Recipes from the Rhineland

The rhine crosses several landscapes with rather different regional cuisines. For example the cuisine in Switzerland at its spring is totally different from the one in the netherlands at its mouths. A survey of all those would be a considerable work. This file is only about some specialities of the region at the border between the middle rhine and the lower rhine, approximately between the towns Bonn, Cologne and Neuss, a region, which sometimes is called "the bay of Cologne".

Most of the recipes are not very subtle, but subtlety never had been a characteristic of the people here.

Heaven and Earth (Himmel un Äd)

This meal got its name, because it consists of apples, which grow in the sky (on trees) (in german there is only one word "Himmel" for "sky" and "heaven"), and apples, which grow in the earth: potatoes, which are sometimes called "Erdäpfel" in german, "earth apples". The combination of sour ingredients (here the apples) with meat and/or potatoes is rather typical for the Rhineland.

For 6 portions
   750 g  potatoes
   750 g  apples (preferably Boskop)
     7    onions
   100 g  bacon
          salt
   100 ml milk
     2 EL butter
          nutmeg
          lemon juice (optional)
   500 g  black pudding (some kind of sausage with blood)
   500 g  liverwurst (or again black pudding)

Peel the potatoes and the apples, cut them into pieces and cook them tender in seperate pots (the potatoes in salt water). Cut the onions into slices and fry them together with the bacon in a heavy pan, until the are brown. Mash the potatoes coarsly together with milk, butter and nutmeg. Process the apples to apple sauce. Possibly refine it with lemon juice. Mix it with the potato mash or don't mix it.

Cut the sausage into slices and fry them on both sides for about 1min. Dress "Heaven and Earth" (i.e. the potatoes and the apples) on plates and put the sausage and the onions over it.

Thick beans with bacon (dicke Bohnen mit Speck)

I don't know, whether "thick beans" ("Dicke Bohnen") are known outside of germany. They are shaped like white or red beans, but are pale green and bigger (about 3cm long and 2cm broad).

Personally I don't like this recipe.

   1    onion
  50 g  fat
 750 g  thick beans
 300 g  bacon
        savory
  40 g  butter
  40 g  flour

Cook the finely diced onion in the hot fat. Add the beans, fill up with water. Add the bacon and cook tender (ca. 40min). The last 10min add the savory. When bacon and beans are ready, take the bacon out and cut it into slices. Thicken the bean stock with a roux. When serving, put the bacon ontop of the beans.

Source: "Das neue große Kochbuch", Bertelsmann Verlag 1970.

Sour Roast (Sauerbraten)

For 4 portions
   1 kg horsemeat roast (alternatively roastbeef)
  50 g  bacon in strips (optional)
 250 ml red wine vinegar
        soup vegetables (carrot, celery, leek (optional), 
           parsley root (optional), onion (optional))
   1    garlic clove
   2    bay leaves
   1 TL juniper berries
   3    allspice corns and/or cloves
   3    pepper corns
   1    thyme branch
 1/2 l  red wine
   4 EL pork lard 
   1 EL flour (optional)
  50 g  raisins
        salt
        pepper
        syrup from the sugar beet (alternatively maple syrup)

Possibly lard the roast with the bacon. Clean and wash the vegetables and cut them into pieaces. Bring the vinegar to boil with some water or stock, then let it cool down a bit and add the meat, the spices and the vegetables. Let it marinade in a closed bowl for several days (but as least 24h) at a cool place.

Take the meat out and roast it in the lard. Little by little add the marinade together with the vegetables and the spices. Braise it in the oven for 2h until 2h30min at 200°C. Then take the bay leaves, the cloves and the juniper berries out of the gravy. Strain the gravy, and perhaps thicken it with some flour. Add the raisins and season it with salt, pepper and sugar beet syrup.

Source: This is a conglomerate of several recipes, I found in books and in the internet.

Flöns

Flöns is a special type of black pudding (sausage with blood), that contains groats. (The official german name is "Grützwurst").

     Flöns
     rice
     salt

Cook the rice in salted water. Fry the sausage in the chasing, if it is not a plastic chasing. Otherwise remove the chasing, cut the sausage diagonally in 1cm thick slices, and fry it for a very short time on both sides.

Flöns is eaten by pressing the soft sausage mixture out of the chasing with a fork.

Mussels (Miesmuscheln)

Traditionally mussels could be bought in the Rhineland in all months, in which there is a "r" (i.e. september until april). Nowadays of course they are sold the whole year. For me one mussels dinner with friends in the year is tradition. When preparing it, one should not take too much vegetables: It shall not become a stew. The wine should in no case be omitted.

For 4 portions
   2 kg     mussels
 1/2 l      white wine
   2        onions
   1        carrot
   1        leek
            black pepper
   1        lemon (juice of it)
   1 bunch  parsley

Thoroughly brush the mussels under cold water. Remove the filaments. Throw away mussels, which are open. (They are already dead.) For the broth heat up the white wine in a large pot. Peel the onions and grate them into the pot. Peel the carrot and cut it in slices. Clean the leek and cut it in rings. Put the vegetables into the broth. Season with pepper.

