Goet-ta Out of Here!

A Gift from the Queen City

Gliers

Glier’s Goetta

About a year or so ago, I was introduced to goetta (pronounced get-tuh, rhymes with meta), a type of breakfast sausage-combination-amalgamation-thing with its roots in Cincinnati’s German immigrant population. I’d heard of this semi-mythical gastronomic beast but, living in Hoosier Land, a two-and-a-half hour drive away from the Queen City epicenter, I’d never partaken of so much as a crispy, crunchy crumb of the stuff. It wasn’t (and to my knowledge, still isn’t) available in my local grocery stores.1 So leave it to a new relationship and an invitation to a Goettoberfest to initiate me in the Ways of the Goettarati.

As a mixture of meat and grain, goetta has been compared to scrapple, that morning mush featured as part of Pennsylvania Dutch cuisine. Certainly, similarities stand out—both contain some combination of meat, grain, and spices. Both share a German-American lineage. And both are an expression of creative frugality. But they are clearly two different kinds of treats.

So, What Is Goetta, Exactly?

Goetta, which combines ground pork, often pork shoulder (sometimes with ground beef), pinhead or steel-cut oats, and seasonings, was, historically, a way to stretch meat into multiple meals. In that sense, it served as a testament to immigrant frugality. Typically formed into a log or rectangular loaf, it’s sliced thin and then fried so that the exterior becomes crisp. Although goetta is most often deemed a breakfast treat, culinary creatives pushing the envelope incorporate it into other recipes (goetta pizza, anyone?).

Goetta’s closest relative may be the aforementioned scrapple, the Pennsylvania Dutch2 dish. Scrapple mixes porks bits (including offal), cornmeal, and spices, so there is that meat-grain similarity. It, too, is sliced thin and fried. But the grains are different, as is the origin of Germans behind these dishes. The revolutions of 1848 that brought many Germans to the United States served as the impetus of many of Cincinnati’s immigrants relocations, whereas the Pennsylvania Dutch primarily stem from the Protestant religious refugees of the Rhineland-Palatinate, southwestern Germany, and Switzerland during an earlier period. Additionally, the textures differ. Scrapple is fine-grained, whereas goetta is coarser and crumblier. Still, one cannot deny the correlation between scrapple and goetta.

Sources of Goetta

Eckerlin's
Eckerlin’s

The Greater Cincinnati area (which includes not only the Queen City herself, but surrounding counties, including some in Indiana and Kentucky), is Goetta Central. A number of producers supply the goetta-loving public and, having tried three of them, the recipes are like snowflakes—no two are alike. The standard (and most ubiquitous in supermarkets) is Glier’s, which comes in a tube. I’ve also had Eckerlin’s (from Cincinnati’s Findlay Market), which seems spicier and pepper-ier, as well as Mike’s (also acquired at Findlay Market), which has a more pure pork flavor. I enjoyed all three and wouldn’t turn any of them down. If you’re up for a challenge, you can even make your own (which I will, some day!). Until then, I’ll happily indulge in those available commercially.

Mike's Homemade (but Commercially Available) Goetta
Mike’s Homemade (but Commercially Available) Goetta

On Deck: Cooking Goetta and a Recipe for Goetta Grilled Cheese

In the next week or so, I’ll be posting some instructions on cooking goetta, as well as a recipe for goetta grilled cheese. With pictures!

1On June 16th, I checked both my local Marsh supermarket and my local Meijer superstore, neither of which currently carries goetta
2The proper term is actually Pennsylvania German, as “Dutch” is a corruption of “Deutsch”, aka German in German.

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Pork Chops with Sour Cherry-Red Wine Sauce

Makes 4 servings

Pork takes to fruit like nobody’s business. Pork with peaches, pork with apples, pork with pears. And now pork with tart cherries! And if you don’t eat meat, serve the sauce over baked tofu or over rice as a side dish.

PorkSourCherrySauce

A fine dinner!

