Tag Archives: German

Runza’s

Being from the great Midwest state of Nebraska, there are two things that are certain…college football and Runza’s!  You basically cannot have one without the other.
Now, technically these are most often called Bierock’s and are of a Russian/German background ..there’s that German in me again.  However, Nebraska has made these bad-boys a delicacy due to its chain of famous Runza’s Restaurants, established back by a brother and sister in 1949.
Whether there, or now in your home too, you can try the original, original with cheese, or make it your own with chili, southwest or philly ingredients, swiss and mushroom..you name it!  Hey, sometimes I’m even known to make a breakfast version of the classic.  Where are you on that Runza?? 😉
The Starting Lineup
Dough
  • 1 package yeast
    2 cups warm water
    1/2 cup sugar
    7 cups flour (regular all-purpose, unbleached)
    2 eggs
    3 tablespoons vegetable oil
    1 teaspoon salt
Filling
  • 2 lbs ground beef
    1 yellow onion, finely chopped
    5 cups finely shredded cabbage (1/2 a head of cabbage)
    2 tablespoons water
    1/2 teaspoon oregano
    1
    + teaspoon pepper
    2+ teaspoon salt
    1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

runza

DOUGH

In your stand mixer bowl, add the yeast packet to the 2 cups of warm water, stir to dissolve.  Let sit for 5 minutes.

Now with the bread hook attachment, mix together the yeast, sugar and 2 cups of flour. Beat until smooth. Add eggs, oil and salt. Gradually add remaining flour and beat for about 5 minutes, until all is combined. Dough will be soft.

Pour dough into greased bowl. Cover with towel and let double in size in a warm place. This will take about 2 hours.

FILLING

Brown your hamburger, 1/2 of the chopped onions and a hefty pinch of both salt and pepper in a large skillet.  Break up the beef very well.

Next, steam the cabbage and remaining onion by adding both to the meat-filled skillet, add water/cover and steam for 10 minutes, or until cabbage and onion are soft. Turn off heat.  Mix in the Worcestershire and oregano, taste for more salt & pepper. Let cool.

ASSEMBLY TIME

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.

Turn dough onto clean work surface, add a bit of flour to your surface and rolling pin if needed/dough is sticky. Knead for a minute. Cut into about 12 ‘chunks’, working with one at a time.

Roll each chunk into either a circular or rectangle shape, about 1/8th of an inch and 6″-8″ around *there is no wrong or right as it all taste delicious!

In the middle of each rolled out piece of dough, lay a slice of American cheese down.  Top with a hefty 1/2 cup+ of filling and similar to a burrito, fold edges over and pinch together. Place filled pockets, seam side down, onto parchment paper lined cookie sheets.  Cover the two baking sheets of filled Runza’s with a tea towel and, again, keep in a warm place for a second rise for about 15-30 minutes.

Finally, place into your preheated oven, 400 degrees, for 20 minutes till golden brown.  Let cool for 5 minutes and enjoy with some crinkle cut French fries and ranch!  Enjoy!

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*The leftovers can be frozen and even cooked straight from frozen!  Yay!  Place on a lined cookie sheet for 45-50 minutes at 325 degrees!

 

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German Beef Rouladen

This rich and hearty dish may be foreign and unheard of if you are not of German heritage or frequent European inspired restaurants.  Now being German myself and growing up attending Oktoberfest while eating sausages, kraut and warm, soft Bavarian pretzels in loads of beer cheese…I simply adore Rouladen.  Not because we had it often, rarely ever, but because it was mainly served as a Christmas dinner dish or perhaps a Sunday supper if you were lucky.  It’s a special treat, where it takes a bit of thought and tedious work in assembling, twining, searing and braising the beef…but oh-so worth it!

Another reason that many ‘non-Germans’ may have not tried this specialty dish is because the ingredients could sound a bit odd together.  I get it.  Rouladen usually consists of bacon, onions, mustard and pickles wrapped in thinly sliced beef which is then braised until the beef is about fork tender.   Yes, we like a bit of ‘saur’ to our meals, but this works wonderfully….and oh that bacon!!  It cooks inside the beef, which in turn actually bastes itself and creates SUCH a rich flavor and tender meat!…drooling now.

