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It’s Goetta making time

Goetta fried in bacon drippings with eggs from our chickens

Goetta frying in my Mom’s iron skillet with our own eggs

 

 

 

A couple of weeks ago Linda Vaccariello of Cincinnati Magazine called and asked if I would share some tips on making goetta for an article she was writing. I told her I had just made a batch since I wanted to share my latest recipe with you. Goetta, as many of you know, is a Cincinnati, Northern Kentucky specialty. Goetta has Germanic origins, but most people who live in Germany have never heard of it. Inge, my German daughter-in-law who grew up in Germany, said she didn’t have a clue until she moved to Cincinnati. Yes, it’s definitely a Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky “thing”. A possibility about the name is that it comes from the German word “gote” or “gotte” which means peeled grain. The word became Americanized to mean “goetta”, since the ingredient you cannot do without for authentic goetta is pinhead oats (also called steel cut oats). Dorsel’s and Bob’s Red Mill are common brands.

Goetta is a “hand-me-down” recipe, and each family’s is a bit different. It’s a ritual in my family and I even use my mother-in-law, Clara’s, special long handled spoon that she inherited from her mother.

Jon Peters,  a Western Hills reader, makes his father-in-law Bill Sanders’ recipe. “I even use his pan and really enjoyed making it this year. There’s something special about using a family recipe and making a big batch that you’re going to share with family and friends”, he told me. Jon and Ellen’s kids get to help, as well. Jon calls his loaves of goetta “bricks”, and his family’s recipe is on my blog.

Rita’s Goetta

I’ve been making my mother-in-law, Clara’s goetta for years with pork shoulder, just as she made it when they slaughtered hogs in autumn. I used to cook goetta from start to finish on top of the stove, but my sister-in-law, Claire Yannetti, gave me this tip: cook meat and veggies on top of the stove and cook  oats in the slow cooker. Much easier! Stovetop cooking requires frequent stirring and careful watching so oats don’t stick. Here’s my latest, and I think, best, version.

3#  fresh pork shoulder with bone in if possible, cut in half to fit pan

3 cups each: chopped onions and celery (include celery leaves)

4 dried bay leaves

2 tablespoons salt and 1 tablespoon black pepper or more to taste

8-10 cups water or more if needed

5 cups pinhead oats

Put meat, onions, celery, bay, salt and pepper in large stockpot. Cover meat with water by about an inch or so. Bring to a boil, cover, lower to a simmer and cook until meat falls from bone, 3 hours or so. Add water if necessary to keep meat just under liquid. Remove meat and let cool before chopping finely. Save liquid. (You could also cook meat and veggies in slow cooker and you probably won’t need to add more water).

 

Spray a 6-7 quart slow cooker and turn on high. Put liquid in and add oats, stirring to blend. Put lid on and cook 2 hours or so, stirring occasionally, until oats are thoroughly cooked, tender, and mixture is very thick. If necessary, add more water as oats cook, but be careful. The mixture, when cooked, should be thick enough for a spoon to stand up in without falling over and be difficult to stir. Add meat and continue to cook, covered, for about 45 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add more salt and pepper if you want – don’t be shy about adding them. Remove bay leaves.

Line bread pans with wrap or foil. Put goetta in pans, smoothing tops. Let cool, cover and store in refrigerator for 12 hours or so to set up. Store in frig. a week or several months in freezer.

Goetta cooling in pan

Goetta cooling in pan

To serve: Fry with bacon until both goetta and bacon are crisp on both sides. Or in bacon grease.

Tip: Quick cooking pinhead oats now available. I just found this out and have not tested the recipe with these, so I can’t recommend the substitution yet.

More goetta recipes and technique tips!

Red headed Yeti, aka Jereme Zimmerman’s meatless version: www.Earthineer.com.

 

 

Goetta has Germanic origins, but most people who live in Germany have never heard of it. Inge, my German daughter-in-law who grew up in Germany, said she didn’t have a clue until she moved to Cincinnati. Yes, it’s definitely a Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky “thing”. A possibility about the name is that it comes from the German word “gote” or “gotte” which means peeled grain. The word became Americanized to mean “goetta”, since the ingredient you cannot do without for authentic goetta is pinhead oats (also called steel cut oats). Dorsel’s and Bob’s Red Mill are common brands.

 

Rita’s Goetta

I’ve been making my mother-in-law, Clara’s goetta for years with pork shoulder, just as she made it when they slaughtered hogs in the fall. I used to cook the goetta from start to finish on top of the stove, but my German sister-in-law, Claire, gave me this tip: cook the meat and veggies on top of the stove and cook the pinhead oats in the crockpot. Much easier! Stovetop cooking requires frequent stirring and careful watching so the oats don’t stick. Here is my latest, and I think, best, version of this classic.

