Oktoberfest in Germany begins Saturday, September 22, 2012, and ends Sunday, October 7, 2012...

Friday, September 30, 2011

German Sauerbraten

 I looked at several different Sauerbraten recipes and finally settled on one created by Alton Brown of Food Network.Com .   The one thing his recipe has in common with many others I viewed is the use of crushed gingersnaps as a thickener for the gravy.  I was skeptical about this but I decided if so many really good cooks use this method I should give it a try.   I also changed the marinating process as his called for browning the meat prior to marinating and I thought that seemed a bit backwards.  I also added and changed a few ingredients and must say we were very pleased (loved it!) with the meal.    Anyway, I have provided a link to the original recipe, which you might also like to try.   The following is my adaptation.   I hope you will give it a go and let me know your thoughts….

Ingredients   ~~   4 to 6 servings

2 cups water
1 cup apple cider vinegar
1 cup red wine
1 medium onion, chopped
1 large carrot, chopped
1 Tablespoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
4 bay leaves
8 whole cloves
12 juniper berries – bruised or crushed
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
1 (3 1/2 to 4-pound) top or bottom round roast - or your preferred cut
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1/3 cup dark brown sugar
12 dark old-fashioned gingersnaps (about 4 ounces), crushed
2 Tablespoons sour cream
Salt and Pepper to season the roast
Fresh minced parsley leaves to sprinkle over each plate


In a large saucepan over high heat combine the water, apple cider vinegar, red wine, onion, carrot, salt, pepper, bay leaves, cloves, juniper and mustard seeds. Cover and bring this to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 20 minutes. Set aside to cool.

When the marinade has cooled enough, pour into a non-reactive container and place in the refrigerator to completely chill.   Then place the roast into the chilled marinade and allow to marinate in the refrigerator for 3 days.   If the meat is not completely submerged in the liquid, turn it over twice a day.   (I cooked my marinade in a stainless steel pot, so I just used the same pot to chill and marinate the roast in)

After 3 days of marinating, preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.

Then, pat the bottom round dry and rub with all over with vegetable oil.  Next, sprinkle with salt and pepper on all sides.  Now, heat a large pan over high heat; add the meat and brown on all sides, approximately 2 minutes per side.

Meanwhile, add the brown sugar to the marinade mixture and stir well to combine.  

Then, place the roast into a roasting pan and pour the marinade over it. 

Place the covered roasting pan on the middle rack of the oven and cook until tender, approximately 2-1/2 hours.  (check roast with a meat thermometer for your desired doneness)
  Remove the meat from the pan and tent with foil to keep warm. 

Now, strain the liquid to remove the solids then discard the solids.

Then, if you have a Fat Separator use it to reduce the grease in the liquid.  

Return the strained liquid to a pan and place over medium-high heat and bring to a boil. 

Meanwhile, place gingersnaps into a plastic baggie and pound until they are crushed to a powder consistency.

Then, whisk in the gingersnaps and cook until thickened, stirring vigorously to break up any lumps.   When the liquid has cooked down and thickened with the gingersnaps, remove the pan from the burner and stir in the sour cream.

Slice the meat cross grain and serve with the sauce.

Enjoy !!

With Geraman Spaetzle noodle/dumplings:

With leftover vegetables cooked in beer:

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

German Green Bean Soup

By Kerrie

Hi!   In keeping with the German theme this week, may I present to you a lovely German soup...  I think you will like this one!    Give it a try and let me know what you think.


1 Tablespoon oil
2 cups cubed ham – I bought a bone-in ham steak and trimmed the fat
2  Lbs. green beans – trimmed and sliced into 1 inch lengths
2 large potatoes, peeled and cubed
3 rough chopped carrots
1 med. onion, minced very fine
2 Tbsp. Parsley leaves rinsed and minced
3 - 4 quarts Water  (see instructions below)
3 Bay leaves
2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. pepper
¼ tsp. caraway seeds
1 cup Emmental cheese cubed  (sub with Swiss or any German cheese)
2 cloves garlic – pressed
2 Tbsp. flour
1 cup milk
1 tsp. course ground mustard


Add a tablespoon of oil to a large pan and when hot, add the cubed and trimmed ham (with the bone) and the onions.  Simmer on high until the ham begins to brown and the onions are tender. 

Then, just cover with water and press the garlic over the pot and add the bay leaves.   Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to Med and simmer for 30 minutes.

Then, remove the bay leaves and the bone.  Add the green beans, potatoes and carrots.   Add more water to cover the vegetables.   Sprinkle the caraway seeds, salt and pepper over the top and stir to combine.  Bring the pot back to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer and cook until the potatoes are fork tender.

Meanwhile, whisk the flour with the milk until there are no lumps and stir into soup.  Simmer, covered, for 15 minutes.

Next, remove the pot from the burner and stir in the cheese and course ground mustard.  

Once the cheese has been incorporated, stir in the minced parsley.

Serve warm - Adding extra salt and/or pepper to taste. 
 Enjoy !!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

German Butter Stollen

Pronounced:  shtō-len

By Kerrie

While looking at various recipes for German Butter Stollen, there seemed to be many different versions.   I wanted my first attempt to be authentic, but at the same time I did not want it to be a typical Christmas loaf – loaded with a lot of candied fruits.   The following is my adaptation and is more of an Autumn celebration of the harvest with dried cherries, currants and walnuts – and just to add a bright zip, the juice and zest of one lemon.    Give this recipe a try and let me know what you think…..


