When the air becomes crisp and summer turns to fall, Germany marks the change of the season’s with Oktoberfest. A tradition dating back to 1810 in Munich Germany. Originally a celebration of the marriage of the King of Bavaria and Princess Therese. Everybody had so much fun that it was resolved to repeat the celebration, which has been done, every year since.
Oktoberfest is not only about the beer, singing, dancing and fair attractions. Many of the best known and most loved Bavarian specialties are enjoyed during the festival. Just to name a few …..
*Flammkuchen – a ‘white pizza’, popular on beer garden menus, has a thin crust, topped with sour cream, thinly sliced onions & smoked bacon.
*Sauerkraut & Bratwurst Balls – the two best known German foods rolled into bite-sized balls, breaded & fried & served with Bavarian mustard.
*Sauerkraut Strudel – a version of the famous Bavarian dessert, this savory treat features sauerkraut & bratwurst flavored with traditional German spices as its filling.
*Half Roast Chicken – Typically whole chickens are spit roasted, then split in half and served.
*Beer Brats – bratwurst simmered in a malty beer & onion sauce & served with mashed potatoes as a plated entree or on a soft pretzel bun.
*Pan Fried Trout – this dish is very popular in beer gardens across Bavaria, especially in the areas nearest to the mountains. Sometimes whole char is used,brought down from the cold waters of the North Sea.
*Schnitzel – German pork schnitzel is as recognizable as sauerkraut. Also made with chicken which is equally delicious.
*BBQ Pork Spare Ribs – a beer garden classic that has a prominent place on the Oktoberfest table.
*Bavarian Cream – a German high-cuisine dessert with French origins.
*Candied Apples – an irresistible favorite of young & old at Oktoberfest events.
*Candied Roasted Almonds – another favorite of both young & old.
Since the list of wonderful items is endless, I’m sure you could eat something different on every day of the festival. It runs from Sept 19th – Oct 4th/2020.
Brion & I are acknowledging Oktoberfest with a German stuffed potato meal. Its the perfect complement to sauerkraut and bratwurst.
Potatoes Stuffed w/ Bratwurst, Caramelized Onions & Sauerkraut
Preheat oven to 400 F. Line a baking sheet with foil; place a wire rack over the baking sheet. Place the potatoes in a bowl & drizzle a bit of oil over them; sprinkle with salt & pepper. Rub oil/seasoning into their skins. Place the potatoes on the wire rack & bake for about 70 minutes or until tender when pierced with a knife. Remove from oven & allow to cool just until they can be handled.
While potatoes bake, place a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Drizzle a small amount of oil into pan. Add bratwurst slices in a single layer; allow sausage slices to brown on the first side for about 3-4 minutes, then flip the slices & brown on the other side, until completely cooked through; drain on paper towel & set aside.
Drain the grease from the pan leaving about 1-2 Tbsp. With heat still on, add the sliced onions plus a pinch or two of salt & pepper to caramelize to a deep golden brown, for about 20-25 minutes on a medium-low heat, stirring frequently.
Once the onions are caramelized, add the bratwurst slices back into the pan with the onions; add flour & mustard & stir to combine. Add in the chicken broth (or lager). Simmer until just slightly thickened, turn off heat, check to see if any more seasoning is needed; set aside keeping mixture warm.
Once potatoes are cool enough to handle, cut the potatoes in half lengthwise, being careful not to cut all the way through. Carefully scoop out most of the flesh, leaving about 1/4-inch border all the way around. Reserve the flesh for another use.
Brush some of the melted butter onto the inside of each potato (add salt & pepper to taste) as well as onto their skins. Place back on the rack, flesh side up; place under the broiler to brown for several moments, once inside is slightly browned, flip the potato & crisp the skins for a couple more minutes.
Fill each crispy potato skin with the brat/onion mixture, & sprinkle with a some grated cheese; return under broiler to melt cheese for just a few seconds; then finish potatoes by topping with a bit of the sauerkraut & a twist of black pepper.
- If you prefer, lager beer can be used instead of chicken broth. If doing so, omit the flour & mustard.