Friday, September 23, 2011

Spicing Up Oktoberfest (i.e. National Marlene Dietrich Month)

Autumn is eagerly awaited each year by the crisp weather-loving, hearty food enthusiasts here at The DP Chutney Collective. We need at least three Fall celebrations, so in addition to Halloween and Thanksgiving, Oktoberfest is an early justification for plenty of dark, rich beers and the densely delicious meals that best accompany them. Not to mention rainy evenings in front of Dietrich/Von Sternberg movies, kitted out with warm German soft pretzels and chutney dunking sauces. Below are a few ideas for incorporating DP Collective chutneys in a range of dishes typically served at Oktoberfest gatherings.

OBATZTER (German Beer Cheese Spread)

Especially addictive when brightened with zesty Curried Peach Chutney and served with brown bread and dark stout. Try it with brown rice crackers and ice-cold vodka for a wheat-free alternative.

  • Camembert or a similar cheese, cut into small pieces -- 16 ounces
  • Butter, softened -- 3 tablespoons
  • Red onion, minced -- 1
  • German ale (optional) -- 1/4 to 1/3 cup
  • The DP Chutney Collective's Curried Peach Chutney -- 2-3 tablespoons
  • Sweet Paprika -- 2 teaspoons
  • Caraway Seeds, lightly crushed -- 1 teaspoon
  • White pepper -- 1 teaspoon
  1. Place all of the ingredients together in a large bowl and mash together with a large fork or potato masher until smooth and fluffy. Alternatively, you can pulse all of the ingredients in a food processor. Adjust seasoning to taste.
  2. Place the cheese spread in a bowl. Garnish with more minced red onion, chopped chives or sliced radishes if you like. 


Discovering how easily this impressive hybrid of pasta and dumplings is to prepare almost guarantees spaetzle a new place in your kitchen repertoire. Our Juniper Berry Chutney used here also makes an excellent and unique condiment when spooned over slices of Schweinebraten, or German roast pork.

  • Flour --3 cups
  • Salt -- 1 teaspoon
  • White pepper -- 1/2 teaspoon
  • Nutmeg (optional) -- 1/2 teaspoon
  • Eggs, beaten -- 3-4
  • Water or milk -- 1 cup
  1. Sift the flour, salt, pepper and optional nutmeg together in a large bowl. In a smaller bowl beat together the eggs and milk or water. Mix the egg mixture into the dry ingredients and beat well with a fork or whisk until smooth. Add a little more liquid or flour as needed to get a thick and elastic yet pourable consistency.
  2. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Working in batches of 1 to 1 1/2 cups at a time, pour the batter through a sieve or colander with large holes (about 1/8-1/4 inch) so small bits drop off into the boiling water. Let cook for about 1 minute, or until the spätzle noodles float to the top. Remove with a slotted spoon to another bowl. Continue with the remaining batter until it is all used up.
  3. Layer spätzle with shredded Emmenthaler cheese and generous drizzles of Juniper Berry Chutney in a greased casserole dish. Bake at 350˚F until the cheese is melted, 15-20 minutes. Optionally, top with onions browned in butter, sprinkle with chopped parsley and serve. This is a nice touch if serving as a vegetarian entree.

 WIENER BACKHENDL (Austrian breaded and fried chicken)

 An Oktoberfest favorite in Munich, Austrian breaded, fried chicken is typically served with potato salad, lemon wedges and a few tossed greens. The Collective prefers it with mashed potatoes, a parsley salad dressed with lemon vinaigrette and plenty of Green Tomato and Horseradish, Spice Route Citrus and Gingered Raisin chutneys for dipping and dolloping. Consider these seriously improved McNuggets. 

  • Boneless Chicken Breasts or Thighs, cut into serving pieces -- about 3 pounds
  • Lemon juice -- 2 tablespoons
  • Salt and pepper -- to season
  • Flour -- 1 cup
  • Eggs, beaten with a little water -- 2
  • Breadcrumbs -- 1 1/2 cups
  • Oil for deep frying
  • DP Collective chutneys for serving

  1. Toss the chicken in a large bowl with the lemon juice, salt and pepper. Set aside to marinate for at least 30 minutes.
  2. Put the flour in one bowl, the eggs in another bowl and the breadcrumbs in a third bowl. One at a time, dip the chicken pieces first in the flour, then in the egg, and finally in the breadcrumbs to coat. Set the breaded chicken pieces on a baking sheet to let the coating set.
  3. Heat the oil to 370°F. Deep fry the chicken pieces for 10 minutes, or until lightly browned. Reduce heat to low and continue to cook for another 20 minutes, turning often. Drain on paper towels and serve hot with chutneys in side dishes.