When we lived in Maple Valley, Washington (a sleepy little suburb of Seattle more towards the mountain – Mt. Rainier, that is), our next door neighbors turned us on to the best German restaurant located in Black Diamond. It was down the road and around the bend, so to speak.
Europa was the name, and the food was as authentic as the decor. The best we’ve had. Take a look ~
The fire was always ablaze since the weather is always, shall we say, “not dry.” A cup of soup was always in order as the first course, and among our very favorites was their cabbage soup. The broth could heal.
German Cabbage Soup
It always came with a little, hard roll that you could dip in the broth and soak it up with. Oh boy, that was our favorite part-I can taste it now.
After we moved back to Texas, we missed their wonderful food, and I tried many times to come close to their soup recipe. Finally, just last night, the stars aligned, the moon took over, and as a cosmic force guided my hands and taste buds in yet another try at making a close recipe of our favorite, heartwarming soup.
Now is the time to share it with my friends. Here’s the recipe (as well as other German recipes I love for a complete German dinner). The soup is “healing” and truly magical.
The soup key ingredients:
The only hint I got from the German cook at Europa when I asked for the recipe was that it contained pork broth. That was only when I asked her specifically if the broth was pork. She shook her head “yes,” but somehow I felt she would have agreed with any guess I made to keep her German secret only in the family or maybe just in her head forever. I can’t imagine the ingredients written down anywhere. So I knew I was on my own. It’s happened before, and it will happen again.
My mission in life seems to always try to figure out what’s in a great recipe when the actual recipe is not given or never found.
Here is a gallery of some of their other dishes-stuffed cabbage, spaetzle, German ale, schnitzel with German potato salad, dumplings, brats, red cabbage, sauerkraut and lemon cake.
I’m also including my recipe for German potato salad, German green beans and fast & easy schnitzel.
Feel free to experiment with my recipes. I used this type of bouquet garni that I buy in a bottle already in cheesecloth and tied up. Right before I add the heavy cream, I fish it out with a spoon and remove it. Sometimes I just substitute rosemary or thyme.
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil
- 1 thick slice smoked salt pork (or smoked ham hocks or smoked ham)
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 1 Tablespoon garlic, minced
- 1 package beef kielbasa, sliced or cubed
- salt and black pepper to taste (I like lots of freshly ground black pepper)
- 1 bouquet garni (I buy premade dried herbs in cheesecloth and tied)-usually contains dried thyme, bay, parsley, etc.
- 1-2 teaspoons dried Italian seasoning
- some celery seed
- 32 ounce container chicken broth
- 1 Tablespoon light brown sugar
- 1/2 head cabbage, cored and roughly chopped into 2-inch pieces (whole cabbage if small)
- 2 large carrots, peeled and cubed or sliced
- 10-12 small baby potatoes, cooked unpeeled
- 1 cooked pork chop (I had leftover and cubed, but you can omit or substitute any other cooked meat)-optional
- 1/3 cup heavy cream
- In a large saucepan over medium high heat, add olive oil, salt pork, onion, garlic and kielbasa. Stir and cook 5 minutes. Add salt, pepper, bouquet garni, celery seed and Italian seasoning.
- Pour in chicken broth and add brown sugar, carrots, potatoes and pork chop.
- Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium low, cover and cook for 1 hour.
- Right before serving, add heavy cream and stir.
- Add whatever vegetables you'd like and omit potatoes if you'd like also. Very flexible, but the broth is the key, so be sure and add the smoked meats.
Warm German Potato Salad
Warm German Potato Salad recipe with key ingredients ~
- 1 pound small new potatoes, scrubbed
- 8 strips bacon, cut into 1-inch pieces
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 1/2 cup white vinegar (seems like a lot, but it's right)
- 4 Tablespoons water
- 1 1/2 Tablespoons cornstarch
- 6 Tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1 1/2 - 2 Tablespoons Stone Ground German Mustard
- Salt & Pepper to taste
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley (appx.)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a baking dish and set aside.
- Place potatoes whole with skins on in enough cold salted water to cover potatoes and bring to a boil on high heat. Reduce heat to medium and cook 8-9 minutes, or just until they are barely tender when tested with a fork.
