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Nov 7, 2009 09:19 AM

Menu Suggestions for a German meal

I'm looking menu suggestions for my family's annual holiday potluck. Each year we pick a country/cuisine and everyone brings dishes from that cuisine. For example, we did Mexican last year. One person is responsible for deciding the menu and handing out the recipes. This year I'm in charge and we have chosen a German theme. I'm a fairly experienced cook, but I haven't made a lot of German recipes so I'm looking for some suggestions. Any inputs would be greatly appreciated.

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  1. Here are some ideas that you can consider (and I'm thinking traditional German food, not contemporary, which is lighter and may have ethnic influences).

    Main course:
    Sauerbraten (a pot roast)
    Rolladen (Beef roulades)
    Roast goose (for many, a traditional holiday entree)
    Käsespätzle (Cheese spatzle--nice for vegetarians, if there are any in your family)

    Linsesuppe (Lentil Soup--more main-course-y than a starter soup, though)
    Soup with leberknödel (with liver dumplings)
    Flädlesuppe (a broth with thin pancake strips)

    Potatoes in many forms! Fried (Bratkartoffel) are a particular favorite of mine
    Salad (boston lettuce is nice) with a vinaigrette that has a small touch of sugar (it works!)
    Braised red cabbage
    Knödel (dumplings--potato)

    Really good bread! I think the Germans bake some of the best bread in the world!

    Cheeses and sausages/good cold cuts--with bread and butter for a nice, light evening

    Dessert: Black Forest Cherry Torte
    Frankfurter Kranz
    Obsttorte (fruit torte--basically a spongecake base filled with fruit and topped with a sweetened gelatin)
    German cheesecake--NOT AT ALL like an American cheesecake, but good nonetheless. It's made with quark, which can be difficult to acquire in the US (if you ar in the US). Some hybridized recipes call for cottage cheese, an ingredient more accessible to many.

    Good luck!

    My suggestions clearly focus on southern Germany, but you may get some interesting fish suggestions from someone with more knowledge of the north. Perhaps linguafood with reply to this thread with some typically helpful suggestions!

    1 Reply
    1. re: nofunlatte

      wursts are a must. pork and veal are also important to the german menu. schnitzels and sauerbraten with sort of poatoe and or spaetzle.

    2. rolled cake with filling
      rolled meat with filling
      cabbage rolled with meat filling

      1 Reply
      1. it's unthinkable without kraut, wurst, rye bread, potatoes etc. in glorious Bavaria carp is also much loved. one of my personal favourites is Franconian 'krustenbraten' [pork roast with crackling?]. not the healthiest so remember to eat sensibly.

        good theme and i'm partial to Bavaria :)

        1. Sauerbraten (TJoC has a great recipe)
          Red Cabbage braised with apples, onions, and chestnuts

          5 Replies
          1. re: pikawicca

            This is a great menu, but I would substitute rouladen for the sauerbraten or make both. I love rouladen. With a German mom, it is something I always request that she make. How to go wrong with beef rolls filled with bacon, onions, pickle, mustard, and served in a gravy.

            For dessert: Black forest cake, and what about dampfnudeln - delicious yeast dumplings served with sauce.


            More info:


            Another recipe:

            kalily, do you have a source near you for German sausages and sauerkraut? That would add another dimension to the menu... And it requires little preparation.

            1. re: Full tummy

              Thanks everyone for the wonderful suggestions. I'm getting excited about this meal. Since my family is from Wisconsin I should be able to find a butcher who sells German sausages. I lived in Switzerland for a year and one thing I definitely miss are the wursts!

              1. re: kalily

                There are so many different kinds; if you could make a little photo sign with their names, that might be fun to put alongside the serving dish. I like to cut them up into pieces, 1/3 or 1/4 sausage, so that everybody can try a little of each... And you could serve them on a bed of sauerkraut or red cabbage, whichever you decide.

                (Sausages are often cooked with the sauerkraut, to impart a meaty flavour to it...)

              2. re: Full tummy

                OH, you've just resurrected some wonderful memories of I have of Dampfnudeln! With a cherry sauce! We actually ate them as a main meal, which could be a vegetarian option.

                1. re: nofunlatte

                  Yum! It is on my to-make list. Soon.

            2. Another idea, if you'd like to try something less well known: Maultaschen. These are like big-ass Swabian ravioli. Large-ish pasta sheet filled with a flavored meat filling, usually served in a clear broth (at least the times I've had them).

              Butterbrezel would be great, but good luck getting them in the US--I've tried to make them and I cannot replicate them.

              And use cultured butter, if possible, for a more "authentic" taste (authentic is in quotes, because it's such a questionable term.)

              YOu're getting some good suggestions from folks here.

              1 Reply
              1. re: nofunlatte

                Hey nofunlatte,

                My Mom is German and really misses the butterbrezel. We found them thanks to Chowhound at The pretzels are shipped frozen and you finish them in the oven.