When we need some comfort food, many of us would usually go for Italian, Chinese or a big, greasy burger with french fries. But there is a kitchen that is completely overlooked when it comes to giving the warm, fuzzy feeling associated with your grandmother’s chicken parmesan or a belly full of Lo Mein.
German food gets a bad rap – it’s all soaked sauerkraut and massive sausages, right? Well, not quite. Over the years, the Germans have developed some really solid, super comforting dishes that make you think twice about your go-to grilled cheese and tomato soup the next time you need to warm up.
This southern German specialty (pictured above) is about as good as it gets – soft, fresh, homemade noodles with stiff cheese. It’s basically a German version of mac and cheese, but much simpler and far more satisfying.
The noodles start as a super easy dough / dough that is dripped into boiling water using a special tool called a Hobel, but you can just as easily make it at home with a colander or a cheese grater. After boiling in the water for a few minutes, pour the tasty pasta directly into a mixture of grated cheeses while still smoking hot. Once the beautiful cheeses have turned into a decadent sauce, top käsespätzle with simple spices and caramelized onions.
And if you really want to pamper yourself, it would not be out of the question to add some thick-cut bacon lard to the mix.
It does not get much easier than Eintopf, which literally translates to “one pot.” It’s a set-it-and-forget-it type of dish that will warm you right through the cold winter nights.
Eintopf is more of a general cooking method than a specific dish, so different different incarnations appear all over the country. Lentils are the preferred ingredient in the Thuringia region, while chefs from other areas may choose to base their eintopf on seasonal root vegetables or potatoes and meatballs.
Photo: Oliver Hallmann / Flickr
This dish has everything you could want on a rainy evening – crispy bacon, hearty potatoes and rich onions. The ingredients are sautéed together, just like home fries, and are usually served with eggs, pickles and salad as a breakfast dish (but we do not tell anyone if you decide to have it for dinner).
Photo: Jorge Díaz / Flickr
Boulette is a specialty of the German capital Berlin, and it has kept city dwellers going through the colder months for decades. Similar to the Meatballs available in other parts of the country, these large, juicy meatballs are often served with mashed potatoes and gravy or in bread with mustard.
Fixed somewhere between classic Italian meatballs and your mother’s meatballs, these Berlin favorites can be found all over the city in bars, at street food stalls or at restaurants.
Photo: Seph Swain / Flickr
Schupfnudeln is a lovely delicacy popular in southern Germany that resembles Italian gnocchi. They comfort small potato buns made with flour, eggs and potatoes, and they are as versatile as their counterparts in the Mediterranean. They are delicious when roasted in a pan with garlic, mushrooms and herbs, or they can be cooked simply with butter, cheese and bacon pieces – to mix it, try a sweet potato version with brown butter and thyme.
Dessert is always the best part of a meal, and this fruity German pudding will give you the cozy feeling we all want in the winter months. Like bread and butter pudding, this sweet delight is made with old bread soaked in eggs, butter, milk and sugar with spices. Cherries are folded into the mixture and it goes in the oven until golden brown. Kirschenmichel is traditionally served after a meal with hot vanilla cream.
Photo: Wheeler Cowperthwaite / Flickr
If there’s anything Germans love more than beer, sausages and paperwork, it’s Christmas. They really go out at Christmas time, and mulled wine is an aromatic spicy wine served throughout Christmas.
It would not be a traditional German Weihnachtsmarkt (Christmas market) without the hypnotic smell of mulled wine in the air. Red wine is warmed with various spices, citrus fruits and sugar before being served in mugs to cool customers. The heat from this tasteful mulled wine will definitely light up on any cold day and put a festive spring in your crotch.