By Terese Allen | Photos By Jim Klousia 0
In 2009, when Saveur magazine did a full-page photo of Wisconsin foods, dominating the shot were hearty sausages, dark breads, surface-ripened cheese and, of course, beer. The picture said a thousand words about nineteenth century German immigration to our state and the long-lasting effect it has had on our culinary culture.
But the thing that struck me first about the collage was what it said about our weather. Before my brain had even recognized the pretzel rolls and coarse mustard as German-Wisconsin food, it registered that this was a cornucopia meant to warm a Northerner’s soul.
Indeed, if cuisines can match seasons, the fare that best complements winter in Wisconsin has got to be German. Its core ingredients read like a shopping list at the indoor Dane County Farmers’ Market in January. Potatoes, pork, bacon. Onions, apples, cabbage. Pickles, rye bread, beets. This is food you want to eat near the fireplace, wearing a hand-woven sweater, with a foamy ale at hand.
Baby, it’s cold outside. Bring on the sausages and sauerkraut.
Smoked Sausage and Sauerkraut Platter: Simmering is employed in two different ways in this recipe. For the sauerkraut, it’s done at length to sweeten and meld the flavors. But for the sausages, keep it brief. If they heat too long, all their yummy juices will escape into the cooking water.
Cranberry Glögg: Warm up to the holidays with a German-inspired spiced red wine that highlights a very Wisconsin crop: cranberries.
Warm Fingerling Salad with Hot Bacon Shallot Dressing: This time-honored German salad features a potato variety that is much in vogue today. “Cracking” the fingerlings before cooking them helps them absorb the dressing.
German Apple Pancake: This is not a flapjack-style pancake; rather, sautéed, sugarglazed apples are cooked in an eggy batter, then baked to a tender, golden finish in the oven.
Online Only: Braised Red Cabbage: They call it red, but it’s actually purple—and it’s full of flavonoids, the nifty antioxidant that helps prevent cancer and other illnesses. Serve this with pan-cooked pork chops or browned bratwurst.