*If you cannot find pre-sliced beef (top round/chuck), your grocer’s butcher would be happy to help!  You’ll just have to pound it thin once you get home. 🙂

The Starting Lineup

  • Beef, thinly sliced and pounded 1/4″ thin to about 4″x6″ (chuck roast or top round slices).  I typically use about 8-10 slices.
  • Whole grain mustard/German mustard
  • 1 pckg Bacon (reserve 2 slices and chop up)
  • 1 large yellow onion, cut into thin strips or chopped
  • Dill (or German) pickle spears, 8-10 
  • Sweet pickle relish, a couple Tbsp’s
  • Kosher salt & ground pepper
  • 1 carrot, chopped
  • 1 celery stalk, chopped
  • 1/2 cup onion, chopped (I use the leftover from the Rouladen stuffing)
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/4 cup Red wine
  • Beef broth
  • 1/4 cup Flour or cornstarch + milk slurry (to thicken)
  • 1/4 cup sour cream (optional)
  • *Butcher twine or toothpicks’ to hold beef rolls together

Serve Alongside (optional)

  • Boiled potatoes, seasoned lightly with salt, pepper and dill (russet/peeled)
  • Warmed German red cabbage (jarred is fine)

The “hardest” part of this recipe is the assembling…once you get everything prepped (chopped, diced, rolled and secured) you’re in the clear and can enjoy a German bier while smelling the braised goodness!

When everything is in it’s place, begin by spreading about a tablespoon of the mustard on one side of the thinly pounded beef, sprinkle with a bit of salt and pepper (easy on the salt).  Next lay 1-2 slices of bacon down lengthwise, followed by the onions, the sweet relish and finally the dill pickle slice horizontal to the length.  Roll up each prepared beef slice around that dill pickle and secure (as best you can) with the butcher twine or a bevy of toothpicks.

In a large heavy bottomed pot or Dutch-oven (I used my enameled Lodge cast-iron), add in the reserved 2 slices of chopped bacon and render the fat over medium heat.  When bacon is slightly crisped add in the rolled and secured Rouladen (about 1/3 – 1/2 the batch at a time) and brown all sides to create almost a crust.  Remove the seared beef rolls and continue with the rest of the batch (should take about 20 minutes for all).

To that bacon/beef grease (you may need to add 1 Tbsp more of vegetable oil depending), add in the carrots, onions and celery and allow to sweat down for 2-3 minutes, scraping the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon.  Add in the garlic and sauté for 30 seconds.  Next, pour in the red wine, again scraping the bottom of the pan for any brown bits…flavor!! and simmer, stirring for 4-5 minutes.

Add the seared Rouladen back into the pot with the veggies/wine and pour in the beef broth till it covers about 2/3rd the way up the meat.  Bring to a boil and then cover and let simmer on low for 1 1/2-2 hours.

Once finished, carefully remove the tender beef rolls to a platter.  Mix 1/4 cup of flour with 1/4 cup milk and whisk into the juices in the pot.  This will thicken and make a gravy.  Now, optional, you can whisk in the sour cream for more richness and a slight tang that the Germans love in their cooking.

To serve:  Thoroughly remove the butcher twine or toothpicks and place Rouladen on a plate, cover with a hearty amount of the gravy and serve with warmed German cabbage and boiled dill-flavored potatoes to help sop up that gravy with!  Prost!!

Rouladen3

Buttery Fried Cabbage & Sausage

This meal is REALLY easy, REALLY inexpensive AND pretty darn healthy!  Yes, do not let the words “buttery” and “fried” scare you…Surprisingly enough, this recipe comes in at under 400 calories per person and if you’re allergic to gluten, you’re good there too!

Here in the south sometimes the word fried also can mean sauté, not everything we eat here is deep fried in lard!  Well most…but not all 😉  Anyway, when you combine the butter & cabbage, it’s slowly sautéed aka fried!  Alright, enough on the verbiage lesson…

To sum it up, I was able to make this dinner for my family in under 30 minutes…which is great, because it was inhaled in about 5!  Plus the entire dish cost less than $10?!!  Beat that!

