While music and decorations add to the gemütlichkeit of any Oktoberfest, the food and drink are the really central elements. Everyone recognizes that Germans make top notch beer, but don’t brush off German food. My cousin Mollie and I prepared a German feast for our Oktoberfest guests to enjoy.
My cousin Mollie follows Emeril’s sauerbraten recipe, which our grandfather said tasted just like his German grandma’s recipe. The meat (we needed 10 pounds!) needs to marinate for several days before cooking, so make sure to plan ahead!
Himmel und Erde is a new addition to our OktoberFEAST menu. Himmel und Erde is German for “Heaven and Earth,” and it is an apple (Himmel) and mashed potato (Erde) dish topped with bacon and onions. Yeah. Delicious.
15 medium potatoes, cut into 1 inch cubes
7 1/2 large tart apples, sliced
3/4 T. sugar
15 slices bacon, cut into 1 inch pieces
3 3/4 medium onion, sliced
3 3/4 T. butter, softened
1/2 tsp nutmeg
Boil potatoes, apples, and sugar in 1 inch of water to boiling. Reduce heat, cover and cook until tender, approx. 15 minutes; drain. Fry bacon until crisp; drain on paper towel. Cook onions in rendered bacon fat. Place potatoes and apples in serving bowl, dot with butter, season with salt and pepper, and sprinkle with nutmeg. Finish by topping with bacon and onion.
I sort of wing my Rohtkohl recipe each time I make it. This year I used:
1 large and 1 small head of red cabbage, shredded
1 apple, peeled and sliced
1 onion, diced
1 lb. pound of bacon
2 cups of apple juice
2 cups of sweet red wine
1 cup of red wine vinegar
Chop the bacon and cook it in a pan until crispy. Remove it from the pan, and cook the apple and onion in the bacon grease. Add all the ingredients into a crock pot and cook for 2-3 hours.
The spaetzle needs to be made at the last minute, so save yourself enough time to boil the water and get the spaetzle maker going.
2 cups flour
1/2 cup cold water
Beat the eggs and then whisk in the flour and water. Boil a large pot of water in which you have dissolved a bouillon cube. Drop the batter through the spaetzle maker into the boiling water, and boil the spaetzle until they float to the top. Use a slotted spoon to move the spaetzle from the pot and into a serving bowl.
My mom made the Kraut mit Wurst using fresh sausage from our local German butcher. It was delicious!
1 1/2 T of caraway seed
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
2 small cans of kraut
2 1/2 lb. FRESH smoked polish sausage
Place all ingredients in a crock pot on high for 2 hours. Reduce heat and cook for 3-4 more hours.
We also served Karotten im Bier again, but I must have missed taking a picture of it as it was passed around the table.
Mollie and I tried out some new dessert recipes this year. I made Donauwelle which is a German cake with several different layers (Welle is German for “waves”). The bottom of the cake consists of layers vanilla and chocolate cake topped with sour cherries. The middle layer is a mixture of pudding and butter (sounds weird, but is so good), and the whole thing is topped with bittersweet chocolate ganache.
To me, it tasted like a very German cake, like something you would buy from the display at the town Backerei. It’s not overly sweet or rich, but it is still incredibly tasty.
Mollie got super fancy and made a Prinzregententorte (Prince Regent Cake). It is a very rich cake made from multiple layers of dense cake and sweet chocolate frosting.
Instead of cutting the cake into all those layers, Mollie was smart and used 6 small cake pans so she could just stack them up as they were. Isn’t that cake beautiful? I also love this picture because the background shows the socializing going on at the party.
Guests were asked to bring their own German beer, so there was a wide variety of domestic and imported Oktoberfest beers being imbibed.
Throwing an Oktoberfest party is a great way to introduce yourself to German food and the culture of gemütlichkeit. At our party there was lots of laughing, a bit of singing, and a joyful atmosphere all evening long. What more could you ask for?
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