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What Is Eintopf?

Eintopf often includes onions.
Potatoes are a staple in eintopf stew.
Although salt and pepper tend to be staples, generally not many other spices are added to eintopf.
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  • Written By: Angie Bates
  • Edited By: John Allen
  • Last Modified Date: 13 October 2014
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Literally meaning "one pot," eintopf is a German stew. Though it usually has both meat and vegetables, eintopf refers more to the way this dish is cooked than the ingredients included. Since there is so much flexibility in the ingredients, this stew allows for creativity in its preparation and is a good choice for people who have excess vegetables they are trying to find a use for.

The meats included in eintopf are often pork based, but can be beef — including ground beef — or chicken. A type of German sausage called mettwurst, polish sausage, or bacon are most frequently used. Meat is not necessary in this stew, however.

Water, sometimes combined with beef or chicken broth, is normally used as the liquid base, but a vegetable stock can be used for vegetarian versions. As in many stews, potatoes are usually a staple ingredient in eintopf but may be substituted for lentils or rice. Carrots and onions are also usual additions. Green vegetables, like green beans, and herbs, like garlic, are frequently included. For the more adventurous, more nontraditional ingredients, like apples, can be included as well.

Although salt and pepper tend to be staples, generally not many other spices are added to eintopf. Fines herbes are a possible addition, as is nutmeg. Worcestershire sauce is sometimes added for extra flavoring.

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Some specific recipes call for more strict ingredients. For example, kohlrabi eintopf is made with a turnip commonly called a kohlrabi. This version of the stew includes mettwurst, potatoes, and nutmeg as many eintopfs do, but it also adds flour and whipping cream. The turnips, meat, and potatoes are all combined and cooked together, but the nutmeg, flour, and cream are first combined separately before being added to the stew.

Regional variations of eintopf are also abundant. The Zürich version, for example, adds cumin and salt to meat, potatoes, and carrots. Onions and garlic are also included, and white wine is combined with water for the liquid base in this Swiss take on the dish.

Eintopf is often made in pots on the stove, but it can be made in a pressure cooker as well. Recipes which call for a pressure cooker can sometimes be made on the stove top if a pressure cooker is unavailable. Cooking times must be adjusted for the difference, however, since stove top cooking takes longer than that of a pressure cooker.

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