- Drain and allow potatoes to cool enough to handle. Slice into 1/2-inch slices, leaving skins on. Place in prepared baking dish, layering, and salt & pepper generously.
- In a large skillet, fry bacon pieces until crisp. Remove to drain on paper towels. Cook the onion in the same skillet as the bacon in the remaining bacon grease until limp and leave in pan.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together vinegar, water, cornstarch, sugar and mustard. Add to the onion in skillet. Cook on medium and stir until slightly thickened.
- Pour sauce in skillet over potatoes in baking dish, adding additional salt and pepper, to taste, and parsley. Stir gently to mix.
- Bake uncovered 15-20 minutes and serve warm or room temperature. Serves 8.
Sweet & sour German Green Beans
The perfect side dish to add some color to a German meal is a sweet and sour dish that is so easy that you’ll be making it all the time.
- 1 pound fresh or frozen whole green beans
- 4-5 bacon strips, diced
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 2 teaspoons cornstarch
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon dry ground mustard
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- Cook beans in salted water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and cook about 10 minutes, or until tender and drain. Place in serving dish.
- In a skillet, cook bacon over medium heat until crisp. Remove to paper towels. In the same skillet, saute onions in drippings until tender.
- In a small bowl, combine cornstarch, salt, mustard and water until smooth and pour into onion in skillet. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium and cook and stir for 1-2 minutes or until thickened.
- Stir in brown sugar and vinegar and pour over green beans. Sprinkle with bacon. Serves 4-6.
Traditional German Jagerschnitzel (Jägerschnitzel meaning “hunter’s cutlets” in English) is pan fried pork cutlets served with sliced lemons and a yummy mushroom gravy on the side to pour over the schnitzel and wonderful over mashed potatoes.
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil
- 8 ounces (appx) fresh mushrooms, sliced
- 3 Tablespoons butter
- 3 Tablespoons flour
- 1 can beef broth
- 1-2 drops Kitchen Bouquet liquid
- salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- ½ cup sour cream
- 1-2 cups peanut oil
- 8 thin pork cutlets, tenderized and pounded thin if not thin enough (should be about 1/4-inch)
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Seasoned salt
- 1/2 cup all purpose flour
- 1 cup plain bread crumbs
- 3 eggs, beaten
- 2 lemons, sliced
- chopped parsley
- To make the gravy, heat olive oil in a small skillet over medium-high heat and add the mushrooms. Cook until the mushrooms have released their juices and the liquid is mostly evaporated. Transfer the mushrooms to a plate and set aside.
- In the same skillet, melt the butter, add the flour, and whisk until the flour is dissolved. Continue to whisk constantly until the mixture is a rich, deep golden brown, about 3-4 minutes.
- Slowly add the beef broth, whisking constantly, until combined. Return the mushrooms to the skillet. Bring the gravy to a simmer, reduce to low, and simmer uncovered for about 15 minutes or until the gravy is thickened. Season with salt and pepper, if needed, and add sour cream, stir.
- While the gravy is simmering, fry the schnitzel. Heat the oven to 250 degrees and place a baking dish on the middle shelf. In a cast iron skillet or heavy nonstick skillet, heat oil on medium high heat until it reaches 300-350 degrees.
- Set up 3 shallow dishes in this order-flour, beaten eggs, bread crumbs. Add seasoned salt to bread crumbs and mix. Working quickly, dip the chops in the flour, the egg, and the breadcrumbs, in that order. Make sure to lightly dredge and shake off excess crumbs. Fry 2-3 pieces at a time 2 minutes on each side until golden. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate to drain, then place in heated dish in oven. Layer with sliced lemons to add flavor.
- Serve out of baking dish with lemons and sprinkle with parsley right before serving. Serve with mushroom gravy on the side.
- Don't press the breadcrumbs into the meat. Coat gently but thoroughly, and gently shake off the excess crumbs. Make sure the cooking oil is hot enough at this point (about 280°F) as you don't want the Schnitzel to sit around in the coating for long before frying.
- Fry the Schnitzel for about 2-3 minutes on both sides. When they're a deep golden brown, transfer them to a plate that's lined with paper towels. Serve immediately with the mushroom gravy and your choice of sides.