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Oktoberfest inspired meal

My little town just wrapped up their annual Oktoberfest celebration this past weekend. It’s the one thing in fall that people look forward to most, outside of football.

While not a fully German Oktoberfest, it definitely is a Ohio German-Catholic Oktoberfest. Plenty of beer (domestic, served in half gallon jugs), brats and tenderloins to go around. And Ohio State football on a large screen. Oompah bands play polkas throughout the fest, and there are plenty of fellow in lederhosen. Of course, there are typical small-town fest activities: Little Miss Oktoberfest, A Walk Through History, 10k run, arts & crafts and a parade. But it’s mostly an excuse to visit with friends, drink beer, and grab a bite.

It’s also an excuse for me to try German food. I’ve had some here and there in the past. I’m surprised I haven’t had more. I had a grandmother who came over on the boat. She wanted to be American, so all I remember that was close to “traditional” was ox tail soup. Which I’m sure I hated as a young girl. Now, I occasionally get a hankering to dabble in my heritage, usually around this time of year. There’s something about German food that screams ‘Fall” to me. It could be all that schnitzel, spaetzle, stews and cabbage. Hearty food.

This time around I opted for a non-traditional snack with traditional flavors, and an easy German stew. Both are super easy. Heck, the first one doesn’t even require measuring!

Pickled Beets & Goat Cheese on Rye Toast

  • Sliced rye bread, toasted lightly (1-2 slices per person)
  • Soft goat cheese (about 1/2 Tbsp per slice)
  • Pickled beets, sliced (enough to cover bread)

Spread goat cheese on the toast, and top with slices of beet. (I feel silly even typing instructions, this is so easy…but tasty!)

note: I made my own pickled beets using caraway, mustard and dill seeds as the spice blend.

Rindergulasch

adapted from food.com

  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic,chopped
  • 1/4 lb bacon, chopped
  • 2 lb stew beef, cut into 1″ pieces
  • 2 Tbsp bacon fat, or butter
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • 2 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 4 c beef broth
  • 1 large red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1/2 Tbsp dried marjoram
  •  salt & pepper to taste
  • egg noodles, or spaetzle

In a large Dutch oven or heavy pot, heat fat or butter until melted. Add beef in small batches  and brown on all sides, but not cooked through. Set aside. In the same pot, add bacon, onion, red pepper and garlic, and saute until they begin to brown, about 10 min. Return beef to pot add sprinkle with paprika. Whisk in the tomato paste until thoroughly blended. Add enough broth just to cover and bring to a boil, stirring the whole time. Add the rest of the broth a little at a time, bringing it to a boil each time. Reduce heat and simmer about 1 1/2 hour. In the last 15 minutes of cooking, add marjoram, and salt and pepper to taste. Spoon over egg noddles (buttered, if you like) or spaetzle.

Hoist a mug of beer and enjoy!

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