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.
- 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
- 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
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.