Saturday, February 19, 2011

Taste of Home: Saure Scheiben (German Sour Potato Slices)

A little while back, this guy ate potatoes for 60 days straight to promote the health benefits of potatoes.  His name is Chris Voigt, I looked it up.  He blogged about it here.  He talked about eating potatoes "every possible way -- boiled, baked, mashed, grilled, roasted, juiced, blended, fried, etc." but, while he finished the stunt, it was reported that he apparently did get tired of eating potatoes in the end.

Growing up in Germany, we ate potatoes a lot.  When I read Chris definition of "every possible way" I was sort of amused.  There are so many more ways to fix potatoes than most people probably realize.  I bet that my mother could cook at least 30 days worth of different potato dishes - without repeating herself even once.

Unfortunately, I never really learned to cook from my Mom.  My brother helped her with the cooking while I could not be bothered.  As a matter of  fact, I proudly proclaimed that "anybody who can read can cook" and left it at that. (Obviously, I proclaimed it in German:"Wer lesen kann, kann auch kochen.")  Was I ever wrong!  My brother is a great cook, by the way.  I'm still a work in progress.

For today, I wanted to attempt "Saure Scheiben", which essentially translates into "sour slices". It's a regional potato dish I really like.  I found a recipe for it here but I was unable to find an English translation for it.  It didn't sound too difficult, so I figured I'd attempt it.

First I put some potatoes in a pot to boil them.  I can in fact boil potatoes.

I diced a small onion and weighed out the amount of butter and flour needed for the recipe. Then I started a pot of bouillon.  While the bouillon was cooking, I sautéed the onion in the butter until it was just getting some color.

It was when I added the flour that things started to go horribly wrong.  It started to get really brown as soon as I added it - and I could not get it mixed with the butter fast enough.  In a panic, I dumped the bouillon into the pan - and ended up with lumps! Big old lumps in my sauce!  Bummer!

Well, it's not the first time I ended up with lumps in a sauce.  So, back to my trusted little colander to strain out the lumps...   I poured the sauce through the colander (spilling about half of it on the stove...) and used a whisk to try to break up the lumps.  What a mess!  (Should have taken pictures at this point, but I was otherwise occupied...)

Once the lumps were out, I added the vinegar, the bay leaf and a clove to the pan and cooked the sauce for a few more minutes.  Finally, I peeled the boiled potatoes, cut them into slices and added them to the sauce.

Voila, Saure Scheiben.

It wasn't quite as good as I remembered them. The potatoes could have used a little more salt, maybe a bit more bouillon - and there was the little lump incident. So there is room for improvement - but it was OK - and even my daughter thought that it was good enough to eat.

I'll pair it with sausage for dinner tonight.


German sour potato slices
(the following amounts are approximate since this recipe is still "in progress")
1000 g potatoes (I think I used more...) 
60 g flour  
60 g butter 
1 onion 
1 liter bouillon 
1 dash Salz 
1 dash Pfeffer 
2 bay leaves 
1 clove 
3 Tbs white vinegar

Wash and boil potatoes (approx. 25 min)
Dice the onions and sauté in butter.  Add flour and allow to brown a bit.  Add bouillon to make a gravy.  Add bay leaves, clove and pepper.  Simmer for 15 minutes.  Remove Bay leaves and clove.  Add vinegar to taste. 
Cut potatoes in slices and add to the gravy. Serve hot.  

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