O’zapft is! Oktoberfest, the largest fair of the world is known for its huge beer mugs filled with hoppy German beer. It is also known and popular for its delicious German food: the gigantic salt pretzels, the white sausages, the sauerkraut… this is until you find out that pretty much anywhere outside of the Oktoberfest celebrations, these dishes barely end up on a German’s plate. Before you get disappointed that pretty much all German dishes you thought you knew aren’t even very popular there I will introduce you to some real keepers!
The probably most quintessential German dish is the “Schnitzel”. Every tourist who has traveled to Germany knows that you can get this pork dish almost everywhere and most fall in love with it. A lot of Americans associate the Austrian “Wienerschnitzel”, the more commonly found Schnitzel dish in restaurant with the “normal” German Schnitzel. It looks like the exact same dish and is also served with the same sides. However Wienerschnitzel can only be made with veal instead of pork and is – as the name already implies (Wien means Vienna) – the Austrian version of this dish.
But whether it’s the traditional pork Schnitzel or Wienerschnitzel, when it’s perfectly breaded, perfectly fried, and perfectly crispy, practically everyone loves a good Schnitzel!
Schnitzel found in most restaurants is usually served with a side of fries or sometimes a German potato salad (vinegar based). However, in Southern Germany, it is traditionally served with Spätzle (Swabian egg noodles). Swabia is a large part of Southern Germany mainly covered by the Black Forest, an area that most people have heard of before because of its cuckoo clocks. This is the area with the most distinct and delicious food variety in all of Germany if you’d ask most people. This is also where the famous Black Forest ham or the Black Forest cake is from. Both found its way into the American stores but what has been missing so far is also the for the Black Forest typical Swabian pasta called Spätzle. Traditionally Spätzle is made by hand using a wooden board. You place the dough on it and then quickly cut of strands into the simmering water using a special shaped sharp knife. As you can probably tell just by reading this, making these noodles in the traditional way is a lot of work! But it’s definitely worth it. If you think that Italy has the best tasting pasta, you’ve never had these German noodles made by hand from master chef grandma before! Nothing, and I mean absolutely nothing, compares to homemade Spätzle. The biggest difference is the texture but the flavor also can’t compare to other noodles you buy in the store.
Nowadays you can of course also buy them industrially made at the store in Germany without having to spend an hour trying to get the perfectly shaped noodles while avoiding to get burned by the boiling water that splashes far too close for comfort to your arm when releasing the strands of dough into the water. Thanks to the German grocery chain ALDI who has made its way into the U.S. market and now already opened 2,500 across the states, you can also buy this delicious German pasta here. Needless to say, you know where to find me when the homesickness kicks in.
I know this was a lot of background info for a simple German dish so without further ado, let’s surprise the next Oktoberfest participants with some real German food!
Ingredients for Schnitzel:
1 lb of thinly sliced pork
2 large eggs or 3 medium sized
3 cups of breadcrumbs
3 cups of flour
salt and pepper to taste
one lemon to garnish
parsley to garnish
Ingredients for Käsespätzle:
2 Tbsp of salted butter
3 cups of German egg noodles “Spätzle” (available at Aldi)
1 large onion
2 cups shredded Swiss cheese (preferably Emmentaler)
2 tsp salt and pepper each
parsley to garnish
20-cup Digital Multicooker
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
- Put Spätzle in boiling water with a bit of salt and cook until al dente.
- Meanwhile beat the pork until they’re about finger thick slices. Make sure you are beating it with a non-textured meat mallet.
- In three bowls separately put flour, breadcrumbs and in the third mix eggs with salt and pepper.
- Take pork slices and first put it into the flour until it’s fully covered, then into the egg mix and then into the breadcrumbs. Shake the excess of breadcrumbs off. Repeat with all pork slices.
- Fill inner pot of multicooker with vegetable oil, enough so that the meat will almost swim in it. Press the Saute-then-Simmer function. Wait until the oil is extremely hot (ideally it should be around 300F) before adding the pieces.
- Flip pork so that both sides are golden brown.
- Take out of cooker. Remove oil out of inner pot.
- Add a bit of olive oil, followed by small cut onion pieces and saute them until caramelized.
- Add the cooked pasta and stir, then add the cheese.
- Sprinkle with parsley and serve warm together.
- If desired, sprinkle the Schnitzel with some lemon juice and put a lemon slice on top of it.