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Great October Fest Food
Oktoberfest: More Than Just Beer
When you think of Oktoberfest, the picture that most likely comes to mind is super-sized beers. While this image is far from inaccurate, the annual Bavarian festival is also about eating hearty portions of traditional German food.
This year the festival lasts 16 days, running from September 20 to October 5, and generally attracts six million visitors worldwide.
The following recipes are authentic versions of favorite German foods, and were shortlisted for ease of preparation. They can be served together for a wonderful Oktoberfest meal, or paired individually with non-German dishes!
A schnitzel is nothing more than a breaded, pan-fried veal cutlet. Germans love schnitzel, so it’s a great recipe to begin with.
- 1 1/2 - 2 pounds veal cutlets, thinly sliced
- Wondra or all-purpose flour for dredging
- 4 large eggs, beaten lightly
- 3 - 4 cups bread crumbs
- 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Lemon wedges for garnish
Liberally season both sides of every cutlet with salt and pepper.
Lay out three shallow dishes of like size, and fill from left to right, first with Wondra or flour, then the egg mixture seasoned with the salt and pepper, and lastly with bread crumbs seasoned with salt and pepper.
Working from left to right, dredge one cutlet in seasoned flour, shaking off any excess. Then, lightly coat the cutlet with the egg mixture. Last, dredge the cutlet in bread crumbs, making sure it's fully coated. Transfer cutlet to a cookie sheet and repeat with remaining cutlets. Allow cutlets to rest at room temperature for a half hour.
Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the butter and allow it to melt. Once the mixture is quite hot, fry the cutlets for 2 to 3 minutes on each side or until golden brown.
Transfer cooked cutlets to a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper or brown paper bags and keep warm in a 200-degree oven. Garnish plated cutlets with lemon wedges.
Traditional schnitzel is served with just a squirt of lemon on top, but there are several adaptations that are quite excellent, including Jaeger Schnitzel, which is topped with brown mushroom gravy, and Holstein Schnitzel, which is topped with fried egg, anchovy filets and capers.
Rotkohl (Sweet and Sour Red Cabbage)
Due to the sweet and sour taste of this dish it is the perfect vegetable side dish to anything fried, or anything with pork. You'll be surprised how much your family will enjoy this—even the kids.
- 1 large head of cabbage, rinsed and chopped
- 1 large onion, chopped small
- 1 Granny Smith apple, peeled and chopped small
- 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon ground clove
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
Bratkartoffeln (German-style Fried Potatoes)
If the combination of crispy potatoes, onions and bacon sounds good, this is the perfect Oktoberfest side dish. While Germans love their Pommes Frites (French Fries), Bratkartoffeln is far more traditional.
- 5 pounds red potatoes
- 5 slices smoked bacon, cut into half-inch pieces
- 1 small onion, diced
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Chopped parsley for garnish
In a large skillet, fry bacon until crisp. Using a slotted spoon, remove the crisp bacon from the drippings and place on a paper towel.
Add the onions to the bacon drippings, season with salt and pepper and sauté until translucent. Using your slotted spoon, remove onions from the pan and reserve on the paper towel with the bacon.
Add oil to the skillet and allow it to get hot. Add the potatoes and season liberally with salt and pepper. Sauté the potatoes until they are golden brown and crisp. Return the bacon and onions to the pan and stir to combine. Garnish with parsley and serve.
Of course, complete the Oktoberfest meal (for adults) with a tall mug of German beer!
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