Wednesday, March 28, 2007
For today's cooking school session I am taking you all to Germany. I chose a very traditional German dish, which is often prepared for a cosy Sunday lunch when all the family are over for a visit. It is also a typical meal that would be served over the upcoming Easter festivities. Therefore, my Easter recommendation for all who would like to try out something different this Easter.
I have been often asked by many people what German cuisine is like.
Recently I had a chance to write a little about it for my part of Johanna's new series called Culinary City Snapshots.
For my readers I have summarized it here so that you can get a better idea of what the food trend is like in Germany.
The cuisine in Germany varies from region to region. Each region has its own culinary tradition and is influenced by its regional agriculture and the neighboring countries. For example Baden-Wuertenberg's specialties include ingredients typified in agriculture around the Black Forest and are influenced by the proximity to France and Switzerland.
Generally speaking, Germans like hearty meals with lots of meat, sausages and potatoes. Pork, beef and poultry are the most popular type of meats eaten here. Vegetables are often cooked in stews or as a side to accompany a meat dish. Different types of cabbage are among the most popular vegetables in Germany. Beans, peas and carrots are also enjoyed often in German homes. However, when Asparagus is in season, especially white asparagus, it easily replaces many of the other vegetable dishes. I believe, (I cannot say for sure though) that the Kartoffel (potato) is the Queen of all German meals. It is served in many different variations, from the famous dumplings, to Bratkartoffeln (pan fried potatoes) to potato salads and gratins.
While all we hear about German eating habits with huge amounts of potatoes, meats, pastries and beer, which might make it sound one of the unhealthiest cuisines, German cuisine is undergoing a huge change at the moment.
The so called neue Kueche - new cuisine offers a variety of recipes and dishes influenced by foreign countries. Chefs trained in Switzerland, Italy and France come back and open extremely good continental restaurants. Foreign cuisine such as Turkish, Thai and Japanese are also becoming very popular, largely influenced by the foreign workforce who have settled here over the years.
If you are interested in reading the entire Culinary City Snapshot for Weimar you can do so here.
I really hope you enjoy making these. My mother-in-law pretty much always makes her fantastic Beef Roulade when we visit. Simply because she knows how much I love them. Today I am sharing her recipe with you!
Music While Cooking:
America - Razorlight: New on my iPod
A fantastic and melodious song!
Listen to it
Buy it at the WFLH Mall
This time I am taking you all on an exciting trip through 1001 Arabian dishes. The Monthly Mingles theme for this month is Arabian Nights. Deadline is April 11, 2007. Be there or you'll miss the belly dancing ;-)
The first event on the Daily Tiffin is also underway. Hope you will join the DT team and Show us your lunch box.
2 onions - 1 thinly sliced and one finely chopped
3 medium sized gherkins / dill pickles - sliced lengthwise
6 beef flank steaks - approx. 180g each
Salt and pepper
3 teaspoons of hot German Mustard
12 slices smoked bacon
1-2 tablespoons oil
1 tablespoon tomato paste
2-3 teaspoons beef stock
2 tablespoons flour
Besides this you will need trussing or roulade needles.
Shop at the WFLH Mall for these products:
The Food Loop
German Hot Mustard
Smoked Bacon from Niman Ranch
Flatten the flank steaks with your hands. Generously sprinkle salt and pepper. Using a knife, spread the mustard on one side of the meat.
Spread a few slices of onions, a couple of bacon slices and some of the gherkin slices on each roulade. Make sure you leave enough room around the edges. From the smaller side, start rolling the meat tightly into a type of roll.
Use either the roulade needles or the Food Loop to keep the roll sealed and in place.
In a large oven proof pan heat the oil and fry the roulades from all sides on a high heat until slightly browned. Take out of the pan and sauté the chopped onions until translucent.
Add the tomato paste and allow to cook for a few minutes. Pour in approx. 3/4 liters of water and bring to a boil. Add the stock and then place the roulades back into the pan. Allow to simmer covered for approx 1 1/2 hours.
Once ready take the pieces of meat out and keep warm.
In 4-6 tablespoons of water mix the flour into a smooth paste like mixture. Pour into the fond, bring to a boil and allow to simmer for 2-3 minutes. Salt and pepper to taste.
Put the meat back into the sauce and allow to soak up the juices for a few minutes.
Serve this with boiled parsley potatoes and typical German style red cabbage with apples.
Normally I leave this particular dish for my mum-in-law to make. But every once in a while I need to be able to prove to myself that I am also capable of making such traditional meals. The funny thing about our little household is that meals that others would call exotic are routine and such meals as this dish are categorized in the "Exotic" section. So, when I say to my boys "Es gibt Rinderroulade Heute!" (it's beef roulade for lunch today) Tom looks at me and raises his left eyebrow (yes he is one of those talented people who is capable of raising a single eyebrow). This normally is a sign that means "woah! she is treading in foreign waters today!"
I have made these quite a few times now and if I may say so myself, have really mastered the technique. Tom and Soeren love the thick flavorful gravy that is produced after braising the meat for over an hour. The combination of the smoky bacon with the sharp mustard is so flavorful that we scoop up every last morsel.
I hope you enjoyed this session of Cooking School with an insight of the German cuisine. If you give this a recipe a try, I'd love your feedback.
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