Make Oktoberfest complete with authentic sausages
Addie Broyles, Relish Austin
I'm looking for a meat market that makes real German sausages for an Oktoberfest party on Saturday. We did these regularly in Dallas before we moved to Georgetown last year. There, we'd just go to Hans Mueller in Snyder Plaza and get an assortment of weisswurst, Nuremberg brats, knockwurst, beer brats, German mustard and horseradish. Have you any suggestions for where I could find the equivalent in the Greater Austin area? Will I have to drive to New Braunfels?
— Dorothy Randoll, Georgetown
Many German restaurants will sell you bratwurst or other sausages by the pound, but you need to call ahead to let them know you are interested. Since you are already in Georgetown, you're pretty close to Walburg German Restaurant (512-863-8440, walburgrestaurant.com) in Walburg, where you can buy freshly made brats and knockwursts. Nuernberg Brauhaus, the Bavarian restaurant in Pflugerville (990-5544, nbg-brauhaus.com), will also sell freshly made brats and pork and turkey sausages by the pound. In Austin, Scholz Garten (751-5650, scholzgarten.net) sells its brats by the pound, raw or already cooked. Jon Notarthomas, who owns Best Wurst sausage cart downtown, also does catering on the side, so you could email him (firstname.lastname@example.org) to inquire about his double-ground pork sausage packed with pepper and nutmeg. You can buy New Braunfels Smokehouse pork and beef sausages at Lee's Meat Market (467-6700, leesmeatmarket.com), or you can order any of the sausages, including bratwursts, from the 66-year-old smokehouse through the website, nbsmokehouse.com.
If you're looking for sausages and condiments made with local meats and ingredients, check out local charcuterie companies Salt and Time (saltandtime.com), Kocurek Family Charcuterie (kocurekfamilycharcuterie.com) and Dai Due (daidueaustin.com), which are making German-style brats, frankfurters and other links this time of year, as well as condiments like Bavarian sweet mustard.
As for condiments, Spec's Fine Wine and Food and Fiesta Mart have a wide selection of imported condiments, including mustards, ketchups and sauerkrauts, if you're looking for something spiffy.
Out at the Noble Pig (382-6248, noblepigaustin.com), a sandwich shop on RM 620, you can buy their homemade condiments, including horseradish compete and a number of mustards. Horseradish fanatics flock to Morehouse Atomic, which is sold locally at Sprouts, but under the Sprouts label.
For home cooks who want to celebrate German-style cuisine sans sausage, check out these recipes gathered by writer Bob Townsend for our sister newspaper the Atlanta Journal Constitution.
The recipes come from the Porter Beer Bar in Atlanta, which is run by husband and wife owners Nick Rutherford and Molly Gunn.
Rutherford and Gunn met when they worked for chef Gunter Seeger at the acclaimed Seeger's restaurant in Atlanta. Though the now-defunct temple of haute cuisine was known for its artistic and exacting tasting menus, homey touches sometimes bubbled up from Seeger's German heritage, including those diminutive egg dumplings known as spaetzle.
Rutherford drew on his experiences at Seeger's to create this Oktoberfest menu for home cooks — making a hearty Bavarian-inspired meal of roast chicken, butter- and beer-braised cabbage, spaetzle with mushrooms and Gruyere cheese, and Black Forest cake.
"I wanted something very German that someone could easily do at home," Rutherford says. "Spaetzle is one of the harder things, but the chicken and the cabbage are very simple, rustic-style food. You see those half-chickens coming out at Oktoberfest, alongside those big beer steins."
For her part, Gunn offered the beer pairings, choosing a malty, Oktoberfest-style lager to go with the chicken, cabbage and spaetzle, and a rich, dark doppelbock for dessert.
"Oktoberfest is a beer holiday," Gunn says. "Oktoberfest beers go really well with a lot of different foods, especially rich dishes. A traditional German doppelbock is a bit stronger and sweeter and makes a great dessert beer."
Simple Roast Chicken
This is an incredibly simple recipe. Trussing helps the chicken cook more evenly and beautifully. And even if you mess it up and overcook the chicken, simply slather on more butter at the end and it will still be delicious.
1 3-to-4 lb. chicken
1 tsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. ground black pepper
6 inches cooking twine
1 Tbsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. black pepper
2 tsp. chopped fresh thyme
2 Tbsp. salted butter
To prepare the chicken, preheat oven to 450 degrees. Sprinkle 1 tsp. Kosher salt and 1 tsp. black pepper into the cavity of the chicken. Truss the chicken using the twine. (If you have never trussed a bird before, Google "how to truss a chicken" for a plethora of how-to videos.) Sprinkle 1 Tbsp. of kosher salt and 1 tsp. black pepper on the outside the chicken skin. Place the chicken in a saute or roasting pan and place in the oven. Roast until crispy and the juices run clear, 50-60 minutes. To see if juices run clear, cut between the leg and breast, or use a thermometer to check the temperature, which should read 165 or higher in the leg or thigh.
