Sunday, May 2, 2010

Snow on the Mountain

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


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
All text and photos are property of The Gypsy Chef


  1. This dish reminded me of choucroute and a trip to Alsace one year. It is a wonderful meal. Love your recollections.
    I did a stint in a German meat market and restaurant and I saw all the different sausages etc.

  2. Again, I thought it would be a weather report! Another blog I just visited was titled Wind Reports! It was a typo and she meant wine! I was expecting to see more of your pics!
    The area I have moved to is very German, too. And lots of variety in sausages. I'll have to try this and serve it when I have guests.

  3. I'm of Dutch descendants, and our sauerkraut usually has caraway seeds in it, and is simmered in apple juice..Lots of Poles in this area- they do theirs in chicken broth, with Kielbasa.. Mettwurst is the Dutch sausage- and it is bad! I like the sound of your dish!

  4. This looks very good. I love all the different sausages that are available. When I was in Germany I loved the street food, where you could get a sausage on a fresh roll they slice open and that German mustard, yummy!

    My mom had a different version of Snow on the Mountain, you would layer cooked rice, chow mein noodles, chicken soup mixture, tomatoes, celery, green pepper, green onion, pineapple, cheese and more chicken soup mixture. Top with almonds, coconut and pimentos. Hmm...yeah I know quite different!

  5. I love recreating dishes from my youth. It appears you have improved upon one of yours! Yum!

  6. Oh my mouth is watering-that looks yummo!

    Every Wednesday in the Brisbane CBD we have a market area and my hubby's favourite stall is the German sausage vendor. I think I might ask him to bring some home this week so I can make Snow on the Mountain!

    Best wishes for a great week,

  7. Great dish. Love Yukon gold potatoes, my favorites. Cheers!

  8. What a hearty meal! The sausage is gigantic! I bet they all tastes as wonderful.
    Best regards,

  9. Joumana, Your right it is reminiscent of Alsace. I had forgotten about choucroute.

    Fingers, Your hysterical! I feel the pain of the Wine blog. Oh I have done that so often! But no weather report. Not yet anyway. Pics coming soon.

    Natasha, What don't you have down there? Looks like the perfect spot for living!

    Lazaro, I agree Yukon Gold are my favorite too.

    Kristy,Hearty is the word. It's a cold weather meal, as my grandmother would say, "This will put meat on your bones".

  10. My German grandmother would be proud!
    I imagine back when your mother ( I do love the crockpot story) was reproducing this recipe, so many things were not available to her. Now, we have everything we need pretty much right at hand.
    We had a lot of sauerkraut when I was a child...but with hot dogs! Now we can get delicious German sausage. We are so fortunate!

  11. This is a great combo. I love all three parts.

  12. This reminds me of frankenbeanandmash from my youth with franks baked with beans and mashed potatoes and a scoop of cottage cheese on the side. Wacky but good and sooo comforting. Great recipe and story.

  13. I lived in Germany for 6 years in my younger days and a form of this is one of my favorite comfort food meals. I have never heard of a wurst called Metts , but the word for butcher in German is Metzger so perhaps it has come from that. Looks wonderful....comfort food at its best!

  14. Barbara, I'm glad you enjoyed the crockpot story, I'll tell my Mom!

    Lostpastremembered... Cottage cheese on the side of franks and beans? Who knew. I'll try it. If my next blog is about Alka Seltzer you'll know why.

    Linda... thanks for the info about the German word for butcher being Metzger. I never knew that, it probably does explain why we call them metz here.

  15. My German friends would smile upon you! I am going to pass along the name "Snow on the Mountain" I think they would love it. Thanks for sharing this food memory.

  16. Velma, I'm glad you liked the recipe and story. Thanks.

  17. Hey Randy and Gypsy, this type of German food is my weakness when it comes to staying away from meat. I've never had 'snow on the mountain', but it looks like a lot of delicious German sausage with mash potatoes and cabbage that I've had-so wonderful when it's authentic!

  18. Thanks for your comment Stella.