If the broth is cooking, add the mussels. Let cook in the closed pot for 15min. From time to time shake the pot. Then take the mussels out of the broth and put them into a warmed up bowl.

Pour the broth into another pot. Add lemon juice. Heat up stirring several times. Wash the parsley and mince it. Pour the broth over the mussels and strew it with the parsley.

Mussels, which are still closed, have to be thrown away too.

Source: Die besten Rezepte aus dem Rheinland; Mosaik-Verlag, ISBN 3-576-10482-8.

Remark: Pouring the broth into another pot is not really necessary. I always eat the mussels directly out of the pot. The mussels are eaten with empty shells, which are used like a pincette to take out the mussels from its shells.

Potato Pancakes (Rievkooche)

Potato Pancakes are particularly often eaten at fairs.

For 4 portions
     1 kg potatoes
     3    eggs
     2    onions
     2 TB flour
          salz
          pepper
          lard (or sunflower oil)
          apple sauce

Peel the potatoes and grate them. Peel the onions and mince them. Process the potatoes, the onions, the flour and the eggs to a dough and season it well. Heat the lard in a pan. Put a handful of the dough into it, flatten it and fry it, until it is golden brown. This way process all the dough. Serve together with the apple sauce.

Fried potatoes (Bratkartoffeln)

Fried potatoes are eaten on the whole world. In the Rhineland they are especially popular.

For 4 portions
   1 kg potatoes
   2    onions
 100 ml oil
        salt
        black pepper

Peel the potatoes, wash them and cut them into fine slices. (If the slices are too thick, the potatoes won't get tender in the pan, because they are not cooked before frying.) Heat up the oil in a large pan. The roast the potatoes briefly. Add the minced onions and fry it for about 25min, until the potatoes start getting soft. Season well.

Half Rooster (Halve Haan)

This is nothing other than a cheese sandwich (or more precisely a cheese "Brötchen"). The name is a play of words in the dialect of Cologne.

   1 Roggenbrötchen
     butter
   1 slice cheese
     mustard (extra hot)
   1 onion slice
   4 slices gherkin
     caraway
     paprika powder

Remark: A "Brötchen" is some kind of roll, made of a simple yeast dough, oval, about 10cm long and 7cm broad, which is eaten in germany at the breakfast, as toasts or croissants are eaten somewhere else. A "Roggenbrötchen" is a Brötchen, whose dough contains rye-meal.

Rice pudding with cinnamon sugar (Milchreis mit Zimtzucker)

This is often served, when large amounts of dessert are necessary, e.g. in canteens.

For 4 portions
    1 l  milk
    1 pn salt
   75 g  sugar
  250 g  round grain rice
         vanilla (optional)

         cinnamon
         sugar

Bring the milk, salt and sugar (and perhaps the vanilla) to boil. Stir the rice in and soak for about 45min. Fill into bowls and serve with cinnamon sugar. This goes well with stewed fruits (e.g. stewed apples or cherries).

Apple syrup (Apfelkraut)

Although the usual spreads as jam, cheese or sausage are much more spread, apple and sugar beet syrup can still be found without problems in any supermarket in the Rhineland.

For about 600g
   5 kg apples

Wash and clean the apples, cut them in quarters and process to about 3l clear apple juice. Boil down in an open pot to about 600g of dark, smooth syrup.

Sugar beet syrup (Rübenkraut)

Sugar beet syrup too is a rather popular spread in the Rhineland. Unfortunately it can't really be produced at home. Not only it is too complicated, but sugar beets are only sold in tons. This recipe here is only for completeness.

   sugar beets

Wash the sugar beets and cut them into pieces of the size of a finger. Cook them. Then steam them for several hours at 105°C. Squeeze out the such produced sugar beet mash under high pressure and boil down the sugar beet juice until it has the consistency of honey.

Source: The company Grafschafter, the biggest sugar beet producer in the region.

Mutzenmandeln

I like these cookies very much. Unfortunately they are very complicated to make. These cookies are traditional carnival cookies, i.e. they were eaten between the 11.11. 11o'clock 11 and the following Ash Wednesday.

For about 100 cookies
    65 g  butter
   190 g  powdered sugar
     2    eggs
     2    egg yolks
     1 TB rum
     1 TB rose water
          salt
   1/2    lemon (zest of it)
    50 g  marzipan mixture
     3 TB condensed milk
   500 g  flour
     1 TS baking powder

   750 g  lard

    50 g  powdered sugar

Melt the butter and sieve the powdered sugar in. Stir fluffy together with the eggs, egg yolks, rum, rose water, salt and lemon zest. Knead the marzipan and the condensed milk. Then process the butter mixture, the marzipan mixture, the flour and the baking powder to a dough. Let rest for about 30min.

Roll out the dough about 6mm thick. Cut out pieces approximately shaped like almonds. (There is es special tool to give the "Mutzenmandeln" their characteristic shape.) Heat up the lard to 180°C and bake out the cookies for 5min, until they are light brown. Let the oil drop down. Spray with powdered sugar, while they are still hot.

Source: "Die besten Rezepte aus dem Rheinland"; Mosaik-Verlag. ISBN3-576-10482-8.

by Michael Becker, 5/2002. Last modification: 11/2004.