Friday, October 24, 2014


The first Oktoberfest held on October 12, 1810 was actually the celebration of the marriage of Crown Prince Ludwig (later King Ludwig) to Princess Therese of Saxony-Hildburghausen. The citizens of Munich, Germany were invited to join the festivities on the fields in front of the city gates. These fields later became named Theresianwiese or Theresa's fields. Horse races at the end of the celebration marked the close of the event. In 1811 the decision to repeat the horse races gave rise to
the tradition of Oktoberfest.

Today, Oktoberfest is the largest festival in the world with over 6 million visitors. Horse racing, once the most popular part of Oktoberfest is no longer an event. Quite ironically, Oktoberfest is celebrated mostly in September and ending the first weekend in October around the 3rd to include German Unity Day.  There are amusement rides, games, music, and a large selection of traditional Bavarian foods and beer. Typical foods would include roast pork, sausages (Wurstl)  pretzels (Brezen), potato dumplings, potato pancakes, sauerkraut or red cabbage and many others. 

In celebration of Oktoberfest I have decided to make some German specialties. Upon perusing our cookbook collection I surprisingly discovered that we do not have specific German cookbooks.We do however have books that include German recipes.I am assuming that at one time or another there were plenty of German cookbooks but as times changed, people became more inventive and courageous and attempted recipes that fell outside of their comfort zone. To think I can't find one German cookbook but can easily find Vietnamese, Thai, Vegan, Gluten free, etc. Times have changed and don't worry.....since I order the cookbooks, we should be seeing some new German cookbooks in our collection soon!


1 dozen brats
Beer to cover  (any lager style beer)
1 medium/large sweet onion
1/2 stick of butter

Directions: Melt butter and saute onions until translucent. Place brats in the dutch oven and cover with beer. Bring to a boil and reduce to simmer until brats are cooked. Grill brats until golden brown and return to beer mixture until ready to serve. Serve brats on fresh baked brat buns with sauerkraut, onions, green peppers, ketchup or mustard.

I used Dos Equis XX beer since I had it on hand and the brats tasted great. Next time I would probably saute more onions to serve with the brats.


2 cups water
1 cup cider vinegar
1 cup red wine vinegar
1 medium onion, chopped
1 large carrot, chopped
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon kosher salt, additional for seasoning meat
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 bay leaves
6 whole cloves
12 juniper berries
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
1 (3 1/2 to 4-pound) bottom round
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1/3 cup sugar
18 dark old-fashioned gingersnaps (about 5 ounces), crushed
1/2 cup seedless raisins, optional (I did not use the raisins. Not sure I like raisins with meat?)
In a large saucepan over high heat combine the water, cider vinegar, red wine vinegar, onion, carrot, salt, pepper, bay leaves, cloves, juniper, and mustard seeds. Cover and bring this to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Set aside to cool.
Pat the bottom round dry and rub with vegetable oil and salt on all sides. Heat a large saute pan over high heat; add the meat and brown on all sides, approximately 2 to 3 minutes per side.
When the marinade has cooled to a point where you can stick your finger in it and not be burned, place the meat in a non-reactive vessel and pour over the marinade. Place into the refrigerator for 3 days. If the meat is not completely submerged in the liquid, turn it over once a day.
After 3 days of marinating, preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
Add the sugar to the meat and marinade, cover and place on the middle rack of the oven and cook until tender, approximately 4 hours.
Remove the meat from the vessel and keep warm. Strain the liquid to remove the solids. Return the liquid to the pan and place over medium-high heat. Whisk in the gingersnaps and cook until thickened, stirring occasionally. Strain the sauce through a fine mesh sieve to remove any lumps. Add the raisins if desired. Slice the meat and serve with the sauce.

BOTTOM LINE: The meat was super tender and the gravy flavorful. I served it
with potato dumplings. Give it a try!

This recipe I found in Alton Brown's Good Eats 2