Showing posts with label German cooking. Show all posts
Showing posts with label German cooking. Show all posts

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

A Trip to Munich's Oktoberfest plus Beer-Braised Brats and Beer Onions from Cleo Coyle

As Joyce Tremel mentioned on Sunday, with her Soft Pretzel and Beer Cheese recipes, Munich's traditional 16-day Oktoberfest is well underway now and will continue until October 5th.

While I've been to Germany and thoroughly appreciate their mastery at making some of the best beers in the world, I've never made it to an Oktoberfest. Attending this world-famous festival is 
on my (beer) bucket list. Is it on yours, too? Or have you been to it? Let us know in the comments.

In the meantime, join me now for a little 
video visit to this year's Oktoberfest! 


To watch the tapping of the first keg,
click the arrow in the window below...

If you do not see the video above, click here.


To join me for an Oktoberfest 2014
band stand concert, click the arrow
in the window below...

If you do not see the video above, click here.


For more videos, directly from
this year's Oktoberfest in Munich, Germany,
click here and have fun!

And when you're ready for a food break, 
I've got an easy and delicious recipe for you...

But first...

A quick toast to my fellow 
crime-writing cooks...

Daryl Wood Gerber 


Sheila Connolly 

on their new releases today!
(Okay, Sheila's is officially next Tuesday, but
 I'm sure she won't mind an early shout-out.)

Happy Book Birthday to you both!

Cleo Coyle has a partner in
crime-writing—her husband.
Learn about their books
by clicking here and here.

Beer-Braised Brats 


Caramelized Beer Onions

by Cleo Coyle

Cooking brats in beer is far from a new idea, but it is a great one, especially if you have a favorite brew! 

We like to butterfly our brats to allow more surface area to absorb the beer flavor, which is why you should use your absolute favorite suds for the recipe. No matter how special or expensive your beer, you don't have to worry, this method will not waste a single drop. It will all go into the infusion process. You'll see what I mean as we braise the brats in one pan, caramelize the onions in another, and use the delicious beer-brat braising liquid to infuse the golden brown onions with even more flavor. 

Then spread your favorite roll (pretzel, potato, or seeded Kaiser) with whole grained mustard, pour an ice cold glass of amber nectar, and you'll be in beer heaven. Follow this recipe, and we'll meet you there!

~ Cleo
To download this free
recipe PDF,
click here.
To download this recipe in a free PDF document you can print, save, or share, click here.

Serves 4

4 bratwursts (pre-cooked or uncooked)

3 medium or 4 large onions, chopped

12 ounces of your favorite beer

1-2 tablespoons olive oil

1-2 tablespoons butter

For serving: 

Fresh rolls (pretzel, potato, or Kaiser)

Whole grained mustard

Optional additions: Sauerkraut, creamy horseradish, pickles, your favorite pepper (banana, jalapeno, etc...)


Step 1 - Cut each bratwurst down the middle but not all the way through. (In our photos, you see pre-cooked brats, but you can also use uncooked.) 

Spread the halves enough to flatten them but not enough to separate the halves. Note that brats curve slightly, like bananas. Be sure to cut along the inside curve before butterflying. Set brats aside and start cooking the onions.

Step 2 - In a large skillet, heat the olive oil and butter. Add the chopped onions and sauté over medium heat, stirring often.

Step 3 - While the onions are cooking, take out a second skillet. Add a bit of butter or oil. When the pan is hot, add the butterflied brats, warming/browning for about 5 minutes. Once brats are warmed/browned on both sides, add about 8 ounces of beer to the pan. 

You are not entirely covering the brats, just creating a shallow bath as shown in the photo below. 

Simmer for about 10 to 12 minutes, flipping at least once during the process. This is the cooking time for pre-cooked. If you are using raw brats, you will need to cook the brats longer. Raw meat should no longer be pink inside, and the internal temperature should reach 165 degrees F.  

When the brats are done cooking, turn off the heat under the pan and allow them to sit while you turn your attention to the onions...

Step 4 - Finish the onions: Continuing cooking the onions. After about 15 to 18 minutes of sautéing, the onions will have absorbed all of the fat in the pan. They will begin to caramelize, turning golden brown. If you need to add a bit more butter or oil to prevent them from burning before turning golden brown, do so. Do not move to the next step until the onions brown as shown or you will boil the onions instead of properly caramelizing them.

Step 5 - Once the onions have turned golden brown, add all of the liquid from the brats pan in Step 3. (We remove the brats from the pan first, putting them in a covered dish to keep them warm.) 