To serve, toss chopped thyme in the bottom of the pan and mix with juices. Baste chicken with juices.
Remove chicken from pan and allow to rest for 15 minutes on a cutting board. Remove twine, slather with butter, carve and serve with Oktoberfest-style lager. Serves 4.
Butter- and Beer-Braised Cabbage
If you hate cabbage, whether because you tried that cabbage soup diet in the '70s or because you hate the sour sock smell of freshly made sauerkraut, this recipe will change your mind.
1 stick salted butter
1/4 cup onions, chopped
7 cups green cabbage, coarsely shredded (about 1/2 a head)
1 Tbsp. kosher salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper
3/4 cups German Oktoberfest beer or other malty lager
1 1/2 tsp. whole-grain mustard
1 Tbsp. parsley, chopped
In a large stock pot, melt butter over high heat. Add onions to the pot and cook until translucent. Add the cabbage, salt and pepper. Cook and stir continuously for three minutes or until the cabbage has wilted. Add the beer and mustard. Cover the pot and cook on medium heat for 10 minutes. Turn heat back up to high, uncover the pot and cook for another 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until cabbage is tender. Fold in chopped parsley and serve immediately. Serves 4.
Dumplings with Mushrooms and Gruyere Cheese
For the spaetzle:
1 gallon water
2 Tbsp. Kosher salt
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 Tbsp. parsley, chopped
1/2 tsp. fresh ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1/4 cup milk
For the mushrooms:
4 Tbsp. butter
1/4 cup onion, small diced
1/2 cup cremini mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
1/2 cup portabella mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
1 Tbsp. Kosher salt
1 Tbsp. pepper
1 1/2 cups grated Gruyere cheese, divided
In a large stock pot over high heat, bring 1 gallon of water and 2 Tbsp. of kosher salt to a boil. Meanwhile, in a large mixing bowl, mix together flour, parsley, nutmeg, salt and pepper until evenly distributed. With a whisk, beat milk and eggs into the flour mixture until you have a uniform consistency. Over the pot of boiling water, press the dough through a spaetzle maker or a large-holed sieve. When the spaetzle float to the top, remove them from the water with a basket strainer and set aside.
For the mushrooms, in a large nonstick saute pan over high heat, melt the butter. Add onions and cook until translucent. Add mushrooms, salt and pepper to the pan and continue to cook until mushrooms are soft and cooked through, then stir in 1 cup Gruyere cheese.
To finish and serve, preheat broiler to high. In a saute pan, combine spaetzle, mushrooms and cheese. Put the saute pan over medium heat and cook until spaetzle begin to get a little color. Transfer mixture to an oven proof casserole dish. Cover with 1/2 cup Gruyere cheese. Broil in oven until golden on top. Serves 4.
German Black Forest Cake with Luxardo Maraschino Cherries and Kirsch Cream
1 Tbsp. butter
1/8 cup all-purpose flour
21/8 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups granulated sugar
1/3 cup cocoa powder
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
3/4 tsp. baking soda
3/4 tsp. kosher salt
1 cup milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 Tbsp. vanilla extract
2 20 oz. jars Luxardo or other gourmet maraschino cherries with juice
1 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup corn starch
3 cups heavy cream
1/3 cup powdered sugar
1/4 cup kirsch (a cherry brandy available at many liquor stores)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour two 9-inch round cake pans, cover their bottoms with rounds of wax paper, and shake off any excess flour. In a large bowl combine the rest of the flour (21/8 cups) sugar, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, salt. Stir until completely mixed Add eggs, milk, oil and vanilla extract. Beat with a whisk until well-blended and uniform in consistency. Pour batter evenly into the cake pans. Bake for 35 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool completely, approximately 30 minutes, and then remove from pans.
Drain the cherries, reserving 1/2-cup juice. In a medium saucepan, combine cherries, reserved juice, sugar and corn starch. Cook over medium heat until thickened, approximately five minutes, and allow to cool.
For the kirsch cream, in a medium bowl, combine whipping cream and powdered sugar. Beat with an electric mixer until soft peaks form, approximately five minutes.
Gently fold in kirsch with spatula. To assemble the cake, with a long serrated knife, split each cake layer in half. You should now have four very thin layers. Crumble one layer and set aside. Place one layer on the serving plate and spread the top with 1 cup of frosting and 3/4 cup of cherry mixture.
Top with second layer of cake. Spread with 1 cup of frosting and 3/4 cup of cherry mixture. Top with third layer of cake.
Frost the sides of the cake. Gently press reserved cake crumbs into sides of cake. Frost the top of cake. Spoon the rest of the cherry topping onto the top of the cake and serve with German doppelbock. Serves 12.
— Recipes by Nick Rutherford and Molly Gunn of Porter Beer Bar in Atlanta