Saturday, October 17, 2009
Himmel und Erde (mit Bäume)
We are still working our way through those Jüterbog apples (the pears having been mostly dealt with thanks to Susan's vanilla pear jam recipe and a somewhat disappointing pear & chocolate torte). If I were in possession of a freezer, I'd no doubt freeze a bunch of applesauce for applesauce cake and muffins in the coming months, but as I am not and the pantry is jam-packed (no pun intended! Could this be where this phrase comes from?!) with jars of jam already.... I decided to take advantage of the sale on Blutwurst (blood sausage) and have another go at traditional German food (which as previously mentioned, I seldom cook or even eat strange as it may sound, but I have important work to do here, like converting mein Mann to pimento cheese, which I made today for lunch).
Himmel und Erde or "Heaven and Earth" is, according to Wikipedia, a typical west German dish with a bunch of regional variations. Basically, it's mashed potatoes with applesauce or cooked apples mixed in. In some parts of Germany, potatoes are called Erdäpfel (earth apples) and thus the source of the dish's name: Heaven (from the tree apples) and Earth (from the earth apples). I associate it with Blutwurst (perhaps because the recipe in my mother-in-law's German cookbook says to serve them together), but after a bit of internet research, it turns out that this combination is the Cologner/Dusseldorfer way, whereas other towns pair it with regular old Bratwurst or the German equivalent of fried bologna. I'm sure other porky things have been known to make an appearance. Caramelized onions are a common topping.
Himmel and Erde was, if I do say so myself, delicious (if not particularly photogenic - sorry). I was a bit worried about the combination of cooked apples and potatoes ... it seemed a bit like a baby food experiment gone wrong, but it was creamy and tangy and we ate it all. I've had the good fortune of living in several blood sausage-loving countries so far and today's version is giving Spain a run for its money. I think if you ordered Himmel und Erde at a restaurant, you would be hard pressed to find anything green on your plate, but while I can put away blood sausage with the best of them, I do like a bit of veg to round out my plate. So the version of Himmel und Erde typical of my apartment has trees (Bäume), which seems like an obvious addition to heaven and earth if you ask me....