Originally written as part of the World Cup 2014 cooking project.
It doesn’t matter how well or how poorly the German football team is performing prior to a World Cup, during a World Cup itself they have a phenomenal record of doing well. The German game is a very technical one, relying more on efficiency and clearly defined roles rather than the sexiness and unpredictability of Brasilian football. At times it can be a little on the dour side to watch, but more often than not when it is in full swing there is no better team to watch in terms of fast, precise and powerful football. Over the years there have been some amazing players that have worn the West German/ German shirt; Franz Beckenbauer the ultimate leader with the air of elegance; Gerd Müller one of the greatest goal scorers of all time; Karl Heinz-Rummenigge another potent striker with amazing athletic abilities (one of my favourite players of all time); Jürgen Klinsmann yet another prolific scorer who was prone to a touch of the old acrobatics; Lothar Matthäus the dynamic box-to-box midfielder who is the most capped player of all time for Germany; and for the modern touch Mesut Özil, Lukas Podolski and Germany’s most prolific scorer Miroslav Klose. In fact I believe that Klose is joint top with Ronaldo as the leading World Cup scorer of all time.
Germany now faces Brasil in the semi-final after a mixed bag of results, ranging from the 4-0 drubbing of Portugal to the skin-of-their-teeth nail biter against Algeria, an opponent they were expected to brush aside. I think if Germany sticks to its efficient and technical football the midfield can control the game. Brasil will be without the injured Neymar and for that I would put Germany as slight favourites on paper. However, Brasil will have the incredible crowd with it as it did against Colombia and sometimes that can, to coin a phrase, act as a twelfth man.
I am sure you would agree that it would be sacrilege to talk about German cuisine and not mention the sausage.
On June 30, 2013 Google released one of its now famous doodles on its home screen in Germany. It was to celebrate the 100th birthday of Herta Heuwer, the recognised inventor of a German night-time delicacy, currywurst. There are always stories and counter-stories about by whom and how food was first created. I am going for the one about Heuwer, the enterprising housewife in post-war Germany in 1949 who one day, or night, managed to procure some Indian (English) curry powder, Ketchup and Worcestershire sauce from a group of British soldiers in return for some alcoholic beverages. Mixing these rare ingredients, as they were at the time, in a ratio that apparently she took to the grave with her, she produced a sauce that was then slathered all over some chopped grilled sausage. In an instant it became a hit at her modest stall in the outskirts of a ruinous Berlin. The concoction was loved by the local builders and labourers during the restoration of the city, so much so that Huewer was to open up a small restaurant as a result. This was the birth of currywurst.
Today it has morphed in to many different versions, some heavy with the original curry powder, others with the fiery heat of chilli and even those with influences from Thailand. I am sure you will really like the one I have cooked for the World Cup dish for Germany; the tomato sauce is more of a pasta type with some heat and plenty of curry powder. It is then dolloped on a really good pork sausage (chopped up of course) and served with homemade chips. Wash it down with a crisp German beer and Guten Appetit!
Currywurst - GermanyPrint
- ■ 8 juniper berries |
- ■ 8 black peppercorns |
- ■ 1 brown onion | Peeled and sliced.
- ■ 1 red onion | Peeled and sliced.
- ■ 2 tbsp. grapeseed oil |
- ■ 1 tsp. hot paprika |
- ■ 2 tbsp. curry powder |
- ■ 2x400g tins chopped tomatoes |
- ■ 85g white sugar |
- ■ 1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce |
- ■ 80ml red wine vinegar |
- ■ seasoning of sea salt and black pepper |
- ■ 8 good quality pork sausages |
Tie the juniper berries and black peppercorns in a small muslin pouch. Heat the grapeseed oil in a large deep frying pan and add the sliced brown and red onion and the juniper and black pepper pouch. Put the heat on low-medium and sweat the onion until is soft and translucent. Add the paprika and curry powder, stir and cook for 30 seconds. Add the tomatoes, sugar, Worcestershire sauce, vinegar and seasoning and bring to the boil whilst stirring. Turn the heat to low and cook for 25 minutes until the sauce has thickened. Remove the juniper and pepper pouch and pour the sauce in to a food processor. Blend until smooth and then push the sauce through a fine sieve to remove any pulp, skin and seeds. Set the sauce aside.
Grill the pork sausages so they are cooked through and nicely browned. Cut in to 2cm pieces. Warm the curry tomato sauce before serving and pour it over the hot sausage pieces. Serve with chips or a hearty roll. If you are doing it German style then stagger around the house after a stein or two of fine beer and eat the currywurst from a small box with a toothpick.