As my possibly indefinite move to Germany is rapidly, almost scarily approaching, I’ve been mulling over all of the seemingly innumerable possibilities that living there will provide me with: an extremely central location within the European Union, with a rail system just begging me to travel every chance I get, a new language to (attempt to) master, all of the people I will meet….and all of the extremely cheap, extremely available beer I will drink. Thoughts of this, all too obviously, led me to thoughts of Oktoberfest.
Being a lover of beer, and a lover of large gatherings of all sorts, Oktoberfest is something I am extremely excited for; however, being that a vegetarian is also something that I am, the food, which is primarily meat-lover friendly, is something I am a bit leery of. But I am not the only one, it would seem: Der Spiegel did a post entirely on the issue, explaining that beer tent owners are aware of the issue, and some are going to great lengths to combat it. Looking through the vegetarian and vegan options now being offered got me thinking – if these people can put a spin on a mostly meat-centric ordeal, so can I!
And thus, the meatless Bierock was borne.
I’m sure I’m not the first to do it, as it’s a pretty simple process to make this dish meatless, but hey, I am the first one to blog on Eurokulture about it, so that counts for something, right?
A little background: The Bierock is a typically German dish, brought to the United States in the 1880s by German Mennonite immigrants consisting of a semi-sweet roll filled with pan-cooked and seasonsed beef, cabbage and onions. In my version, as you could have guessed, there is no meat, but there is added mushrooms and mozzarella cheese, because really, how can cheese be a bad thing in this situation? In any situation, really, but I digress.
Alright, here we go, let’s do it.
2 cups warm water
2 (.25 ounce) packages active dry yeast
1/2 cups white sugar
1/4 cup margarine, softened
2 teaspoons salt
7 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup chopped onion
6 cups shredded cabbage
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 cup melted butter
1 package of mushrooms of your choice
12 ounces mozzarella cheese
Step One: Prepare the dough. Yup, that’s right, we’re gettin’ fancy and makin’ the dough ourselves. In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Let stand until creamy; about 10 minutes.
Mix in the sugar, margarine, egg, salt and 1/2 of the flour. Beat that baby until smooth. Add remaining flour until dough pulls together. Or, if you’re poor like me and don’t have an electric mixer/beater, you can get down and dirty and use your hands. Fair warning though: it gets sticky as all hell. My advice? Get over being socially awkward and ask that neighbor that you’ve never met despite living 5 feet away if they have a mixer and if you could pretty, pretty please use it for the smallest of time.
Once you’ve done all of this (and maybe made a new friend? Eh? Eh?), place the dough in an oiled bowl. Cover said bowl with foil and refrigerate for 2 hours or overnight, or let it rise for 1 hour. Can you guess which one I chose? Here’s a hint: it wasn’t the “refrigerate for 2 hours or overnight” option.
Step Two: In a large heavy skillet, sauté onion, cabbage, mushrooms. Add salt and pepper to season and let simmer for 30 minutes. Cool until lukewarm. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F in the meantime. Coat a cookie sheet with non-stick spray in the meantime as well.
Step Three: Punch down dough – really get into it – and divide into 20 pieces. Spread each piece of dough out on an un-floured surface and lay 2 pieces of cheese in each. The recipe I used states that you are to then fill each dough square with 2 tablespoons of the cabbage mix, but for me, 2 tablespoons was absolutely too much, so I ended up cutting it down to around 1 tablespoon. Once you manage to squish all of that vegetable and cheesegoodness into the dough, fold it over and seal edges. Place on prepared cookie sheet and let rise for 1 hour.
Step Four: Nearly there! If you want to get classy with it, you can eggwash these pups; I did it on half of them and it was well worth the extra minute it took. Bake for 25 minutes, or until golden brown. Brush with butter – lots of butter, lots and lots of butter – and DEVOUR.