Oktober-feast!

Contest winner Pam Hoffman shows off her delicious pork schnitzel. (Photo by Kelsey Rollins Photography)

This month means Oktoberfest in communities across Ohio, and when we asked you, our readers, to roll out your recipes for all foods German, you did not disappoint! After we sampled delicacies ranging from sausages to sauerkraut, strudel to schnitzel, these three emerged as our favorites.

Pam Hoffman knew her Pork Schnitzel was a winner long before she entered the recipe in Ohio Cooperative Living’s Oktoberfest recipe contest. “My stepfather was born in Romania and lived in Germany for several years,” she says. “He says the schnitzel is the best he’s ever eaten.”

Judges awarded Hoffman, a member of Hancock-Wood Electric Cooperative and first-time contest entrant, a KitchenAid mixer as top prize in the contest. Logan County Electric Cooperative member Tracy McPherson, who entered her recipe for Oktoberfest Beer Cheese Soup, and North Central Electric Cooperative member Ruth Pifher, who entered her recipe for Hot German Potato Salad, each took runner-up honors.

Although many schnitzel recipes call for veal, Hoffman substitutes pork loin, which is cheaper and more readily available near her Bluffton-area home. She especially likes using panko bread crumbs for the extra crispiness they impart. The dill-infused sauce serves as the crowning touch.

She frequently takes advantage of pork loin sales to prep schnitzels and place the uncooked treats in the freezer for later use.

“I have ancestors who came from Germany in the 1800s, but their native recipes did not get passed down through the generations,” she said. “My husband (Mike) and I enjoy going to German restaurants and festivals, so I research recipes and tweak them until they suit our tastes. I am compiling my own German cookbook to preserve my food heritage to enjoy now and to pass on to future generations.”

Winning Recipe

Pork Schnitzel
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Servings
4 servings
Servings
4 servings
Pork Schnitzel
Print Recipe
Servings
4 servings
Servings
4 servings
Ingredients
Cutlets:
  • 4 boneless pork cutlets (1 lb. total, 1/2" thick)
  • 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. seasoned salt
  • 1/4 tsp. freshly-ground black pepper
  • 1 egg (beaten)
  • 2 Tbsp. milk
  • 1 cup panko bread crumbs
  • 1 tsp. paprika
  • 4 Tbsp. olive oil
Sauce:
  • 3/4 cup chicken broth (divided)
  • 1 Tbsp. all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 tsp. fresh dill
  • 1/2 salt
  • Lemon slices (optional)
Servings: servings
Instructions
For cutlets:
  1. Use a meat hammer to pound the pork cutlets to ¼ to 1⁄8 inch thickness. Cut small slits around the edges of each cutlet to prevent curling.
  2. Set out three shallow bowls — one with a mixture of flour, seasoned salt, and pepper; the second with the egg and milk whisked together; and the third with a mixture of bread crumbs and paprika.
  3. Heat olive oil in a large skillet on medium-high heat. Dredge cutlets in seasoned flour, then in the egg mixture, and finally in the bread crumb mixture. Let stand 5 minutes.
  4. Working in batches, sauté cutlets for 3 to 4 minutes on each side. Remove cutlets from the skillet, and place on a cooling rack over a sheet pan to keep warm in a 200-degree oven.
For sauce:
  1. Stir ¼ cup broth into skillet, scraping up browned bits.
  2. In a bowl, combine flour and remaining broth, whisking until smooth. Stir into skillet and bring to a boil, cooking and stirring for 1 to 2 minutes or until thickened.
  3. Reduce heat and stir in sour cream, dill, and salt. Heat through, but do not let mixture boil.
  4. Serve cutlets with sauce and lemon slices, if desired.

Runners-Up

Tracy McPherson, also a first-time contest entrant, created the Oktoberfest soup years ago while operating a small family restaurant in Bellefontaine — one that employed special needs adults and those on public assistance to teach job skills. “Guinness was a featured beer in our pub, so we incorporated it into a cheese soup during our Oktoberfest celebrations,” she says. “Dark beer brings out the cheese flavor and imparts a smoky touch.” McPherson, who is currently studying clinical mental health counseling, has shared the recipe many times. Her son even took along a copy when he moved to California some years ago.

Oktoberfest Beer Cheese Soup
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Servings
4 servings
Servings
4 servings
Oktoberfest Beer Cheese Soup
Print Recipe
Servings
4 servings
Servings
4 servings
Ingredients
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 1/2 medium carrots (finely chopped, 3/4 cup)
  • 1 medium stalk celery (finely chopped, 1/2 cup)
  • 1 small onion (finely chopped, 1/4 cup)
  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • 1/2 lb. butter (for roux)
  • 2 cups flour (for roux)
  • 1/8 tsp. black pepper
  • 1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 1 cup milk
  • 4 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup dark beer
  • Sour cream and/or sprig of thyme for garnish
Servings: servings
Instructions
  1. In a 4-quart Dutch oven, melt ½ cup butter over medium heat.
  2. Add carrots, celery, and onion; cook 10 minutes, stirring occasionally until crisp-tender.
  3. In a large bowl, mix broth, roux ingredients, pepper, and cayenne pepper until smooth. Gradually stir into vegetable mixture.
  4. Heat to boiling over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Boil and stir 1 minute. Stir in milk and cheese. Heat until cheese is melted. Stir in beer.
  5. Serve immediately with a dollop of sour cream or a sprig of thyme.
Recipe Notes

Note: Soup may be reheated on low until heated through.

Ruth Pifher had no problem deciding which recipe to enter in the magazine contest. She pegged all her hopes on her mother’s tried-and-true Hot German Potato Salad. “My mother (Lillian Schock) made this often because it is a family favorite,” she says. “For the last 20 years she has made it as a side dish at the church Oktoberfest celebration in Attica.” The experimentation began when the church cookbook committee requested the recipe for an upcoming publication. They wanted a smaller version of the popular treat. Pifher always cuts the potatoes into small cubes instead of thin slices to absorb the tangy sauce. She also recommends using the cheapest bacon available to make sure there are plenty of drippings for the sauce. Celery seed adds extra flavor. “It is a good fall food that our family enjoys all year long and not just at Oktoberfest time,” she says.

Hot German Potato Salad
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Servings
4 servings
Servings
4 servings
Hot German Potato Salad
Print Recipe
Servings
4 servings
Servings
4 servings
Ingredients
  • 6 medium potatoes
  • 1 lb. bacon
  • 2 Tbsp. flour
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. celery seed
  • 1/8 tsp. black pepper
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup vinegar
Servings: servings
Instructions
  1. Wash unpeeled potatoes and boil until soft. Cool slightly, peel, and cut into small chunks (about 4 cups).
  2. Cut bacon into small pieces and fry until crisp. Remove bacon with a slotted spoon and set aside.
  3. Stir flour, sugar, salt, celery seed, and pepper into bacon grease until smooth. Cook until bubbly, stirring as needed.
  4. Add water and vinegar to flour mixture. Cook until it boils and thickens.
  5. Remove from heat and add potatoes and bacon. Stir gently so potatoes hold their shape.
Recipe Notes

Note: Salad can be transferred to a slow cooker to keep warm until ready to serve.