5 March 2012

Bockwurst und Kartoffelsalat (or German Sausage with Potato Salad)

I may have mentioned in the past, my enduring love for Bockwurst und Kartoffelsalat.

When my Dad was in the Army (Royal Engineers) and we were stationed in Germany, whenever we went out to eat anywhere I would immediately scan the menu for Bockwurst und Kartoffelsalat.  Thus began an eduring love affair with potato salad - but if I could ever lay my hands on any good Bockwurst, then it just didn't get any better than that.

Now, what makes a good Bockwurst good?  Well, for me, it is the complete lack of whatever it is that the manufacturers put into hot dogs, that makes you feel nauseous after eating two of them.  I never feel nauseous when eating Bockwurst - and to my shame, could happily down an entire jar full in one sitting, without any ill effects.  The same could never be said for hot dogs!

For all that they are similar to hot dogs, a good Bockwurst has a more robust texture and a milder flavour.  You know how, if you cut through a hot dog with a fork, it doesn't put up a fight but just kind of mushes beneath your fork?  Not so with a Bockwurst.  It should resist the fork - not as much as a pork sausage would - enough to let you know that this sausage is firm.

Now as for cooking them, I admit that such is my keenness to get them down my throat, that I haven't ever done anything more than pop them into a saucepan of simmering water for as long as it takes to assemble some cooked potato in a potato salad.  However, I gather that they are lovely griddled - and knowing how much I love my griddle pan, I can see how that might be.

We found our Bockwurst in our local Aldi store.  I am sure a good Delicatessen would also be able to source them for you.

As for the potato salad, well, I gather that a true Kartoffelsalat falls into two camps depending upon where in Germany you are.  If in northern Germany, you can expect your Kartoffelsalat to be dressed with mayonnaise.  However, if in southern Germany, it takes the form of a vinegar dressed salad, with accompanying smoked bacon pieces.

All I can say, is that I only ever experienced the mayonnaise version.  Although, I have to say that the vinegar version sounds interesting!

Where serving the dish is concerned, I can remember sitting down to an enormous sausage on a plate with a mountain of potato salad - and that's it.  However, hubby seemed appalled at that idea (can't imagine why! *chuckle*) so we also had some mixed salad with the sausages. 

The "Jelly" potatoes from Greenvale Farm Fresh (which I have used up and had to go out and buy some more), are particularly brilliant for this dish.  Being a lovely combination of 80% waxy and 20% floury, they are able to be boiled without fear of their dissolving, yet they retain a lovely tender texture that goes so well in a salad.

I think that the recipe for my Kartoffelsalat might not be strictly true to the original, but it is certainly how I remember the potato salad tasting - which is all that I was interested in, in this case!

BOCKWURST UND KARTOFFELSALAT (or German Bockwurst sausage with potato salad)

Ingredients :

A jar of Bockwurst or two (a jar usually contains 5 sausages)
4-5 waxy potatoes, peeled and cut into quarters or less ("Jelly" is a brilliant type for this)
2 tbsp greek yoghurt
2 tbsp mayonnaise
2 tbsp fresh chives, snipped
1 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped fine
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Method :

1.  Bring a large saucepan of salted water to the boil and add the potato pieces, which should still be in large chunks - you will cut them to salad size once cooked.

2.  Allow the saucepan to simmer in lively fashion until the potatoes easily accept the point of a knife.

3.  Drain.

4.  Turn the potatoes onto a plate and allow to cool completely.

5.  Half fill a saucepan with water and bring to the boil.  Once boiling, turn the heat right down until at a gentle simmer.  Add the sausages from the jar, discarding the brine.

6.  While the sausages are heating up, take the cooked, cooled potatoes and cut into small dice.  Add them to a large bowl.

7.  Add the yoghurt, mayonnaise, chives and parsley and mix gently, to combine.

8.  Add some freshly ground black pepper and salt to taste.  Mix again, lightly, to combine.

9.  To serve, remove the sausages from the pan and place onto kitchen paper to drain.  Add them to your plate, together with the potato salad - and some additional mixed salad, if you so desire.




  1. bob ex sigs 195921 March 2012 at 14:00

    Jenny, just found your blog!!
    how it reminds ME of my days in Dortmund with the Royal signals, and evening meals in Brackel!!

    Geisslers pub with Bockwurst und kartoffelsalat. or a kartolet? und Kartoffel.........

    1. Hello Bob! I knew there had to be more than just me out there that got transported back in time by Bockwurst! LOL So you are a Royal Signals man, eh? Nice to meet you!

  2. Dear Jenny,
    A few years ago (1955)! I was posted to Germany, mainly on Luneberg Heath and just loved bockwurst as cooked by the street vendors. Of course, I did not speak the language and did not find out how they cooked them. However, I believe they were boiled in vinegar and served with a bread roll. Have you come across any recipe involving vinegar and if so, what the ratio of vinegar to water was?
    As I live in Poole I will get the Bournemouth Echo and find your food column.
    Mick Fionda
    p.s. I was a telecomms engineer in the R.E.M.E. What memories are coming back now!

    1. Hiya Mick! Aha, a REME man, eh? I used to ride REME horses in Munster, many years ago. :) In response to your vinegar question, no, I haven't ever found any recipes involving vinegar in this way - but if I were you, I'd have a bit of a lunchtime experiment with a jar of bockwurst and some types of vinegar. Probably white wine, malt and cider would be a good place to start. Your tongue will tell you when you've got it right! :)

      Now you can buy the Echo if you want (far be it from me to stop you, lol) but my food column is in the online version, at http://www.bournemouthecho.co.uk/news/blogs/taste/ :)


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