Saturday, October 30, 2010

Oktoberfest...Take Two!

My sister has already shared her Oktoberfest discoveries that she made in Ohio. Now it's time for me to share the discoveries we made in Utah!

My mom already had a very successful Oktoberfest about two weeks ago. She made a lovely slow cooker sauerbraten, yummy red cabbage, and name a few. In addition to the wonderful dishes she made, she obtained some fantastic brats from Costco as well as some delicious German pretzels, mustard, and brat buns from Siegfried's Delicatessen. You can find more information about Siegfried's here. We were all stuffed after that meal, I can assure you.

I decided to do a little Oktoberfest recipe sleuthing of my own. I found a yummy (and oh so easy) slow cooker brats and sauerkraut recipe. I also turned to one of my recipe staples--Everyday Food--and found the scrumptious recipes for pork (similar to a traditional wiener schnitzel), red cabbage, and German potato salad that are pictured above. This actually turned out to be somewhat of a traumatic meal for me because something went wrong with everything I made that night! But luckily, these recipes were very forgiving and even though I messed up in one way or another with each of them, they still tasted delicious. You'll have to read my notes for those recipes to avoid the blunders that I made!

But, let me stress that the error does not lie in the recipes, but in the fact that I was just having one of those cooking days where I kept flubbing up! The recipes, themselves, are fantastic.

I have included my Mom's Oktoberfest discoveries at the end (sauerbraten beef, German red cabbage, and rye bread dip) in addition to our Oktoberfest favorites from years past (caraway sauerkraut, German-style potato salad, and apple strudel).

Ahhh, and isn't it a pity that October has come to an end (fall is my very favorite time of year, after all)? But that doesn't mean you can't enjoy Oktoberfest/German themed meals anymore!

Slow Cooker Brats


2 packages fresh bratwurst links (10 brats)
1/4 cup butter
2 cans beef broth
2 onions, cut in half and thinly sliced
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon garlic powder
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2-3 cups sauerkraut, rinsed and drained
10 (6 inch) bratwurst buns


In a slow cooker, combine the butter, beef broth, onions, cayenne pepper, garlic powder, minced garlic, brown sugar, and sauerkraut. Place bratwurst on top over all. Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours or on high for 4 hours.

The slow cooking imparts a wonderful flavor to the bratwurst. It makes them very tender. If, like me, you prefer to have brats that are browned and slightly crispy on the outside, remove them from the slow cooker and place them on a foil covered jelly roll pan and broil on high for 1-2 minutes or until browned to your taste.

Serve bratwurst on buns topped with sauerkraut/onion mixture or plain on top of sauerkraut/onion mixture.

Source: I modified this from a recipe that I found on originally entitled "On Wisconsin Beer Brats" and submitted by Dgoodcookr.

Notes: The original recipe called for beer in place of the beef broth. But I honestly can't tell the difference in taste and I prefer not to buy beer personally. It also called for 4 onions and only 1 cup of sauerkraut (and a lot more butter). I altered the recipe to fit my own tastes. Oh, and the potato salad pictured below was unimpressive. I had to add a lot more ingredients at the last minute to make it more flavorful (in the end, it was good, but the recipe was not worth posting).

Rye-Crusted Pork Medallions


3-4 sliced rye bread with caraway seeds
Coarse salt and fresh ground pepper
1 large egg
1 1/2 pounds boneless center-cut pork loin, sliced into 8 medallions (each 1/2 inch thick)
2 tablespoons olive oil
Grainy mustard, for serving (optional)


In a food processor, pulse enough of the bread to measure 2 cups of coarse crumbs. Transfer to a large bowl; season with salt and pepper. In another large bowl, whisk the egg with 1 tablespoon water.

Season the pork on both sides with salt and pepper. Dip each medallion in the egg mixture with one hand, then use the other hand to dredge in the breadcrumbs. Transfer to a plate.

Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Place half the medallions in the skillet; cook until the pork is golden brown and the center is no longer pink, 3-4 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate; wipe the skillet clean. Repeat with the remaining medallions in the remaining oil. Serve with the mustard on the side, if desired.

Serves 4.

Source: Everyday Food: Great Food Fast cookbook (ISBN #978-0-307-35416-7)

Notes: I had to double this recipe and rather than purchasing 1 1/2 pounds of pork loin, I got 3 lbs. of pork tenderloin (the only difference being that it simply makes for a smaller pork medallion). Also, I cooked this meal on my in-law's stove-top (they have a gas stove-top and this particular stove-top makes it very difficult to regulate the temperature). The first batch of pork was beautifully browned and gorgeous on the outside and cooked according to the directions at 4 minutes per side. The problem? The inside of the pork was pink, pink, pink. I cooked the next batch longer at a higher heat...the problem? The inside was done and the breading got charred!

