German Meals at Oma’s: Traditional Dishes for the Home Cook, written by Gerhild Fulson, focuses on favorite, comforting dishes from throughout Germany. Highlights include Gaisburger Marsch (Beef and Veggie Stew), Rote-Bete-Suppe mit Stampfkartoffeln (Red Beet Soup with Mashed Potatoes), Bratkartoffeln (Fried Potatoes), Semmelknödel (Bread Dumplings), and Gulaschsuppe (Goulash Soup). I will also be featuring her recipe for Krautflecken mit Speck (Cabbage, Noodles and Bacon) following the review.
Disclosure: I received this book from Page Street Publishing in exchange for my honest review. All opinions and statements are my own. This post contains Amazon affiliate links. If you purchase something through the link, I may receive a small commission at no extra charge to you.
Gerhild Fulson was born in Germany and emigrated to Canada with her parents as a toddler in the 1950s. They helped foster a love for German cuisine and she is now able to go back to Germany regularly. She is the founder of Just Like Oma and also the author of Just Like Oma’s Christmas Baking, Oma’s Oktoberfest, and Quick Fix Soups.
German Meals at Oma’s
Chapters are divided according to location: Berlin, Hamburg, Nordrhein-Westfalen (North Rhine-Westphalia), Bayern (Bavaria), Baden-Württemberg, Niedersachsen (Lower Saxony), Rheinland-Pfalz (Rhineland-Palatinate), Bremen, Brandenburg, Hessen (Hesse), Schleswig-Holstein, Saarland, Sachsen (Saxony), Sachsen-Anhalt (Saxony-Anhalt), Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, and Thüringen (Thuringia). In the contents, each recipe is listed with the page number for easy reference. The index is also arranged by ingredient.
Gerhild has created a wonderful collection from all 16 Bundesländer (states). Each section includes 4-5 recipes and a short introduction to the region. Her Mutti typed out all the old, family recipes in English along with the handwritten notes to help her and her sisters continue to pass down the love of German food. It has now been nine years since my last visit to Germany and cooking my way through this book has brought back so many wonderful memories. I definitely hope to visit again soon.
The photography is provided by Toni Zernik with food styling by Scott Wiese. Every single recipe is accompanied by a full page photo of the finished dish. The titles are written in German and English. Many of the recipes have notes with extra tips and tricks labelled under Oma’s Ecke (Grandma’s Corner). Measurements are provided in US Customary and Metric.
This book is a great pick for those interested in regional German cuisine. The focus is on traditional, easy-to-follow meals for the home cook. You won’t find any desserts or intricate baking, but lots of stews, meat, root vegetables, and plenty of bacon! Most of the ingredients are readily available in the average American grocery store. Some that may include further searching include juniper berries, red currant jelly, German mustard, bratwurst, Emmental cheese, Black Forest ham, and pork hocks.
Krautflecken mit Speck (Cabbage, Noodles and Bacon)
Gerhild was introduced to Krautflecken mit Speck (Cabbage, Noodles and Bacon) by her neighbor, Melania Orasch. Popular in Bayern and neighboring Austria, it was originally known as an arme-leute-essen (poor people’s food) due to the use of ingredients that are often readily available.
Onions and bacon are cooked with some melted butter until the fat is rendered and the onions are translucent, then simmered with garlic and cabbage in broth for another 25 minutes until the cabbage is tender. The mixture is tossed with wide egg noodles and seasoned lightly with salt, pepper, vinegar, caraway seeds, and parsley. From start to finish, the entire recipe takes about 40 minutes with minimal effort.
Gerhild mentions that the perfect accompaniment to Krautflecken is smoked sausage. You can elevate the dish further by mixing in 1 cup (230 g) of full-fat sour cream just before adding the noodles. For a milder flavor, use Savoy cabbage in place of green and diced ham and/or grated cheese would be nice additions along with a garnish of caramelized onion rings or some diced tomatoes. As she says, the variations are endless.
I also made Spätzle, Bäckerkartoffeln (Scalloped Potatoes), Saarländische Mehlknepp (Flour Dumplings with Cream Sauce), and Gulasch mit Pilze (Goulash with Mushrooms).
Spätzle is one of my favorite foods in the whole world (I especially love to make Kräuterspätzle during the summer to use up fresh herbs). I prepared Gerhild’s recipe as an accompaniment to the Gulasch mit Pilze. These little noodles come from Baden-Württemberg and are so much better homemade. I used a spätzle press that I brought back from Germany a few years ago (they are now readily available online as well), but you can also use the holes of a colander, a ricer, or even the traditional way with a wooden cutting board and a knife.
This Bäckerkartoffeln from Hessen (called Kartoffelgratin elsewhere) comes together so easily, especially if you have a mandoline. Sliced potatoes are layered in a baking dish and topped with hot cream. The mixture is baked until the potatoes are tender and finished with a topping of butter and grated Emmental cheese. Gerhild mentions a few variations such as the addition of bacon, some sliced red onions, or even garlic.
The Saarländische Mehlknepp (Flour Dumplings with Cream Sauce from Saarland) is my idea of the ultimate food. The flour-based batter is dropped by the spoonful into hot water to create rustic dumplings before tossing with tender potatoes and a bacon cream sauce. Another great addition would be caramelized onions.
Gulasch mit Pilze (Goulash with Mushrooms) comes from Thüringen. Cubes of beef are browned well on all sides, then simmered in a paprika-tomato broth with mushrooms until tender. As a final touch, the stew is seasoned with pepper, salt, parsley, and cream. I served the Gulasch with Spätzle, but it would also be delicious with Thüringen Klösse (Potato Dumplings) and Apfel-Rotkohl (Red Cabbage)- recipes also in the book.
Krautflecken mit Speck (Cabbage, Noodles and Bacon) Recipe
Excerpt from German Meals at Oma’s
Krautflecken mit Speck (Cabbage, Noodles and Bacon)
- 2 tablespoons (30 grams) butter
- 2 cups (300 grams) diced onions
- 3 ounces (85 grams) lean bacon finely diced
- 2 cloves garlic finely diced
- 2 pounds (908 grams) green cabbage coarsely shredded
- 1 cup (250 milliliters) beef or vegetable broth plus more as needed
- 1 package (8 ounces, 225 grams) wide egg noodles
- 1 teaspoon caraway seeds
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper as needed
- 1-2 tablespoons (15-30 milliliters) pure white vinegar optional
- 2 tablespoons (5 grams) finely chopped fresh parsley for garnish
Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onions and bacon and cook, stirring occasionally, until the bacon fat is rendered and the onions are translucent, 5 to 7 minutes. Add the garlic and cabbage. Sauté for about 5 minutes, letting some of the cabbage brown. Stir in the broth. bring the mixture to a boil, reduce the heat to medium-low, cover the saucepan and simmer for 25 minutes. Check occasionally to make sure that the liquid has not evaporated, adding extra broth or water as needed.
While the cabbage is cooking, prepare the egg noodles in a medium saucepan according to the package instructions, until just tender. Drain the noodles, cover the saucepan and set it aside.
When the cabbage is tender, add the caraway seeds and season the cabbage with salt and pepper. Stir in the vinegar (if using). Add the noodles and gently stir the mixture together.
Serve garnished with the parsley.