For as long as I can remember, Christmas morning has always meant goetta for breakfast. (I even served it last year when we did Christmas in July!) When I married, I continued the family tradition with my husband and eventually our children.
This year, though, time got away from me, and I decided if it was between making goetta and spending time just relaxing a bit before the big day, relaxing was going to win. And a new tradition was born: goetta for New Year’s Day.
Wait, you mean you don’t know what goetta is?
Well, dear readers, let me introduce you to the yumminess that is goetta!
Goetta (pronounced get-ta) is a German-American breakfast sausage that consists primarily of pinhead oats, ground beef and ground pork.
Growing up we always looked forward to our first batch of goetta on Christmas morning.
Today I am going to share with you the recipe that my mother taught me; it is the same recipe that she learned from my grandmother. (But, in truth, most goetta recipes I’ve found are strikingly similar.)
How to make Goetta:
- 1 1/2 pounds ground beef (I’ve also done it with just 1 pound)
- 1 pound ground pork
- 2 1/2 cups pinhead oats (sometimes called steel-cut oats)
- 8 cups of water
- 1 large onion – diced into small pieces
- 3-4 bay leaves
- 3 tsp. salt and pinch of pepper
- Several handfuls of instant oatmeal
- Bring the 8 cups of water to boil in a large pot with a heavy bottom. Add salt, pepper and pinhead oats.
- Turn the mixture down to low, add lid, and cook the pinhead oats for 2 hours, stirring often (every 10-15 minutes) to keep it from sticking.
- Thoroughly mix the ground beef and ground pork together. (I usually use my hands to ensure it is evenly mixed.
- Once the pinhead oats have cooked for 2 hours, add the meat mixture, onion, and bay leaves. Make sure you mix it together very well!
- Continue to cook your mixture on low, with the lid on, for one more hour. Once again you will need to make sure you stir the batch often.
- Once the meat has been cooking for an hour, you will notice some liquid resting on top of the goetta mixture. This is where the “handfuls of instant oatmeal” come in to play. Toss in several handfuls, stir, and wait a few minutes. The idea is for the oatmeal to soak up some of the extra moisture so it will rest up well later. If it still has quite a bit of moisture, add another couple handfuls (only add 2 handfuls). This year I think I wound up adding 6-7 handfuls of oats in, to give you an idea.
- Now, before you can put your goetta into pans, you need to find those bay leaves! Make sure you get each and every one out! (Bay leaves can cut the sensitive areas inside the mouth.)
- Tired yet? We’re almost done! Now you will spoon your goetta into pans to set up. Mine fit into 2 loaf pans and one 8X8 pan this year. Cover with foil and refrigerate.
Goetta can be stored in the refrigerator for about one week. You can also freeze it for several months. (The goetta we had in July was actually from December, and it tasted yummy still!)
To prepare the goetta for breakfast, slice 1 inch thick slices and place in a hot skillet with butter (some people use bacon fat). Fry on both sides until browned. You have to have patience when frying goetta! If you turn it too soon, it will fall apart.
Here we serve our goetta with ketchup, jellied toast and oranges or orange juice. (Another family tradition — I just can’t eat it without toast and orange juice or oranges!)
Goetta is a delicious winter breakfast! (And a labor of love…) Have you tried it before?