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Oktoberfest!

August 1, 2017, 12:00 am

Oktoberfest, the 16-day festival celebrating beer and held annually in Munich, Bavaria, Germany, running from late September until the first weekend in October. This giant party started in 1810 when Prince Ludwig of Bavaria, who was later crowned King Ludwig I, invited everyone to share in the celebration of his marriage to Princess Therese of Saxony-Hildburghausen in October of that year.

This annual celebration is still held on the original site in front of the city gates. In has only been cancelled a few times in the last 200 years due to war or a cholera outbreak. Millions of people from all over the world flock to the planet’s best and most famous party, but you can partake a little bit of Oktoberfest by enjoying some great beer and making one or more of the following recipes.

Easy Oktoberfest Recipes

Goulash Soup - Gulaschsuppe

2 1/2 pounds boneless beef chuck, cut into small cubes
2 tablespoons canola oil
3 medium onions, chopped
1 green pepper, diced small
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 teaspoons caraway seeds
1 teaspoon dried marjoram
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
6 tablespoons tomato paste
6 cups boiling beef broth
1 teaspoon paprika
1/4 cup ketchup
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
Sea salt and pepper to taste

  1. Heat oil in a large heavy pot over medium-high heat; add beef, stirring occasionally, until browned and beginning to exude liquid, about 5 minutes. Add onions, green pepper, garlic, caraway seeds, and marjoram and cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are translucent, about 5 minutes.
  2. Add flour and cook, stirring frequently, until mixture sticks to bottom of pot and is golden, about 1-2 minutes. Add tomato paste, ketchup, paprika, Worcestershire sauce and salt and cook, stirring, 1 minute, then stir in hot broth. Scrape up any browned bits from the bottom of the pot.
  3. Bring to a boil, lower heat, then simmer, partially covered, stirring occasionally, until meat is tender, at least 1 hour.

German Braised Red Cabbage - Rotkohl

1 tablespoon butter or vegetable oil
1 medium onion, halved and thinly sliced
1 Gala or Fuji apple, halved, cored, and sliced
1 small head red cabbage (2 pounds), cored, quartered, and thinly sliced
Sea salt and ground pepper
3 tablespoons cider or red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon natural cane sugar
1 cup water
1 teaspoon caraway seeds, optional

  1. In a large heavy pot, melt butter (or add oil) over medium heat. Add onion and apple; cook, stirring, until onion softens, 4 to 6 minutes. Stir in red cabbage and season with salt and pepper.
  2. Add cider vinegar, sugar, caraway seeds, and water. Bring to a boil; reduce to a simmer, cover, and cook until cabbage is tender, about 30 minutes, stirring frequently. (You can cook it longer than 30 minutes if you want it very soft.)

German Onion Pie - Zwiebelkuchen

2 large onions, halved and thinly sliced
2 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon caraway seeds
1 egg
1/4 cup sour cream
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
5 tablespoons cold butter, cut into small cubes
½ cup milk + 1-2 tablespoons

  1. In medium skillet, saute the onions in butter over medium heat until they turn translucent and just begin to brown, about 25 minutes, stirring frequently. Pour into a bowl and aside to cool. Beat the egg and sour cream together and stir into the cooled onion mixture along with the salt, pepper and caraway seeds.
  2. Preheat oven to 450°F. In a food processor bowl place flour, baking powder, and salt and pulse to combine. Add the butter and process just until it is the texture of soft crumbs. Add the milk and pulse to form a soft dough.
  3. Spray a 10 inch round cake pan with cooking spray and spread the dough out evenly using your fingers. Bring the dough up the sides of the pan. Spread the onion mixture over the dough. Bake for 30 minutes or until lightly browned.

