Monday, July 30, 2012

Gulasch Suppe (Goulash Soup)

Romantic Road from Giebelstadt to Rothenburg:
The meandering drive through the German countryside, lived up to its name, with wayside stops at the water-filled mote surrounding Bischoffsheim Castle and Weikersheim Castle.  Yes, it was charming, rustic and "uber" romantic to us newlyweds exploring, but I must admit to another love affair -  with gulasch soup and I was continuously on the lookout for the next obliging gasthaus.  Rothenburg, the medieval town which hosts a famous Albrecht Durer carved wooden altarpiece, charming hand-carved wooden Christmas ornaments that still dangle from our Christmas tree and yes, gasthauses.  I never met a gulasch suppe I didn't like.  It inherits its flavors from its bold and lusty Hungarian parent but after immigrating to Germany became thinner and lighter in texture. The paprika spiked broth stays true to its goulash roots with an underlying acidic kick provided by tomatoes and peppers.  A bit of beef reassures us that it comes by its heartiness honestly.  Serve with a crusty country bread (pumpernickel would be most authentic) and be careful with the paprika (easy if it is the hot version - most common brands sold in our markets are sweet paprika.)


Gulasch Suppe
1 large onion, chopped
2 tab. oil
2 lbs beef chuck, trimmed of fat and cut into 1 inch
3 cloves garlic, minced
3/4 tsp. caraway seed
1 1/2 tab. paprika
3/4 tsp. marjoram, dried
salt and pepper to taste
2 cups beef consomme
1 cup water
1 cup red wine
2 medium tomatoes, peeled and coarsely chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
1 red pepper, chopped
1 large potato, peeled and diced
1 tab. vinegar
chopped parsley for garnish

-Saute onion and beef in oil in large soup pot, stirring 
occasionally, until beef is browned on all sides and 
onion is transparent.  Add garlic, caraway seed, 
salt and pepper, paprika, and marjoram.  

-Cover with beef consomme, water and wine.  Cover 
pot and simmer for 1 hour.

-Add tomato, peppers, potato and vinegar and cook an additional 45 minutes or until beef is very tender.  Taste
for seasoning.  Serve warm with parsley garnish.


Friday, July 6, 2012

Veitshochheim Summer Salad (a Trio of German Salads)

Veitshochheim Summer Salad:

A meal fit for a king, lounging about his summer residence, I dare you to say the name 3 times quickly with a mouth full of cabbage.  The name of this dish comes by way of a memory of a beautiful summer day and a boat ride down the Main River to the summer residence of the wealthy ruling Prince-Bishops of the 18th century, near Wurzburg in Northern Bavaria.Salads in our German days, were simple and light composed of fresh leaf lettuce, grated carrots and mild, smoky pimento dressed sparingly with vinegar and oil.  Kartoffelsalat, (potato salad) most often served with wurst (sausage) of various hues and sizes, was dressed with vinegar, mustard seed and speck (bacon). I personally appreciated more than just a speck of bacon in my serving!

The following version uses bratwurst instead of the bacon, as a tribute to the street food served in the market square of Wurzburg - Bratwurst mit brochen. I grilled the bratwurst and then roughly chopped it.  Serve bratwurst with caution - you can put an eye out with one of those things as I learned when turning around into one at the Christkindlmarkt in Nurnberg.The preparation of the four different salads certainly binds you to the kitchen fo rprep but once chopped and seasoned, you have a meal and little else need be done. The result is a German Salad Supper, a complete meal though meat lovers among you may appreciate some grilled bratwurst on the side, served with mustard in warm crusty rolls (brotchen). The tomato salad speaks with a vinegar twang tempered by the sweet nature of the balsamic vinegar. The cucumbers have a tart bite spiked with dill and the potato salad and cabbage slaw, as you would expect are of the vinegar persuasion but which make a surprisingly respectable showing. (Notice-no mayo here which is sacrilege in my kitchen but typical of southern Germany).  Besides creating a platter of popping colors and textures that shout summer and all things fresh, the salads combine on the palate to complement each other with bold fresh flavors and undercurrents of sweet and tangy accents.


Cabbage Slaw (Krautsalat):
1 cabbage, cored and shredded
3-4 green onions, thinly sliced
1/2 red pepper, diced
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup vinegar
1 1/2 tsp. celery seed
3/4 cup canola oil
1 1/2 tsp. salt
-Place cabbage, red pepper and green onion in 
large bowl.  

-In small saucepan, combine sugar and vinegar. 
Bring to a boil and stir until sugar dissolves.  Add
celery seed, salt and oil and heat for 2 minutes.
-Let dressing cool for 5 - 10 minutes.  Pour over
cabbage and toss.  Season with coarsly ground
-Serves 8 - 10

Potato Salad (Kartoffelsalat):
4 medium potatoes
1 onion, peeled and quartered
1 bratwurst, grilled and roughly chopped
       (or 4 slices bacon, fried crisp and crumbled)
1 tab. sugar
3/4 cup vinegar
1/2 cup chopped green onions
1 tab. mustard seed
1/4 cup oil
salt and pepper to taste
2 tab. chopped parsley
-Boil unpeeled potatoes in large pot of salted 
boiling water, with quartered onion, until potatoes
are tender when pierced with a fork.  Remove 
from heat and set aside until cool enough to handle. 
Peel potatoes and cut into 3/4 inch chunks.  Place 
in large bowl.
-Add green onions and bratwurst to potatoes.
-In medium saucepan, combine vinegar, sugar,
mustard seed, salt and pepper to taste.  Bring to 
a boil.  Remove from heat and slowly pour in 
oil.  Continue to cook over heat another 2 minutes.
Remove from heat and let sit 5 minutes.
-Pour dressing over warm potatoes, toss and
season with salt and pepper.  Stir in parsley.
-Serves 6 - 8

