Richard and I love German food! Of course, I think the beer has something to do with it and always this time of year we celebrate Oktoberfest with Spaten Dark Beer. Our favorite German restaurant in Reno, Nevada where we lived for twenty years was Bavarian World Since we’ve been in Santa Cruz, we found a really good one in Seaside, Ca called Stammich’s. We love the aroma of red sweet and sour cabbage being slow cooked and I love sauerbraten. Richard is partial to Rouladen. Of course this takes days to cook but I have found some shortcuts which I’m about to share.
I purchased my first pressure cooker in the mid 90’s for canning purposes only to find out we were at too high an altitude to can safely and the pressure cooker was only 8 quarts. It was an Innova. It was one of those with a ‘rocker top.’ The principle being that you cooked the food till the tip started to rock; lowered the heat and timed the rocking motion till the food was tender. I ended up using it only for corned beef on St Patrick’s Day, or for cooking Corned Beef for hash or Ruben’s sandwiches. I really never explored the pressure cooker for other uses. Since it takes up so much space in the cabinet I decided to do some research to see other ways to use the pressure cooker. I learned most about the pressure cooker from Miss Vickie’s Pressure Cooker site and the Ray Knapp’s Yahoo group Pressure Cooker Recipes Both sites had very little good things to say about the old fashioned ‘rocker types’ of pressure cookers and so I started doing research on other types. I decided on the Fagor Duo. I do use this frequently for meats that have to be braised and it does this in short time as opposed to traditional methods. For example, beef goulash or stew can take as little as 35 minutes with a pot roast taking as little as 1 hour to complete. For the browning process the Fagor works wonderfully as it is clad with aluminum.
The Wolfgang Puck Digital Pressure Cooker is 7 quarts and very easy to use. You just set the time, choose the function (meat, rice, soup, or low) and it does everything you can ask. When the cooking is complete it shuts off and goes into warm mode. These pressure cookers come with a non-stick pan and a cover that can go right in the fridge. This pressure cooker does amazing things like cook rice in 6 minutes, make perfect risotto. I make a baked ziti in this pot and I’m even able to pour in uncooked ziti directly from the box and I have a meal in 30 minutes. (More about baked ziti in another post)
The meal last week was:
Sauerbraten, Spaetzle. and sweet and sour red cabbage with of course our Spaten Beer. On day 3 we had an Octoberfest pie. Recipe for all to follow.
This may seem like too much of a shortcut for the purists , yet it really comes out delicious:
Pureeing the vegetables in the sauce makes for a rich healthy and wonderful gravy.
Pressure Cooker Sauerbraten
4-5 lb. chuck roast
salt and pepper to taste
3 Tbsp. vegetable oil
1 cup water
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
1/2 cup dry red wine OR beef stock
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp. ground cloves
1 tsp. salt
2 bay leaves
4 carrots, chopped
2 ribs celery, chopped
2 onions, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup finely crushed gingersnap cookies
Brown the chuck roast well on all sides. This is the key to the flavor of this dish. In
small bowl, combine water, vinegar, wine, sugar, cloves, salt, and bay leaves.
When roast is browned, place the chopped vegetables and gingersnaps around the
meat and pour the vinegar mixture over all.
Cover cooker, raise pressure to high and cook for 70 minutes. Release pressure
using natural pressure release (just let the pressure cooker cool down) – about
30 minutes. When the pressure drops, remove the cover, remove the meat to a
platter and cover with foil. Remove bay leaves. Pour sauce and cooked vegetables
into a blender or food processor and process until smooth. Serve with the sliced
beef. I use my immersion blender for this step.
Sweet and Sour Red Cabbage
1 medium head red cabbage (1 1/2 lb), thinly sliced
4 slices bacon, diced
1 small onion, sliced
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons Gold Medal® all-purpose flour
1/4 cup water
3 tablespoons white vinegar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
In 10-inch skillet, heat 1 inch water to boiling. Add cabbage; heat to boiling. Boil uncovered about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until tender; drain and set aside. Wipe out and dry skillet with paper towel.
- In same skillet, cook bacon over medium heat 4 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in onion. Cook 2 to 4 minutes, stirring occasionally, until bacon is crisp. Remove bacon and onion with slotted spoon; drain on paper towels. Drain fat, reserving 1 tablespoon in skillet.
- Stir brown sugar and flour into bacon fat in skillet. Stir in water, vinegar, salt and pepper until well mixed.
- Stir in cabbage, bacon and onion. Cook over medium heat 1 to 2 minutes, stirring occasionally, until hot.
Makes 8 servings (1/2 cup each)
2 large eggs, beaten
1/4 cup milk or water
1cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon butter or margarine
- Fill 4-quart Dutch oven half full with water; heat to boiling. In medium bowl, mix eggs, milk, flour, salt and pepper with fork (batter will be thick).
- Press a few tablespoons of the batter at a time through colander with 1/4-inch holes, or spaetzle maker, into boiling water. Stir once or twice to prevent sticking. Cook about 2 to 5 minutes or until spaetzle rise to surface and are tender; drain. Toss with butter.
I use a Spaetzie maker that I got from Bavarian World that looks like this:
To finish off our Oktoberfest week, I choose an Impossibly Easy Pie with Bisquick. As the name says, it’s very easy to prepare and quite delicious.
Impossibly Easy Oktoberfest Pie
|1/2||lb fully cooked bratwurst (about 3), cut into 3/4-inch pieces|
|1 1/3||cups drained sauerkraut (from 14-oz can)|
|1||cup shredded Swiss cheese (4 oz)|
|3/4||cup Original Bisquick® mix|
|1/2||cup regular or nonalcoholic beer|
- Heat oven to 400°F. Spray 9-inch glass pie plate with cooking spray. Sprinkle bratwurst, sauerkraut and cheese in pie plate.
- In small bowl, stir remaining ingredients until blended. Pour into pie plate.
- Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until knife inserted in center comes out clean. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.