Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Southern German Potato Salad

On the afternoon that I made this my friend, Eva came by to chat. Both she and her husband are from Germany, so I asked her if she would try my ‘German potato salad’. She did and said that it was actually typical of southern Germany, rather than the northern type which uses yogurt and mayonnaise in the dressing. I never knew there were two (or more) variations of German potato salad-- but why wouldn’t there be? It is like saying ‘Italian food’; which varies widely, from the Northern regions dependence on rice, beans and pork products, to the south’s Mediterranean diet based largely on tomatoes, lemons, olive oil and fresh fish. The same theory applies to the States and so on.

Anyhow, ‘German food’ is often thought of as fatty and heavy (and often is). But not this potato salad- the only fat in it is the bacon (which comes out to about one and one half slices per person), no oil or mayo used. It’s sweet and sour and a little salty and a nice change from mayonnaises based potato salads.

I served it with a rosemary-roast pork loin, sauerkraut and steamed green beans for a truly southern German dinner .

1.25 kg (roughly 3 pounds) new or yellow skinned potatoes, boiled in salty water, whole for about 20 minutes, until just tender
8 slices bacon
1 medium yellow onion, minced
2 cloves garlic, pressed or minced
¾ cup chicken stock or water with chicken bouillon
1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
1.5 tablespoons corn starch
1-2 tablespoons table or brown sugar
1 tablespoon sweet paprika
Dash of cayenne or more white pepper
1 medium dill pickle, chopped small
3 stalks celery, chopped small
1 handful of fresh parsley, chopped
Salt to taste

1) While the potatoes are boiling, fry the bacon, drain all but one tablespoon fat and discard the rest, then crumble the bacon into bits.

2) Pour the chicken stock, vinegar and corn starch into a jar, seal on the lid and shake to combine.

3) In the same pan that the bacon cooked in, place the onion and garlic. Sauté for just a minute or two, then add the chicken stock-vinegar-corn starch mixture. Stir well to get up the ’fond’, little bits on the bottom of the pan. Bring just to a simmer, not a boil, add sugar, paprika and pepper, stir and continue to simmer for a couple of minutes, until the sauce thickens and the onions are tender. Taste for seasoning and adjust with salt, sugar or vinegar, if needed.

4) When the potatoes are just tender, drain and slice into ¼-½ inch slices. While they are still hot, pour the sauce over top, add in the pickle, celery and parsley. Toss to combine and serve hot or warm.

Serves 6

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