**Bacon/Bacon grease can also be used..calories MAY go up though 😉

The Starting Lineup

  • 6 Tbsp butter, divided
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 14oz kielbasa (polish) sausage, sliced
  • 1 head of green cabbage, sliced
  • 1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • Kosher salt & pepper, to taste
  • Italian flat leaf parsely, rough chop

Serve with:

 
 In a large skillet over medium heat, melt half of the butter (3 tbsp).  Add the diced onion to the skillet and sauté for a few minutes and then add the garlic.  Sauté for 1 minute more.

 Next, add in the red wine vinegar and give a good mix with the onions & garlic. Follow this with the sliced sausage and cook till the slices are slightly browned. Smells sooooo good, huh?!

 Now add in the remaining butter, cabbage, crushed red pepper, paprika and salt & pepper.  Carefully toss all together and watch as the cabbage begins to slightly wilt and take on a more golden color.

 Top the dish with the fresh parsley and serve!  Enjoy with a side of potatoes and a cold beer, enjoy!!

German Potato Pancakes (Kartoffelpuffer)

I was of course thinking of potatoes when trying to figure out a side dish for my wonderful fried sausage & cabbage dinner…and what better than a family favorite of ours?..German Potato Pancakes!

If you grew up in a German household, Polish household, Hungarian…eastern European, etc you definitely had your own version of potato pancakes, and these are mine.  My lineage calls them “Kartoffelpuffer”, but you can call them whatever you like…just try them. 🙂

The Starting Lineup

  • 5 large russet potatoes, peeled and shredded
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp paprika, kosher salt & ground pepper, each
  • 1/4 cup vegetable or canola oil 

Garnish

  • Sour cream
  • Chives OR Green onion OR Parsley  

Start this side dish by peeling and rinsing the russet potatoes before shredding them.  You can use a box grater, mandolin, food processor, etc.  Press the shredded potatoes between two tea-towels to allow for the moisture to escape. 

 

In a large bowl sift together the flour, baking powder, paprika, salt and pepper.  Next add in the beaten eggs and then fold in the shredded (patted dry potatoes) and onion. 

   Heat the vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  Next add about a 3 Tbsp full scoop of the potato mixture to the hot oil (just 2-3 at a time) and lightly press to flatten out in a disk shape. 

 Cook for about 4 minutes on each side and drain on a paper-towel lined plate. 

 Serve topped with a dollop of sour cream and fresh herbs alongside your favorite smoked sausage!  Enjoy! 

 

Hard Cider Pork Chops

Here’s a real hearty, German, bring-me-back-to-the-Midwest sort of meal!  It’ll fill your family’s bellies and also be on the table in 30 minutes!!

Kids also enjoy this meal with the sweet apples, potatoes and mildness of the pork…now for the adults, go ahead and pour yourself a glass of hard cider to go with and enjoy!

*GlutenFreeMeal (though MANY are, just double check the apple cider/Hard cider)

The Starting Lineup

  • 1 pckg pork chops (4 at about 1″ thick)
  • 1 sweet onion, sliced
  • 2 apples, sliced
  • 1 cup hard cider (or regular non-alcoholic)
  • 2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp butter
  • 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp dried sage 
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme leaves
  • Kosher salt & pepper 

Side

  • Potatoes, (fried or baked)  

Begin this simple Midwest influenced dinner by seasoning both sides of the pork chops with the sage, thyme leaves, salt and pepper.  Set the pork aside and slice up the onion and apples. 

   Heat a large pan to medium-high and add in the olive oil and butter.  Sear each side of the pork chop for 3-4 minutes (a nice brown color) and set aside again.

In that same pan, add in the sliced apples and onion and saute for 6 minutes (till onions start to soften and turn translucent); add in the hard cider and the apple cider vinegar and bring to a simmer. 

   Return the seared pork chops to the pan, cover and cook for 5 more minutes.  Serve along with potatoes with the juices from the apples and onions drizzled overtop, enjoy! 

 
Potatoes

Feel free to make your spuds as you wish or maybe change it up everytime you prepare these chops, but here’s how I did ours.

