Monday, December 21, 2009

The Sauerbraten Sagas - Part I: The Menu

If only we still spoke Old English, I could write this like one of the Eddas.

So, Christmas Eve dinner. I'm making a German dinner. That's the plan, anyway. The menu so far, and believe me, this is subject to change pending any kitchen disasters and perilous mood changes, is as follows:


Kartoffelpuffer - German Potato Pancakes served with applesauce or sour cream.

Here's the thing about these. Most people, when they think of potato pancakes, think of latkes, made with shredded/grated potatoes.

Now those are yummy, but we grew up eating a potato pancake that was made from a batter of pureed potato, flour and egg. They fry up fluffier than the latkes. I have had a bitch of a time finding the recipe, but I'm working on it.


Sauerbraten - German marinated pot roast.

I went on about this at length this morning in a status update entitled "Apparently when it comes to Sauerbraten, people have very strong feelings about the gravy and whether or not gingersnaps have any place in it."

Done well, Sauerbraten is sublime: melt-in-your-mouth meat accompanied by a gingersnap-thickened gravy. Really, words can't describe it.

It is accompanied by:

  • Spätzle, a cross between a noodle and a dumpling, and coated with lots of butter.

  • Red cabbage cole slaw. It works as a salad, and hey, Germans love their cabbage.

  • Steamed green beans with a walnut vinaigrette. Ok, so not specifically German, but it's really good. I may toss in some bacon too, just because... say it with me, kids: "Bacon makes everything better."

  • Braised leeks with chestnuts. At some point over the past few days, I found a divine-sounding recipe for braised leeks, but hell if I can find it now. it's possible that I only dreamed of finding it. That sort of stuff happens to me all the time. I may just make something up. I have the leeks. I have the chestnuts. I'm feeling sassy.

  • Cauliflower gratin. Very simple. Just par-boiled cauliflower covered with a mixture of mayo, whole grain mustard, paprika and freshly grated parm or romano and baked until nicely browned.


Haven't thought about this, but I suppose I can make my totally non-German, but completely worth it, Maple Wheat dinner rolls.


  • Linzertorte. Who doesn't love Linzertorte?

  • Apple Strudel. Maybe. I probably do need another dessert.

To drink:

  • Wine

  • Beer

  • Possibly egg nog.

  • Maybe even more mulled wine.

Next installment : Day 1 of shopping and prep!

I need to write about this in order to maintain my sanity. Thanks!

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