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What wine goes with Gehacktes (a traditional German dish)?

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We know the dish here in the United States as Steak Tartare.  In the Middle East, it’s known as Kibbe, and in Ethiopia a heavily spiced version of the dish is known as kitfo.  In German, the dish is known as Gehacktes if using beef, Mett if using pork.

My father has asked me to make Gehacktes for him for his birthday and Father’s Day this year.  I’ve never made it before, but I am not concerned with the preparation of the dish.  My concern is that the dish that my mother made for me growing up is uncooked beef.  Yep, raw beef.  I’ve had beef twice this calendar year as I’ve tried to change my eating habits (read: I went on a strict nearly-vegan diet).  The thought of preparing this dish is a non-issue.  The thought of eating this dish is something else.

Here’s a photo care of (c) Verena N. / pixelio.de from the http://mstarlikes.blogspot.com/2012/07/like-5-gehacktesbrotchen.html website.  This photo shows the gehacktes spread on sourdough or French break and topped with pickles and herbs.

Gehacktes

My father’s version doesn’t include the gehacktes spread onto bread, but served in a loaf.  Here’s the recipe as he remembers it:

  • One pound (or more) of ground top sirloin ground twice
  • At least 3-4 bunches of green onions sliced finely
  • 1-2 raw egg (not sure if white included or just yolk)
  • salt and pepper to taste

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Mix the meat with some of the green onions, the egg (yolk?) and salt and pepper, preferably by hand.  Form loaf on platter and cover with remaining sliced green onions.  Chill and serve with hot buttered sourdough bread.

When I thought to myself, “How am I going to eat this??”  and “I’m not letting my *son* eat this!”  I began to see something different.  First of all, I told my father that yes, I would be happy to make it but I had conditions.  “First,” I said, “all the food is going to be purchased at either Whole Foods Market or Diablo Foods — I’m not making the dish with beef from Joe’s Market.”  He happily agreed.

wi-8greatrose-608Photo courtesy of gourmet.com

Then it hit me:  What could I drink with it?  The meat will be very lean so while I know I would need a good acid wine, it didn’t have to be sauvignon blanc acid.  The onions on and throughout the dish are making me consider something with high acid and sweetness.   Grenache rosé?  I’m stumped, and wine/food pairing was not my forte before I told my dad I would take on this endeavor.

Truth be told, I’m happy to make the dish for him.  He’s about to turn 77 and probably doesn’t remember the last time he had the dish, so I want to make it as memorable as possible (for all the right and good reasons!).

So, what do you think??  What wine would pair best with gehacktes?

~H

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Thomas Coyne 2010 La Petite Quest

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Although I was disappointed about not publishing an article I’d worked on for a couple months, I kept telling myself two things when the editor told me she wasn’t going to publish it: (1) I am not married to my work, what she declined to publish is not “me.” and (2) the experience of meeting and interviewing wonderful people for the article was an experience in and of itself for which I’m grateful.

As an example, I got to talk to Thomas Coyne again. It had been years since I’d met him, and I had forgotten he made Rhone wines (my favorite!).

Tonight I’m drinking one of the wines I purchased from his winery, La Petite Quest. La Petite Quest is a rose (table wine) which is a blend of Grenache, syrah and Mourvedre. The label on the back mentions fruit (strawberry and raspberry), but I don’t taste it.

In fact, when I drink, it, I imagine a non-rose accompaniment. While one would normally think cheese, fruit, maybe some nuts for a picnic with this wine, I actually imagined it with something that was more substantial. A salad frisee with seared lamb or even ahi, with a nearly non-existent salad dressing.

This wine is neither dry nor sweet, but refreshing just the same. I’m drinking it with a small vegetarian pizza and even though the garlic on my pizza may be overwhelming, I still want to elevate this wine to something beyond fruit and cheese in a picnic setting.

~H

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