant jelly
  • 100 (3.4 fl. oz) ml cream
  • Fine lemon zest peeled with a lemon zester

For the Dumplings:

  • Four (300g or 10.6 oz)  large original German Pretzels  (if you cannot get them, use French croutons instead)
  • 1 large onion
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 1 hand full of chanterelle mushrooms (if available)
  • 1 bunch of chives, finely chopped
  • 20 g (0.7 oz) butter
  • 220 ml (7.4 fl. oz) milk
  • 2 whole eggs and 1 egg yolk
  • Freshly ground salt and pepper
  • Freshly grated nutmeg
  • Additional fine bread crumbs
  • 1 clean kitchen towel
  • String cord
  • 2 Tbs Butter

Preparation:

The goulash:

In a stew pot on brown the meat from all sides for 2-3 minutes. Do this in several portions, ensuring that you don’t put too much meat into the pot at one time. This would take up too much heat and the meat may lose juices. Put meat in a bowl and set aside.

Once all of the meat has been browned, place the bacon into the pot and give it a two minutes roast. Add onions and garlic and give them another 2 minutes stir. Add the meat and sprinkle with 1 TBS of flour and add 1 tbs of tomato paste. Stir for another 2-3 minutes the add the can chunky tomotoes (200 ml / 6.7 fl oz)

Add some red wine and, game stock. The meat should be well covered with liquid.  Now add the spices, including: 4 crushed juniper berries, 1 bay leaf, 1 ts of hot paprika powder, 1 ts of sweet (mild) paprika powder, 1 ts cayenne pepper, 2 medium sized red bell peppers, finely chopped and the zest (skin) of ½ organic lemon (this will be removed again later).

Stew for about 50-60 minutes with and open lid over mild to medium heat, occasionally pouring in more wine and game stock if needed. After the time, check if the meat is soft. If it is still tough, add more cooking time. Ideally the meat should melt in your mouth.

Once done, season the sauce with more paprika and cayenne pepper if you desire it to be spicier. Remove the lemon zest. Add 1 tbs of redcurrant jelly, 1-2 tbs lemon juice, and 100 ml of cream. Season with salt and pepper as needed.

The dumplings:

While the meat is stewing, prepare the dumplings. Cut the pretzels into small cubes and place in a bowl. Chop 1 large onion, 1 clove of garlic and the very finely chop the chanterelle mushrooms. Sauté everthing in hot butter until they turn soft. Add 220 ml milk and bring to a soft boil for 2 minutes.  Poor the hot milk mixture into the bowl with the pretzel cubes. Add the eggs and season with salt, pepper, chives, and nutmeg. Mix everything to a dough that has a consistency allowing it to be rolled into dumplings. If it is too soft more fine breadcumbs. Let everything sit for 15 minutes. Place a moist kitchen towel on your counter surface and place the dough in its center. Form a long roll out of the dough and loosely wrap with the kitchen towl, tying the ends using the string cord. Place the package in a large enough pot with boiling water and let soak under a very mild boil for 30 minutes.

Remove from water, unwrap the long dumpling and cut into ½ inch slices.  Melt butter in a frying pan and fry dumpling on both side until golden brown.  Here is a step by step picture guide how it is done, all this is done

Serve everything on a plate, sprinkle lemon zest over the meat and then…

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Berlin Currywurst with Potato Wedges

Region: Berlin, Hamburg, the Ruhr area, and more and more popular all over Germany.

“What’s all the hype about?”

My American business partner and I were in one of Berlin’s favorite fast food joints: Bier’s 195 on Kurfürstendamm.

We were looking at a plate filled with French fries topped with a blob of mayonnaise and a chopped up sausage covered with curry powder,  smothered in ketchup.

“Well”, I said, “this is the world famous Berlin Currywurst. A mandatory snack when visiting the city.

As my recent words spun around in my head, I realized, looking down at the food mutilation before me, that my American co-worker must think: These Germans! …Still crazy… after all… !

There is indeed some history attached to the “Currywurst” which  makes it a dish with some cultural value and thus worth having its place on this blog.

A Currywurst prepared poorly is pure hell; and when prepared well, it can be an absolute winner and your kids will love it.

As a means of evidence to the previous statement, I can say that whenever the canteen in my office block (in Hamburg) serves “Currywurst” you better be there early and before everyone else goes to lunch, just to beat the line in front of the food counter.

The Currywurst is said to have been invented in the post WWII period in Berlin. On a rainy fall night in 1949 when Herta Heuwer, owner of a fast food stand, combined curry powder, Worcestershire sauce, and ketchup to a sauce which she poured over a steamed and then fried sausage.  She gave the sauce the name “Chillup” and patented it in 1959.  It was filling, cheap, and tasty and as such extremely popular with construction workers who were rebuilding the devastated city of Berlin.

Today, it is one of the most popular fast food in Germany with over 800 Million servings a year in Germany (Big Mac does not even get close). It is so popular, that even McDonalds in Germany serves it as a seasonal special at times.

Many restaurants have started to serve “Currywurst Deluxe”… an up-scaled version of the traditional Currywurst.

There are voices that say that the “Currywurst” was not actually invented in Berlin, but in Hamburg. I have no access to data verifying this to be true, but the Currywurst in Hamburg is at least just as good and has many fans and variations.

A true delight… Trust me… I would not elaborate on it as much, otherwise…

Here is what the New York Times has to say about the Berlin Currywurst

Enjoy.

Serves: 4                              Difficulty:            Easy                       Preparation time:            60 mins.

