Thursday, April 3, 2014

German Potato Salad - the family version.

What is sweet, sour, tangy, loaded with bacon, and both smooth and crunchy all in one bite? Of course, it's Kartoffelsalat, Mom's German potato salad. Just thinking about it returns a craving for this satisfying side dish. It's cool-weather comfort food, though at times it has also been a popular item at summer evening potlucks on the dock.

Why haven't I posted this recipe before now? Maybe I take it for granted, it has been a family favorite forever. Two generations, often three, expect this warm potato salad to accompany homestyle entrees like pork schnitzel, kraut-roasted pork, grilled wurst, braised rouladen, etc. Or forget the accompaniment idea, RL finds German potato salad a satisfying lunch all by itself, it's just that good. 

Mom was born in Austria, and this recipe is based on her version of German Potato Salad. Hmmm, does that make it an Austrian-German Potato Salad, or an Americanized version of a Bavarian regional recipe. Whatever! authentic or not, we love it. Be aware, I  typically don't measure ingredients when preparing this dish, adjusting by taste and consistency as I go to find the right proportions and occasionally adding other ingredients. You'll find it quite adaptable too as you balance the sweet and sour to suit your taste.

The recipe below records this week's dish, with measurements noted as close as possible to account for several rounds of "taste, then adjust." 

Mom's German Potato Salad
4 generous servings

4 thick strips bacon (not maple flavored)
1 yellow onion, chopped (approx 1 cup)
4 stalks celery, strings removed, diced
2 tablespoons flour
1 cup water 
1/2 cup cider vinegar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 generous teaspoon celery seed
kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper, to taste
fresh Italian parsley and green onions (optional)
5 fat Yukon Gold potatoes

  1. In a skillet, cook the bacon until crisp. Drain on paper towels, chop and set aside. Save 2 to 3 tablespoons of the fat.
  2. Reheat the skillet of bacon fat over medium heat and cook the onion and celery until softened.
  3. Sprinkle flour over the top of the vegetables; stir to incorporate. Add the water, vinegar and sugar and cook until the sauce thickens. (It will be fairly loose and soupy, just what you want since the potatoes will absorb quite a bit of the liquid.) 
  4. Add celery seed, salt and pepper; taste and adjust.
  5. While making the sauce cook the potatoes until barely tender. Peel and dice or slice into bite-sized chunks. Add to the sauce while still warm and gently fold in with a heat-proof spatula.
  6. Let the potatoes rest in the sauce for a few minutes; stir again; taste and adjust seasonings and the sweet:sour ratio.
  7. Top with parsley and green onions (optional) and serve warm or at room temperature. Enjoy.

1 comment:

  1. One tasty variation substitutes chunks of smoked sausage for the bacon - similar, but different. Yummy!


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