The weather has finally agreed to cooperate with the correct season here in North Texas and we are all not just breathing a long, sweaty sigh of relief, but we’re also diving head first into it while we can. The high may be 80°, but last night and this morning were nice enough to finally start breaking out more of the “Fall” recipes.
One of my favorite things about Fall is what I like to refer to as the “German food season” since it’s when I like to enjoy German food most. It’s always so ample and comforting. German food in Autumn comes usually with a connection to Oktoberfest which is widely known as a German beer festival. What began as a celebration to mark a royal wedding in Munich in 1810, has evolved (or devolved… however you want to look at it) into a beer festival and fair (often wild). Though I live many thousands of miles away from Munich, the local community here still likes to get in on it too.
If you are like me and are fortunate to live in an area where a good German restaurant is within driving distance, I highly recommend going if you’re not keen on attending an Oktoberfest event. They can get kinda rough (obviously) if left unchecked by the event organizers. I went to one one year to sample the more authentic fare. The food was delicious, the music and dancing was really fun to watch, and oh golly! The weenie dog races were so cute! I just wasn’t crazy about the drunken revelers. If you live near the DFW area, I can personally recommend Edelweiss in Fort Worth and a friend of mine recommends Kuby’s in Dallas for solid, authentic German cuisine as an alternative.
Back to our fall weather… The Mr was out of town this past weekend, so there I was Sunday night enjoying a quiet evening on the couch alone watching British period dramas on Prime and cooking myself up a delicious German roast! The New York Times recipe for Himmelreich just the thing to enjoy on a chillier night. Who doesn’t enjoy a good fall roast this time of year after all?
The New York Times Cooking section has long been celebrated as a place that the average reader (home cook, semi-pro, or otherwise) could get a decent recipe for little-known-yet-familiar dishes. The subscriber can get anything from banana bread to… well Himmelreich. I found just such recipe in my copy of The New York Times Cookbook.
Himmelreich is basically just a pork butt roasted with dried fruit. The dried fruit in this case was such an autumnal selection! Dried apple rings mingled whole in a roasting bag with dried apricots and prunes. They tenderize and caramelize in the brown sugar during the cooking process and I even found them to be so soft that they acted almost like a “spread” when smooshed against the roast. The fruit completely gives itself over to the dish in the process; mixing with the jus and flour to make a light and fragrant sauce for the meat. Next time, I think I would also throw in some sauteéd Vidalia onion slices too…
This recipe calls for dry white wine. You could use a dry Riesling or Gewurztraminer as these are both standard German wines, or you could also swap in Better Than Bouillon Ham Base if you’d prefer not to use wine. We really like using these bases in our house for anything that calls for alcohols/broth/bouillon/stock. Their flavors are incredibly rich & satisfying and complement many dishes. (NOT an ad, we just really like these products.) Sure, it won’t be 100% the exact same; but it will still be lip-smacking. The bases can be found at many local grocery stores right along side the other stocks and broths. If I don’t have homemade on hand, we go for these.
As I put the roast in the oven, I stabbed a few holes in a dark orange sweet potato and set it on the top rack for the whole cooking time. When the roast was ready, I simply sliced the potato open and plopped in some Kerrygold. Regular potatoes would serve equally well as a side, but the sweet potatoes in the store looked so beautiful right now and I knew it would complement the dish nicely.
What goes into your favorite roast?