 

The only way to fry goetta is with bacon or in bacon drippings!

 

3#  fresh pork shoulder with bone in if possible, cut in half

3 cups each: chopped onions and celery (include celery leaves)

4 dried bay leaves

2 tablespoons salt and 1 tablespoon black pepper or more to taste

8-10 cups water or more if needed

5 cups pinhead oats

Slow cooker

 

Put meat, onions, celery, bay, salt and pepper in large stockpot. Cover meat with water by about an inch or so. Bring to a boil, cover, lower to a simmer and cook until meat falls from bone, 3 hours or so. Add water if necessary to keep meat just barely under liquid. Remove meat and let cool before chopping finely.

 

Spray a 6-7 quart slow cooker and turn on high. Put liquid in and add oats, stirring to blend. Put lid on and cook for 2 hours or so, until oats are thoroughly cooked, tender, and mixture is very thick, stirring occasionally. If necessary, add more water as oats cook, but be careful. The mixture, when cooked, should be so thick that it’s hard to stir, enough for a spatula to stand up in without falling over. Add meat and continue to cook, covered, for 45-60 minutes or so, stirring occasionally.  Taste and add more salt and pepper if you like. Remove bay leaves.

 

Line bread pans with wrap or foil. Put goetta in pans, smoothing tops. Let cool  cover and store in refrigerator for a week or so, or for several months in the freezer.

 

To serve: Fry with bacon until both goetta and bacon are crisp on both sides.

 

 

 

Tips from Rita’s kitchen:

 

  • Goetta is not hard to make, but the technique can’t be rushed. In order for flavor to develop, the meat and aromatics must be cooked at a simmer, covered, for several hours.

 

  • Fresh pork shoulder is the traditional cut of pork to use. Labels can be confusing. Ask your butcher when in doubt.

 

  • Pinhead oats are sometimes called steel cut oats and require a very long cooking time. Do not substitute regular oats.

 

  • Add a couple teaspoons dried savory to the meat mixture as it cooks.

 

  • Don’t be shy about adding salt and pepper. The oats are bland and require a good amount of seasoning.

 

  • Leave goetta in refrigerator at least 12 hours to set up nicely.

 

  • The meat, onions and celery can be cooked in the crockpot, as well, either on low or high, covered, until meat falls apart. You probably won’t need to add more water as the meat cooks.

 

 

 

 

 

Jim Reinhart’s crockpot goetta:

Jim is an Indiana reader who makes his in the crockpot. A time tested reader favorite.

3 cups pinhead oatmeal

5 cups water

1 1/2 – 2 tablespoons salt

1 pound each: ground pork and ground beef

2 medium onions, diced

6 bay leaves

1 teaspoon each: garlic powder, black pepper, crushed red pepper, sage

2 teaspoons allspice

4 beef bouillon cubes

2 additional cups water

Combine 3 cups of oatmeal with 5 cups water in sprayed crock pot and cook on high for two hours, stirring occasionally. An hour and a half after putting oatmeal in crock pot, combine bay leaves, garlic powder, sage, allspice, red pepper, black pepper and bouillon with 2 cups water in saucepan. Bring to boil, then simmer for about 30 minutes or until reduced to 1 cup. Strain and add liquid to crock pot. While spices are cooking, brown beef and pork with onions. Drain grease and add mixiture to crock pot, either before or after spice mixture goes in. When all ingredients are in crock pot, turn to low and mix well, stirring often for another two hours. Don’t be tempted to add water, even though goetta gets very thick.  If it becomes too thick to stir, add water sparingly but remember, the thicker it is when done, the better it will fry up. Spoon into casseroles, seal tightly and after it cools, put one in the refrigerator and the other in the freezer if desired. To serve, saute in a non-stick or cast iron skillet until both sides are browned.  (Add enough salt or it will be bland.  The bouillon cubes will help with this.)

 

 

 

 

 

Bill Sanders heirloom goetta

When Bill’s family comes to visit during goetta making season, they always leave with full tummies.

1 pound ground beef

2 pounds cubed pork loin

6 cups water

1 tablespoon salt

2 teaspoons pepper

2-1/2 cups pinhead oats

2 huge onions, diced

4-8 bay leaves

Put water, salt and pepper in a big pot. Bring to a boil and add oats. Lower heat to a gentle boil and cook for 1-1/2 hours, covered. Stir every 15 minutes. Add meats, onion and bay leaves. Mix well, cover and cook on low for 3 more hours. Uncover and if not thick enough, cook longer, stirring often. Remove bay leaves. Pour into loaf pans. Cool and refrigerate. Cut into thick slices, fry in hot bacon fat until golden on both sides. Freezes well.

 

 

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