Where I grew up there had been a huge German immigration wave. I inherited German genes from my mother’s side of the family. To feel more connected to this tradition, she made a strange version of a German dish she called “Snow on the Mountain.” The recipe had been passed down and Mom adapted the wonderful dish as best she could to our mid-60’s supermarket and Ozzie and Harriet lifestyle during the years of Sputnik and the Superball.
For us, it translated down to two Kahn’s wieners and a big scoop of instant mashed potatoes topped with some canned sauerkraut which was the “snow” “on the “mountain”. Kahn’s slogan was “The Weiner the World Awaited”. That slogan baffled me then and now, I am just glad I didn't live in a world waiting for these wieners. Our wait was over. Now they sell it at Balducci’s in New York as some kind of rare delicacy or homage to regional food. I have to laugh every time I see it.
I now enjoy a somewhat more authentic version of this wonderful German staple. I wouldn’t exactly call it “Snow on the Mountain”. I think that is an embellishment my Mother threw into the mix at a rather late date. It's more than a little questionable from an historic perspective. But it tastes better than when I used to chew on my Superball OR the concoction Mom made back in the day.
First of all, loose the Kahn’s: love ‘em but leave ‘em. I drove down to Findlay Market and bought the real thing... hand-stuffed German fresh metz at Kroeger & Son's Meats.
Here's a list of the different kinds of sausages they have:
Then I bought some Yukon Gold potatoes -- not paper bags of instant potatoes that tasted like pocket lint.
Now for the sauerkraut, my favorite is Stokely’s Bavarian Style Sauerkraut with caraway seeds. What’s not to love? If you want to get fancy and make your own sauerkraut, just remember the following cautionary tale. My Mother took this on and filled up a big crock pot with cabbage and other stuff. Time went by. It started to smell really bad. By the time she cleaned it out we all had to stay at Grandma’s place for the whole weekend.
This is quite pedestrian compared to Pam's gourmet treats, but isn't comfort food wonderful sometimes? Here's the recipe:
Fresh Metz, Potatoes and Saurkraut: Traditional German Cuisine
INGREDIENTS FOR 2 SERVINGS:
4 metz (I prefer Fresh Metz but there are a variety of choices)
5 gold yukon potatoes
1 can of sauer kraut
Boil potatoes for 25 minutes
After starting the potatoes, poach the metz in a skillet with enough water to halfway cover the metz. Cover with a lid and let boil for 15 minutes.
When the metz are done, pour water off and add 2 tablespoons of canola oil. Cook on medium heat for about 5 minutes until metz are brown on all sides.
When the potatoes are done, drain the water and put in a large bowl. Kee some of the water in case you need to moisten the potatoes. Add two tablespoons of butter and smash.
Heat one can of sauer kraut in a bowl covered with wax paper in the microwave. The amount of time to heat varies depending on your microwave oven, usually about two minutes.
Serve on a plate with sauer kraut on top of the potatoes. Finish dressing plate with some brown or Dijon mustard.
by Guest Blogger Randy Ashton
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