Octoberfest Celebrating


Be Inspired Seasonally with Rita Calvert

This post is brought to you by many of us  who celebrate Octoberfest by gathering together around the Severn River to enjoy wholesome, beautiful food with a hearty Germanic fall overtone. There are plenty of ways to celebrate the beer lovers festival around our region or you can create your own as we did.

The food stars of this show are apples, pork…be it sausage, ribs or bacon, cabbage, and beer, of course. With these celebratory recipes, let the feasting begin!




Beer-Braised Country-Style Pork Ribs

Serves 10-12

Nothing is much more irresistible than juicy country pork ribs cooked down until the meat falls off the bone. Add to that the fruity undertones of rich dark beer.

  • 4 pounds bone-in country-style pork ribs
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons hot paprika
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 medium onions, peeled and cut into wedges
  • 1 12 -ounce bottle amber ale
  • 1 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 6 sprigs thyme
  • 2/3 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons honey

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. 

Pat the ribs dry, season with salt and sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon paprika. Heat the olive oil in a large Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the ribs in batches and cook until browned, about 8 minutes per side. Remove to a plate. Add the onions and cook until browned, about 10 minutes. Add the remaining 1 teaspoon paprika and season with salt.

Add the beer; bring to a boil and cook until the liquid is reduced by half, about 8 minutes, scraping up the bottom of the pot with a wooden spoon. Add the chicken broth, bay leaves and thyme; when the liquid begins to simmer, return the ribs to the pot and transfer to the oven. Cook, uncovered, turning the ribs once or twice, until the meat is almost tender, about 1 hour.

Mix the vinegar and honey in a measuring cup. Remove the pot from the oven and place on the stovetop; bring to a simmer over medium heat. Add the vinegar mixture and bring to a boil, then return the pot to the oven. Continue to braise, uncovered, until the ribs are tender, 15 to 20 more minutes. Return the pot to the stovetop and transfer the ribs to a plate. Bring the sauce to a boil over medium heat; skim off the fat and cook until thickened, 10 to 15 minutes. Return the ribs to the pot and heat through. Discard the bay leaves and thyme before serving.


Bacon Roasted Caraway Sauerkraut

Serves 8-10

Apples can take on many guises fulfilling much more than sweet dishes. This savory side dish of sauerkraut is enlivened by our beloved fall fruit. This recipes comes to us from the Niman Ranch cookbook.

  • 1/4 pound sliced apple-wood smoked bacon
  • 2 tart apples, such as Granny Smith, peeled, cored, and grated
  • 1 yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon caraway seeds, ground
  • 3 cups unfiltered apple juice
  • 1/4 cup white wine vinegar
  • 2 pounds of refrigerated (in a jar, not can), prepared sauerkraut, drained (about 1 24-fluid-ounce jar, drained)

Lay the slices of bacon down at the bottom of a large, thick-bottomed pot and heat on medium heat. Cook until the bacon has browned and most of the bacon fat has been rendered, 5 to 10 minutes. Remove the bacon from the pot and set on paper towels to drain. Remove all but 1 tablespoon of the fat in the pot. (Do not pour down the sink, bacon fat will clog your drain!) Chop the bacon and set aside.

Add the chopped onions and apples to the pot and cook until the onions are translucent, about 6-7 minutes. Add the garlic and caraway and cook for a minute more.

Add the apple juice and the white vinegar to the pot. Increase the heat to high. Bring to a boil and boil vigorously until the liquid is reduced to a syrup, about 5 minutes.

Add the sauerkraut and bacon to the pot and stir to coat with the sauce. Reduce the heat to low and cook until the sauerkraut has been heated through and is tender, about 10 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.


Cinnamon Apple Dried Apricot Strudel

Get yourself very organized-with all ingredients prepared and in place to use in the order needed. With a beautiful mis en place, this endeavor goes quickly. It’s best to offer a serrated knife for cutting the strudel.

Serves 10

  • 1/2 cup chopped dried apricots
  • Grated zest and juice of 1 fresh orange 
  • 6 layers phyllo dough
  • 1 stick butter, melted
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh toasted breadcrumbs
  • 4 granny smith apples, peeled, cored and sliced very thinly
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • confectioners sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine the apricots, zest and orange juice in a small bowl and heat just until boiling to soften apricots. Let rest while preparing the phyllo.

Stack layers of dough brushing each layer with butter and sprinkling lightly with breadcrumbs before topping with next layer. Brush top layer with butter.

In a bowl combine apples, apricot mixture, sugar, flour and cinnamon. Spoon filling down the left long side of phyllo rectangle. Fold top edge down and bottom edge up by about 2 inches to cover filling. Roll dough up along long side to enclose filling. Brush log with butter and cut 5 diagonal slits in top to allow steam to escape. Bake for 30 minutes or until golden and puffed.

Remove from oven and let cool slightly before placing on serving platter. Dust the top with confectioners sugar.