16 German Recipes That Are Comfort Food Favorites
German cuisine is big on comfort foods! With an emphasis on meat and potatoes, German cooking feels familiar, like much of American comfort food; but its focus on sweet and sour flavors is strictly German. You'll enjoy it in popular German dishes like sauerbraten, which combines a sour marinade with a sweet sauce. Roasted meats (braten), schnitzels, and sausages (there are more than 1,000 varieties of sausage) are also star players on the German dinner plate. We've lined up a bunch of our very favorite, comforting German recipes.
Breaded cubes of pork are fried and combined with mushrooms and hunter gravy. "This is wonderful," says Helene. "Serve over a bed of noodles, with a salad and a hunk of thick crusty bread."
Oktoberfest Chicken and Red Cabbage
Chicken thighs are baked with red cabbage, bacon, and apple in a sweet and sour sauce. "I adore Bavarian cuisine," says HerbanSpoons. "And since there's no good German food here (while I lived in San Francisco, my husband and I ate at wonderful German/Hungarian restaurants there), I have to make my own...This recipe is crazy simple."
"This easy German recipe is one of our favorites," says Loves2CookinMN. The recipe calls for veal cutlets. But as Loves2CookinMN points out, "Boneless pork chops can be substituted for veal and taste excellent!"
Beef Short Ribs Sauerbraten
"The 24-hour marinade ensures these succulent short ribs have that signature tanginess of Sauerbraten," says Chef John. "Gingersnaps give the sauce a beautiful texture and add a sweet spiciness."
Beer Glazed Brats and Sauerkraut
A flavorful beer glaze coats bratwurst or knockwurst sausages and onions served over sauerkraut. "We love this dish served on potato rolls with spicy hot German mustard, Swiss cheese, and ice cold beer on the side," says JTk364.
Chef John's Beef Rouladen
"For something that looks and tastes as impressive as this beef rouladen, it's actually one of the simplest stuffed meat recipes I know," says Chef John. "You can pretty much use any cheap cut of beef; I used round steak, but rump, chuck, flap meat, and other similar cuts will work work."
Lengenberg's Boiled Potatoes
Like Americans, German love their potatoes. But it wasn't always so. In the mid-1700s, Frederick the Great of Prussia forced dubious peasants to plant the curious kartoffel. Fondness followed, but gradually. Here, basic boiled potatoes are dressed simply with parsley. They're the perfect complement to bratwurst with mustard or schnitzel. For a special treat, serve them with Uli's Onion Bacon Sauce and Apple Red Cabbage.
Grammy's German Potato Salad
Mayo-free German-style potato salad is served warm in a tangy dressing made with cider vinegar and dry mustard. "We loved it," says Helene. "Simple to make and oh-so delicious. It was an easy to make side to go with our meal."
German Beet Salad with Caraway Seeds
"This is a traditional German beet salad with a simple apple cider vinegar dressing and caraway seeds," says Naschkatze. "You can also make it with roasted beets, but in Germany the beets are usually boiled."
German Hamburgers (Frikadellen)
It's the original hamburger! "These are served like a flattened meatbal," says Amy. "My Aunt in Hamburg, Germany taught me this recipe and I've been making them ever since. I also like to use this recipe to make Swedish meatballs (but omit the paprika). Serve with steamed string beans and tossed salad. Or serve on a Kaiser roll with lettuce, tomato, pickled cucumbers, finely sliced deep fried onions and curry ketchup."
Curried Cottage Fries
Bratkartoffeln, wedged potatoes seasoned with curry powder and paprika and baked until crispy, are Germany's answer to home fries. "Potato wedges with a kick! Great for those who love curry," says Melaknee.
Spätzle (aka Spaetzle)
Not feeling like potatoes? These tiny German "micro-dumplings" are made with a flour-based batter. "They cook in a just a few minutes," says Chef John, "and are great plain with browned butter or topped with slowly braised meat."
German Potato Dumplings (Kartoffelkloesse)
"Soft, comforting potato dumplings drizzled in browned butter and topped with, sorry, not bacon, but something even better!" says Chef John. "For best results, roast, don't boil, the potatoes so they're nice and dry. Yes, you can top these dumplings with bacon anyway, and/or sautéed onions and mushroom sauce. I served mine with sausage and red cabbage."
Braised Red Cabbage
Red cabbage is braised in wine and simple seasonings. The sour, sweet, and salty flavors go great with meaty German main dishes. "There are so many ways to tweak this recipe," says Chef John. "Raisins, currants, shallots, onions, leeks, apples, and pears are just a few things that rock in this recipe."
German Potato Pancakes
These traditional German potato pancakes fry up crispy on the outside and tender on the inside. Tasty for breakfast or dinner beside bratwurst with some sour cream and apple sauce on the side. "This recipe reminds me of the potato pancakes that my dad used to make," says luv2cook. "The potato fries up nicely and the onion adds a wonderful sweetness to the mixture. Yummy!
Sweet dinner rolls are stuffed with ground beef, onions, and cabbage. A great alternative to the Finnish pasty! "If you are looking for an authentic bierock recipe this one is spot on," says DIZ. "It's absolutely perfect from the bread dough to the meat filling. Don t forget the spicy German mustard. It's a must!"
Papa Drexler's Bavarian Pretzels
"Out of the oven, the first bite gives a crisp crunch and wonderful pretzel flavor with the softest dough in the middle," says Liddah. "Absolutely delightful!"
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