So official Oktoberfest has passed but it’s still October so I’m posting up this Oktoberfest dinner idea. It’s always a good standby during the chilly winter months that are nearly upon us in the Northern Hemisphere.
One frustration I have with cookbooks is that they rarely give an idea for a meal. Often they contain just a recipe for one part of a meal. Then I have a hard time deciding what the sides should be. Bangers and mash is a hearty, healthy, and simple classic dish and it’s one that is easy to please most people with (including kids). There are different variations but I like to serve mine as sausage and mashed potatoes (the bangers and mash part) along with sauerkraut and Dijon mustard. One way that I like to add nutrition is by substituting some of the potatoes with some combination of parsnip, turnip, and/or cauliflower. I also like to add in caramelized onions with the potatoes.
To make the “mash” boil up equal parts potatoes and vegetables (I love cauliflower). For five servings, I will usually use 3 small peeled and sliced potatoes and an equivalent volume of peeled, coarsely chopped vegetables. If you’re going to go through the trouble, it’s nice to make a big batch that can be frozen and re-used later. Put the potatoes and vegetables in a pot with a teaspoon or so of salt, cover with water, bring to a boil and let cook 15-20 minutes or until fork-tender. I usually err on the side of overboiling during this step so that I have an easier time mashing later. This meal can sometimes be monochrome, so one way to counter that is to use Peruvian purple potatoes or purple cauliflower. Once the potatoes and vegetables are fork-tender, drain the mixture. Using either an electric hand mixer or manual masher, mash the mixture with some butter (3 Tbsp) and some milk or cream (not quite ¼ cup). If you want to keep it vegan, use olive oil (decrease amount) and oat milk. Add a generous amount of salt and pepper. I also love to fold in caramelized onions for extra flavor.
While the mash is cooking, either grill or sauté the sausage. If you are going to grill it, slice it after it has been prepared and if you are going to sauté it, cut it up before hand. I like to cut the sausage at a 45° angle to the length to make each piece a little longer and improve the presentation. Kielbasa works great for this. Often times for my portion, I will use the Tofurkey kielbasa. It’s not fooling anyone, but it’s something I can feel better about consuming. Our friend brought us some kielbasa-style venison sausage from a hunt he went on, and that’s wonderful too. Try and find sausages that have not been preserved with nitrates. There is a wonderful store in Houston called Revival Market that raises sustainable, humanely raised pigs if you are local and are going to eat “real” sausage. They also have great American mustard that works well with this meal.
I have a recipe for sauerkraut in a previous post, but if you’re not in to playing around with that, just buy some good refrigerated sauerkraut. If you prefer your sauerkraut warmed, warm it in a pan while the rest is cooking. I like to top it with caraway seeds. A lot of people turn their nose up at sauerkraut, but I encourage you to try it again. It’s one of those things like pickles that you might eventually start craving. The cabbage from which it’s made is so healthy. Cabbage is part of a family of cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, brussel sprouts, bok choy, etc. It is chock-full of disease fighting phytochemicals, vitamins (including vitamin C), and fiber. The slightly sulfurous smell all these vegetables have in common is because they contain sulforaphane. Studies have suggested that this phytochemical can help reduce the risk of cancer. It does so by stimulating enzymes in the body that detoxify carcinogens before they wreak havoc on cells. I talk more about the benefits of fermented food in general in the post on sauerkraut.
Serve the sausage and mashies on a plate, along with some sauerkraut and Dijon mustard.
This is a great fall meal, especially served with a nice pint of Oktoberfest beer. Yum!