Oktoberfest

21 10 2013

So we are always looking for a reason to fill our yard with people, and feed them.  This year we went with an Oktoberfest celebration.  Many friends with their kids were invited.  We rented a bouncy house for the kids, and started planning this party.

We were dressed in appropriate garb – I was shocked at how comfortable the lederhosen were !    It was really a blast.

Here’s the menu we came up with:

Cambozola  & sliced German meats

Pretzels & mustard

Weisswurst

Coarse Bratwurst

Knackwurst

Smoked Bratwurst

Sauerbraten

German Potato Salad

Blaukraut

Spätzle/Sauerkraut/Bratwurst casserole

Pickles

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And we had two kegs on tap to offer:  Harpoon Oktoberfest (http://www.harpoonbrewery.com/beer/13/Octoberfest)  & a non-Oktoberfest beer, but one that I am quite fond of,  Jack’s Abby Hoponius Union (http://jacksabbybrewing.com/).  Both are local beers, both made within 20 miles of our house.  Both are ridiculously fantastic.

My week started out marinating the brisket to make the sauerbraten.  It turned out great.  Here is my recipe, and I kept it simple

Edible Table Sauerbraten:

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup cider vinegar
  • 1 cup red wine
  • 1 large or 2 medium onions, chopped
  • 2 medium carrots, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 6 whole cloves
  • 12 juniper berries or 6 teaspoons of gin
  • 1 teaspoon of mustard seeds
  • 1 beef brisket (5 to 6 pounds)
  • 15 gingersnaps

Heat water, red wine, cider vinegar, onion, cloves, bay leaves, salt, pepper,  juniper berries/gin and mustard seeds in a saucepan over medium high heat. Cover and bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 10 minutes.   Allow marinade to cool and pour into a resealable plastic bag.  Season the beef with salt and pepper, and then add to bag, squeeze out excess air, and seal it. Marinate in the refrigerator 2 to 3 days, turning the roast twice a day.

After 3 days, place the roast from the marinade, and put in slow cooker.  Add onions, carrots, celery and marinade in on top of the roast.

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Cover and cook roast on Low for 8 hours. Turn slow cooker off. Transfer roast to a cutting board and cover with aluminum foil. Strain cooking liquid into a saucepan on medium-high heat.     This cooking liquid will become the gravy.  Crush up the gingersnaps and slowly whisk them into the pan, until thickened to your desired level.

Slice the meat, plate it, and pour theg ravy over it.

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Sauerbraten gravy & Spätzle cooking on the stove (see the Spartan Pure bottle in the background !)

NOTE:  I sliced the meat, put it back into the slow cooker, poured the gravy on top, put it back on low for a bit to keep it warm and then brought the removable dish to the table.  Easy easy.  All you need is time.

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The sauerbraten went quickly.  People were taking the rolls for the wursts, and putting sauerbraten in, with some of the blaukraut – it was a great combo.

I can’t thank Karl’s Sausage Kitchen (http://www.karlssausage.com/)  in Peabody for the amazing wursts.  They were made on Wednesday, shipped on Thursday and we received them on Friday.  While Peabody isn’t that far away, with work and kids, the opportunity to drive to Peabody and peruse and buy and come home was WELL worth the $12 fee for overnighting the sausages to my haus.  Granted, that is the price for in-state, but still was truly a blessing and time saver.  The person that I spoke with on the telephone helped me narrow down what I was going to get, helped plan the menu with me, and was frankly wonderful.  Can’t wait for the holidays to get all the Swedish sausages that they make.

We had a great group of people, ages ranged from 5 weeks to “over 40.”  One of our friends mentioned to his neighbor that he was going to an Oktoberfest celebration, and his neighbor told him of his time spent in Germany, and wondered if there was any way he could join us.  Hey – the more the merrier !  So the neighbor and his family joined us, and he made a large portion of German Potato Salad that was and continues to be delicious.

The first guests showed up around 2pm, and the last guests departed at around 9:30pm.  It was a wonderful way to spend a Saturday, with friends, family and authentic German cooking.

This just about sums it up:

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