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Have you ever found yourself in a dinner rut? Every week you just have the same dishes over and over? And while certainly not horrible it can get a little boring and make cooking less exciting. This is how I felt the last few months. We have a really great way of menu planning that I will be blogging about in the next few weeks, but since we moved I haven't un-boxed it yet. So we have contently rolled along in our dinner rut.
But, enough was enough and I wanted dinner to be exciting and fun again.
I decided that each month we would pick a country. And then, every week, we would try to make a meal from that country, as authentic as possible. I also wanted to pick countries that we have ancestors from, so that we can connect with our heritage through food.
January is Germany.
On my father's side I have ancestors from way back when that are from Germany. But also my Dad was stationed in West Germany during the 80's and my oldest brother was actually born there. Therefore, Germany has always had a special place in our family.
I also have been craving Bratwurst, so there's that too.
In order to get authentic recipes, I tried to find websites or blogs of people from the country. For this month I found two websites I'll be using to make my dishes. The first isGermanFoods.org. They have a lot of recipes as well as cultural information and a little shop where you can buy German goods!
The second is The Daring Gourmet. Kimberly grew up in Germany and has graciously shared recipes from her homeland. I didn't use her recipes for this post but I will in the next weeks!
Authentic German Bratwurst
The meal we had this past week was Bratwurst and Himmel und Erde.
Bratwurst is the best and my favorite sausage. Honestly, if you haven't tried this amazing sausage yet, you are missing out. Brats are wonderfully juicy and flavorful. I've never had one I didn't like. You can grill them on the barbecue, pan fry them, or braise them.
In the recipe I found, the brats were seared until the were brown on the outside and then braised in a vinegar and caper sauce. It was really good! The only thing I changed from the Proud Henry Bratwurst recipe was the beer (I know! so un-German of me!). But we don't drink beer and we only needed half a cup so I didn't want to buy a whole beer and just throw out the rest. Instead I just used a whole cup of rib stock. Trust me, the results were delicious!
My mom told us that when you order a bratwurst from a street vendor in Germany, they generally come in small rolls that are crunchy and the brat sticks out either end. You can have them with ketchup or mustard.
We used Kaiser rolls cut in half, stone ground mustard, and a bit of the gravy from the pan. It was so delicious!
Himmel und Erde (Heaven and Earth)
I thought a potato salad would be a nice accompaniment to the brats. And browsing through the recipes on GermanFoods.org this Himmel und Erde stuck out to me because it combined apples (the himmel/heaven), potatoes (erde/earth), bacon, and onion. At first I thought "ew," but then as I thought about it I wanted to try it out. The whole time right up until I made it I thought this was going to be chunked apple and potato with bacon bits and chopped onion.
I was very wrong.
But in the best way possible! Himmel und erde is more like mashed potatoes with extras. AND IT IS SO GOOD! I am not one of those tasting people who knows what parts of the tongue to touch their food to to get all the correct flavors. But I'll try my best to explain the flavors. The tart Granny Smith apple with the salty bacon contrasted beautifully with the earthy potato and the sweet and sharp onion flavors. It comes out tasting sweet and delicious. I think that description deserves a mashed potato connoisseur status right..no..just me?Ok. Moving on then.
But seriously make this. You won't regret it.
My tips for this are:
I will give you my recipe here that I adapted from the one I found on GermanFoods.org.
Have you ever had German food? What's your favorite thing?
Check back next week! I'll be writing about our adventures with Schnitzel!
Creators of Hot Cocoa Bombs! (copyrighted)
Helen Reynolds: Mother of six children , grandmother to eleven! I love to cook, craft and create things and I especially love doing that with my family, So, when my lawyer daughter, Lindsey, my artist daughter, Madalynn, and I came up with the idea of Hot Cocoa Bombs, this blog was born. Then, one more daughter, with her technical and science skills, plus creativity has joined in to round us out! Read more about us here!