Oktoberfest on the Patio

We boast one of the best Oktoberfests in the nation, but when the weekend rolled around, it was rainy and we decided we weren’t really in the mood to put up with the inebriated. 

Solution:  Have our own Oktoberfest on the patio.  Stock up the chiminea, heat up the grill, and we were ready for some German eats.

For a mid-afternoon appetizer, I decided to try “Pretzel Rolls” that I had just read about on another blog, Sweet Pea’s Kitchen.   They were a bit time consuming, but well worth it. 

Pretzel rolls with homemade mustard.

For the homemade mustard, I used the following recipe (modified from Epicurious):

1 cup lager beer, divided (I used a Sam Adams)
2/3 Burgundy wine vinegar
2.2 oz. whole mustard seeds
2 tablespoons dry mustard
2 T. fresh, grated horseradish
1 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon honey
1/4 teaspoon caraway seeds
2 teaspoons cornstarch mixed with 1 tablespoon water

Whisk 1/2 cup beer, vinegar, mustard seeds, and dry mustard to blend in small bowl. Let mixture stand at room temperature at least 2 hours.

 Transfer beer-and-mustard-seed mixture to blender; add remaining 1/2 cup beer, horseradish, 1 teaspoon coarse salt, 1 teaspoon pepper, honey, and caraway seeds; blend until coarse puree forms. Transfer mixture to a small sauce pan.  Add cornstarch mixed with 1 tablespoon water; whisk over medium-high heat until mustard thickens and boils, about 2 minutes. Transfer mustard to airtight container. Cover and chill until cold.

I just let it cool to room temperature before we taste-tested with the pretzel rolls.

Next, I started on a side to go with our grilled brats.  I found a recipe for Fried German Potatoes and added a few things like bacon and green pepper.  The original recipe can be viewed at Epicurious as well.  Here is the recipe with my changes:

4 slices thick-slab bacon
3 pounds potatoes (I used a mix of Yukon Gold and Red Gold)
4 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon stone ground mustard
2 T. chives
4 tablespoons bacon fat
6 tablespoons lager beer, divided
1 medium red onion, chopped
2 bell peppers, chopped
Salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Line a small baking pan with foil and lay bacon slices on foil.  Bake in oven until crisp, 15-20 minutes.  Remove slices to a paper-toweled lined plate to drain.  Reserve bacon fat.  

Cook potatoes in large pot of boiling salted water until just tender when pierced with sharp knife, about 20 minutes. Drain and let cool to room temperature (or you can refrigerate them overnight.)  Cut potatoes into 1/2-inch cubes (do not peel).

Whisk oil, vinegar, mustard and chives in small bowl to blend for vinaigrette.   Set aside.

Heat bacon fat in a large cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Add potatoes to skillet and sprinkle with salt. Sauté until potatoes begin to brown, stirring frequently, about 7 minutes.

Add beer, then onions and peppers to potatoes; cook until beer evaporates, stirring occasionally, about 1 minute. Reduce heat to medium and sauté until potatoes are brown around edges, about 5 minutes. Crumble bacon and add to potatoes.  Pour  vinaigrette over potatoes.  Remove from heat. Season to taste with salt and pepper.  Serve at room temperature.

Finally, I started on the “Drunken Onions” for our brats:

2 T. olive oil
2 onion, cut in half and sliced thin

1 bottle beer (Your preference, but the darker, the more interesting)
1 T. red wine vinegar
2 t. Tabasco sauce

Heat 2 T. olive oil in a medium sauce pan.  Cook onions for 3 minutes.  Add beer, vinegar and Tabasco. 

Reduce to medium and simmer while brats are prepared. 

So, grab a beer, grill some brats, and enjoy Oktoberfest at home!

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