What You’ll Need

  • chopping board and knife for onion
  • saucepan (1.5 or 2 quart)
  • baking sheet for chops
  • spoon for stirring
  • measuring cups and spoons

Ingredients

  • 4 bone-in pork chops, 3/4 to 1-inch thick
  • oil, salt, and pepper for chops
  • 1/2 large onion, minced
  • 1 Tbsp butter
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 1 Tbsp sherry vinegar
  • 3/4 cup red wine
  • 1 cup stemmed and pitted sour cherries, fresh or frozen (thawed if frozen)
  • 1/4 cup sour cream or crème fra&#238che1
  • salt and pepper to taste

How to Make the Pork Chops and Sauce

For the pork chops

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C)
  2. Pat chops dry, oil them, then season with salt and pepper.
  3. Place on a baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes.
  4. Turn chops over and bake for another 10-15 minutes (start checking temperature at 20 minutes; it should be around 145°F (63°C) before you remove them from the oven.
  5. For the sauce (can be made in advance)

  6. While the pork is cooking, melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the onions and saute until soft and translucent, but not browned, about 10 minutes.
  7. Add the chicken stock and sherry vinegar. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-high and reduce sauce by about half.
  8. Add the wine, bring to a boil again and reduce heat to medium-high. Cook until the sauce is reduced by half.
  9. Add the cherries (and any accumulated juices) and cook for 3-4 minutes.
  10. Remove from heat and add the sour cream or crème fra&#238che, mixing it in thoroughly.
  11. Divide sauce evenly over the pork chops.
  12. If you make the sauce ahead of time, just reheat it over medium heat before spooning it over the pork chops.

    Don’t eat pork? You can substitute cooked boneless, skinless chicken breasts for the pork.

    1Sour cream will curdle if you add it while it’s on the heat. That is not a problem with cr&#232me fra&#238che.

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Mustard-Chive Pork Medallions

serves 3-4

Pork + Mustard + Chives = Easy, Delicious Dinner. There, that’s all the math you need to know. This is quick enough for a weeknight.

A variation of this recipe originally appeared in the October 2004 issue of Bon Appétit.

What You’ll Need

  • 2 skillets
  • 2 knives, one for cutting the pork and one for the herbs (or you can wash the first knife)
  • 2 cutting boards, one for the pork and one for the herbs
  • wooden spoon
  • whisk

Ingredients

  • 2 Tablespoons butter
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 leek, cleaned and chopped into 1/4 inch pieces (light green and white parts)
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock
  • 1/2 cup white wine (dry, not sweet), plus a little extra
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced or put through a press
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 1.5 Tablespoons prepared Dijon mustard
  • 1 pork tenderloin, 1 to 1.5 lbs
  • 2 Tablespoons chopped chives
  • 1 Tablespoon chopped flat-leaf (Italian) parsley, optional
  • salt
  • pepper

How to Make Mustard-Chive Pork Medallions

  1. Trim the pork of excess fat and silverskin. Cut off the tapered ends of the tenderloin and slice it crosswise into 1-inch thick pieces (about 8-10; don’t worry if they aren’t exactly that dimension–it’s cooking and things aren’t always exact!) Reserve the ends for some other use.
  2. MustardPorkMedallions

  3. Over medium heat, melt half of the butter and olive oil in a skillet large enough to hold the leeks (which you will add next). When the butter is melted, add the leeks and cook for about 5 minutes, until they are cooked through and turning golden. Stir the leeks throughout the cooking process.
  4. MustardPorkCookingLeeks

  5. Add the chicken stock, wine, and garlic to the skillet. Mix together and bring to a boil. Cook until reduced by about 1/3.
  6. Season pork piece on both sides with salt and pepper.
  7. Melt the rest of the butter with the olive oil in another skillet over medium-high heat.
  8. Remove the skillet with the leeks from the heat and add the sour cream and mustard, whisking together with the leeks. Set aside.
  9. Add the pork pieces to the second skillet. Brown on each side, about 4-8 minutes. Remove the pork to a plate.
  10. MustardPorkBrownMedallions
    MustardPorkBrownedMedallions

  11. Deglaze the skillet in which you cooked the pork with a little wine and a wooden spoon. Be sure to get the browned bits from the pork–there is a LOT of flavor there! You may need to scrape the bottom of the skillet to incorporate browned bits. Be sure to do this.
  12. Add the deglazed skillet contents to the pan with the leek mixture.
  13. Cook for a minute or two, letting the sauce thicken a little bit. Add the chives, mix, and taste for seasoning, adding salt and/or pepper if needed.
  14. MustardPorkSauce

  15. Add the reserved pork pieces to the skillet and cook until they are heated through, about a minute or two.
  16. Top with the parsley, if using, and serve warm.

