These recipes originally appeared in the October 2021 issue of HomeLife Magazine.
Enjoy the best of Oktoberfest!
My husband, Thom, claims 99 percent German descent. Bearing the surname Schupp, no one contests this fact. He’s proud of his heritage, so naturally we chose to backpack Germany on our honeymoon many moons ago. There we fell in love with the beautiful kirchen (churches), hearty food, and rich traditions in cities like Munich, Cologne, and Berlin. We were held captive by the siren’s lure, as we passed the cliffs of Lorelei on the Rhine River, then boarded a train to explore quaint little towns like St. Goar and Rudesheim. Eventually, we found our way to a castle in Heidelberg. With a deep love for his ancestry, just imagine Thom’s enthusiasm when I mentioned we were invited to an Oktoberfest celebration in St. Louis.
Oktoberfest, originating in Munich, traditionally runs the third Saturday of September through the first Sunday of October, which coincidentally is when we start craving their amazing cuisine. Historically, the first festival was in celebration of the marriage of Crown Prince Ludwig to Princess Therese von Sachsen-Hildburghausen in October 1810. The festival ended five days later, but the following year it bloomed again with the addition of an agricultural fair bringing the abundance of the farm to tables all across Bavaria. By 1818, booths serving food and drink were introduced along with parades, games, music, and dancing. Today it’s celebrated during the month of October in cities across the globe.
Our St. Louis hosts did a masterful job with their version of Oktoberfest, which was set among the sprawling oaks shading their freshly mowed backyard. Upon entering, a line of food tents donning blue and white flags presented the traditional fare of brats cooked in onions, red cabbage, and spaetzle. A tray of soft pretzels and hardy mustard served as an appetizer, while dessert was the crown jewel of Germany — homemade apple strudel dusted with sugar. Polka dancing continued well into the evening, as cheers and laughter could be heard echoing down the block.
I think we’re all looking for ways to come together and celebrate life. For our family that translates into celebrating around the table with food, family, and friends. And for this month, we’re adding our favorite flavors of Bavaria: juicy, tender pork Schnitzel (fried to golden brown perfection) atop a bed of tangy, warm German potato salad. And not to be forgotten, top those two items with a side of sweet and sour braised red cabbage that is garnished with a generous dollop of creme fraiche. The best part — thanks to a few added short-cuts — these recipes are restaurant quality goodness without the fuss.
My hope is you enjoy these soul-satisfying recipes as much as our family does. Take this opportunity to celebrate life around your table with those you cherish. Guten Appetit!
Pork Schnitzel ▶ Makes 4 servings
1-1/2 lbs. pork cutlets (cubed)
1/4 c. all -purpose flour
2 eggs (beaten)
1 c. plain breadcrumbs
2 tsp. salt
3/4 tsp. pepper
6 Tbsp. oil
Prepare three shallow plates in this order: flour, beaten eggs, breadcrumbs. Preheat a large non-stick frying pan on medium high. Add a few tablespoons of oil to the pan. Cut the pork into four even pieces. Generously season with salt and pepper, then press the first piece into the flour to coat both sides evenly. Then place the floured pork into the egg, coating both sides. Finally, press the pork into the breadcrumbs, coating both sides. Place pork into pan. Fry for about four-to-five minutes on each side or until temperature has reached 160 degrees. Repeat with the rest of pork cutlets. Drain pork on paper towels and keep warm until serving.
Tip from Laura: Layer the dish in this order: potatoes on the bottom, topped with one fried pork schnitzel, cover that with a serving of red cabbage, then add a dollop of creme fraiche.
German Potato Salad ▶ Makes 4 servings
4 slices of bacon (diced)
3 Tbsp. sugar
4 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
2 – 15oz. cans sliced white potatoes (drained)
2 Tbsp. water
1/4 tsp. pepper
In a large sauté pan on medium high heat, cook bacon until crisp. Add sugar and vinegar to the pan, whisking until sugar dissolves (about one-to-two minutes). Drain the potatoes and stir into the pot, adding the water. Cover and cook until heated through and slightly thickened. Stir in pepper and keep warm.
Braised Red Cabbage ▶ Makes 4 servings
1 Granny Smith apple (cored and diced)
1 – 16 oz jar sweet and sour red cabbage (undrained)
1 small yellow onion (diced)
1 Tbsp. butter
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
4 oz. creme fraiche or sour cream
In a small sauté pan over medium heat, add the jar of red cabbage, diced apple, onions, butter, and cinnamon. Heat to boil, and then cover and reduce heat to simmer. Cook the contents until the apple and onions are tender.
Tip from Laura: You can boil your own potatoes but remove the skin first.
Laura Schupp is the author of Our Newlywed Kitchen: The Art of Cooking, Gathering & Creating Traditions. Learn more about Laura at OurNewlywedKitchen.com.