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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