MustardPork2

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Breaded Pork Tenderloin Sliders–The Recipe!

These thin-pounded pork medallions, soaked in a seasoned buttermilk mixture, then breaded and fried, are served on a bun with an array of the requisite condiments: lettuce, tomato, pickle, onion, ketchup, mustard. Practice safe tenderloining—use condiments!


This recipe makes approximately 8 sliders

To make these babies (and boy, would they be welcome appetizers at a party!), you’ll need the following:

  • sturdy pan, Dutch oven or skillet (for frying)
  • bowls and plates (for dipping and dredging)
  • cutting board
  • sharp knife
  • meat mallet or some other pounding tool
  • a good appetite!


Ingredients

  • 1 pork tenderloin, trimmed of the silverskin (1 to 1.5 lbs or so—DO NOT use the preseasoned ones sold at many supermarkets; get the naked ones instead, since you’ll be clothing them with crumbs anyway)–if your tenderloin is on the larger side, you will need more buttermilk and spices
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/4 tsp sweet paprika
  • 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper (freshly ground is best!)
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 2-1/2 cups plain, dry breadcrumbs (can also use cracker crumbs)
  • extra salt and pepper for the breading step
  • vegetable oil for frying (neutral-flavored, please–this is not the time for your extra-virgin, cold-pressed oil from Tuscany or your estate-pressed walnut oil)
  • 8 slider buns1 (or soft, white hamburger buns cut into slider-sized portions)


Making the Sliders

  1. Before you do anything, read through the recipe!
  2. First, cut off the tapered end and then slice the tenderloin into 6-8 pieces, no more than 1-inch (2.54 cm) thick.
  3. Next, use your mallet to pound the tenderloin pieces to a thickness of approximately 1/4 inch (~6.5 mm). You may wish to do this between pieces of plastic wrap.
  4. In a bowl, mix the buttermilk with the garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, cayenne, salt, and pepper.
  5. Coat the bottom of a shallow pan large enough to hold all pieces of pork (like a lasagne or baking pan) with some of the buttermilk mixture. Then place the pork pieces into the pan. Cover with the rest of the buttermilk mixture. The pieces should be covered.
  6. BPTMarinating

  7. Place pan in refrigerator and marinate for 2-6 hours.
  8. Remove your pork from the refrigerator.
  9. Mise en place! Prep an area for dredging and breading. Set up a plate with the flour (feel free to season the flour with extra salt and pepper). Then crack the eggs into a shallow bowl and beat them so that the whites and yolks are well mingled. Set up a plate with the bread crumbs, which you can also season with salt and pepper.
  10. BPTBreading

  11. Set up another plate with paper towels. You’ll need this to drain the sliders.
  12. Add about 1/2 inch (1.25 cm) of oil in your pan or Dutch oven. Heat over medium-high (not high) until hot (350°F/177°C). FYI, I don’t measure temperature–I just judge it.
  13. Take a piece of the pork and dredge it in the flour. Shake off the excess, then coat it with the egg, letting any excess drip back into the bowl. Then, dredge in the bread crumb mixture.
  14. Add the pork to the hot oil. Repeat for another piece of pork, adding them to the pan without crowding. You will probably have to cook these in batches.
  15. BPTFrying

  16. Cook the pork tenderloin medallions until browned (but not burned!) for approximately 2 minutes, then flip and cook until the other side is browned, another minute or two.
  17. Remove from pan and drain on paper towel-lined plate.
  18. BPTDraining

  19. Assemble the BPT Sliders–place a piece of pork on a bun, add your condiments (lettuce, pickle, onion, tomato, mustard),
    BPTCondiments
    and, if necessary, secure with a toothpick. Enjoy!

BPTSliders_Plan

BPTSliders_Profile
1I could not find slider buns at my local supermarkets, but I did have this contraption that I got at Williams-Sonoma or Sur La Table that allows me to cut a regular bun into a slider-sized one. I imagine a biscuit cutter works just as well. Alternatively, you can use dinner rolls or, if you’re really ambitious, bake your own.

BPTSlider_Contraption2

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