Real German Cuisine Challenge: Wuerzfleisch mit Pilzen (Pork ragout with mushrooms)

by Christina Geyer on October 5, 2009 · 10 comments

This week’s recipe, Würzfleisch mit Pilzem (Pork ragout with mushrooms), comes from the “Niedersachsen and Bremen” section of the Echte Deutsche Küche cookbook.  Niedersachsen is the northwest corner of Germany and has a North Sea coastline.  The state of Bremen contains two cities, Bremen and Bremerhaven.  This was one of the main ports where German emigrants left for the United States, so if you have German ancestors who emigrated to America several generations or more ago, chances are they went through either Bremen or Hamburg.  You can find out more at the German Emigration Center in Bremerhaven.

Making Würzfleisch mit Pilzen (pork ragout with mushrooms)

As the recipe indicated, this dish was, in fact, very uncomplicated and easy to make.  I was a little taken aback by frying bacon in lard, but rolled with the punches figuring it ought to be pretty tasty with that much fat.  In actuality, I found this dish kind of bland.  I was surprised considering the bacon, lard and chanterelle mushrooms, but there was nothing really remarkable about it.  We all agreed that it was just okay, so I probably wouldn’t make this again, even with how easy it was.

I am really looking forward to making the Dampfnudeln this week though, and I hope some others will join in on making the rabbit next week.  I had pet rabbits, so I can’t do it.  Actually, I offered Rainer that I would be willing to make the dish with wild hare, but he said he still couldn’t eat it, so we’re substituting chicken.  If you want to join in though, there are frozen rabbits aplenty in our local Real freezer section, so I imagine they’re pretty available here in Germany.  Not sure about availability in the US or other countries though, so it might be worth checking into early.

Würzfleisch mit Pilzen (pork ragout with mushrooms)

Other participants:

Upcoming challenges!

  • October 12 – Dampfnudeln mit Weinschaum (Sweet yeast dumplings with wine cream)
  • October 19 – Kaninchen mit Pilzen (Rabbit with mushrooms) – I will be substituting chicken here since we had rabbits as house pets and can’t imagine eating one.  Would be nice if someone did the rabbit version.

Feel free to join in anytime. Want more Real German Cuisine? Check out the full recipe list organized by German state.

{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Stephanie October 5, 2009 at 2:59 pm

I agree with the blandness of this recipe – just seemed like it needed one more ingredient to make it stand out! Your dish looks very nice with the chanterelle mushrooms!
.-= Stephanie´s last blog ..Würzfleisch mit Pilzem (Pork ragout with mushrooms) =-.

2 Kelsey October 5, 2009 at 3:51 pm

I might do the rabbit version. I love those tasty bunnies.

If I try it, I’ll let you know.

3 Rhona October 5, 2009 at 5:09 pm

Looks good although I am not surprised about the blandness. I find a lot of German food very basic but still tasty.
YUMMM!! Dumpfnudel is fantastic! I can’t wait for your reaction on this Southern dish.
.-= Rhona´s last blog ..Birthday 2009 gift – TBA =-.

4 Dave October 6, 2009 at 9:29 am

I checked here at Amiexpat for a recipe for Kaiserschmarrn, because I wanted to send a recipe to some US friends… and found it’s not even on the “official” German list. But Kartoffelschmarrn is! I’m curious how it compares the the normal Schmarrn you find everywhere in Bayern and Österreich. Maybe I’ll find time to try it.
.-= Dave´s last blog ..Sightseeing in Washington, DC =-.

5 rita October 6, 2009 at 9:48 am

a friend and i just went hunting for mushrooms last weekend and, as usual, we noticed a great difference with the different types. the Steinpilze were simply divine in tase, but with the other mushrooms (fried in a pan), we had to use a large amount of spices.
if i can get hold of rabbit, count me in for the next challenge!!!
.-= rita´s last blog ..not the colours of autumn =-.

6 Christina Geyer October 6, 2009 at 5:23 pm

@stephanie: Yeah, I like your idea of the garlic salt. Maybe some fresh garlic in the pan with the mushrooms would help.

@kelsey: That would be great if you joined in!

@rhona: I found German food pretty bland until I moved to Bavaria. I think maybe I just find north German cuisine bland. South German cuisine is pretty darn tasty. I think this is only the first or second recipe that I haven’t really enjoyed so far out of this book.

@dave: Yeah, I was surprised about the lack of Kaiserschmarrn, maybe the authors consider it more of an Austrian recipe (?), but it’s certainly popular here. We haven’t gotten to Kartoffelschmarrn yet, but let me know if you want the recipe posted and I can do that.

@rita: I was thinking of getting Steinpilz for the rabbit dish. They were selling them in downtown Regensburg last time I was there. Good luck getting a rabbit. Not sure how available they are in the smaller city center markets.

7 Tom October 13, 2009 at 11:28 pm

Chris,

being from Schleswig-Holstein, I guess you forgot two things (or, maybe the recipe didn´t mention it). The first is a thick, rich sauce. Usually, you eat Würzfleisch either from little earthen bowls, like 8cm in diameter and 3-4 cm high, and you place your meal inside (one serving), add sauce until the bowl is nearly full, cover it with grated cheese (ingredient #2 not mentioned ;-) ) and place it in the oven until the cheese is molten. Use spicy cheese like Emmentaler or Havarti to add some flavor. You can also substitute the mushrooms with little diced potatos if you like, and use a sauce that contains mushrooms.

Northern cuisine is not bland. Once you´ve tried a real (!) Würzfleisch, Bauernfrühstück, or (my favorite dish) Finkenwerder Scholle, and you know what it´s supposed to taste like, i guess you´ll love it as well.

Steer clear of a dish called “Swattsuur” though. Just some advice…

8 Tom October 13, 2009 at 11:29 pm

Please overread the word “either” in my last post; it somehow snuck in there…

Sorry.

9 Christina Geyer October 14, 2009 at 11:47 pm

@tom: If you click the link at the beginning of the post, you can check out the recipe for yourself. No thick sauce or cheese. I think a thick sauce would have helped for sure, it seemed a little dry. The recipe does mention the earthen bowls though. I’ve visited Lübeck and lived in Berlin, Rostock, and Potsdam for 5 years, so I have had plenty of opportunities to try the regional cuisine up north. Taste is a personal thing. I’m half-Thai and eat things most Germans would struggle with or consider too spicy to be edible. It’s just a matter of preference.

10 Tom October 15, 2009 at 1:52 pm

Hi Chris,

sure, taste really is a personal thing – I´ve found many southern dishes to contain too much fat and lard for me to like them – maybe I like it bland? ;-))))) As for Asian cuisine, I prefer Japanese over Thai or Vietnamese – no offense intended.

Bottom line, I guess the recipe is simply “wrong”, or they´ve forgotten something. The trick with the Würzfleisch (“spiced meat”) is that the spices are added to both meat and sauce, and when the two are mixed, the flavors do so, too. The cheese “lid” is to prevent the stuff from becoming cold too fast, and to preserve it in case you want to re-heat the meal. I´ve never eaten this dish without the meat being mixed with sauce, goulash-style.

I cook my northern dishes by heart rather than with recipes, but if you like, next time I make Würzfleisch, I´ll take notes and mail you what I did. Maybe that´ll taste a bit better than the recipe you were using?

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