Kartoffelsoße is Oma Resel's speciality, and Sandra's favourite dish of all time. Literally "potato sauce", this dish of bread dumplings topped with potato sauce is something that frugal housewives would make their families in leaner times, when food was scarce and meat was expensive. In these carefree, crazy-wheeling consumerist days, little pieces of Fleischwurst sausage are added, but back in the olden days, the double carb hit of bread and potatoes would be the meal in its entirety.
And speaking of frugal, I find it very cute that, as a child growing up in the 60's, Sandra's dad would look longingly in butchers' windows and say: "When I'm grown up, I'll be able to buy a whole loop of Fleischwurst!" (If you've seen my previous meals in Germany, you'll see he's fulfilled that goal many times over).
Kartoffelsoße was the first dish that Sandra requested when we got to Germany, and a few short days after we landed, we went over to her Grandma Resel's place to learn the secrets of her famous dish. Initially, I wasn't sure if I was going to blog it, thinking it might be just too plain to interest you guys. But when I live-tweeted the dish - "Onions! Lard! Paprika! Potatoes!" - I got a flurry of excited responses, and I knew y'all would love it as much as I do.
As with the Gulaschsuppe, no standard recipe included here: like all grandmas, Oma Resel doesn't use recipes, cooking by heart.
She starts by making the bread dumplings. They're the same dumplings I make for Christmas, just made with a lot more skill! She takes some day-old bread rolls and slice them into little cubes, then add eggs, butter, salt, pepper and flour.
Then she pours hot milk over the mixture, stirs it all up into a dough, and forms it into balls.
The balls (hehe) need to be cooked in boiling water until they float, fifteen to twenty minutes. But before cooking them, the Kartoffelsoße needs to get started!
And this is how she does it: she heats up a generous (or alarming) amount of lard in a pan, and fries chopped onions in it until softened and fragrant. Many different types of lard were readily available in German supermarkets (including the fabulously titled "party lard" - that's my kinda party!) I'm sure that you could substitute goosefat or ordinary vegetable oil.
The next step is to add loads of sliced potatoes, douse them in heaps of paprika, and pour over beef stock.
She cooks it until the potatoes have softened in the tasty broth.
Then, to turn the potatoes and broth into Kartoffelsoße, she uses a food mill, or a "Flotte-Lotte", as they're also known.
Potatoes go through first, then the broth.
The result is a smooth, thick, ochre-coloured sauce.
This is when you'd tip in the little pieces of Fleischwurst to heat through. (Hot tip for Melbournians: the best Fleischwurst in Melbourne is sold at the Wursthütte on Glenferrie Road in Malvern!)
As soon as the Fleischwurst is heated through and the dumplings are cooked, you are ready to eat!
Mmm... fluffy dumplings...
And that is it! It's a super labour-intensive dish, so appropriate for a meal made with love to feed your family. I loved how comforting it was, and given the crazy rain and wind we've been having for the past few days, I could totally go for a bowl of this right now.
Danke schoen, Oma Resel!