First put the potatoes into a large stockpot of salted water till just covered.  Bring to a gentle boil and the cover pot with lid.  Allow to cook for about 15 minutes.  Till JUST soft when you stick a fork in them, not falling apart.

Drain and remove from pot and when just cool enough to handle, dice up into cubes and season with kosher salt & pepper.  *sometime I’ll sprinkle on seasoned salt or smoked paprika, etc.

Heat up a cast-iron pan to medium heat and then add 1-2 tbsp (canola) oil.  Add in cubed potatoes and allow to cook, not stirring to often, to create a nice “char” on them.  Enjoy!

Buttery Soft Pretzels w/ Serrano Bacon Cheddar Sauce

Soft pretzels have to be one of my favorite snack foods ever. As a child, I would stand in line at the “snack bar” of my k-8 school every lunch with the 75cents I somehow managed to find that morning for one. Sorry mom, I wasn’t eating the lunch line’s green beans and hamburger steak..  

As an adult, it’s what I nosh on at every sporting event, fair or concert…and don’t even get me started on how many I quite frankly inhaled during the pregnancy of my second son. I’d load my first child up (who was about 8 months old) in the car and take him and my fat butt up to Target just to buy 1 or 2 warm, large pretzels at their snack bar. I’d then put my baby in a cart and walk around aimlessly stuffing my also fat face while contemplating on buying just one more. Yes, I may indeed have a soft pretzel problem.

Now some may argue it’s a bad idea that I can now make my own. I’d normally tell them to be quiet but..well….my mouth is so full of soft pretzel that I physically can’t ;).

*Hey, if you’re going to do it right, serve it alongside my homemade spicy cheese sauce and save the mustard for the baseball game!

The Starting Lineup

Pretzel Dough

  • 1 1/2 tsp active dry yeast 
  • 1 1/2 cups warm water
  • 2 rounded Tbsp brown sugar (dark or light)
  • 1 1/4 tsp kosher salt 
  • 2 cups bread flour 
  • 2 cups all purpose flour

Baking Soda Bath

  • 2 Tbsp baking soda
  • 2 cups warm water

Garnish

  • Kosher/rock salt
  • and/or cinnamon and sugar mix
  • 4 Tbsp butter, melted 

Serrano Bacon Cheddar Sauce (optional)

  • 2 Serrano peppers, seeded and finely diced (I, of course, kept the heat in mine 😉
  • 6 strips bacon, cooked & crumbled (reserve 1 Tbsp of the grease)
  • 2 cups sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 1 Tbsp flour
  • 1 Tbsp butter
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • Pinch each of salt, pepper & garlic powder  

To start your pretzel dough, combine 1 1/2 cups of warm water and the yeast into the bowl of your mixer. Gently mix together and allow to sit for about 5 minutes till it starts to foam up a bit.  

   Next, add in the brown sugar and the salt to the yeast mix. Stir together until it’s dissolved. Now add in both types of flour (all 4 cups), and using the paddle attachment mix on low for about 15 seconds to combine. Switch the attachment to the dough hook and mix in high for 5-6 minutes to knead the dough. 

     Lightly oil a large bowl and place the kneaded ball of dough into it. Cover and let sit in a warm spot for 1 hour to rise. 

 Immediately after setting your dough to rise, make the baking soda bath. This part is easy, simply combine 2 cups of warm water with 2 Tbsp of baking soda. Stir often throughout the next hour. 

 After the dough has risen, cut off about 1 cup of dough at a time and roll into a 1/2″ thick rod shape. (*do not flour the counter here, damp hands work best). 

   Now here you can either cut that long strip of dough into 1-2″ pieces OR shape into your traditional pretzel shape. Once to your liking, carefully give each a quick dunk into the baking soda bath and set onto a greased baking sheet. Repeat till dough is gone. 

 Preheat the oven to 450 degrees and let the pretzels rise again for about 15 minutes (while the oven gets to temp). Bake for 10-12 minutes. While these are baking you can melt the 4 tbsp of butter. Remove from the oven and brush the pretzels/pretzel bites with the melted butter and either sprinkle with kosher or rock salt OR toss in a large ziplock bag with a cinnamon-sugar mix. 

