But….but…..I MISS y’all!

March 26, 2013

I didn’t cook when I got back from taking NS home Sunday night. I didn’t cook last night (well, I did, but I made myself a bowl of potato salad, and that doesn’t count). And I’m likely not cooking tonight.

But I felt like blogging.

So I went and looked in my photos folder, and found a few I hadn’t used yet, so I figured I’d cobble them together and make a post out of them, because y’all are tolerant and will put up with me like that.

Or if not, at least you won’t scold me over it. I hope.

Absolutely, a good German dinner.

Absolutely, a good German dinner.

This is a classic German dinner, because a while back, I felt Deutsche-ish. Now, know that I love me some German food. I love red cabbage. I love German potato salad. I love bratwurst, and knockwurst, and sauerbraten and schweinbraten, the latter two of which are complex enough that I have never tried to make them.

But this is what I do make, and do damn well, thanks to my organic farmers/sausage makers who market their wares through the Spa City Co-op, which any of y’all who want to can join and order good stuff to be delivered right here in Hot Springs every two weeks (public service commercial interrruption, there). There is a grower, Ratchford Buffalo Farms, which does all sorts of really good sausages, and I purely love their fresh German sausage. It’s a one-pound link, coiled into a circle, and I cut it in about four big links and brown it, and then either poach it in beer (a la bratwurst), or, in this case, in a mustard, white wine and cream sauce. It’s good stuff.

Digression — speaking of bratwurst, Ratchford also does bratwurst, both beef and buffalo. Buffalo brats browned in the skillet and then poached in beer are just awesome.

The mustard cream sauce involves taking brown and yellow mustard seeds, grinding them in your spice grinder,  and starting a roux with them, some oil, some flour, and even a few minced onions, if you’re of a notion. Scramble that up, add a bunch of white wine, let the alcohol bubble off, and then let the wine reduce by half.  Then add heavy cream, and put the previously browned sausages back in, cover them, and let it simmer for 20 minutes. Then you can reduce the sauce if you want to, and there you go.

For a pound of sausage, I use maybe half a small onion; two tablespoons of mustard seeds; two tablespoons of flour, two tablespoons of oil. Maybe a cup of white wine, maybe a cup of cream. Y’all know I don’t measure stuff.

German potato salad is easy. Boil two pounds of cut up, unpeeled redskin potatoes. (Note -es ending. I am a convert.) While they’re on the heat, brown 8 diced -up pieces of bacon; remove from pan and drain on a paper towel when it’s crisp. In the bacon grease (if it’s really fatty, drain down to about 4 tbsp of fat), saute’ a couple of teaspoons of caraway seeds and some onion (the other half of the one you used in the mustard cream sauce), minced fine. Add two tablespoons of spicy brown mustard. Set it off the heat.

When the potatos are done, reserve a half-cup or so of the cooking water; drain the potatos and dump them in the pan with the sauce. Add the bacon. Toss. Add a little of the reserved potato water if you need it (and you likely will need at least a little). Serve it warm.

Red cabbage — well, there are a million recipes for it. Here’s one that’s close to mine. Except I add caraway seed. And some cream, at the end, to finish it. There’s also a Nigella Lawson recipe for Austrian Red Cabbage (it’s in Nigella Cooks), that I had to up the vinegar on, but it’s pretty awesome. I love it. If I ever get to the point I can make it as well as the Austrian Village in Philadelphia, I will consider I have reached the peak of culinary prowess, and retire. I do not suspect retirement is in any way imminent.

Latkes. Wish I had 'em right now.

Latkes. Wish I had ’em right now.

Now, if one were highly motivated, one might make latkes to go with this. I do love me a latke. I made these at some point moderately recently (apparently for breakfast, as accompanying photos show), but they’re good most anytime, anywhere, for any reason. Just be sure you put your grated potatos in a cheesecloth and wring ’em out. It makes a million bucks worth of difference.

Someday, I’ll do sauerbraten, and you ‘n y’mama ‘n’em will have to come sample. For now, I’m content with good sausages and good German sides.


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