Ingredients:

  • 4-6 large sausages (e.g.: a high quality Bratwurst; the bigger the better, talk to your German deli and tell them you want to make Currywurst. After an initial suprised look, they will know what you need)
  • 1 TS Gram Masala Powder (visit your Indian deli)
  • 4-6 TS quality Madras curry powder (visit your Indian deli)
  • 3-4  TBS Worcestershire Sauce
  • 1-2 TS paprika powder, spicy
  • 1-2 TS paprika powder, mild
  • 1 -2 TS chilli oweder or chilli sauce
  • 1-2 TS cayenne pepper
  • 10 TBS quality tomato ketchup (e.g. Heinz)
  • 2-4 TBS tomato paste
  • one small glass of quality Indian mango chutney as extra dip for the potatoes
  • 800 g potatoes
  • generous amounts of freshly ground salt and pepper
  • 1 bunch of fresh thyme, chopped
  • 6 EL olive oil
  • parsley and chili flakes for decoration (if available)
  • backing sheet
  • (Except for the number of sausage, use the lower ingredients number if you want a mild sauce, and the higher ingredients number for a very spicy sauce. Or experiment with the ingredients as you see fit. I noticed that after heating, the sauce will actually get a bit milder,)

Preparation:

Wash one bunch of thyme , remove leaves from twigs and chop leaves thoroughly.

Wash 800g of potatoes and cut into wedges. In a bowl, mix with 6 TBS olive oil, generous amount of freshly ground salt and pepper and half of the chopped thyme. Spread potatoes on a baking sheet and bake in a preheated oven at ( 200°C regular / 175°C circulating air / Gas: setting 3) for at least 30 minutes.

In the meantime, combine 1-2 TS spicy paprika powder,  1-2 TS mild paprika powder, 1 -2 TS chilli powder or chilli sauce; 1-2 TS cayenne pepper; 10 TBS quality tomato ketchup (e.g. Heinz),  2-4 TBS tomato paste, 3 TBS of Worcestershire Sauce,  1 TS of Gram Marsala powder, and 2-3 TS of Madras curry powder to a sauce. Heat it up bring it to a short 30 seconds boil before removing form heat but keep warm.

Cut the Sausage into pieces about of 4 cm thickness.

After 30 minutes, create some room on the backing sheet by moving potatoes over to one side while turning them over. If the potatoes are too dry, add some additional oil. Place the cut up sausage onto the baking sheet in the space you have created.

After 15 minutes of sausage cooking pour half of the sauce over sausage and toss until well covered and return to oven. Cook for another 15 mins

On a plate, arrange potatoes and sausage. Sprinkle 1 TS madras curry powder per plate over the sausage. Cover with the remainder of the sauce.  Sprinkle fresh thyme, parsley, and chili flakes over arrangement and serve while hot. Serve with Mango Chutney as extra dip for potatoes.
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I’d be interested to learn how you like this one.

 

Turnip Stew (Steckrübeneintopf)

Region – Northern Germany

“What is that…”?

With a puzzled look, the young man at the supermarket’s check out counter held up a red/purple/yellowish round something, about as large as a baby’s head.

“That’s a Turnip; tastes great in Turnip Stew”, the older gentlemen behind me chimed in.

This little exchange is representative of the sad demise of the Turnip. The older generation remembers well how during times of famine, potatoes and turnips where almost the only food available, and the younger generation of today’s oversaturated food culture may not even know what Turnips look like.

Turnip Stew is extremely easy to make and a real delight as the days get shorter and colder. There are many ways to prepare the stew, and probably every German Grandmother has her own version. You can prepare it with many different types of meat including smoked pork loin, beef, lamb, even cooked sausage or Bratwurst.

I use smoked pork loin, fresh herbs and a topping of sour cream to add a little twist.

Serves: 4 – 6        Difficulty:             Easy        Preparation time: 60 mins.

Ingredients

  • 2 onions, diced
  • 500 g smoked pork loin
  • 200 g bacon bits
  • 2 TBS clarified butter or vegetable oil
  • 750ml vegetable broth
  • 1kg turnip, diced
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 1 half stem of leek, cut into rings
  • 1 small celery root, diced
  • 500 g potatoes, peeled and cut into dices
  • 1 – 2 TBS fresh marjoram, chopped, plus some whole leaves for decoration
  • 2 TBS fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1 TS dried savory herb
  • 2 Bay Leaves
  • 4-5 TBS of heavy sour cream
  • freshly ground salt and pepper

Preparation

Clean and roughly dice 2 onions. Rinse and dry meat. Place bacon bits and 1 TBS of clarified butter or vegetable oil into a large cooking pot. Crank up the heat and melt butter and brown the bacon. As bacon begins to brown, add 500 g of smoked pork loin and continue to brown on high heat for several minutes. Add the onions and continue to brown for another 2 minutes. Season with freshly ground salt and pepper.

Remove bacon, onion and meat mixture from pot. Melt another TBS of clarified butter or vegetable oil and add vegetables. Stir fry all vegetables for 5 minutes on high heat: Return the meat to vegetables and add 750 ml of vegetable broth. The vegetables should be covered with broth. If this is not the case, add some water. Add two bay leaves. Place lid on pot and let simmer for 30 -45 minutes. 10 minutes before the end of cooking time, add 1-2 TBS of fresh Marjoram and 1 TS of dried savory herb. Once vegetables are soft to your liking season well with freshly ground salt and pepper.

Arrange everything on a plate. Place 1 TBS of heavy sour cream in the center and sprinkle fresh chopped parsley and a few marjoram leaves over the stew.

Dry white wine or beer goes well with the meal.

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