Tuesday, 8 January 2013

Die Deutsch Abendessen

My sister is currently in Barcelona, Spain, as a foreign student. She is spending one semester over there to improve her Spanish. For the holidays, her boyfriend went to visit her over there and they spent two amazing weeks together. For Christmas, they went to Berlin in Germany, the home country of the original Tannenbaum or Christmas tree, to spend a few days and visit. While they were there they had a chance to taste a couple of the local traditional street foods. One that is a true Berliner Symbol is the currywurst. It's what street dogs are to New York, or clam cakes are to New England. It's basically a wurst sausage with ketchup mixed with curry powder and some additional curry powder sprinkled on top. It's a big thing there. Also, during Christmas time, they have Weihnachtsmarkt or Christmas markets. These are little fairs with kiosks selling all kinds of items, souvenirs and foods. As a holiday tradition, they will sell gluhwein, a spiced up hot red wine and also champignons mit knoblauchsauce which is fancy German talk for mushrooms with garlic sauce. Apparently, they went crazy over the mushrooms and they had them every day for breakfast, lunch and dinner. I became really curious and I wanted to know what it tastes like. So when my brother in law came back I did some research to try and find the recipe and do it myself and have him be the judge of whether it was true to the original or not. Finally, my sister sent me the recipe over the internet from a German website. I invited my brother in law for dinner and made those mushrooms and their special sauce, with some bierwurst, kartoffelpüree (mash potatoes), some sauerkraut on the side and of course a couple of Köstritzer Schwarzbier.

I will share with you the recipe for the mushrooms an the sauce and show you how I prepared Die Deutsch Abendessen. Bear in mind, this recipe came from Europe, so all the measures are in stupid grams.


  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 150 g of crème fraîche or sour cream (about a cup)
  • 150 g of plain yogurt (about a cup)
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • 1 kg of small button mushrooms (about 4 small packs)
  • 1 large onion (preferably sweet onions)
  • 1 heaping tsp thyme
  • 1 heaping tsp paprika
  • 1 heaping tsp curry powder
  • salt and pepper to taste (preferably white pepper)
  • 2 tbs olive oil
  • 30 g butter (that's about 3 tbs of butter)
  • 1 heaping tbs of dried parsley
For the rest
  • 2 or 3 potatoes, peeled and cut into cubes.
  • 2 tablespoons of butter or margarine
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 pack of smoked & precooked German wurst sausage
  • sauerkraut


Before you start, set the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. We will pop the sausages in the oven a little later when it reaches the right temperature.

For the sauce, it's fairly simple. Finely chop up the garlic. In a bowl, pour the crème fraîche and the yogurt, add the chopped garlic and thyme and mix thoroughly. (I made double the recipe here.)

Carefully wash the mushrooms with a bit of cold water to remove any dirt. Wash the potatoes with a brush under cold water, peel them and cut them into cubes. And then chop the onion into large chunky pieces.

At this point the oven should be at the right temperature. So cover a baking sheet with aluminum paper, add the wurst and pop it in the oven while we cook the mushrooms.

In a pot, either boil or steam the potatoes. It'll take a while to cook, so just do it now while we prepare the mushrooms.

In a very large deep skillet, bring the heat at medium. Add the oil and butter and melt. Add the onions and cook them until they become transparent. Then add all the mushrooms to the pan and quickly add the spices, herbs, salt and pepper. Make sure you sprinkle them all over and mix the mushrooms for the spices to spread and mix to all the mushrooms. Then let them cook over medium to medium-high heat and mix with a spoon from time to time to avoid anything from burning. Over time the mushrooms will shrink as they will lose water. Also, water may accumulate at the bottom of the pan. Don't drain it! That's where all the flavour is. Just wait until it thickens. When the mushrooms have shrunk and there's a thick sauce at the bottom of the pan, remove from the heat.

At this point, check if the potatoes are cooked. Stick them with a fork and they should easily fall apart effortlessly. If that's the case, remove from heat and drain the water. Pour the potatoes in a large bowl, add 2 tablespoons of butter or margarine, salt and pepper to taste and mash them up. You can add a little bit of fine herbs in there as well as a little extra.

Take out the sausage from the oven and start serving! Serve a sausage, with some mashed potatoes, a few scoops of sauerkraut, a good serving of mushrooms and add the garlic sauce on the mushrooms. And there you have it. The German dinner, Die Deutsch Abendessen.

My brother in law helped me out tonight by chopping the vegetables while I was cleaning a whole kilo of mushrooms. He was also my guide to tell me whether I should add more spices to the mushrooms since he's the only one between the two of us who ever tasted the real thing over in Germany. Though it wasn't exactly the same, he was very impressed with the result and we had a very delicious meal.

Sua coche le gros!

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