Contrary to popular belief, Oktoberfest, the annual German beer festival, doesn't begin in October, it actually starts this weekend! Just because I can't travel to this year's event doesn't mean I shouldn't celebrate in the comforts of my own home. You can, too, by following my plan for the ultimate Oktoberfest.
Start by serving a delectable German-inspired meal. Sauteed bratwurst are succulent when paired with braised sauerkraut, soft onions, and sweet apples. A classic vinegar-based potato salad is a filling and savory side dish. To get these recipes please keep reading.
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil
- 2. 5 ounces thick-cut bacon, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
- 1 very large onion, coarsely chopped
- 2 tablespoons off-dry white wine, such as Riesling
- 1 large sweet apple, such as Gala or Fuji—peeled, cored and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
- 12 juniper berries
- 4 bay leaves
- 1/2 teaspoon sugar
- Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
- 1 cup water
- 2 1/2 pounds sauerkraut—drained, rinsed and squeezed dry (4 packed cups)
- 12 German-style sausages, such as weisswurst or bratwurst
- Grainy mustard, for serving
- In a large, enameled cast-iron casserole, heat 2 tablespoons of the oil until shimmering. Add the bacon and cook over moderately high heat until the fat is rendered and the bacon is crisp, about 5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the bacon to a paper towel–lined plate.
- Add the onion to the casserole, cover partially and cook over moderately low heat, stirring occasionally, until very soft, about 20 minutes. Increase the heat to moderately high.
- Add the wine, apple, juniper berries, bay leaves, sugar, 1 teaspoon of kosher salt and 1/2 teaspoon of pepper and boil for 3 minutes. Add the water and the sauerkraut. Reduce the heat to low, cover and cook until the apple is very tender, about 45 minutes.
- In a large skillet, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil until shimmering. Poke the sausages several times with a fork and cook them over moderate heat, turning several times, until golden and heated through, about 8 minutes.
- Spoon the sauerkraut onto a platter and arrange the sausages on top. Sprinkle the reserved bacon over the sausages and serve with mustard.
- Main Dishes, Pork
- 3 pounds medium Yukon Gold potatoes (each about 3 inches in diameter)
- 1/2 cup finely chopped fresh chives or green onion tops
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
- 2 tablespoons drained capers
- 3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon caper liquid from jar
- 1 teaspoon coarse-grained Dijon mustard
- 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- Cook potatoes in large pot of boiling salted water until tender, about 15 minutes. Drain potatoes; cool 30 minutes.
- Peel potatoes, if desired; cut into 1/3-inch-thick slices. Place potatoes in large bowl. Add chives, parsley, and capers.
- Combine vinegar, caper liquid, and mustard in small bowl. Whisk in oil. Season dressing to taste with salt and pepper.
- Pour dressing over potatoes; toss gently. Season salad with salt and pepper. Can be made 2 hours ahead. Let stand at room temperature.
- Side Dishes, Potato