Red Cabbage, Green Asparagus, Red Peppers, Green Cabbage, fighting the assumption that German food is bland of taste and lacks visual appeal. Do you hear that complaint often? I certainly do. And usually from people “in the industry.” Cultural snobbery is alive and well in 2015.
I have had my fair share of German food that is watered down in so much vinegar or sugar as to lose the flavor of whatever has been cooked. And I have had a lot of German dishes that are nothing more than wurst and potato salad. To be fair, I’ve had a lot of American Fare that lacks flavor and imagination and is as bland as German food is accused of being. So for me, to say the entire cultural taste bud of Germany should be thrown out of the foodie arena is going a bit too far.
There are a lot of poor chefs in every world cuisine. Trust me, you wouldn’t want me around your hollandaise or marinara. Ever. Depending on the day I might make a passable spaghetti sauce or bechemel. But I will always get a brown sauce made from beef stock right. If it isn’t fussy I can do it. And that is one of the things with German food; done right it isn’t fussy, but it is fabulous. And it is not at all as visually unappealing as rumor suggests.
The tray of veggies in the photo above are the veggies that were roasted atop a small pork roast. Herein lies the proof that German food does have visual appeal! And it is the veggie combination that really makes the roast sing.
The roast itself was slathered in garlic, pepper, a bit of salt and dusted with rosemary, marjoram and some thyme then set in the oven to roast. After about 45 minutes add a bit of Mosel Riesling in the bottom of the pan with the drippings. Then load the thin sliced veggies around the roast and cook until the edges are a little bit brown, add more herbs then set the lid and finish cooking for another 20 minutes, or until the veggies are tender.
The red and green cabbages are a winter vegetable that are available and still cheap until spring when the asparagus comes on. The red peppers, it seems will always be on the expensive side unless you grow them yourself. But they won’t bear until mid to late Summer so the red pepper is going to be a bit of a splurge.
It is the blending of the meat, Riesling and veggie juices in the final stages that make the whole meal sing. You can either thicken the juice with corn starch for a truer gravy or you can spoon the pan drippings over sliced roast as a jus. The thing is that it takes time for these flavors to develop in the roasting pan.
Time, the ticking of the clock, is the main ingredient of every cooking specialty. When you don’t take the time to let meat roast thoroughly, or let veggies cook properly, or you get lazy and over cook everything, having walked away to do do something else, you get food that develops these kinds of reputations. Patience my friends, patience. That is the key.