There’s a little shop within a shop in Seattle’s famous Pike’s Market. Bavarian Meats is run by two German ladies who look like they just stepped out of The Sound of Music. They sell all sorts of, well, meat, and plenty more besides. Sauerkraut, red cabbage sauerkraut, spiced sauerkraut, curry ketchup…
I picked up a half pound of excellent bacon there, as well as 2 bones worth of Kasseler rippchen. Kasseler is a bone-in pork chop that has been smoked and cured. As I paid for the meat, the owner asked my fiance if we “vood like a veener on vich to neeble vhile you valk?”. It took Beth repeating it for me to understand, at which point I accepted my sample weiner. I went on my way a little more charmed.
Sauerkraut is easy and satisfying to make at home. Like the preserved lemons in the last post, all sauerkraut really takes is time. I’ll put up a recipe shortly- right now I’m going to give you something to do with it.
Kasseler is comfort food. I’ve never seen an exotic preparation for kasseler, and I don’t think this meat needs anything fancy. This recipe is easy, filling, and delicious.
Kasseler with Sauerkraut
- 4 bones Kasseler Rippchen
- 2 medium onions
- 4 tart apples
- 2 cups sauerkraut
- 2 strips bacon
- 2 cups beer or hard cider (substitute stock or apple juice if for some reason you abstain)
Preheat the oven to 350. Pan-fry the bacon over medium-low heat in an oven-safe pan* until most of the fat renders. Chop the onions; quarter and slice the apples. Remove the bacon, leaving the fat in the pan. Turn the heat up to medium and sear the chops lightly on each side. Remove the meat and add the onions, sauteing until they soften. Do not add salt to this recipe without tasting the finished product- the chops will have a fair bit in them.
Add the apple, sauerkraut and liquid of choice and simmer for 5 minutes. Add the chops and crumble the bacon over the top. Cover and bake in the oven for 1 hour. Serve with spaetzle and a good German beer.
*if you don’t have an oven-safe pan, I’m sure this would make a great slow-cooker recipe as well.
Spaetzle in Sage-Walnut sauce
- 1 cup whole wheat flour
- 2 eggs
- 1/4 cup milk
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp white pepper
- 1/2 tsp nutmeg
- 2tbsp butter
- 2tbsp olive oil
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1 cup mushrooms, sliced
- 1/4 walnuts, chopped
- 10-12 fresh sage leaves, finely chopped
- 1 cup sherry
- 1 cup cream
- 1 cup chicken stock
- salt and pepper to taste
Put a gallon of water in a stock pot and bring to a boil. Meanwhile, mix the dry ingredients together in a bowl, forming a well in the center. Crack the eggs into the well and add the milk. Slowly mix the ingredients, forming a glossy wet dough. Adjust with more flour or milk as needed- it should be sticky but hold its shape. Leave the dough to rest while the water comes to a boil.
If you have a spaetzle maker, great! If not, do what I do- take a flat cheese grater, and use a spoon to force the dough through the coarse holes into the boiling water. The noodles will puff slightly and rise to the surface when done. Skim them out with a slotted spoon.
Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat and add the spaetzle. Saute them golden brown. In another pan, dry-roast the walnuts over medium heat, stirring frequently. Once they are browned a little and fragrant, add the oil. Add the mushrooms and onions and saute until the onion softens. Add the sage and sherry and bring to a simmer. Add the cream and stock- turn down to medium low and do not let the sauce boil. Thicken as needed with a little corn starch or flour. Spoon over the spaetzle. Serves 4.