If your stove-top is similar to mine and you have a difficult time regulating the heat, here's my advice: brown the breaded pork until it is absolutely gorgeous and then place the pork on a foil-lined jelly roll pan and place it in the oven at 425 degrees and bake for 10-20 minutes (or until the center is no longer pink). Had I done this at the time, it would have been a huge a time-saver (especially if you double the recipe like I did). I had to do A LOT of batches (at least 4 or 5) to cook all of the pork and at 8-10 minutes per batch, the time added up. The good news? This is a very forgiving recipe and even though some of the medallions got a littler more browned than I would have liked on the outside, it still tasted delicious.


Red Cabbage with Apple


2 slices bacon, cut into 1/2 inch strips
1 small onion, halved and thinly sliced
1 small head red cabbage, cored, quartered, and thinly sliced
1 green apple, peeled and thinly sliced
3 tablespoons cider vinegar
Coarse salt and fresh ground pepper


In a Dutch oven over medium heat, cook the bacon until browned, 10 minutes. Add the onion; cook until soft, 5 minutes.

Add the cabbage, apple, vinegar, and 1/4 cup water. Cook stirring, until the cabbage wilts, 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Cover; cook, stirring occasionally over medium-low heat to desired softness (if the mixture is sticking, add water), 45 minutes to 1 hour.

Serves 4.

Source: Everyday Food: Great Food Fast cookbook (ISBN #978-0-307-35416-7)

Notes: Again, as mentioned above, my in-law's stove-top burns hotter than the surface of the sun--even when you have it on low. When I covered the cabbage, I put the burner on low, rather than on medium-low, and it still scorched the bottom of my cabbage. Luckily, the whole thing didn't burn and I was able to salvage enough to feed everyone. So, if your stove-top also burns hotter than the flames of Hades, watch your cabbage very carefully. In my case, I could have skipped the step of covering and simmering the cabbage for 45 minutes to 1 hour completely and it would have been perfect. After wilting the cabbage, I could have cooked it for only about 10-15 minutes more uncovered and it would have been finished. Well, you live, you learn! And again, luckily, this was a very forgiving dish and it was still really yummy.

German Potato Salad


Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
1 1/2 pounds new potatoes, scrubbed
3 slices bacon (3 ounces), thinly sliced crosswise
1 small red onion, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced
3 tablespoons white-wine vinegar, plus more for drizzling (optional)
3 tablespoons grainy Dijon mustard


In a large saucepan, bring 1 inch water to a boil, add salt and potatoes, and reduce to a simmer. Cover; cook until potatoes are tender when pierced with the tip of a sharp knife (but not falling apart), 25-30 minutes. Drain; cool slightly, and halve potatoes.

In a small skillet over medium heat, cook bacon, stirring often, until crisp, 3-5 minutes. Add onion, and cook, stirring often, until tender, 2-4 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in vinegar and mustard.

Toss bacon mixture with warm potatoes. Season with salt and pepper, and drizzle with more vinegar (about 1 tablespoon), if desired. Serve warm.

Serves 4.

Source: Everyday Food: Fresh Flavor Fast cookbook, ISBN # 978-0-307-40510-4.

Notes: I accidentally overcooked the potatoes, so it turned into more of a German potato mash than a German potato salad. But it still tasted fantastic. Again, thank goodness for the fact that this recipe was forgiving. Next time, I would just watch the potatoes more closely to make sure that they didn't get too soft. After all, I love mashed potatoes, but that's not exactly the consistency that this salad is going for!


Sauerbraten Beef


2 lb beef stew meat (1 inch pieces)
2 medium onions, chopped (1 cup)
1 cup beef broth
1 cup red wine vinegar or cider vinegar
2 dried bay leaves
6 cups uncooked medium egg noodles or homemade spaetzle
3/4 cup crushed gingersnap cookies (about 15)
2 tablespoons packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley


Spray 3 1/2 to 4 quart slow cooker with cooking spray. In slow cooker; mix beef, onions, broth, vinegar, and bay leaves.

Cover, cook on low heat setting 7-9 hours.

About 15 minutes before serving, cook and drain noodles as directed on package. Reove bay leaves from beef mixture. Stir in crushed cookies and brown sugar. Cover; cook on low heat setting 15 minutes longer or until mixture is bubbly and thickened. Serve beef mixture over noodles or spaetzle. Sprinkle with parsley.

Nutrition information: serving size=2 cups, 590 calories, 21 g fat, 140 mg cholesterol, 350 mg sodium, 59 g carbohydrate, 2 g fiber, 39 g protein.

Source: Pillsbury Pot Pies & Casseroles cookbook, slow cooker shortcuts chapter.

German Red Cabbage


1 medium head red cabbage, cored and sliced
2 large tart apples, peeled and sliced
1 medium sweet onion, sliced and separated into rings
1 1/2 cups water
1 cup cider vinegar
1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon butter
1 teaspoon salt
6 whole peppercorns
2 whole allspice
2 whole cloves
1 bay leaf
2 teaspoons cornstarch
2 teaspoons cold water


In a Dutch oven, toss cabbage, apples, and onion. Add water, vinegar, sugar, butter, and salt. Place the peppercorns, allspice, cloves, and bay leaf on a double thickness of cheesecloth; bring up corners of cloth and stir with kitchen string to form a bag. Add to Dutch oven. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 1 1/4 hours.

