In honor of Oktoberfest last weekend, Jay suggested we whip up a batch of Grandma’s goetta—”to celebrate your German heritage,” he said. Especially when such a celebration results in him getting to wolf down this tasty mixture of beef, pork sausage, oats, onions and spices—all sizzled up crispy in a pan and smothered in Heinz ketchup.
What the hell is goetta? our non-Cincinnati readers might be asking. Goetta is unique to the Nati, a delectable creation of the city’s German immigrant community in the late 1800s. My great-great-grandparents were part of that community, and handed down a recipe for goetta that my 93-year-old grandmother still makes to this day. (She’s pictured at right between my dad and me. See why we call her “Little Grandma”?)
And so I bestow upon you this Tasty Tuesday a family recipe that has brought much joy to our Sunday breakfasts (and dinners). I hope it will to yours, too.
- 3 large onions (finely chopped—don’t half-ass the chopping or you’ll be sorry. Might be worth hauling out the food processor.)
- 1 1/2 lbs lean ground beef
- 1 lb smoked ground pork sausage
- 6 cups water
- 3 tsp salt
- 1 tsp pepper
- 4 whole bay leaves
- 2 cloves of garlic (again, no half-assing the chopping, people)
- 1 18-oz package of quick oats
- 1/2 lb crispy cooked bacon (chopped)
Here’s how you cook it up, Grandma-style:
- Saute the onions in a big ol’ pot.
- Add the beef and pork sausage. Stir and cook until meat is cooked.
- Add the water, salt, pepper, bay leaves, and cloves. Stir and cook for 1/2 hour.
- Remove bay leaves.
- Add the oats and cook until done.
- Add the bacon. Stir it up like Bob Marley. Not like that. You know what I mean.
- Get some loaf-shaped pans (or plastic containers, whatever ya got) and line them with aluminum foil. Spoon the goetta goop into them.
- Freeze or refrigerate the containers so the loaves set up.
- When you’re ready to eat, slice a loaf into 1/2-inch thick pieces and fry ’em up in a pan.
- Cook on low (4-5) just like you would sausage patties.
I prefer to eat my goetta with ketchup, but you can certainly enjoy it without condiments. It’s good with eggs and biscuits, or all by itself. Goetta is pretty much good anytime. Pull out those frozen loaves whenever you feel like a little German-Cincinnati comfort food.