I've found that a good way to expand our family's palate is to pick a region and try to cook something from that part of the world. Last night, it was a German meal. In the past, we've made our way through curry and cabbage, sushi and latkes. If the way to someone's heart is through their stomach, I figure that's gotta be the best way to learn about new cultures, too!
German food is largely about having the right ingredients. If you have all the right components, it's as simple as sticking them together in pots or bowls. Not a ton of skill required here, trust me. German food does tend to seem a little intimidating to me, but I think that's just because I picture an angry German matron wielding a riding crop and badgering me while I cook. Don't ask me why my brain conjures up these things, it just does.
An Easy German Meal
Bratwurst, ideally pre-cooked (otherwise you'll have to boil it for half an hour). We like The Original Brat Hans because it's totally organic, with no preservatives or fillers.
One white or yellow onion, sliced into rings
One green bell pepper, sliced
3 Tbsp butter
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tsp dried oregano
1/2 cup beer or sherry
1 jar (16 oz) Sauerkraut
1 lb uncooked bacon, chopped into 1-inch pieces
3 Tbsp brown sugar
For Potato Salad:
4 large russet or 8 medium red potatoes
One white onion, diced
One large dill pickle, diced (or a few tablespoons of relish)
1/2 cup mayonnaise
3 Tbsp mustard
salt and pepper, to taste
Cut off any weird looking eyes or brown spots from the potatoes and rinse. Set them on a deep microwave-safe plate with 1/4 cup water and microwave on high 10-15 minutes, until a knife easily slices through the largest potato (alternately, you can bake them in the oven).
Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add white or yellow onion, bell pepper and garlic and cook over medium heat for 3 minutes.
Meanwhile, cook bacon in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat until no longer pink, about 5 minutes.
Back at the original pan, add bratwurst, oregano and sherry or beer to onion mixture and cook for about ten minutes.
Drain excess fat from bacon pan and add sauerkraut and brown sugar into pan with bacon. Cook over medium heat for 3 minutes.
In a large bowl, mix mayonnaise and mustard for potato salad.
Rinse cold water over cooked potatoes until they are cool enough to handle. Slice them into 1-1 1/2″ chunks.
Mix potatoes with mayonnaise mixture, onions and relish. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Serve with a stein of beer, amidst lawn gnome and nutcracker decorations, to the tune of oompah music and cuckoo clocks. Lederhosen optional.