Oktoberfest: Everybody is a little German right now

Dick and Donna Garlitz had everything they needed for a great Oktoberfest party — a German band, three coolers filled with German beer and lots of sauerbraten, spaetzle and other German food. What they didn’t have was nice weather.

Despite gray skies and occasional rain, a record 100 people showed up at their Mt. Lebanon home in early September for the eighth annual event. Everyone didn’t wear traditional German garb — lederhosen and dirndls — but everyone had plenty to eat, thanks to Mrs. Garlitz.

She said she spends about a week making the entrees and side dishes from scratch. She found recipes on the internet for Sauerbraten
With Gingersnap Gravy (www.justapinch.com) and Beef Rouladen (www.tasteofhome.com). Neither is easy — the sauerbraten must marinate for three to four days — but they are classic German dishes that are delicious any time. 

It’s a lot of work — especially for someone who has no German blood. Maybe that’s why this frau of Italian and Syrian extraction also serves grape leaves at her Oktoberfest.

Kevin Kirkland: kkirkland@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1978.

Beef Rouladen

1/4 cup Dijon mustard

8 slices beef top round steak (about 2 pounds sliced 1/4-inch thick)

Salt and pepper to taste

8 bacon strips

1 large onion, thinly cut

3 tablespoons canola oil

3 cups beef broth

1/3 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 cup water

Chopped fresh parsley, optional

Lightly spread mustard on each slice of steak; sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Place 1 bacon strip and a few onion wedges on each slice; roll up; secure with toothpicks

In a large skillet, heat oil and brown beef until no longer pink; drain.

Add broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 1½ hours or until meat is tender.

Remove meat and keep warm.

Combine flour and water until smooth, and add to skillet. Gradually stir into broth. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly until thickened and bubbly.

Remove toothpicks from steak. Return to gravy and heat through. Sprinkle with parsley if desired.

Makes 8 servings.

— Karin Cousineau, Burlington, N.C., www.tasteofhome.com


Sauerbraten With Gingersnap Gravy

4 pounds beef rump roast (bottom round)

2 onions, thinly sliced

8 peppercorns

4 cloves garlic

1 bay leaf

1 cup mild white vinegar

1 cup water

1/2 cup cider vinegar

1/4 cup vegetable oil

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 cups boiling water

10 gingersnaps, crushed

1/2 cup sour cream

1 tablespoon all-purpose flour

Place beef in deep ceramic or glass bowl. Add onions, peppercorns, garlic cloves and bay leaf. Pour white vinegar, water and cider vinegar over meat.

Chill covered for 3 to 4 days. Turn meat twice a day.

Remove meat from marinade and dry well with paper towels. Strain marinade into bowl. Reserve onions and 1 cup of marinade. (Mrs. Garlitz prefers not to reserve the onions and use the marinade to cook the beef).

In Dutch oven brown meat on all sides in hot oil. Sprinkle with salt. Pour boiling water around meat. Sprinkle in gingersnaps.

Simmer covered for 1½ hours. Turn meat often. Add 1 cup reserved marinade. Cook 2 hours or more until fork tender. Remove meat and keep warm. Strain cooking juices into large saucepan.

Mix sour cream with flour in small bowl. Stir into juices. Cook, stirring until sauce is thickened and smooth.

Slice meat and add to hot gravy. Arrange on platter and pour extra sauce over meat.

Makes 8 to 10 servings.

— Linda Griffith, www.justapinch.com


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