There was an error in this gadget

Monday, October 1, 2012

Frank About... Reiter Oktoberfest 2012: Food Wrap-Up

This past Saturday, the third annual Reiter Oktoberfest took place at das Reiter Haus, in Joplin, Missouri (my home). What I'm speaking about is the annual German heritage celebration I've put on for three years, now. I always hold it on the first day of the actual Oktoberfest in Munich, Germany. It's a very food-centric celebration. I want to do a little wrap-up of the event, including highlights of the menu, and perhaps include a few German inspired recipes you can try yourself, at home!

I decided to keep roughly the same menu plan that I adopted last year, with a few slight variations. Appetizers this year included pretzels served with a special cheesesauce made of melted Velveeta and 3/4 of a bottle of Mother's Brewing Company Imperial Three Blind Mice! It seemed to be a hit, a log of Braunschweiger, a selection of German and Swiss cheeses, including Limburger, Emantler, and Gruyere, and my take on bite-size Zwiebelkuchen, an onion tart. The crust for these little goodies is nothing more than refrigerated canned pizza dough. It is rolled out thinly, and circles cut with a tin can. Then, the circles are placed in the bottoms of a muffin pan, and topped with a filling of sauteed onions, bacon, caraway seed, eggs, and sour cream, and baked. There were NONE of these leftover this year!

The main portion of dinner was made up of some great side dishes: delicious pickled beets from the kitchen of my mother-in-law, Diane; a marinated cucumber salad and a red cabbage dish I made from recipes by Chef Stephen Block from his website; Brussels sprouts with bacon, which is a German variant on the Italian classic Brussels Sprouts with Pancetta; a hot German potato salad, which is from a family passed recipe in my wife's family; Spätzle which are small flour dumplings, sautéed in butter and breadcrumbs; and a German rye bread, prepared graciously by my friend Julie. The main dishes remained unchanged from years past. I beer-braised bratwurst and finished browning them in the oven on a bed of Bavarian style sauerkraut (Bavarian style just infers a seasoning of caraway seeds). The other main dish was the star of the show, this year. Jägerschnitzel is a pork loin slice, which has been pounded thin and tender, breaded and fried with a simple coat of eggwash and breadcrumbs. The prefix Jäger- refers to "hunter" or "forest". -schnitzel simply refers to any meat pounded and fried with a breading. The hunter or forest part of this fritter comes from the sauce you serve alongside. This sauce is a savory, velvety creation of sautéed shallots and wild forest mushrooms in a brown sauce herbed with thyme leaves, and made creamier with the addition of a whisk full of sour cream. This pan emptied the quickest of all the offerings!

Dessert did not come from my kitchen! Apple and cherry strudels were purchased from Black Forest House Bakery, in Carthage, Missouri. They sell their delicious offerings at the Webb City Farmers Market. You can find more information about Bert and Daffol Ott's business through this Joplin Globe article. And a wonderful German Apple Dessert was provided from the kitchen of my friend Meredith. Again, none of the desserts were leftover by the end of the night.

Here is a collective picture of all the beer offerings from the evening:

A very special thank you to Brian & Joleen Durham from Piney River Brewing Company in Bucyrus Missouri for donation a case of their wonderful beer, Old Tom Porter. It was a perfect fit with the cool, Autumn weather, and the food selection. Also a huge thanks to Chef Stephen Block for donating autographed copies of his cookbook, Recipes from a German Grandmother, as door prizes, for the second year running.

Chef Stephen Block included some Oktoberfest tips and history, with a little feature on yours truly, in his latest newletter here!

Below you will find my adapted recipe for the Zwiebelkuchen in a small portion format, perfect for appetizer serving. Pros't!


Zwiebelkuchen is primarily served in south central Germany, around the Swabian region, in the fall. During the harvest season, small winemakers will host tastings of their new (or "green") wine in their barns or garages for anyone who in interested in stopping in. With these glasses of "green" wine, wursts and these onione pies, zwiebelkuchen, are served alongside.

2 lb. white or yellow onion, sliced or diced
2-3 Tblsp. butter
3-4 slices bacon
8 oz. sour cream
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1-2 Tblsp. flour
½ tsp. salt
½ tsp. caraway seed
1 can refrigerated pizza dough

1.  Preheat oven to 425°F. Lightly spray a muffin pan with non-stick spray.
2.  Over medium high heat, place the butter into a large sauté pan. Once melted, add the onions, cooking
     until translucent and tender.
3.  While cooking the onions, unroll the pizza dough on a clean countertop or large cutting board. Roll it to 
     about ¼" thick. Let sit until onions and bacon are done, as it will try to shrink back when cut into circles,
     unless it rests.
4.  Fry the bacon in a skillet until brown and crisp. Drain, chop, and add to the onions.
5.  Add the sour cream, eggs, and flour to help thicken the water put off by the onions. Then, add the
     caraway seed and salt.
6.  Place the filling in a food processor and pulse, just enough to chop the onions down to a fine mince. This
     will make the small portion easier to bite.
7.  Using a metal can, or round cookie cutter, cut circles from the rolled out, slightly dried pizza dough.
     Place a circle into the bottom of the muffin pan wells, slightly pushing the edges up the well, just slightly,
     to form a very short crust up the sides.
8.  Top each dough circle with approximately 2 Tblsp. filling.
9.  Place into oven for 12-14 minutes, until the crust is lightly browned, and the filling is set.

Frank's Notes:
1.  This recipe should yield about 24 appetizers.
2.  Serve with a nice German or Austrian white wine, or Märzen style beer.

No comments:

Post a Comment