Beef stew on a potato pancake – and misadventures at Gasthof zur GemutlichkeitPosted: 23 October 2010
>My grandmother loved potato pancakes. A lot. I don’t think I realized until a few years ago that a potato pancake is not a pancake with pureed potato in it, it’s a pancake that’s pretty much just hash browns with a few other things in there. While she liked to eat them from Perkins (blergh) I’ve only had them once at a restaurant and it was the most amazing dinner ever. It was at Gasthof zur Gemutlichkeit. It was such a delicious dinner, it’s their beef goulash, served on a giant potato pancakes along with red cabbage and of course, some sour cream. Gasthof is a hilarious, obviously German restaurant that you may have seen on Man v. Food in season. 1. Adam visits to try the meterwurst (a meter long bratwurst) challenge. It’s not very hard. One of my girlfriends did it so it’s really pretty easy.
Anyway, Gasthof has good food but really you go for the atmosphere and the beer from a giant boot more than anything. Last June, Senor and I decided to go, on a whim. I think we’d actually watched the Man v. Food episode and it piqued our interest. Okay, fine. I was craving the beef goulash on a potato pancake so very much, I insisted we go there. We have high (probably higher) quality German food just blocks from our house at the Black Forest Inn but they don’t serve their goulash on a potato pancake so I vetoed and we drove the 10 whole minutes to Gasthof. Living in the city has its advantages, even if you do have to walk three blocks to your garden.
So, the was late June and the restaurant wasn’t very busy since heavy German food isn’t really a very ‘summery’ thing to do. We sat down. Ordered drinks. Decided what Senor wanted. We ordered. And the waiter tells me, “Oh, we’re all out of goulash today.” WHAT?! It was the entire reason for coming! Although I was livid, I don’t handle confrontation well so I meekly chose a new entree and cried into my giant glass of Hacker Pschorr. Seriously, the first time I’ve had the dish was in spring of 2007. I’ve been back there three times and twice I felt like I needed to branch out on the menu. Now I see how foolish I’ve been. Always beef goulash. ALWAYS.
The weird thing, is that shit like this is often happening to me at restaurants. Senor and I once went to the Copperdome in St. Paul. The place is known for their gigantic breakfast menu, and the 200 varities of pancakes they serve. Without a doubt, the banana chocolate chip pancakes are their most famous, although have around 50 varieties with banana. I’ve never had them so I ordered them. They were out of bananas. What? There is a grocery store literally 10 feet away from their front door. But I could not have my pancakes with bananas. I don’t remember what I ordered instead, but you know what? We’ve never gone back. Not as a stand against them, but just because whatever we ordered wasn’t really that great and while the banana chocolate chip pancakes might be worth the wait, it’s definitely not worth the wait to get something you didn’t want in the first place. The same thing also happened once at a gay pub in Camden in London. Really awesome food, we both had the bangers and mash on our first day there for lunch. So good. Camden was a train stop away from our hotel, so on our last night we went back to hang out at the same place. I ordered the bangers and mash again. I’d been thinking about it the whole trip, it was so delicious. The bar was out of potatoes. Out of potatoes? Really?????? There’s a Marks and Spencer just down the street kids, I’ll walk down and buy some for my dinner, really I will! I think I ordered something else once and the place was out of mushrooms, but I don’t remember exactly. So when the waiter at Gasthof said, “we’re out of goulash,” and my face of course, fell, Senor knew exactly what I was thinking. Why do I always manage to order things that are on the menu, but that aren’t actually available.
Needless to say, I’ve been stewing about this all summer. Food at at Gasthof is a lot of dollars and though delicious, I wasn’t terribly keen on running back and chancing a lack of goulash during the hot summer months. The other day, the perfect opportunity arose for me to make my own potato pancakes. We have random cuts of beef in our freezer from the eighth of a cow that we bought last spring. I think I have three or four round steaks and really, had no idea what to do with them. I think a Google search told me to use a slow cooker for them, so I did. I had Senor toss the meat in on low with a little bit of water and it cooked for a good six hours. When I got home, I cut the meat up into pieces, added beef broth, carrots, onions, an ‘herb bouquet’ and let it simmer for a few more hours. Delicious beef stew. Mmmmm! I figured, beef stew is a lot like beef goulash, let’s eat this on a potato pancake.
I grated two giant red potatoes (by hand!) to get hash brown like strips. I googled a recipe for potato pancakes and discovered, you just add a little flour, egg, milk, and salt to the potatoes. Pretty much, just enough to coat them in a light batter. Easy enough. Then, you put them in your skillet and try to thin out the potato as much as possible so they get crispy. Again, this is just like hash browns. Each pancake ended up being as big as the skillet which made them gigantic and also, hard to flip. I managed though, using two flippers. Once they’re brown and crispy, they’re done. I think each one took about five minutes to get crispy. I added a little dissolved corn starch to my stew so the sauce would thicken up and then we were ready to go. It was delicious and Senor adored it, not that it’s hard to achieve that but I do enjoy seeing his face when he tries a new dinner that is tasty. We added a nice dollop of fat-free greek yogurt as a sour cream substitute. You can’t warm it up like the Germans normally would….but it adds a little something nevertheless.
So, I’m not sure when I’ll be back to Gasthof. I maybe don’t trust them at the moment. At least I can make my own potato pancakes. Hmph.