German Cucumber Salad (Gurkensalat):
2 English cucumbers, peeled and thinly sliced
    (you may leave the peel on if you prefer)
1/2 cup sour cream
1 1/2 tsp. lemon juice
1 1/2 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. fresh dill, finely chopped
salt and pepper to taste
-Place cucumber slices into medium bowl.  Chill while 
making dressing.
-In separate bowl, mix sour cream, lemon juice, sugar and dill.  
Season with salt and pepper.
-Pour dressing over cucumber and mix.  Serve immediately.
-Serves 4 - 6

Tomato Salad (Tomatensalat):
4 large tomatoes
1 bunch green onions
1/2 small yellow onion, finely chopped
2 tab. balsamic vinegar
2 tab. orange juice
5 tab. olive oil
1 tsp. sugar
salt and pepper to taste
-Wash tomatoes and cut into wedges.  Cut green onions
diagonally into 1 inch pieces. 
-Mix chopped yellow onion, vinegar, orange juice and oil.  Season 
with salt, pepper and sugar.
-Place tomatoes and green onions into bowl and pour dressing 
over and toss.
-Serves 6

To Assemble German Salad Supper:
On a large open platter, mound potato salad in the center
(it is the star of the meal!) Place 3 large lettuce cups 
around the edges of the potato salad to act as containers 
for the other salads.  In one, mound the tomato salad, in 
another the cucumber salad and in the third, the cole slaw.  
Garnish with dill sprigs and strips of fresh red pepper.  
Chill for about 20 minutes before serving.

Monday, July 2, 2012

"Honor Choir" Schnitzel

German Kuche
We are now heading north to cooler, pork friendly climes!  Whenever traveling
to Germanic countries after living in the porkly austere Middle East, we ordered
anything with pork....with pork on the side.....and pork for garnish!  Lured into
their dark, smoky interiors by heady, hypnotic aromas of schnitzel, wurst (sausages)
and potatoes, German gasthauses (guest houses) in the villages around Wurzburg,
became our family restaurants during our first U.S. Army assignment overseas.
Every cobble-stoned village hosted at least 2 or 3 gasthauses among the exposed
beam buildings and we quickly learned which ones served the crispest, tenderest,
most succulent Schnitzel Cordon Bleu (pork pounded thin, filled with hearty ham
and pungent Swiss cheese, breaded and pan fried).  One of our favorites, in the
village of Geibelstadt, always assured us that our meal was receiving devoted care
from the sound of pounding heard from the kitchen.  No fast food here but worth the
wait, the rhythmic tenderizing seasoned the beer-drinking music to perfection!
Our 1-year-old daughter provided entertainment to the baby-adoring locals who
danced about the room with her to German beer drinking music. To this day,
she can't help but tap her toe to a robust "Oom-Pah-Pah"!

Honor Choir Schnitzel
The following schnitzel is a version I created inspired by one sampled in Austria,
while there on a choir trip with high school students.  There are schnitzels
und schnitzels - Jager (with mushrooms), Kase (with cheese), Weiner (Vienese style),
Rahm (with cream) - and then in Israel, frozen schnitzels of broccoli, corn and
cauliflower varieties.  But this one is from Vienna where we stopped someone on the
street to ask where locals eat - no dummies we - and that suggested restaurant, on a
back street near the town center, is one to which we returned on subsequent visits.
Smoothered with bacon, onion and mushrooms in a rich, lip-smacking gravy played
duet with a baseball sized dumpling.  I prepared spaetzle to serve as the accompanying
starch.  These light, nutty, miniature dumplings have always been a family favorite
requested on birthdays by our German-born daughter -something in the water?

Honor Choir Schnitzel:
4 pork chops or steaks, without the bone
1 onion, thinly slivered
1 cup button mushrooms, halved
1/2 pound bacon, large diced, fried till crisp and drained
flour for dredging
2 cups panko bread crumbs
salt and pepper to taste
2 eggs mixed with 1 cup milk
5 tab. butter
2 tab. flour
2 cups beef consomme or demi-glace, or rich beef stock
1/3 cup red wine
1/3 cup cream at room temperature

-Pat meat dry.  Place between 2 pieces of waxed paper and pound with meat pounder or the edge of a plate until meat is about 1/4 inch thick.  Season both sides with salt, pepper and paprika to taste.

-Place flour, egg/milk mixture and bread crumbs, separately into
3 open dishes. Dip meat in flour, then egg/milk mixture and finally in bread crumbs, coating well.  Chill in refrigerator until ready to fry (up to 4 hours).

-In large saute pan, melt 2 tab. butter.  Add onions and saute until soft, about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Add mushrooms and cook until mushrooms are soft.  Set aside.

-In medium saucepan, melt 3 tab. butter. Stir 2 tab. flour into melted butter with wire whip and cook over medium-high heat for about 2 minutes, until smooth and bubbly. Add consomme, and wine, mixing with whip and cook until thickened and bubbly. Remove from heat and pour cream onto the sauce. Let stand for 5 minutes and then mix until blended.
-Heat 1/2 inch vegetable oil in large saute pan, until a cube of bread dropped in the oil browns in 30 seconds.  Place breaded pork chops in oil and fry on each side for about 5 minutes, until golden.  Set to drain on paper towels.

-Stir onions, mushrooms and bacon into sauce.  Place schnitzels on serving platter and cover with sauce.  Garnish with chopped parsley.  Serve with spaetzle, potatoes, or rice. Serves 4 - 6