1 tablespoon active dry yeast
1/3 cup lukewarm water
1 Tablespoon Honey
2/3 cup milk
2 large eggs
1/3 cup white sugar
1/2 tablespoon salt
1 Tablespoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground mace
1/2 cup butter – one stick, softened
3 cups bread flour
1/2 cup currants
1/2 cup dried tart cherries
The zest and juice of one lemon
1 Tablespoon for brushing the loaf prior to baking
1 Tablespoon for brushing the loaf immediately after baking
1 - 2 Tablespoon confectioners' sugar


First, chop the walnuts, zest the lemon, measure the dried cherries and currants.  Set aside.

Next, to a two cup container add the lukewarm water and honey.  Stir to combine.   Then, sprinkle the yeast over the top and stir.   Set aside in a warm dry place to proof.   I use the interior of my microwave oven.

Meanwhile,  in a large bowl add the flours, cinnamon, ground mace and salt.   Dry whisk to combine.   Set aside

Then, to the bowl of a large food processor add the eggs and run on low for a few seconds. 

Next, add the yeast mixture, sugar, milk, softened butter, and lemon zest.   Then squeeze the lemon over the top. 
Now, run on low for a few seconds to fully incorporate all. 

Now, top the mixture in the food processor with the flour mixture.  
Run the food processor on medium until a moist dough forms.  

Now, transfer the dough to a lightly flour dusted surface and knead in the dried cherries, currants and walnuts.  Knead until you have all the ingredients well distributed and the dough is elastic and shiny. Then, shape into a ball.

Place the dough ball into a lightly oiled bowl.   Cover with plastic and place in a dry warm place to rise.   I place my bowl into my microwave oven.   Allow to double in size.   This will take about an hour and a half or maybe two hours.

Once the dough has doubled, punch it down and re-shape into a log.   Place the log onto an oiled stone or a parchment lined baking tin.    Pat the sides and ends again into a smooth log shape and then press down a bit on the top.  

 Cover the stone with an inverted bowl and allow the dough to raise again.   This will take about an hour.

About 10 to 15 minutes before it is time to bake set Oven to 350 degrees F.

Before placing the loaf into the oven brush it with a Tablespoon of butter.

Now, place in oven and bake for 45 – 50 minutes or until a light brown and if tapped you get a hollow sound.

Remove from oven and place stone on a wire rack.  Then, immediately brush with an additional 1 tablespoon of butter.

Leave loaf on the stone for about 10 minutes and then remove and place the loaf back on the wire rack to continue to cool.  

When cool enough, sprinkle with powdered sugar.

Slice and serve ~~ Enjoy !!!

Monday, September 26, 2011

German Sausages cooked in Beer

By Kerrie

From now until October 3rd let’s have some fun with German cooking.   How does German Sausage,  potatoes, onions & peppers and red cabbage simmered in Beer sound???   Yeah, that’s what I thought too.   Give this a try and let me know how you like it….

Ingredients  ~~~  will serve two, just double as needed for more

1 Tablespoon oil – or spray to coat the skillet
3 German Sausages in casings
6  small potatoes – I used Yukon golds
One medium onion sliced in wedges
One large or two small bell peppers – I used colored bells
4 small wedges of red cabbage
½ cup apple cider vinegar
1 bottle of beer – I used Henry Weinhard's Hefeweizen
1 Tablespoon Butter
½ Tablespoon Coarse Ground Mustard


First, coat your skillet with oil or spray.   Then over medium heat, brown the sausages on all sides.

Meanwhile as the sausages cook, wedge the cabbage, slice the potatoes, onions and peppers.   Set aside

When the sausages are browned on all sides deglaze with the vinegar ( pour vinegar into the skillet and scrape the bottom of the pan to remove the browning of the sausages) continue to cook the sausages for about a minute.

Then, remove skillet from the heat and pour in the beer. 

After a minute, return the pan to the burner and add the sliced vegetables to the sausage and beer mixture.  Bring the pan up to a simmer and occasionally turn the sausages and vegetables until the potatoes are fork tender.

Then, add a Tablespoon of butter and ½ Tablespoon of course ground mustard.    Using two wooden spoons stir and toss to combine.

Serve warm and Enjoy !!


Oktoberfest is a two-week festival held each year in Munich, Germany during late September and early October.   Join me over the next several days in cooking up some delicious German fare.    I have a German Butter Stollen baking in the oven as I write this, and have German sausage to cook up tonight in beer with potatoes, peppers and onions. I will also be making a marinade this afternoon to start the 3 day marinating process for Sauerbraten which will be sided with Spatzle ....  So, stay tuned this week to learn with me ( I have never cooked German food before) how to turn out these old German standards.    Oh, and please let me know what your favorite German dishes are – along with any family history you would like to share regarding your precious recipes.   “Gott segne dich”!


Well, the week of German cooking is over now.   It sure was fun  learning how to prepare some new dishes.  Here are some additional German links for you to take a look at... 

As the year goes by I will probably add more.  Next year we will really be ready to celebrate Oktoberfest :)