Monday, January 17, 2011

German Potato Salad

I've eaten lots of German Potato Salad here in Germany and every one of them has been different. Some are very tart with vinegar and some have a lot of bacon or ham. And, some of them are redolent with onions. I think the best have been lightly sweet and sour with a smoky flavor from the bacon and the onion contributes as a slightly pungent side note. I never made German Potato Salad before, but in my attempt to make authentic German foods, I attempted it last night and it turned out so well that I have to share it with you. 

Here in Germany, they sell bacon already cut up in little pieces called Schenk and I used Apple Cider Vinegar as it is slightly sweeter than the usual white vinegar. I also cooked red onions in the bacon fat to slightly to mellow them. If you would like to make these with less bacon fat, you can use real bacon bits and light olive oil instead, but numerous studies have pointed out how good lard is for you and during the winter, you need that fat to make your body warm. So I am all about the bacon! Plus the vinegar cuts through the fat so that you digest it easier and the water tones down the vinegar - that's a German trick I learned. German Potato Salad has a wonderful sweet and sour flavor and it is a wonderful side dish to sausages and other meat dishes. I served it with lamb cutlets. And in Germany, they often serve it as a part of a green salad with canned corn and shredded carrots. I hope you enjoy it!

German Potato Salad
6 - 8 slices of bacon cut into pieces
(or if using bacon bits or ham use 1/2 cup and 1/4 cup oil)
4 medium potatoes boiled in skins, peeled and cut into chunks
1/3 cup Apple Cider Vinegar
1/3 cup broth (beef or chicken) or water
2 - 3 Tablespoons sugar or more to taste depending on sourness of vinegar
2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 teaspoons German mustard
extra salt and pepper

Put cut potatoes in a large bowl. In a frying pan, cook bacon until crisp and remove to a plate to crumble. Add oil if necessary to make about 1/4 cup of oil in pan (including bacon grease). Add onions and cook until just translucent. In a small bowl, stir together water, sugar and vinegar tasting to make sure it has right sweet and sour balance. Add more sugar if necessary and then stir in mustard. Stir vinegar mixture into onions and warm slightly. Pour over potatoes and add bacon, tossing lightly - making sure not to smash potatoes. Sprinkle with additional salt and pepper. Serve warm or refrigerate and serve later, but bring to room temperature for best flavor.

Five Element Analysis

Potatoes as root vegetables belong to the Earth Element as does the sugar. Bacon, being a salted meat comes from the Water Element. Vinegar adds the Wood Element and the lightly cooked onions bring in the Metal Element along with the Mustard. The only element missing is the Fire Element so serving it with a Fire meat like I did with Lamb will work and so does a green salad if you cook another meat. It is a surprisingly balanced little dish.


  1. Sounds delicious, I don't think I have tried German potato salad. Its a nice lighter alternative to usual potato salad made with mayonnaise.

  2. It keeps better too without the mayonnaise. Using beef or chicken broth instead of the water is a trick I forgot to mention....