Hearty beef dishes in the Pennsylvania German tradition

Amish BeefFrom meat loaf to hamburger to cabbage rolls, beef dishes are a staple on the Amish dinner table.  Dutch meat rolls or beef pot pie are classic, filling meals fit for hard-working farmers or anyone with a big appetite.  Pennsylvania Dutch tradition also makes use of veal to create tasty dinnertime dishes.

Beef Dishes

 
 
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PIZZA MEATLOAF

  • 2 lb. ground beef
  • 1 env. onion soup mix
  • ¾ c. Italian bread crumbs
  • 1 sm. Green pepper, chopped
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • ½ c. pizza sauce
  • ½ c. shredded mozzarella cheese

Mix the above ingredients well and bake for 1 hour at 350 F. Top with ½ cup of pizza sauce and ½ cup of mozzarella cheese. Bake in oven at 350 F. for 10 more minutes. (adapted from Ladies Journal: July/August 2012)

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PA DUTCH MEAT LOAF

  • 2½ lbs. hamburger
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • ½ green pepper, chopped
  • 1 cup cheese (cubed small)
  • 2½ cups bread crumbs
  • 2 eggs
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 cup catsup

Mix all ingredients together.  Shape into two loaves. Pour ketchup over the loaves. Bake at 350 degrees F until done.

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SHEPHERD’S PIE

  • Homemade biscuit mix or powdered buttermilk mix
  • 1-2 cups of meat
  • 1 diced potato
  • 1 cup of peas
  • 1/2 cup of diced carrots
  • 1/2 cup of celery
  • 1 small onion

1. Line a 10-inch pie pan with pastry made from a homemade biscuit mix or a powdered buttermilk baking mix. Prepared as if you are making biscuits, but roll it out thin (to the thickness of pie dough).

2. Cook a cup or two of canned, fresh, or leftover meat (any kind) Season to your preference. Save whatever broth might remain.

3. Cook 1 potato (diced), 1 cup peas, 1/2 cup carrots (diced), 1/2 cup celery (sliced fine) and season to taste. Again, save the broth of potatoes and carrots, add to meat broth, and thicken slightly.

4. Finely dice 1 small onion.

5. Combine the meat, onion, and vegetable mix in the pie shell in alternating layers.

6. Pour at least 1 cup of the meat and vegetable gravy over the meat and vegetables. Cover the pie with slit pastry.  Bake Shepherd’s Pie for about a half and hour (until pastry is nice and brown) at 350 degrees. (adapted from Plain and Happy Living: Amish Recipes and Remedies by Emma Byler)

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CABBAGE ROLLS

  • 1 pound hamburger
  • 1/3 cup uncooked rice
  • 2 tablespoons butter or other shortening
  • 1 onion, sliced fine
  • 1 egg, well beaten
  • 1 can tomato soup
  • Juice of one lemon
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon parsley, minced
  • 1/2 cup celery, chopped
  • Salt and pepper
  • 6 cabbage leaves

Season the hamburger well with salt and pepper.  Add the egg and mix well, then mix in rice.

To make the sauce, melt the butter and add the onion and cook for several minutes. Combine tomato soup and an equal amount of water and add to onion. Add the parsley, celery, lemon juice sugar, salt and pepper, and cook for 10 minutes.

Next, wash the cabbage leaves and boil them until tender. Put 2 tablespoons of meat mixture into each leaf.  Roll them up tightly, and secure each roll using a toothpick. Place in a saucepan and pour sauce over rolls. Cover pan tightly and cook slowly for 3 hours. (adapted from Pennsylvania Dutch Cook Book of Fine Old Recipes)

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DUTCH MEAT ROLLS

  • 2½ lbs. beef
  • 10 potatoes
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons minced parsley
  • 1 chopped onion
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup milk
  • 3 eggs
  • 2½ cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 tablespoon shortening
  • 1 tablespoon butter

After seasoning the meat with salt and pepper, stew it for two hours. Then make dough with flour, baking powder, salt and the shortening. Mix into a pie-crust dough. Roll into a dozen circles 8 to 10 inches in diameter.

Steam the potatoes, pared and sliced thin.  Add salt and pepper, 2 tablespoons of butter; the parsley and onions and then beat the three eggs, lightly, into the mixture.

Put this mixture on the circles of dough after it has stood a little while. Fold half the circle of dough over like a half moon and press edges together tightly. Drop these into the pot with the meat and stew water. Cover tightly and cook for 30 minutes.

Into a frying pan put a couple of tablespoons of fat skimmed from the stew before putting in the dough rolls, then add 1 tablespoon of butter. In this mixture, brown small cubes of hard bread and stir in a half cup of milk. Pour this milk sauce over the meat rolls, and serve.

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BEEF BRISKET WITH SAUERKRAUT AND DUMPLINGS

  • 3 pounds brisket of beef
  • 1 1/2 quarts sauerkraut
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons shortening
  • Salt and pepper

Melt the shortening in a large pan, and brown the onion. Then add beef after seasoning it well with the salt and pepper. Add the sauerkraut; cover with boiling water. Cook slowly for 2 hours or until meat is tender. Add dumplings (text says dumplings no 1 page 27). Cut the dough into squares and place on top of meat and sauerkraut. Cover the pan tightly and cook for 25 minutes. (adapted from Pennsylvania Dutch Cook Book of Fine Old Recipes)

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HAMBURGER POTATO DINNER

  • 1 lb. hamburger
  • 3 cups potatoes, sliced
  • salt
  • 1 small head cabbage
  • 1 cup milk
  • pepper

Shred cabbage and put ½ of it in a greased casserole. Add ½ of the sliced potatoes and half of the hamburger, and a sprinkle of salt and pepper. Add the remaining half in the same way. Pour on the milk; bake for 2 hrs. at 350 degrees.

