Thursday, October 14, 2010

Potato and Sauerkraut Fritters

Growing up on Long Island, just about all of our friends and neighbors were Italian. When I think of the favorite foods from my childhood, I have vivid memories of arancini (fried risotto balls stuffed with cheese), real Italian Ice, cannolis, and boatloads of pizza by the slice from a pizza parlor we could walk to from our house. I think it was a mile or two, and it felt like so long, but I think I'd run 100 miles for that pizza now.

Because I grew up with the Italian food, and my mom is an excellent Italian cook, I felt like I should be a honorary Italian. Besides Oktoberfest, beer and brats, who really knows anything about German food? It's not really known for elegance, romantic dinners and beautiful sounding words. Fettuccini a la Carbonara sounds much prettier than Sauerbraten und Kartoffeln. I loved my German heritage, but it didn't seem as cool or fun as the Greek and Italian dishes and families around me.

While I still find it hard to create diverse German dishes, I've learned to embrace my heritage. Creampuffs may have initiated the change, but it's knowing that the spaetzle press I use was once used by my great-grandmother decades ago. Or the Sauerbraten my mom taught me to make is a really old family dish. And the fact that there aren't many German restaurants open, which makes me feel like I have a hidden gem in my dining room when a German feast hits the table.

While I'm not a Bratwurst eating gal anymore, I still say the more kraut the better. Last fall, JJ and I went to an Oktoberfest and tried deep fried Sauerkraut and Potato fritters at a small booth. They were so delicious, salty, tangy, and crisp. I could have eaten a dozen, and even JJ, who doesn't like anything pickled, enjoyed the fritters. When I saw an ad for the Oktoberfest, I remembered the amazing fritters, and decided to make a baked version at home. These weren't as good as the deep fried fritters, but the flavor was still there and very present. I would serve these with a grainy, German mustard, but I was out. They're great paired with a nice Warsteiner!

Potato and Sauerkraut Fritters

2 lbs. yukon gold potatoes, peeled and diced
2 c. Sauerkraut, drained well
1/4 c. Sour Cream
Kosher salt and pepper
1/2 tsp. paprika
1 c. breadcrumbs (panko recommended, I used regular fine ground)

Place diced potatoes in a steamer basket, place over boiling water and steam until fork tender.
Cool to room temperature, then add to a mixing bowl with the sour cream.
Use a potato masher and mash potatoes so they're mostly mashed with a few pea-sized chunks of potato.
Add the sauerkraut, paprika and pepper.
Use a spatula to fold in and distribute.
Taste and adjust salt and pepper.
Place mixture in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 450*
Add breadcrumbs to a shallow dish.
Form mixture into golf ball sized mounds, roll in breadcrumbs, then place on a baking sheet.
Repeat until all balls are made, yields around 12-16.
Place baking sheet in the oven and bake for 18-20 minutes, until golden brown and crisp.
Serve warm with German mustard.


Dawn said...

Love fritters. these look like such a great twist on them!

mangocheeks said...

Totally love this idea and am bookmarking it. I always seem to have a jar of unopened sauerkrat in my kitchen cupboard. Now a reason to open it. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

Wow, this looks really original and great!

Joanne said...

I've been doing some research on German food for Regional Recipes (which you should totally submit this to) and these fritters are one of hte tastiest recipes I've seen! I love the combination of tangy kraut with mild potatoes. Delicious.