For this second round of Project Food Blog 2010 the challenge is to tackle a classic dish from another culture that is outside our comfort zone or that we are less familiar with. The goal is to keep the dish as authentic as the real dish.
I talk fast and I read fast in both English and French so when I read the challenge details I was naturally excited at the thought to make a classic dish - but then after re-reading the paragraph I realized that it had to be OUTSIDE my comfort zone. This was going to require some thought. If we back track a little, I'm originally from Trinidad & Tobago an island the size of Rhode Island in the Caribbean. My mom made dishes with her spin from around the world so I was already acquainted with certain dishes; I attended university in Atlanta where I had the good fortune to be surrounded by students from a myriad of countries all of whom were quite proud to show me their cooking skills.
While living in Atlanta I met not only my hubby but also one of my dearest friends - Peter who is German. We had lots in common including a healthy appreciation for good food; however we always circumnavigated any discussion about German food, until one day I asked him to make me a German dish; he hesitated for a while and months passed. After months of pestering he said ok and made me a dish called Rouladen with Potato dumplings. Definitely not an explosion of flavors but it was delicious his company was great it was a memorable night.
Fast forward to the challenge, I thought of Peter and then of my current situation, in my team at work there are several Germans, all of whom I appreciate greatly and for me it was a natural decision that I make a German dish for this challenge. True, the level of complexity is low but the key would be to recreate a feeling that I had after having dinner with Peter, and the excitement that one of my German colleagues had when I told her what I was doing.
German food may not be fancy but it is comforting, and on a cold, dreary rainy day like today, it was a dish that was most certainly welcomed. We naturally served this with a German white wine.
Rouladen is a meat roll usually consisting of bacon, onions, mustard and pickles wrapped in thinly sliced beef which is then cooked. Kartoffelklösse or Potato dumplings are slightly softer than traditional dumplings but they have a higher ratio of potato to flour.
- 6 slices top round
- 3 slices lean bacon
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 3 garlic dill pickles, finely chopped
- 2 tbsp. butter
- mustard, salt, pepper, corn starch
- 1 - 2 cups water
Season beef slices with salt and freshly ground pepper. Thinly spread mustard on top of each slice.
Divide bacon, pickle, and onion slices on one end of each slice.
Roll up slices, tucking the ends in and securing with skewers, wooden cocktail picks, or thread.
Heat butter in skillet. Brown rouladen well on all sides. Do not crowd rouladen in skillet, or they will not brown nicely. Do in small batches if necessary. Add extra butter if needed.
Once all rouladen are well browned, add 1 - 2 cups of hot water, gently stirring up browned bits. Return all rouladen and any accumulated juices to skillet, bring to simmer and cover for about 1 1/2 hours
Remove rouladen. To thicken gravy, combine about 1-2 tbsp. corn starch in a little cold water and stir gently into cooking liquid until slightly thickened.
Season gravy to taste with salt and freshly ground pepper. If you wish, add sour cream to the gravy.
Remove skewers, picks, or thread to serve rouladen with their gravy.
KartoffelklösseKartoffelklösse are traditionally served alongside a Roast with gravy or with Sauerbraten and Rotkohl. Leftover potato dumplings can be enjoyed the following day thickly sliced and sautéed in butter.
- 1 kg / 2 lbs of starchy potatoes
- 2 teaspoons of salt
- ¼ teaspoon of freshly grated nutmeg
- ½ cup of plain white flour
- 1 egg
Mash the potatoes with a fork or mashing tool in a large bowl. Mix in the salt and freshly grated nutmeg. Add half a cup of flour and mix to combine. With your hands knead the mixture in the bowl until a smooth soft dough forms, add more flour by the tablespoon if the dough remains sticky. Combine one beaten egg with the mixture.
In a large saucepan of salted simmering water, almost boiling, poach the completed dumplings in batches of 4 to 5. Do not place more than 4 to 5 dumplings in the pot at any one time - to prevent them from sticking together or touching during cooking, which could cause them to fall apart!
Cook the dumplings for 10 to 15 minutes or until the dumplings rise to the surface. Remove and drain each of the Kartoffelklösse with a slotted spoon into a serving dish. Keep the dish covered to conserve heat while the remaining dumplings are cooked.
(Serves 4 to 6)