This monthly cooking series features husband and wife team Barry and Kelley Courter.
BARRY SAYS: It is October and the chill in the air -- finally -- means it's time for hearty meals that warm from the inside. At our house, that means roasts, cornbread, stews and, at least once or twice a month, German fare.
This month, Kelley put her own spin on a couple of traditional German dishes.
KELLEY SAYS: Ah, yes, for some reason I felt compelled to do a German dish this month. I also wanted to do a dish that I hadn't tried before. We've done sausages and schnitzel before. And yes it was done in a slow cooker, which I'm growing more and more fond of.
Most recipes call for round steak, which to me is a lot more time-consuming, so I opted to go with a thinly sliced flank steak, which I got at the local Hispanic market. I did pound it a little thinner, but it didn't require too much effort. The recipe was really very easy. It just takes some prep work and a few steps along the way, but the outcome was very tasty.
Even Grace, our 17-year-old, who says she doesn't like meat, went back for seconds. I served this with potatoes, but any starch would go well with this dish. I also made braised red cabbage and apples. This side dish came together quickly and was very tasty with the hard cider I used for the braising liquid.
BARRY: Grace went back because it was delicious. The dill pickles, which Kelley made this summer (you can find the recipe online at www.timesfreepress.com in an earlier Courters' Kitchen) really put this dish over the top for me. They gave the meat a surprisingly sweet flavor, and the flank steak was great. Served with a good Oktoberfest beer, the blend of cabbage, potatoes, carrots and meat was really good.
Usually, with German dishes, I like a dollop of spicy mustard on the side to flavor the meal, but I didn't need it.
11/2 pounds round steak or flank steak
Sweet German mustard
4 slices Black Forest bacon, cut in half
1 yellow onion, 1/2 chopped and 1/2 thinly sliced
Dill pickles, quartered
Paprika and black pepper
1 tablespoon lard
1 pound carrots, sliced in 2-inch pieces
2 stalks celery, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
Pound meat between wax paper with a mallet till thin. Portion out desired amounts. (We ended up with 8 servings.)
Lay meat open, and spread generously with mustard. Place a piece of bacon and sliced onions along with a quarter of dill pickle into the meat. Roll up and secure with a toothpick.
Sprinkle lightly with paprika and black pepper, then sear in lard in heavy skillet till brown.
Place carrots, celery, chopped onions and garlic in bottom of a slow cooker, and place seared beef rolls on top of vegetables.
1 shallot, diced
1 garlic clove, diced
1/2 cup red wine
1 cup water
1 container Knorr Swiss homestyle beef stock
Black pepper, to taste
2 tablespoons fresh chopped Italian parsley
Once beef is seared, pour out most of the oil from skillet. Return to heat, and add shallots and garlic. Cook until slightly brown, and then deglaze with wine. Add water and stock, and cook until combined. Pour over beef in slow cooker, and sprinkle with pepper and parsley. Cook on high for about 4 hours.
1/2 bag dried wild forest mushrooms
1/2 pint fresh crimini mushrooms
2 tablespoons butter
1-2 tablespoons flour
Worcestershire sauce, to taste
1 tablespoon dried tarragon
1/2 teaspoon celery salt
4 sprigs fresh thyme
Bring dried mushrooms to a boil in 1/2 cup water. Reserve mushrooms, and add mushroom liquid to slow cooker. Sauté fresh mushrooms in butter, and add reconstituted mushrooms. Cook until limp. Add to slow cooker.
Remove beef rolls to a plate. Take 1/2 cup of cooking sauce from slow cooker, and add flour to make a slurry. Mix well, and then return mixture to slow cooker to thicken the gravy. Cook for a few minutes and watch for sauce to become thicker.
Return beef rolls to pot, along with Worcestershire sauce, tarragon and celery salt. Cook for an additional 30-40 minutes. When ready to serve, sprinkle with fresh thyme.