If for some reason you don’t have much liquid left in your brats pan, add a generous splash of fresh beer to the onions. Cook the mixture until the liquid is absorbed by the onions, about 3 to 5 minutes. 

Step 6 - Serve the brats and beer onions on pretzel rolls or potato rolls or Kaisers. 

We like to spread whole-grained mustard onto our rolls (as you see in the picture below). A bit of creamy horseradish is also delicious. Other possible additions include sauerkraut, pickles, and/or hot peppers. 

Click here for the free PDF, and
however you top your own beer-braised
brats and beer onion sandwich,
Marc and sincerely
 hope you will...

Eat with joy!

~ Cleo Coyle

New York Times bestselling author of
The Coffeehouse Mysteries

Yes, this is me, Cleo (aka Alice). 
Friend me on facebook here.
Follow me on twitter here
Learn about our books here.


Download a Free Title Checklist for
all 13 Coffeehouse Mysteries
(with mini plot summaries)
clicking here.

Visit us our
online coffeehouse here.

Haunted Bookshop

Get a free title checklist,
with mini plot summaries,

Saturday, December 26, 2009

German Potato Dumplings

I hope everyone is having a wonderful holiday! May your festivities be full of good food, good friends and family. Around here a few of us are worn out from playing with new toys . . .

Don't forget to check back for Julie's special contest in January, and we're still open for suggestions for our February Iron Chef ingredient! Rumor has it the prize involves chocolate!

In the meantime, I'm switching over to potatoes. There are certain foods that are staples in every culture. In Germany, those foods include strudel, semmeln (the rolls Heidi wanted to bring back to the mountains), and potato dumplings, also known as kartoffelknoedel. These dumplings are served with roast goose and pork and they're simply expected in German cooking. My mother remembers making them as a child by grating raw potatoes and squeezing out the liquid in cheesecloth -- a lot of messy work. So I've been looking around for a recipe that isn't a pain to make. After all, we have all sorts of gadgets now that make life easier, right? So I started studying recipes. It stands to reason that there are a lot of ways to make just about anything, and that there will always be regional differences, but I didn't expect to find so many variations! Raw potatoes, potatoes cooked with the peel, cooked without the peel, made with cornstarch, or flour, or potato starch, or nutmeg.

Then, as it happened, my mom watched a popular TV cook make potato cakes. I found the recipe and it seemed very close to potato dumplings, except fried. What a nightmare! I laughed all the way through that recipe. Oof! There had to be an easier way to deal with potatoes. So here's a recipe that I like. The great news is that while there are quite a few steps, some of them can be done in advance! Yay! I'm all for anything I can do ahead of time.

German Potato Dumplings

1 1/2 pound russet potatoes
1/2 cup flour, plus extra for hands
1/8 cup cornstarch
1 egg

1. Cook the potatoes in salted water with the peel on. Cool. At this point you can refrigerate them overnight if you feel like it.

2. Peel and mash the cold potatoes. Don't add anything like milk or butter. I tried ricing them and I tried mashing them with my KitchenAid mixer. Frankly, while the mixer left some lumps, they weren't noticeable when cooked, and I liked the texture better than when I riced the potatoes. Besides, it's a lot less work than ricing.

3. This is crucial. The potatoes must be refrigerated after they are mashed. Leave them in the fridge at least an hour, or go off to lunch with a friend and deal with the potatoes later.

4. Add the flour, cornstarch and 1 1/2 teaspoons salt to the potatoes and work in by hand. Add the egg and work that in by hand, too.

5. Another crucial step. After all that hand blending, you'll notice that the mixture sticks to your hands and there's no way you could shape them into anything resembling balls. This is where the TV guru went wrong with those patties! Wash your hands and set out a baking sheet with flour on it. Dip your hands into the flour before handling the potato mixture. It's like magic. Just keep dipping your hands into the flour when they feel sticky, and roll the mixture into balls about 2 inches in diameter. Set each finished ball aside. If you want, you can cook them immediately, or you can refrigerate them until you're ready to cook them.

6. To cook, fill a large pot with water and add a couple teaspoons of salt. Bring to a very slow simmer. If the water is boiling too fast, the potato balls will fall apart. Ladle the dumplings into the water slowly. Don't crowd them. It's far better to cook them in batches. Cook about 15 minutes, or until cooked through. Remove with a ladle and serve hot.

All lovers of German Potato Dumplings can tell you that while they're great fresh, they're even better the next day when sliced and fried. Especially if you have leftover rendered fat from the Christmas goose in which to cook them!


~ Krista