Discard spice bag. In a small bowl, combine cornstarch and cold water until smooth; stir in cabbage mixture. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 1-2 minutes until thickened.

Source:, submitted by Ardis Stauffer

Rye Bread Dip


1 1/3 cup sour cream
1 1/3 cup mayonnaise
2 tsp dill weed
2 tsp Beaumonde spice
2 tbsp parsley flakes
2 tbsp onion flakes
1 large loaf pumpernickel or rye bread (not sliced)


Cut top off loaf off of pumpernickel bread and scoop out center. Break scooped out bread into pieces. Mix all ingredients and fill scooped out bread with dip on a large dish. Put broken bread pieces around edge. When bread is gone, break off pieces of the bread bowl and use to dip.

This dip also goes well with vegetables.


Caraway Sauerkraut


2 jars (32 oz. each) sauerkraut
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 onion, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons caraway seeds
1 cup medium-bodied ale or beef broth


Drain and rinse sauerkraut; set aside.

In a 4-qt. pot, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 3 minutes. Add caraway seeds and cook, stirring, until combined, about 1 minute. Stir in sauerkraut and ale. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook, stirring once in a while, until the mixture is hot and flavors are blended, about 30 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Nutrition information: 12-16 servings, 35 calories, 0.8 g protein, 1.9 g fat, 4.3 g carbohydrate, 1.9 g fiber, 256 mg sodium, 0.0 mg cholesterol

Source: Sunset, October 2007


German-Style Potato Salad


2 pounds red potatoes, cut into 1/8-inch-thick slices (about 5 cups)
8 bacon slices, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1/3 cup cider vinegar
2 1/2 teaspoons sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
1/4 cup finely chopped red bell pepper
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh parsley


Steam potatoes, covered, 10 minutes or until tender.

Cook bacon in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat until crisp.

Remove bacon from pan, reserving 2 teaspoons drippings.

Combine drippings, vinegar, sugar, salt, and black pepper in a large bowl; stir well with a whisk. Add the potatoes, onion, and bell pepper; toss gently to coat. Cover and let stand 1 hour, stirring occasionally. Add the bacon and parsley; toss gently.

Nutrition information: serving=1/2 cup, 108 calories, 3.6 g fat, 3.6 g protein, 15.9 g carbohydrate, 1.7 g fiber, 5 mg cholesterol, 1.3 mg iron, 253 mg sodium, 14 mg calcium

Source: Cooking Light, August 2001

Apple Strudel


5 cups finely chopped and peeled McIntosh apples (about 1 1/4 pounds)
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup golden raisins
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon almond extract
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
8 sheets frozen phyllo dough, thawed
Cooking spray
Vanilla ice cream, optional


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Combine apples, sugar, raisins, cinnamon, almond extract, and flour in a bowl. Toss well. Set aside.

Place 1 phyllo sheet on work surface (cover remaining dough to keep from drying), lightly coat with cooking spray. Working with 1 phyllo sheet at a time, coat remaining 7 phyllo sheets with cooking spray, placing one on top of the other. Place a sheet of plastic wrap over phyllo, pressing gently to seal sheets together, discard plastic wrap.

Spoon apple mixture along 1 long edge of phyllo, leaving a 2 inch border. Fold over the short edges of phyllo to cover 2 inches of apple ixture on each end.

Starting at long edge with 2 inch border, roll up jelly-roll fashion. (Do not roll tightly, or strudel may split.) Place strudel, seam side down, on a jelly-roll pan coated with cooking spray. Score diagonal slits into top of strudel using a sharp knife. Lightly spray strudel with cooking spray.

Bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes or until golden brown. Serve warm with ice cream.

Source: This is a hybrid recipe that combines two Cooking Light recipes (both entitled "Apple Strudel"). One recipe is dated October 1996 and the other is dated May 2003.

Notes: I made this for our 2008 Oktoberfest. I doubled the recipe and left out the raisins (since I was making it for picky eaters). I wasn't able to serve it piping hot because I had to make it beforehand, but it was still fantastic!


  1. I posted the Halloween recipes the day after I posted this one, so I think these recipes got lost in the shuffle. Don't forget to check these out! They really are yummy.

  2. Fun recipes! I've been looking for German restaurants in Utah and just found Siegfried's yesterday, but haven't been yet. My father's family is German and he grew up with all these foods. Hoping to take him there or maybe be brave and try some of these.

  3. Siegfried's is a really fun place. You should take your father there if you get the chance. In addition to being a restaurant, it is also a small German market where you can get great German pickles, chocolate, etc.