No, it’s not Bacon (that’s second). It’s Goetta. Growing up in Northern Kentucky / Greater Cincinnati I can remember almost every breakfast we had with Goetta. And its not because it was a special treat only rolled out at Christmas or New Years. We ate Goetta a lot. Its because its sooo good. All throughout my childhood the mythology of Goetta was piled high. I was told it would fend off colds. It had a secret blend of spices that only 3 people in the world new. And most of all I was told that it was a German food. The first two were pretty quickyl dismissed, but the last I had held on to until very recently.
Having a chance to work with many native born Germans from all over Germany (mostly Franconia, but not exclusively) now that I am part of Siemens one of the consistent topics when I meet someone new is Goetta. To date I have not found a single German that has ever heard of it! But I am not giving up. Rather than going one to one in trying to find someone born and raised in Germany that has ever heard of Goetta, I have decided to use the power of interwebs to reach all of Germany at once. Below is a short photo essay on Goetta. Hopefully one of the pictures, words or links down below will trigger a childhood memory of someone out there and I can hold on to at least one piece of the Goetta legend of my youth. While I will no doubt not be able to match the great photography or descriptions of some of my favorite food blogs, I will give it my best shot.
Goetta is made from equal parts pork and beef roasts that are cooked first and then shredded or finely ground. The meat cooled and then mixed with pin oats (this tells me it must be a peasant food since this a common technique the world over to stretch a limited amount of meat) and spices and then formed into loaves or put into a casing. If you want to try to make some yourself, this is a pretty good recipe.
Goetta around here comes from Gliers or you make it yourself. I’ve had both kinds and like them equally as well. This morning’s breakfast started out with a tube of Gliers.
You peel the plastic and then slice it about a half to three quarters inch thick:
You place it in a pan (cast iron all the way) and crank up the heat. This is where most first time Goetta makers screw things up. If you didn’t know any better you would cook it like sausage. However this would leave you deficient in two key areas: you have to cook the crap out of it when compared to sausauge. I’m talking 20 mins on medium high heat. If you don’t you’ll end up with warm goo. Second, unlike sausage, you want to flatten your Goetta out as it cooks, letting it get really thin (and crispy from the long cook time). I guess a third thing is to leave it alone. Put it in the pan, squish it flat, let it cook, flip it once, let it cook and eat it. The more you flip it before its done, the more likely you will end up with Goetta hash.
What comes out of the pan can only be described as heavenly. And unlike bacon, there’s actually some whole grain and fiber, so it has to be good for you…right?
Serve it up along side some pancakes or french toast (if you want a European style breakfast – and don’t go tellin’ me they don’t eat bread dipped in eggs and milk and then pan fried all over France) and you have the perfect breakfast.