Moors and dense and dark forests. That's the perfect backdrop for some myths and legends. Witches, werewolves, wraiths, giants, fairies and dwarfs - creatures that dwell in those mysterious tales ... just around the corner. That's what the local newspaper wrote about the region of Schaumburg, not the one in Cook County in Northeastern Illinois. Rather the Schaumburg in the Northern part of Germany, just slightly to the west from Hanover.
The first tale I like to relate to you is about the blood linden tree (Blutlinde). According to the legend it took place around 1400. An evil squire accused a young girl or practicing sorcery. The trial took place at the castle of Schaumburg.
The girl was presented to the judge and also has professed her innocence under torture. Now it was upon 'divine judgement' that guilt or innocence was to be perceived. The night before the judgement a storm was raging and the linden tree at the gate of the castle fell down.
The next morning the accused girl in haste plugged a branch from the fallen tree, pushed it into the soil and said: "As surely as this branch will sprout and grow, I am truly innocent."
The young girl was taken to the water pools to be put to the water test for the 'divine judgement'. Would she float guilt was proven. On the other hand, if she would sink down, she would be innocent. As you see, no chance of winning.
The young girl sank and hastily they tried to pull her from the water, but to no avail. Life had gone out from her. An innocent girl had been murdered.
The branch of the linden tree, though, sprouted and grew into a giant tree. Up to today you can hear the whispering of it's leaves and the swooshing of the branches.
Today you also have a good view from the castle on the valley below, especially when you dare to climb the high tower. These days there is also a restaurant there, where you can buy fruit wines.
But back to the past ... same place, some years later, this time the 12th century. Apart from the owner of the castle of Schaumburg there is said to have been yet another resident - a knight. The story goes that he was clad in black and raided passing traders. The people around the area called him 'the Black Knight'.
Finally back in the 21th century a local brewery took up the legend of the black knight and brewed a beer and named it after that knight calling it 'Schwarzer Ritter' (black knight).
Now it happened that I had a guest post here on my blog recently. It was about a Canadian Beer Cheese Soup. Of course I don't just let others write posts with recipes for me without testing them myself. So I had to get some beer and as a result came across the 'Schwarze Ritter' beer, a dark brew.
Then I thought by myself I want to cook something else with it, maybe something that could fit the time and the area as well. What came out of it was this Rustic Meaty Medieval Beer Stew.
Let's do this stew. No one gets hurt, I promise.
500 g beef shin, cut in small chunks
2 fresh coarse pork sausages
1 tbs butter
5 slices of bacon
2 onions, cut into rings
500 g carrots, cut into round chunks
1 kg potatoes, cut into random chunks
1 large leek, cut into rings
1 l beef stock
1 bottle 'Schwarze Ritter' dark beer (330 ml)
A bunch of parsley (or even dried), chopped up
Salt and pepper to taste
You see, all natural ingredients, no additional artificial flavourings and preservatives. No fancy things, just basic ingredients. You can use any dark beer you can get your hand on.
Barbecue the beef and the sausages in your griddle pan unless you are in the mood to set up your barbecue outside. After all, here it's still to cold for that.
Once the meat has got sufficient colour and even some marks from the barbie you can put it aside on a wooden board or as you may see fit.
Get yourself a large pot ready and melt the butter. Place the slices of bacon at the bottom and let them work a little bit. I like to time things as I go.
Now I give my attention to the onions and toss them together with the bacon. It might be necessary to reduce the heat a bit. We don't want to blacken anything here.
Time to work with the carrots, peeling them and cutting them into the aforementioned chunks. Well, this might be a good opportunity to train your knife skills. Maybe that's why I chose this amount of carrots. Into the pot with them. Spoon through with your favourite wooden spoon and devote your attention to the potatoes.
The peeling of the potatoes might feel a bit like a punishment. Maybe you can find someone else to do it for you. No? Ah, no worries, I managed alone as well. Off they go into the pot all the same. Spoon.
Now, what's left to peel or chop? Right, chop the leek in rings after you have thoroughly cleaned it. They will find their place in the pot.
While you are already at it, add the meat and the parsley as well.
Pour over the beef stock and the beer. Spoon through one final time before you bring the whole content of the pot to the boil. Then let it simmer with the lid on for about one hour or longer. The potatoes should be cooked through and soft, but still retain their shape.
You may want to let it simmer further on afterwards a bit longer while the lid is removed. It all depends on whether you like to have more or less liquid in your stew.
If you want to use any leftovers later on in a pie or so, you can cook away some liquid away later.
However, at this point it would be time to plate up your Rustic Meaty Medieval Beer Stew and eat it.
Thou might desire a piece of rustic bread to go with it. Why not have it!
Enjoy it folks and have a nice life!
Not so fast!
Where are you going?
I decided it isn't over yet. Another quick one.
About one year ago ... to be precise at February the 5th in a small place far far away from a lot of things ... to be more precise, in a small town (village? hamlet?) in the Northern part of Germany a young man (just assume for a while - for the sake of dramatisation - it's right to say so) set out on a journey (if you like to call it that way) to boldly do ... eh ... now I confused myself ... again.
It's always the same. Now I write on this blog for exactly one year and still have drop outs and I don't know what to say.
Try and fail, try again and fail a little better. Fine!
Cooking Around the World is now officially 1 year old!!!
What do you say?