Beets with Dill and Sour Cream
52 Weeks in Germany. Week Zweiundfünfzig (fifty-two)
Well with the breaks we have had, our final week in Germany has come a little later than what we envisioned when we first started this series. Nonetheless, this article is going to wrap up our Culinary Sojourn through Germany. The next time we meet, we are putting away the red, gold and black and replacing that with red, white and green. For our final German dish, we’ll be making Beets with Dill and Sour Cream. We chose to go with beets as having joined a CSA, we have been getting beets every week. Since, we don’t often cook with beets, we felt it would be a great opportunity to use the excess we have saved and prepare another wonderful German dish that features the beet. The recipe is found in The German Cookbook, by Mimi Sheraton, page 269.
What had been so much fun about this series is that with each dish there seems to be surprises with each one. New discoveries are what capture the essence of this series. We chose to go with beets as we had some three pounds worth that were filling up refrigerator space. This was more of a recipe from necessity rather than one we anxiously wanted to try. But, sometimes, this necessity can be a blessing as we found out with this one.
For me, the colors of the ingredients really blew me away during each stage of preparation. We used a couple different types of beets that lent their own flavor and colors to the dish. The first series of steps involve cleaning the beets and cooking them for around 30-40 minutes in salt water. One their cooked, you need to peel and slice the beets and set those aside then prepare your sauce. At first you start out with the white of the onions mixed in with the dark green of the herbs. Once you add in your beets to finish the dish, the sauce turns this wonderful deep red color which becomes lighter as you add the sour cream. The colors really are a feast for the eyes. The presentation was really inviting to want to dig in and try the final dish when it was through.
A couple years ago, we planted a single stock of dill. And that is really all you need to get a healthy reseeding of dill in your garden. The second year after we planted it we had a couple stocks and by the third year we have some twenty or thirty dill plants growing out in the perennial garden bed. So, it is nice to be able to go out and cut fresh dill when you need it. We dabbled in dill a little in this series, but it’s important in this dish. We try to maintain herb gardens alongside our vegetable gardens so if need a little bit of this and a little bit of that we have the luxury of going outside and cutting some of what we need.
Well with the breaks we have had, our final week in Germany has come a little later than what we envisioned when we first started this series. Nonetheless, this article is going to wrap up our Culinary Sojourn through Germany. The next time we meet, we are putting away the red, gold and black and replacing that with red, white and green.
Anyway, for a dish that we would have never considered when we first started this series, this ended up being the final fireworks show that closes out our tour of German cuisine. I personally enjoyed the taste of the dish. It was a lot of fun to prepare, but you need to allow for time to prepare the cooked beets but once that step is done, the dish comes together pretty quickly. So, if beets have never made it to the bottom of your shopping bag, I would challenge you to try this dish as a creative side dish for your next family meal or gathering.
Tools and Techniques
There are no special tools needed in this dish. If you have a deep kettle and skillet as well as a sharp knife and cutting board, you will be in good shape. A rubber potato scrubber works well to clean the beets and helps get of any dirt on the beets, so that is something that is helpful to have for this recipe.
Challenges and the things to keep in mind
There are a couple things of note. First, we ended up straining our beet stock through a coffee filter to get any grit that may have gotten into the stock from the beets. It is important to rinse and clean the beets really thoroughly to make sure your beet stock does not have a dirt aftertaste.
I think it be fitting to wrap up by giving high praise to The German Cookbook and to Mimi Sheraton who compiled the recipes found in this cookbook. Over the 52 weeks, I think we only had a couple of recipes that I would consider average. The others were really a joy to make and discover as we progressed from week to week. There certainly were plenty of highlights.
You can review each and every recipe we made in the 52 weeks through Germany by going to the Culinary Sojourns tab and then clicking on Germany. We plan to present a comprehensive webpage for each country we visit. We’ll be working on that. I will also note that, and I know I have mentioned this a few times, but we’ll periodically, revisit Germany in our Germany Revisited segments, by which we’ll enhance our experience by looking at new authors and other German culinary points of view. As we complete our five year cycle, we’ll return to The German Cookbook to pick up where we left off. We probably won’t just rely on just one source the second time through, but feature four or five other sources to really give us a well rounded look at German cuisine. So, while we say Auf Wiedersehen for now, Lord willing, we’ll be back for more in five or so years to fully immerse ourselves in German cuisine.
Coming up next week, we’ll take a look at the next country on our itinerary, Italy. We’ll let you know the recipe text we plan to use as well a sampling of recipes that you could expect to find over the course of our next 52 culinary weeks through Italy where we will be immersed in authentic Italian cuisine.
As always, we’ll post progress photos on Facebook. So, you’ll want to keep checking back for that.
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