Our family loves German food. We eat it all the time! I was blessed to go to school in Austria where I learned to cook several yummy favorites. Here is our favorite German menu. It’s perfect for a Reformation Celebration feast night!
Kaesspaetzele (Cheesy noodles)
Traditionally, Wiener Schnitzel calls for veal, but pork is more readily available here, so that is what I use. I buy the thin breakfast cutlets, so that I don’t need to pound the pork thin with a mallet. If you don’t buy the thin cutlets, you may need to slice the pork chops thinner, and you will definitely need to pound them flat with a meat mallet.
Pork or veal cutlets
2 eggs, 2 TB milk, vegetable oil, salt
In a plate, mix together 2 eggs, 2 tbsp milk, a few drops of vegetable oil and a dash of salt. After pounding the pork chops thin, season with salt and dredge them in a dish of flour. Dip them into the egg mixture, and then press them into the breadcrumbs. Shake off any surplus crumbs and fry immediately in hot vegetable oil. Serve with hot German potato salad or Kaesspaetzele.
Kaesspaetzele (Cheesy noodles)
Traditionally these noodles should be home-made, but I sacrifice a little traditional flavor for ease and simplicity. I recommend boxed elbow macaroni or, alternatively, packaged egg noodles, according to preference.
1 box or bag of pasta
sliced or shredded swiss cheese
Prepare pasta according to package directions and drain. Meanwhile, melt the butter in a skillet. Dice the onion and fry in the butter until it is blackened (not just carmelized, it should be almost burned). The amount of butter you use depends on the amount of onion…for a batch for my family I use one large onion. For a potluck sized batch use 3 or 4 onions, with enough melted butter to coat the onions (a few tablespoons for a large batch).
Layer the pasta in a casserole dish or crock pot (one layer of pasta, one layer of cheese, one layer of onions). Repeat. Bake or warm in a crockpot until the cheese is melted. You can add smoked kielbasa or sausage to turn this into a main dish.
This recipe makes about 2 strudels. I usually make this for a crowd, quadruple the recipe (4x) and get about 7 or 8 strudels out of it.
Strudel pastry: I prefer to purchase Phyllo Dough (sometimes spelled Fillo) from the frozen fruit section of my grocery store. It makes a wonderful flaky pastry, it’s perfect for apple strudel and it is fast and easy.
Filling: 2 pounds ripe apples, 1/2 stick butter, 1/2 cup raisins (optional), 1 cup sugar, 1/2 cup breadcrumbs, cinnamon to taste (about 1/2 tbsp).
Slice the apples as thin as possible (I use a food processor, but it isn’t necessary). You can choose to peel or not, according to taste. Mix the apples with the sugar and cinnamon to taste. Add raisins if using.
Meanwhile, melt the butter in a skillet. Fry the breadcrumbs in the butter until golden brown.
The Phyllo dough box will have two packaged rolls of dough in it. ONE roll of dough makes about 6 to 8 strudels. Keep one frozen for future use. Thaw the other roll at room temperature for about 2 hours, or overnight in the fridge. When it is thawed, open the package and unroll the dough. You’ll have a stack of about 15 sheets. Lay a dishtowl out flat on your work space and place one sheet of phyllo on the towel. Brush about a teaspoon or two of vegetable oil onto the phyllo sheet with a pastry brush or your fingers. Then lay a second sheet on top and brush more vegetable oil onto the sheet. Place a third layer on top (do not brush with oil). Cover the remaining phyllo with a slightly damp dish cloth, as it dries out very quickly.
Scatter the fried breadcrumbs in a line over the top and middle of the pastry (from left to right)…so the pastry should be empty at the bottom, with the entire top and middle covered with a stripe of breadcrumbs about 2 inches wide. Make sure it covers the entire pastry left to right so that the end pieces aren’t “empty” of filling!
Next, scoop up some of the apple/raisin filling and spread it over the breadcrumbs.
Now, this part is easy once you get the hang of it. Roll the strudel together with the help of the cloth so that the bare 1/3 is rolled in last. Place it on a baking tray and brush with butter. Bake in a 350F oven for 30 minutes or until golden brown. Cherries can be substituted for the apples; omit the cinnamon and raisins.