   Serve immediately with a dipping sauce and enjoy!! 

 

Serrano Bacon Cheddar Sauce (optional)

In a sauté pan fry up the bacon, remove to a paper towel lined plate and set aside. Drain all but 1 Tbsp of the bacon grease…that stuff’s good as gold! 

 Add 1 tbsp of butter to the reserved bacon grease and melt. Once melted stir in the flour to form a rue and then quickly whisk in the milk. Whisk Whisk Whisk till smooth! Now slowly whisk in the two cups cheese till creamy and then fold in the cooked, crumbled bacon and the finely diced Serrano peppers. Pour into individual ramekins and serve alongside some warm, soft pretzels!  

           

Loaded Beer, Kielbasa & Potato Soup

It’s a beautiful October weekend…and by beautiful I mean it will not stop raining, the windows are open in my home with temps being in the 60’s and my Fall candles are burning.   Yes, these are the things that bring me pure happiness.   Well…that and a big pot of comforting soup of course.   I decided to make this dish so it can last us a couple of days..more time to enjoy doing nothing.  Bliss.

There are all sorts of potato soup recipes out there, and they are all delicious.  However, my husband will not eat a ‘meal’ without some sort of meat in it.  Now while I found some yummy soups with loads of cheese, broccoli, asparagus, pumpkin, etc in them, I just knew that wouldn’t cut it in my carnivore household.  Soooo…what does my man like more than meat, beer and potatoes??  Not much.  Hopefully me…but even that could be pushing it 😉

Well after trial with no error, I can assure you that this is a winner!  Please enjoy with your family on a chilly day with a few slices of crusty bread for dipping!

The Starting Lineup

  • 3 lbs russet potatoes, baked
  • 1/2 lb bacon (plus more for garnish)
  • 1 pckg kielbasa sausage, sliced
  • 1 onion, yellow or sweet, chopped
  • 3Tbsp flour
  • 1 12oz beer, I prefer Texas’ own Shiner Bock
  • 2 1/2 cups chicken broth
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • Salt & pepper, to taste

Garnish

  • Green onions, sliced
  • Bacon, cooked & crumbled
  • Cheddar Cheese, shredded
  • Jalapeno, thinly sliced
  • Sour Cream 

Well start with getting a few of the ingredients prepped!  Now you can absolutely bake your potatoes in the oven as you normally may, but if you’re in more of a time crunch, then just “bake” them in your microwave till soft.  While the potatoes are becoming fork tender, you can slice up the kielbasa sausage and chop up the onion.

 In a large pot/dutch oven, lay in the bacon and cook till crisp (medium heat).  Transfer to a plate and set aside.  Now in that glorious bacon grease (do not drain), add in the cut up sausage and the chopped onion.  Cook till the onion becomes translucent, stirring occasionally.  After about 5 minutes the onions and sausage will be good to go.  With a slotted spoon transfer them to a bowl and set aside, while keeping the grease in the dutch oven.

     *While these above ingredients have been cooking, your potatoes should be ready.  IF you do not like potato “skin”, youre more than welcome to remove.  In our home and in this recipe we actually prefer it.  It adds great color, flavor and texture to the meal.  So, anyway, just roughly cut up the baked potato, skin or no skin.

 Back to the dutch oven!  Sprinkle the flour into the bacon and sausage renderings and whisk till a rue is formed (thick and clumpy basically).  Next pour in the entire beer while continuously whisking followed by the chicken broth till smooth.

   Now add in those cut up baked potatoes and mash up in the liquid.  I like to leave a bit of chunks in my soup, so I just use a good, old-fashioned, hand-held potato masher till I like what I see.

   Next, stir in the cups of shredded cheddar cheese until melted, followed by the milk.  Bring up to a boil and then down to a simmer and stir back in the bacon (crumbled) and the sausage and onions.  Let sit and thicken up for about 10-15 minutes.

Ladle into bowls and top with the garnishes of your choice and a hunk of fresh, warm bread….this tastes best with a cold brew on a cold day with the ones you love..

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