My second cooking lesson with Jola came two weeks after I moved to Germany. I was a little nervous because like the last time we were on our own. This time though, we upped the ante by going grocery shopping together first. That meant 5 or 6 hours together without a translator. Nevertheless, I was excited. This week’s menu featured Schäuferla with Klöße and wirsing.
Schäuferla (pronounced Shoyfella) is the Franconian way of saying Pig’s Shoulder. This was the very first Franconian food Thorsten shared with me on my very first trip to visit him in Germany. It’s almost purely Franconian and he now admits that it was a tiny test. He figured that if I liked the Schäuferla, it might really be love. Luckily I did like it!
In Franconia the shoulder meat is roasted and braised in it’s own juices. In the end the meat is falling off the shoulder bone and there is a wonderfully delicious, crispy but melt-in-your mouth layer of fat on the top. I have been dying to know how they get this result.
Jola came to pick me up and we were on our way. Immediately I realized I had forgotten my phone. This forced us to have a short yet successful conversation about turning around to get it and after that the language barrier-ice was broken. Phew!
We started shopping by browsing through the sales and special offers. Jola showed me the things that taste the same so you might as well save a few Euros and buy the cheaper one. In the first episode of Cooking with Jola, I shared the details for making Klöße. This week she shared a time saving tip about the process. She buys the already pulverized potato for the Klöse instead of pulverizing it herself. A brand from a nearby town is Jola’s standby. We came across an different brand and decided to create a taste test of sorts: making half of the Klöße with the normal brand and half with the new. We marked the new ones with a tooth pick when we boiled them (Jola’s idea) so that we could tell them apart at dinner time.
It was fascinating to see which cuts were meant for which meals at the meat counter. The meat lady wasn’t particularly friendly or informed. Jola wanted to discuss almost every individual cut of the Schäuferla to make sure we got the best one and this seemed to irritate and bore the meat lady. However, it was a tiny encouragement for me to realize that Jola and I are not that different. I always want to make conversation with people who are experts in their field, whether it be the mail man or the meat man.
Once we got started I realized that perfecting the Schäuferla is not that difficult, it just requires a good deal of time and basting. Each individual piece gets salted and peppered and then placed on a rimmed baking pan with a lot of margarine, dried majoram and caraway seed. Jola is really specific about when to use margarine and when to use butter–Margarine for meat and butter for vegetables.
Chopped carrots and onions are added for flavor to make the sauce later. Heinz always does all the peeling and chopping. For the record, Heinz also always makes the coffee. Even if Jola offers you coffee, Heinz will make it. I guess he is kind of like the sous chef.
The Schäuferla is roasted/braised at 225 degrees Celsius for at least three hours. If it’s cooking too fast, you can cover it, you don’t want the fat on the top to burn, but keep basting.
At dinner each if us tried the two different types of Klöße. This taste test revealed that the original brand tastes better and we should never buy the new brand again. I love taste tests and so does Thorsten. Maybe he gets it from Jola!
We devoured the Schäuferla that evening. We were so full that we couldn’t even eat dessert.
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