German, Czech, Polish and Polka Festivals in Texas

There’s a festival almost every month from March through November. (I’m still looking for June and July.)

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German Festivals in Texas

Czech/Polish/Polka Festivals in Texas

German Sauerbraten – Patience Is Key To Perfection

Sauerbraten or “sour roast meat” is a dish that is marinated in a vinegar and herb solution for several days to break down the toughness of the meat. After marination, the meat is cooked for several hours like a traditional roast. Traditionally, sauerbraten is served with potato dumplings (Kartoffelklöße or Kartoffelkloesse) and red cabbage (Rotkohl).

I love sauerbraten and I wanted to share it with my new family. Because it takes 3 days to marinate and 3 hours to cook it requires patience, but I think it is worth it.

I started with a recipe from Cooks.com. My technique is to start with a recipe and make it my own by modifying it a little. For my version I chose bottom round of beef and added some uncooked bacon and Merlot wine to the marinade. I also warmed the marinade to a simmer to let all the flavors come out at the start. Then I let it sit in my refrigerator for 3 days. I turned the meat over every night.

When it was time to cook the meat I saved the marinade and brazed the meat until lightly brown on all sides. Then I put the meat into a baking dish and added some of the marinade’s carrots and onions and new water. I roasted the mixture in a 350 degree oven for 2.5 hours.

Meanwhile, I boiled carrots, celery, onions and the remaining vegetables from the marinade with some new water and the juice of the marinade. I also made the red cabbage and potato dumplings. When the meat was finished I made a quick gravy from some of the drippings, flour and water.

Original Ingredients

1 kg beef
1 onion
4 peppercorns
2 cloves
1 bay leaf
1/4 liter vinegar
3/8 liter water
salt and pepper
sour cream
corn flour and water
Maggi liquid seasoning

All in all it came out alright. There were a few things I could have done better. I think one mistake I made was not covering the meat while it cooked. The meat was a little dry and not as tender as I wanted it. I also started cooking the vegetables too soon; they only need about 20 minutes to cook.

So remember, it takes patience and love to cook sauerbraten. If you take the time you will be rewarded in the end.

German Rouladen – A Warm Dish On A Cold Night

Rouladen unrolled Rouladen or more precisely Rinderrouladen is a German dish made with thin beef, onions, pickles and mustard. There are many variations, but Rinderroulade uses these combination of ingredients.

I was in the mood for something from my German heritage so I settled on rouladen. At first I thought about sauerbraten, but then I thought it takes 3 days and my wife isn’t partial to vinegar.

I started with a recipe from RecipeZaar.com and made some changes. I substituted dill relish for chopped pickles and I added real-bacon bits from a jar to my cooked bacon. Since my wife’s stomach is more English-delicate than my German-hearty, I added the Dijon mustard to sour cream to cut the acidity.

Ingredients:
1 1/2 lbs beef flank steak
4 teaspoons heavy German mustard or Dijon mustard, will do
6 slices bacon, diced
3/4 cup chopped onion
1/3 cup chopped dill pickles
1/4 cup flour
1 (13 3/4 ounce) can beef broth

Potato dumplings I started with cooking the bacon and onions on medium heat. I chopped 1/4 white onion into fairly large pieces and mixed it with 6 green onions chopped into medium pieces. While that was cooking I pounded 4 flank steaks to about 1/4 inch thickness. The mistake here was cooking the onions at the same time as the bacon. I should have cooked the bacon to almost done and then added the onions. Another mistake was green onions. I should have only used 1 whole white onion.

After the steak was thinned, I mixed the mustard with about 8 ounces of sour cream. (The sour cream was left over from another great meal I made the night before – .) I spread the mustard mixture over the meat, added the bacon and onions, then topped with relish. Then I rolled it up – starting from the thin side – and tied the roll with string.

I brazed the rolls in the bacon fat and set them in to a 6×9 glass dish. Into the bacon-steak-onion-pickle-mustard-broth flavored pan I added flour and 15 ounces of beef broth. I stirred this mixed until it was fairly creamy and then spooned it over the rolls. I added whole mushrooms just for something extra. (Steak and mushrooms always go good together.)

Rouladen When the rolls were about 30 minutes from done I started the potato dumplings (Kartoffelklöße or Kartoffelkloesse). I bought a box mix of potato balls so it was easy to make. I did put the optional crouton in the center of each ball just to be traditional.

The last thing to make was red cabbage. Actually, I bought a can of it from the store too. It was next to the potato dumplings and it’s so mush easier to make.

From start to finish it took me at about 4 hours to make this dish, but in the end it was worth it. I made a warm dish on a cold winter’s night worthy of any German restaurant.