Although my family is about 75% German, I never grew up eating specifically “German” food. My dad (the cook in our family) cooked anything he felt like so we ate everything from pasta to potatoes to cous-cous to shish-kabobs to lentils to polenta to rataouille to stew. As a result, I will eat just about anything (with the exception of stir-fry, which I hate and still remember the glorious day I realized I never had to eat it again!). My dad primarily cooked things that would leave leftovers (L.O.’s, in our family lingo) so that we didn’t eat junk on days when we got home late, but every so often, if he didn’t have any leftovers but didn’t want to cook an entire meal, he would serve kielbasa, hot dogs, frozen salmon patties, or occasionally, waffles.
The first time I remember my dad making this dish when I was in high school. Despite the fact that I didn’t eat sauerkraut or spicy mustard at the time, I became obsessed with this meal. My dad, on the other hand, doesn’t even remember making it. I think he found it pretty un-memorable. But, I love it because it is super easy (honestly, do I make anything that isn’t?), fast to make, and tastes amazing. It’s great comfort food.
I like to call it my German Dinner meal, because it consists of German sausage, potatoes, sauerkraut and mustard.
It requires few ingredients, and even less effort. You need: kielbasa sausage (I finally sucked it up and switched to Turkey Smoked Sausage..tastes like Polska Kielbasa but cuts the calories in half and has one third the amount of fat…good news is, it tastes exactly the same), red potatoes, spicy brown mustard, sauerkraut, butter, salt and black pepper, and parsley (not pictured).
Red potatoes. I used 4 medium sized potatoes and that fed me for two meals! Often my dad will dice up red potatoes and roast them in the oven with olive oil and herbs. I much prefer potatoes prepared this way: boiled and tossed with butter, salt, pepper and parsley. They aren’t as dry.
Anyway, boil a pot of water and add the potatoes.
Let the potatoes boil for about fifteen to twenty minutes. I like to stick a fork in them sporadically to check and see how done they are. You want them to still be firm so that they do not crumble into “mashed” potatoes when you dice them. Not crunchy, per se, but…crispy? Just keep checking them.
While the potatoes are boiling, take out your sausage. You can really use any kind of sausage for this, but I prefer kielbasa. I remember my dad serving this with weisswurst (white Bavarian sausage), bratwurst, dark smoked sausage, plain old hot dogs…etc. Honestly, I don’t think I paid attention to the groceries my dad bought, like, ever, so I don’t know what brand of sausage my dad used. Knowing my dad, it probably sometimes came from Costco, and sometimes came from some obscure Seattle meat market. Who knows. Anyway, I use the Hillshire Farm Kielbasa (now Turkey, sigh) and it takes just fine.
When the potatoes are done, dump them into a bowl and put the sausage right into the boiling water. Yup, you heard me. Recycled food used to gross me out – like the idea of drinking cereal milk or something – but I got over it. Just put the sausage in the water. It will just heat it through – smoked sausage is already cooked. If you use fresh sausage, you’ll have to follow the directions, of course. My dad always did the sausages on the grill, but balcony barbecues are outlawed in my building.
Dice the potatoes into bite-sized chunks. See how they hold their shape and don’t crumble into pieces? That is what you are going for.
Add a (generous, cough cough) pat of butter to the potatoes. Paula Deen made me do it!!
Chop up some parsley – I use Italian flat-leaf because that it was grows in my garden, but curly works, too – and sprinkle on top of the potatoes.
Add a few generous shakes of black pepper, and a sprinkling of salt. Be careful with the salt – especially if the butter is salted. Don’t forget the sausage is pretty salty, too!
Stir it all together, and set it aside. (This should take all of five minutes, by the way.)
Get out your condiments. Place a heaping spoonful of each on your plates. I know…this meal is a tough, tough dish to put together. A note on the mustard: I love plain spicy brown mustard. Sadly, I accidentally bought this instead. Horseradish is too spicy for me, so after I took this picture I realized I couldn’t eat this, so I used Dijon instead. Dijon tastes just as delicious, but then I suppose it would be called Franco-German Dinner. The other must-have is sauerkraut. I used to be scared of sauerkraut; at least, I vividly remember having a strong dislike of it…but I don’t remember ever trying it. Now I love it. Either way, it has to go along with the potatoes and sausage so you’d better use it…or else.
Put the sausage on the plate, add a pile of potatoes and help yourself to some mustard, and some sauerkraut.
Ta-da! Here’s the thing though: I’m going to give you my borderline OCD way of eating this.
Stab a slice of sausage on your fork, dip it in mustard, spear some sauerkraut and eat. Or, add a potato at the end. It tastes best if you have a little bit of everything in each bite! Okay, OCD-ness over.
The potatoes are the perfect bland accompaniment to the sausage. Yummm…
The End. :)