Little speaks of Oktoberfest more than beer, cabbage, and smoked sausage, except perhaps an Oktoberfest Stew which has all of those delicious, savory and festive ingredients in one warming and cozy stew pot.
Ladling up the Flavors of Oktoberfest
To experience an Oktoberfest celebration is to experience a wonderful dose of culture coupled with some great food in a fun and festive atmosphere.
Music, dancing, lederhosen...what's not to be enamored with?
And when I think of the food of Oktoberfest, I think of that irresistible scent of smoky sausage sputtering away on a grill, the tangy aroma of savory sauerkraut cabbage, and the mildly hoppy fragrance of good German beer, all which go together hand-in-hand so scrumptiously.
An opportunity to cook with beer is always something I like to take advantage of, as its depth and mildly bitter flavor enhances a savory recipe splendidly.
And so I thought I'd take some crave-worthy Oktoberfest ingredients—caramelized onions, rich smoked sausage, and cabbage (and lager, of course!), and make this seasonal and festive Oktoberfest Stew—the results were even more better than I expected.
The broth had just the right amount of flavor from the lager, with a savory tang from that finishing touch of cider vinegar; and the sausage gave a rich smokiness, with the cabbage adding a hint of mild sweetness.
And with a few diced potatoes to slightly thickened things up, this festive stew made for one hearty, soul-food meal.
Oktoberfest Stew is a big taste of the Oktoberfest celebration that warms and satisfies a hungry appetite, and puts a little smile on one's face.
Tips & Tidbits for Oktoberfest Stew:
- Type of sausage: A good quality beef smoked sausage is perfect for this; but you could certainly substitute pork or even bratwurst, as well, if you'd like to go even more “Oktoberfest”.
- Care for caraway? Caraway seeds can be found in the spice section of the market; however, if you cannot find them, feel free to leave them out.
- A tangy zing: You can substitute a small splash of white vinegar, or even rice vinegar, for the apple cider vinegar, if you don't have any on hand; the cider vinegar offers just a touch more sweetness to round things out.
- The longer it sits, the richer it gets: Making this recipe ahead of time—perhaps a day or even two before you plan on serving it—allows for the flavors to blend and deepen, which makes for a more flavorful stew.
by Ingrid Beer
Yield: Serves 4-6
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 40 minutes
• 1 tablespoon olive oil
• 1 (14 ounce) package beef smoked sausage, cut into bite-size slices
• 1 ½ onion, sliced into thin semi-circles
• ½ head small cabbage, halved again, cored and thinly sliced
• ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
• ¼ teaspoon ground caraway seeds
• Pinch salt
• 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
• 1 cup German-style lager beer (Oktoberfest variety)
• 2 russet potatoes, peeled and cubed to bite-size pieces
• 2 ½ cups hot chicken stock
• 1 ½ tablespoons apple cider vinegar
• 1 tablespoon flat-leaf parsley, chopped
-Place a medium-large pot over medium-high heat, and add the olive oil;
-Once the oil is hot, add in the sliced beef smoked sausage, and allow the slices to caramelize and brown in the oil, for about 4-5 minutes;
-When the sausage is browned, add in the sliced onions, stir, and allow the onions to caramelize with the sausage for another few minutes, until golden-brown and softened;
-Once onions are caramelized, add in the sliced cabbage, stir to combine, and allow the cabbage to soften and take on the flavors of the sausage and onions for few minutes;
-Once the cabbage is softened and golden, add in the black pepper, ground caraway seeds and the pinch of salt, and stir to combine;
-Next, stir in the garlic, and once it becomes aromatic, add in the cup of lager, and stir the mixture to combine; allow the beer to slightly reduce for about 3 minutes or so;
-Next, add in the cubed potatoes and the hot chicken stock, stir, and allow the mixture to come to the boil; once it comes to the boil, place a lid on (slightly askew to allow just a little steam to escape), and reduce the heat to low to gently simmer the stew for about 40 minutes;
-After the 40 minutes, turn the heat off, and finish the stew by stirring in the apple cider vinegar and the chopped parsley (add more salt if necessary, too).
-Serve in large bowls with some hearty, rye bread or rustic rolls with butter or cream cheese.