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PA DUTCH BEEF and ONIONS

  • 1½ lbs. boiled beef
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon vinegar
  • 1 onion
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 pinch of pepper
  • ½ cup meat stock
  • salt

Mince the onion. Simmer in butter until soft. Add flour and simmer until brown. Add vinegar, salt, pepper and meat stock.  Bring to a boil. Slice the meat and serve with the sauce of the onion.

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MEAT PIE

  • 1½ cups leftover meat
  • 3 tblsp. flour
  • ¼ cup drippings
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 tblsp. grated onion
  • ⅓ cup chopped pepper
  • salt
  • pepper

Add flour to drippings and blend.  Add in milk gradually.  Cook, stirring constantly, until thickeing. Stir in the salt, onion, green pepper. Mix the cut-up meat into the gravy.  Pour into a baking dish lined with pastry. Top with a crust; bake for 25 minutes at 425 degrees Fahrenheit.

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BEEFY POT PIE

  • 2 lbs. stewing beef
  • 6 medium potatoes
  • pot pie dough (recipe below)
  • 2 onions
  • chopped parsley
  • salt and pepper

To make the pot pie dough:

To 2 cups of flour add a little salt, 1 beaten egg, and sufficient  milk to make a stiff dough. Roll out thin (⅛”) on a floured board. Cut into 2-inch squares.

Cut the beef into 1″ cubes.  Cover beef cubes with water and season.  Boil beef until tender. Peel potatoes, cut in ¼” slices and slice the onion. Drop layers of potatoes, onions, a sprinkling of parsley and dough squares into the hot broth (alternately).  Finish with the pot pie dough on top. Cover and boil for 20 minutes. Stir meat thru pot pie.

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CREAMY DRIED BEEF and CABBAGE

  • ½ large head cabbage
  • ¼ lb. dried beef
  • 1½ cups white sauce
  • ½ cup buttered crumbs

Chop cabbage coarsely and cook in salted water until tender, then drain. Chop the dried beef and soak in a little warm water for 10 minutes. Grease a casserole pan and then place alternating layers of cabbage and dried beef into it. Pour the white sauce over top, and then top with buttered bread crumbs. Bake for 25 min at 350 degrees.

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STUFFED PEPPERS

  • 1½ lbs. ground beef and pork
  • 6 green peppers
  • 1 can tomato soup
  • 3 tblsp. rice, uncooked
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • ½ tsp. salt

Mix the meat, rice, eggs and seasoning together. Cut the tops off of the peppers.  Soak the peppers in hot water for a couple of minutes. Scoop out the seeds.  Fill in the peppers using the meat mixture. Place them “standing” in a baking pan, pour the tomato soup over top and bake for 60 minutes at 300 degrees Fahrenheit.

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SAUERBRATEN

  • 2-inch-thick piece of chuck, pot roast or tender boiling beef.
  • vinegar
  • 2 large sliced onions
  • 3-4 slices of bacon
  • 1 tblsp. whole cloves
  • 1 tsp. allspice

Two or three days before cooking, place in dish or bowl and cover with solution of half vinegar and half water, put in two large onions sliced.

On the day before cooking, cut 3 or 4 slices of bacon into 1″ pieces and chop fine 1 tablespoon of the onion which has been soaking in the vinegar. Cut holes in the meat 1 or 2 inches apart and stuff bits of the bacon and chopped onion into the holes.

Put the meat back into the solution.  Add 1 tablespoon of whole cloves and 1 teaspoon whole allspice. Bake the meat as a pot roast in part of the solution, until tender. Use more of the solution, adding sugar to your preference, to make the gravy.

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MOCK DUCK

  • 1 thick round steak
  • 2 cups bread crumbs
  • 1 tblsp. minced onion
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ cup milk
  • 1 tblsp. butter
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • poultry seasoning

To make the dressing beat eggs, add milk and pour over bread crumbs. Add the onion, seasoning and work in the butter, mixing thoroughly. Spread the dressing over the meat and roll up carefully. Fasten with skewers or tie with string. Place into a greased pan and bake for 90 min at 375 degrees. Remove, slice the meat, and serve.

VEAL DISHES

VEAL CUTLET

  • 2 lbs. veal steak
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • salt
  • bread crumbs
  • lemon juice
  • pepper

Veal should be about ½ inch thick and cut into serving portions. Season with salt and pepper. Dip pieces into bread crumbs, then into the beaten egg and again in the crumbs. Cool in the refrigerator a while before cooking. Brown in hot fat on both sides, cover and simmer for 30 minutes. Sprinkle with lemon juice.

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SCHNITZEL

  • 1½ lbs. veal steak cut in cubes
  • 2 tblsp. shortening
  • 2 tblsp. flour
  • 1 cup tomato juice
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 1 small onion, chopped fine.
  • Salt and pepper
  • Flour

Dredge veal steak with flour and season with salt and pepper to taste. Melt shortening (preferably bacon fat) and brown the meat in it. Remove veal from the pan, stir in the flour and blend. Add the tomato juice and stir well until mixture thickens. Add veal, carrots and onion. Cover closely.  Simmer for 45 minutes.

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Meat loaf photo: naotakem/flickr
Unless otherwise noted, recipes adapted from Pennsylvania Dutch Cooking.

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