Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Weinachten in Deutschland

I realize that German dinner may not be the most appealing to everyone, however, a traditional German meal has become part of our family's Christmas traditions through the year. I am actually part German, so this has become a fun way to honor our heritage. We typically have our German dinner about a week before Christmas. This year, like most, we enjoyed rouladen, red cabbage, and potato salad. In case you might enjoy preparing any, or all, of these dishes, here are the recipes.

Red Cabbage:
The style of this red cabbage recipe is patterned after the Danish style. While the traditional German versions tend to feature spices, and sometimes apples, the Danish version is a bit simpler. I'm half Danish, so I don't mind including a bit of my Danish background into our dinner as well. This is a dish that I think tastes better each time it is rewarmed.

  • One head of red cabbage
  • 4 tbsp butter or margarine
  • 4 tbsp sugar
  • 2 tbsp cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • Finely shred the cabbage. Here is a picture of how I cut mine up. Essentially, I divide the head of cabbage into fourths and then thinly slice up each one.
  • Place all ingredients in a large cooking pot or crock pot. Slowly simmer for about 2 to 2.5 hours or so. 
  • Add additional vinegar and sugar to taste during the cooking process. 
German Potato Salad
My family found this recipe years ago in an issue of the Ruralite magazine. This is a magazine targeted at the rural western United States and was initially developed with the goal of reaching member-owners of electric cooperatives in the Western US. Over time, I have continued to adapt this recipe. Our revised version follows.
  • 6 to 8 potatoes
  • 4-6 slices of bacon (we like pepper bacon, but use what you wish)
  • One medium yellow or sweet onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 to 1.5 cups thinly sliced celery
  • 1 tbsp dried parsley
  • 1/2 tsp celery seed
  • 2/3 cup cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 tsp dried mustard
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Boil potatoes in their skins until fork tender. When done, peel, slice about 1/4 inch thick and set aside in a large bowl.
  • Cut up the bacon and fry in a large pan until nearly done.
  • Add in the onion and celery. Saute until the vegetables have become soft. 
  • Stir in the parsley and celery seed (here is what the mixture will look like in the pan)
  • Pour the bacon/vegetable/seasoning mixture over the potatoes and toss together
  • Boil the vinegar, water, and mustard together (I just use the microwave). 
  • Stir the liquid mixture together, and pour over the potato mixture. I generally start with about 1/3 of the liquid and evaluate little-by-little. More often than not, I don't need the entire amount of liquid. 
  • Add salt and pepper to taste.
For those of you unfamiliar with rouladen, they are essentially beef rolls that are wrapped around a pickle. Oh, and they include bacon as well. This year, we were fortunate to find a local grocery store that was able to provide us with some thinly cut slices of beef roast - perfect for making rouladen.
  • Thinly sliced beef. Take a look at the picture below to get an idea as to how thin the beef should be sliced.
  • Bacon slices
  • Pickles
  • Mustard
  • 3 tbsp shortening or cooking oil
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • Spread the mustard on the slice of beef. Lay a slice of bacon on the beef. Place a pickle on one end and roll it up. You can either tie the roll together with string or use a couple of toothpicks to hold it together. (I typically opt for the toothpicks.)
  • Prepare as many rouladen as desired.
  • Heat the shortening or oil in a large frying pan. Brown the rouladen on all sides. It can get a little tricky if you are using toothpicks.
  • Place the browned rouladen in a baking pan and pour the water over the top of them.
  • Cover with foil and bake in a 325 degree oven for about one hour. 
  • After the rouladen have cooked through, remove them from the pan and whisk the flour into the remaining liquid. Place the rouladen back in the pan and heat until the gravy is bubbly. Season with additional salt and pepper to taste.
Here is our 2015 German dinner. We wish you all a froehliche Weinachten!