By Angie Sutton, www.momsapronstrings.com
Bavarian cheeses, black forest hams and Westphalian breads. All things representing that time of year known as Oktoberfest. Attending the Munich Oktoberfest likely wasn’t on your schedule this year, but you can create your own celebration by exploring a few dishes inspired by the event.
The first Oktoberfest was held in 1810 in honor of the Bavarian Crown Prince Ludwig’s marriage. The festivities began on October 12 that year and ended a week later with a horse race. Over time the celebrations were extended and eventually the kick-off was moved into September. Now in its 184th year, the Munich Oktoberfest runs through October 3. In America we tend to think of Oktoberfest as "Octoberfest." Meaning, anytime in October is a great time to enjoy delicious food inspired by the original event!
Hubby Jeff ate this wonderful dish during a fellowship to Germany several years ago. He re-created the recipe for us and it was delicious!
4 (6 oz.) very thin beef steaks or flank steak
1 Tbsp. prepared Dijon mustard
2 large dill pickles, cut in half lengthwise
1 onion, sliced very thinly into rings
4 slices bacon
1/2 c. red wine
1 1/2 c. beef broth
1 bay leaf
1 Tbsp. cornstarch
2 Tbsp. water
1. Lay the steaks on a flat surface and brush with mustard. Lightly sprinkle with salt and pepper. Lay a slice of bacon on each steak. Layer the onions evenly on each steak and top with a pickle slice. Fold two sides of the steak in towards the center, about one inch, forming a roughly rectangle shape. Roll into a tight tube and secure with a toothpick. Repeat with the remaining steaks.
2. Brown the rouladen in 1/8-inch of canola oil in a sauce pot just big enough to hold all four in a single layer. Brown evenly on all sides. Use additional oil if needed. After browning, remove and discard remaining oil.
3. Add wine, beef broth and bay leaf to pot. Bring to a simmer over low heat and braise with a tight-fitting lid for one and a half hours or until tender. When done a thin knife blade should meet no resistance when poked into the meat.
4. Remove the rouladen from the broth. Stir together cornstarch and water then whisk into broth until it thickens. Serve with Swiss Cheese Späetzle.
Swiss Cheese Späetzle
There are a few ways to form your spätzle if you don’t like the dumpling version. You can also press the dough through a colander or use a machine specifically for making spätzle. We really liked the nutmeg in this recipe!
1 medium onion, chopped
3 slices bacon, sliced
2 large eggs
1 1/3 c. all-purpose flour
1/2 c. milk
1 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 c. Swiss cheese, grated
Fresh parsley, chopped
salt and pepper
1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Meanwhile, heat a nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and bacon. Cook until the onion is slightly golden.
2. For the pasta, mix together eggs, flour, milk and nutmeg. The dough will be quite runny. Put the pasta dough onto a wooden board, now scrape with a knife to form little dumplings about the size of a nickel and let each dumpling fall into the boiling water.
3. Once the dumplings float on the water, take them out as they are done. Add the Spätzle dumplings and the cheese to the frying pan and fry for a couple of minutes. Season with salt and pepper and sprinkle some parsley on top.
German Potato Pancakes
Serve with applesauce, sprinkle with sugar or serve these plain.
3 large russet potatoes, peeled and washed
1 large egg
1/4 c. chopped yellow onion
1/2 tsp. salt
2 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
Butter for frying
1. Cut potatoes in large chunks and put in food processor or blender. Add egg, onion, salt and flour. Pulse several minutes stopping to scrape down sides three times.
2. Heat a cast iron skillet over medium-high heat and add a couple tablespoons of butter, enough to coat the bottom of the pan.
3. Immediately drop tablespoonfuls of batter into the pan, patting down lightly with the back of spoon to create a pancake. Fry for 3 to 4 minutes, flip over and continue to fry until pancake is cooked through and crispy brown. Remove and keep warm. Continue until all batter is used, adding butter to skillet as needed.
Apron Strings Notes: If the potato mixture seems “dry” you can add another egg in step one.
This culinary delight is one of Bavaria’s claims-to-fame and these soft pretzels are a fun and easy snack to serve with spicy mustard and your favorite beverage.
1/2 c. lukewarm water
1 tsp. granulated sugar
2 tsps active dry yeast
3/4 c. milk, lukewarm
4 tsp. olive oil
1 tsp. salt
1 c. whole wheat flour
2 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
4 Tbsp. baking soda
coarse salt to sprinkle
1. Using the large bowl of a stand mixer with dough hook, dissolve sugar in water. Add yeast and mix. Let stand about 10 minutes until bubbly.
2. In another bowl, stir together milk and oil and add to mixer bowl.
3. In another bowl, stir together salt and whole wheat flour. Add to mixer bowl and mix.
4. Gradually add 2 cups all-purpose flour while mixing. Add more flour as needed until ball forms. Let dough hook knead ball for a few minutes.
5. Let dough rise in mixer bowl, covered, about 30-to-60-minutes, in a warm area, until about double in size.
6. Meanwhile, prepare a soda bath. Put 2 quarts of water in a stock pot and add 4 Tbsp. baking
soda. Mix well and bring to boil; keep hot until needed.
7. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Cover two baking sheets with parchment paper.
8. Divide dough in half and then each half into 12 pieces. Roll each piece into a rope about 14
inches long. Form into pretzel shape by forming into a circle with the ends extending
about 2 inches. Twist these ends twice and fold up into circle, pressing the ends to the circle.
9. Place pretzels onto baking sheets. Cover and let rise about 10 minutes. Gently place pretzels into boiling soda water, without crowding. When they rise to the surface, remove with slotted spoon and place back on baking sheets.
10. Slit with a sharp knife and sprinkle with coarse salt. Bake about 15 minutes.
German Sunken Apple Cake (Versunkener Apfelkuchen)
3 large Granny Smith or Mackintosh apples
1/2 c. unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 c. granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp. fresh lemon juice
1 3/4 c. all-purpose flour
11/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 c. milk
1/2 c. confectioner’s sugar
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly spray the bottom and sides of a 10-inch springform pan with non-stick cooking spray.
2. Peel and core apples. Cut into quarters and thinly slice each quarter four or five times without cutting through all the way.
3. In a medium bowl of stand mixer, beat butter and sugar, then add eggs and lemon juice and beat until creamy.
4. In another bowl, stir together flour, baking powder and salt. Add to mixer bowl alternating with the milk and mix until just combined.
5. Pour batter in pan and spread evenly. Arrange apple quarters on top, pressing in just slightly.
6. Bake 55 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan on wire rack and then remove the springform.
7. Dust lightly with confectioner’s sugar before serving.
Apron Strings Notes: If the apples are prepared too far in advance, they will turn slightly brown. Time your preparation.