Oktoberfest originated in Germany on 12 October 1810, to celebrate the marriage of Ludwig, the Crown Prince of Bavaria, to Princess Therese von Sachsen-Hildburghausen. He later became King Louis I.
The citizens of Munich were invited to join in the festivities which were held over five days on the fields in front of the city gates.
Today, the two-week festival attracts over six million visitors from all over the world. In addition to eating, drinking and dancing, visitors enjoy colourful parades and fairground rides. And those not dressed in traditional Bavarian gear can admire those who are.
This year’s festival, not surprisingly, was cancelled for the first time since WW2. But there is no reason why we in New Zealand can't celebrate our love of fun, food and beer.
Traditional foods celebrating the German Oktoberfest include: crispy skinned roast chickens, roast pork, small grilled fish on sticks, a variety of sausages (for example bratwurst, Bavarian, thüringer, rookwurst and frankfurters), hearty stews, dumplings and pretzels.
Willkommen zum Oktoberfest!
BAVARIAN BEEF & BEER
A hearty dish. If you’re preparing this casserole ahead, cook the potatoes separately as they tend to discolour on standing.
2 tablespoons rice bran oil
4 medium onions, diced
1 kg stewing steak, cubed
1 tablespoon each: caraway seeds, oregano, smoked paprika
3 tablespoons each: tomato paste, wholegrain mustard
1 cup dark German-style beer
1/2 cup beef stock
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Optional: 600g small gold potatoes
Preheat the oven to 160°C.
Heat the oil on medium in a large heavy-based pan suitable for hob and oven. Cook the onions until softened and pale golden, 5-7 minutes.
Add the beef and stir until well combined with the onions.
Stir in the caraway seeds, oregano, smoked paprika, tomato paste and mustard. Mix well. Cook for about 1 minute. Add the beer and beef stock. Stir well.
Cover and cook in the oven for 1 1/2 hours. Add the potatoes, if using, and cook for a further 30 minutes. This casserole may be thickened with a flour and water paste.
Great served dusted with more smoked paprika and rye bread spread with mustard on the side. Serves 6.
SAUSAGE & SAUERKRAUT PACKETS
Individual packets for lunch in the sun or watching a game. Bavarian salami is also a winner in these packets.
300g Bavarian sausage, sliced
1 1/2 cups sauerkraut
1 small red onion, cut into wedges
1 medium Granny Smith apple, peeled and cored
2 teaspoons caraway seeds
1/4 cup German-style beer
Accompaniments: Rye bread or toast, hot mustard
Preheat the oven to 190C.
Combine the sausage, sauerkraut, onion, apple and caraway seeds in a bowl.
Cut four squares of foil. Divide the mixture evenly between the sheets placing it in the centre of each square. Fold the foil over to seal.
Bake for 25-30 minutes until hot.
Great served with rye smothered with mustard plus a beer. Serves 4.
APPLE & PUMPERNICKEL PUD
1/2 cup currants
5 tablespoons dark rum
125g butter, melted
4 medium Granny Smith apples
3/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups fine pumpernickel breadcrumbs
1/2 cup coarsely chopped almonds
grated rind 1 small lemon
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
Place the currants in a large bowl and add the rum. Soak for 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 180°C. Brush the inside of a 6-cup soufflé or deep baking dish with butter.
Peel and thinly slice the apples into a bowl. Sprinkle with half the sugar.
Add the breadcrumbs, almonds, lemon rind, cinnamon and remaining sugar and melted butter to the currants. Mix well.
Spread about 1/3 of the mixture over the base of the baking dish. Top with half of the apples. Repeat the layers ending with the breadcrumbs.
Bake for 40 minutes until the apples are tender.
Great served with whipped cream flavoured with ground cinnamon. Serves 6-8.