Pork Schnitzel - Wienerschnitzel

4 boneless pork chops (1 pound total), pounded to ¼ inch thickness
1/4 cup flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 eggs, beaten
2 tablespoons milk
1 cup fine dry bread crumbs
canola oil for frying
lemon wedges

  1. Use a mallet to pound the pork cutlets to 1/4-1/8 inch thickness between sheets of plastic wrap.
  2. Set out 3 shallow bowls. One with a mixture of the flour, salt, and pepper. The second with the egg and milk whisked together. The third with a mixture of the bread crumbs and paprika.
  3. Heat the oil in a large skillet on medium high heat. Dredge the cutlets first in the seasoned flour, then dip the cutlets in the egg mixture, and then into the bread crumbs.
  4. Working in batches, sauté the cutlets for about 2-3 minutes per side until golden brown. Remove the cutlets from the skillet, drain on a paper towel-lined plate, and cover with foil or place in a warm oven to keep warm. Serve with lemon wedges.

Warm Potato Salad – Warmer Kartofelsalat

2 lb Yukon gold potatoes
4 slices bacon, chopped
1 onion, diced small
½ cup beef or vegetable broth
3 - 4 tablespoons herbed vinegar, cider vinegar, or white wine vinegar
Plenty of sea salt and pepper to taste
1 1/2 teaspoons natural cane sugar
2 tablespoons chopped chives

  1. Boil potatoes in salted water until tender. Let cool slightly, then peel and slice while still warm. Place in a large bowl. While potatoes are cooking prepare dressing.
  2. Cook bacon in a skillet over medium high heat until browned. Remove bacon with a slotted sppoon and set aside. (Do not drain the fat.)
  3. Add broth and onion to the skillet and cook for about 8 minutes, stirring frequently, until onions are soft. Stir in vinegar, salt, pepper, and sugar. Add this mixture to potato slices along with the cooked bacon and chives and toss.
  4. Serve potato salad warm or at room temperature.


German Noodles - Spätzle


Spatzle are homemade peasant noodles that are excellent with roasted meats and gravy. Super easy to make and also go great with braised red cabbage. This recipe makes enough for 2 people.

1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1/4 cup water
3 tablespoons butter

  1. In a large bowl, combine the flour and salt. In another mixing bowl, whisk the eggs and water together. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour in the egg mixture. Gradually draw in the flour from the sides and combine well; the dough should be smooth and thick. Let the dough rest for 15 minutes.
  2. Bring 3 quarts of salted water to a boil in a large pot, then reduce to a simmer. To form the spaetzle, hold a spatzle maker or box grater with large holes over simmering water and push the dough through the holes with a rubber spatula. Do this in batches so you don’t overcrowd the pot. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes, stirring gently to prevent sticking. Dump the spaetzle into a colander and give it a quick rinse with cool water.
  3. (Note: this step is optional.) Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat and add the spaetzle; tossing to coat. Cook the spaetzle for 1 to 2 minutes to give the noodles some color.

You can find spatzle makers at most kitchen supply stores. A colander with large holes would work too.

Apple Strudel - Apfelstrudel

5 tart apples, peeled, cored, quartered, thinly sliced
grated rind of 1/2 a lemon
juice from 1/2 a lemon
3/4 cup natural cane sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 teaspoons all-purpose flour
pinch sea salt
8 ounces phyllo pastry, thawed in the refrigerator
1 stick butter, melted

  1. Heat oven to 400°F. Mix apples with lemon rind, lemon juice, sugar, cinnamon, flour, and sea salt in a bowl; set aside. 
  2. Lightly dampen a clean kitchen towel to use for covering the phyllo dough in between making two rolls. Unroll the phyllo dough and place 1 phyllo leaf on a clean work surface, short end closest to you. Brush with melted butter. Place a second leaf on top and brush with butter again.
  3. Repeat until 5 leaves have been used, using about 1/2 of the butter. Cover the phyllo dough witht the damp towel so it doesn't dry out.
  4. Mound half of the filling in a 3-inch strip along the narrow end of the phyllo, leaving a 2-inch border.
  5. Roll up the filling encasing the apples and tucking in the edges as you roll.
  6. Brush top of the strudel with butter.
  7. Repeat the entire procedure for the second strudel. Place strudels on a greased, rimmed baking sheet. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until browned.

Working with phyllo dough: Thaw dough out in refrigerator overnight. Remove wrapping and unroll. Place a damp dish towel over the exposed dough sheets to prevent them from drying out. Re-cover in between brushing each layer. Wrap remaining dough tightly in plastic wrap.

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