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Your Inner Octoberfest

Foods for oom-pahing

On my recent and first trip to Berlin, I was surprised to learn that the most popular fast food shares my name: currywurst. Not exactly new, it was invented by Herta Heuwer in Berlin after she obtained ketchup and curry powder from British soldiers in 1949.

One of many sausages made by Germans, it’s simply steamed and fried pork sausage served with a sauce of ketchup, curry powder and other spices. I hate to say my first experience with it reminded me of canned weenies in tomato sauce, but two other encounters proved enjoyable. It is popular as a street food and takeout favorite, and is served whole or sliced.

German-style sausages are available in grocery stores and butcher shops, which are growing in number in New Orleans and elsewhere. Hopefully, some will feature German sausages in October since, German or not, we all love a party. One of the best is hosted by Deutsches Haus in Rivertown in Kenner on three weekends in October, featuring German food, music and beers.

To have your own Oktoberfest, purchase some sausages and sauerkraut and cook up one of the following potato dishes. Wiener Schnitzel, originally Austrian but just as popular in Germany, is an easy, tasty choice. And if you want to make currywurst, buy some German-style sausages, keeping them whole or in slices and brown them first, then simmer them in a sauce of ketchup, curry powder and other seasonings such as chili powder, onion salt, mustard, sugar, paprika, Worcestershire, salt and pepper.

 

Bavarian

Potato Salad
6 medium potatoes
4 gherkins, chopped
4 slices bacon
1 large onion, chopped
3/4 cup beef broth
2 Tablespoons brown mustard
3 Tablespoons white vinegar
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1 teaspoon sugar
1/3 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley plus more for garnish
Lettuce for serving


Boil potatoes with skin on in salty water until done. Cool briefly, peel and slice. Mix gherkins with potatoes.

In a large skillet, fry bacon until crisp. Remove bacon from pan. In bacon fat, sauté the onions until transparent. Add beef broth, bring to a boil and add mustard, vinegar, salt, pepper and sugar. Simmer briefly and pour mixture over potatoes, mix and let rest for 1 hour. Do not refrigerate.   
 
After an hour, taste and adjust seasonings. Mix in parsley and crumbled bacon.

Serve at room temperature on lettuce leaves. Garnish with parsley.

Serves 6 to 8


German Potato and Leek Soup

3 Tablespoons canola oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 large or 2 small leeks, white and light green part only, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
6 cups water
2 teaspoons beef base, such as Better Than Bouillon
5 large russet potatoes, peeled and cut into small pieces
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg

Garnish:
3 pieces smoked bacon, fried and crumbled
¼ cup chopped chives or green onion tops


Heat oil in a large, heavy pot. Sauté onion, celery and leeks until transparent. Add garlic and sauté 1 minute more. Add water and bring to a boil. Add beef base, stirring rapidly to mix well. Add potatoes and seasonings and simmer, covered, until potatoes are done. Using a hand blender, purée potato mixture (or purée in batches in an upright blender). Adjust seasonings to taste.

To serve, sprinkle bowls of soup with bacon crumbles and chives or onion tops.

Serves 8


Wiener Schnitzel

2 pounds veal or pork cutlets
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups bread crumbs
3 eggs, beaten
½ cup vegetable oil
Lemon slices


Pound cutlets until thin. Season liberally with salt and pepper. Set up flour, bread crumbs and eggs in three bowls or plates.

Heat oil in a large skillet to hot. Cooking 3 to 4 at a time, dip cutlets on both sides in flour and shake off excess. Dip in beaten eggs and then in bread crumbs. Shake off excess breading and place in skillet. Brown well on one side, moving cutlets around carefully so they won’t stick, then turn and brown other side. Cook until just done but well-browned, a few minutes on each side.

Drain on a rack and serve immediately with lemon slices.

Serves 6

 

 

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