It’s do-it-yourself for German food in far West Texas

Printed with the permission of the Alpine Avalanche

I always appreciate a good German meal. Growing up with a Wendish grandmother that was an excellent cook, I truly wish I would’ve fully appreciated her gifts in the kitchen and on the dining table, but I was a teen when she stopped cooking, and we all know what kind of interest most teens have in following Granny around in the kitchen. Thankfully, many of her recipes have been passed down through the family.

Having lived in the German-settled Texas Hill Country for nearly two decades, a heaping plate of Jägerschnitzel or Sauerbraten was never too far away if the hankering for German food struck. There were several options in Boerne, and we could drive 40 minutes to dine at one of the German favorites in Fredericksburg. Out here in far West Texas, it’s a little harder to come by.

In my research, (and by research, I mean asking local friends via Facebook), I’ve learned that once upon a time, there was a German restaurant at the Holland Hotel, and that I can get a hotdog with sauerkraut called The German (which I have had numerous times) at the Cow Dog food truck in Alpine.

On a recent trip to Colorado Springs to visit family, we went to a charming German restaurant called Edelweiss. Edelweiss has been a family-owned and operated restaurant for nearly 50 years, and the restaurant’s décor is complete with authentic artifacts from the family’s many trips to Germany. I felt like we’d been transported to Bavaria just strolling through the dining room to our table, with lively German folk music playing in the background.

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My husband ordered one of his favorites, Jägerschnitzel, which is pork medallions that are sautéed and served in a rich mushroom sauce with spaetzle. Spaetzle is the traditional German egg noodle, similar in size to a rotini pasta noodle. I love Sauerbraten, which is Bavarian-style marinated beef in a sweet-sour sauce, and to make it even better, it was served with red cabbage and a couple bacon potato dumplings. I love cabbage, and I especially love German-style red cabbage, which I’ve been cooking for many years from one of my Granny’s recipes.

Below on the left is his Jägerschnitzel with spaetzle and veggies… on the right is my Sauerbraten with bacon potato dumplings and red cabbage. Yummm.

You don’t have to travel to Boerne or Fredericksburg or even Colorado Springs to enjoy a good German meal, you can create a Bavarian feast at home. Crank up some German folk music and feel that oom-pah-pah… Guten Appetit!

Traditional Sauerbraten
3 pounds beef rump roast
2 large onions, chopped
1 cup red wine vinegar
1 cup water
1 tablespoon salt
¼  teaspoon ground ginger
1 tablespoon ground black pepper
1 tablespoon white sugar
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
10 whole cloves, or more to taste
2 bay leaves, or more to taste
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
salt and ground black pepper to taste
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
¾ cup crumbled gingersnap cookies

Place beef rump roast, onions, vinegar, water, 1 tablespoon salt, 1 tablespoon black pepper, sugar, cloves, Worcestershire sauce, ginger and bay leaves in a large pot. Cover and refrigerate for 2 to 3 days, turning meat daily. Remove meat from marinade and pat dry with paper towels, reserving marinade.

Add salt and pepper to taste to flour in a large bowl. Sprinkle flour mixture over beef.

Heat vegetable oil in a large Dutch oven or pot over medium heat; cook beef until brown on all sides, about 10 minutes. Pour reserved marinade over beef, cover, and reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer until beef is tender, about 3-1/2 to 4 hours. Remove beef to a platter and slice.

Strain solids from remaining liquid and continue cooking over medium heat. Add gingersnap cookies and simmer until gravy is thickened, about 10 minutes. Serve gravy over sliced beef.
Homemade Spaetzle
2 cups all-purpose flour
4 eggs, lightly beaten
1/3 cup 2% milk
2 teaspoons salt
8 cups water
1 tablespoon butter

In a large bowl, stir the flour, eggs, milk and salt until smooth (dough will be sticky). In a large saucepan over high heat, bring water to a boil. You can either load up a potato ricer with dough to make your little dumplings or pour dough into a colander or spaetzle maker coated with cooking spray; place over boiling water. With a wooden spoon, press dough until small pieces drop into boiling water. Cook for 2 minutes or until dumplings are tender and float. Remove with a slotted spoon; toss with butter. This should take about 15 minutes, start to finish.

Granny’s Red Cabbage
3 slices of bacon
½ cup white vinegar
¼ cup sugar
3 tablespoons chopped onion
3 cups shredded red cabbage
¾ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper
Dice bacon and brown. Add everything to skillet. Cover and simmer for about 30 minutes or until it’s all tender.

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