A Slider for Every Series: Gouda Goetta Grilled Cheese Slider, Cincinnati Reds
Part of the fun for me in creating these sliders, is to dig a little deeper than what might be expected, to find a little gem, or piece of food history that deserves attention. And in the case of this slider, I am so very glad I did!
I’ve known about Skyline Chili and their 5 Way Chili for a long time. And that was my backup plan. But curious if there might be something more unique to try, I went, where else, to Facebook, to ask if there might be something else.
The unanimous answer was “goetta”.
“Whatta?” you ask. I did too!
It turns out, it’s a hugely popular breakfast food, credited to the German immigrants who settled in the area. It’s a mixture of steel cut oats and meat scraps, cooked, then frozen into a loaf, then sliced and fried. Many places I found compared it to scrapple, a Pennsylvania Dutch food. The difference seems to be that while scrapple uses cornmeal and wheat flour, goetta uses oatmeal.
From a sports nutrition standpoint, both have huge potential, as they get a little of those traditional breakfast meat flavors on the plate, while combining them with healthy slow-burning carbohydrates. But it’s popular all over Cincinnati, as this picture from this year’s Reds Opening Day parade illustrates!
From a personal standpoint, high school friend Mike Kraushar happened to be in town for spring training and we decided to connect after all these years at a game. I learned that he is from Cincinnati, and makes goetta at home all the time. Perfect timing! I took advantage of a few innings of the game to get my own goetta tutorial.
From a curiosity standpoint, I had to try it. I’m going to provide a disclaimer here. It’s not the most colorful or beautiful food I have ever made. That’s my goetta loaf up there. But I’m telling you, it’s absolutely delicious!
To make the slider, I kept with the German theme, with a slice of toasted rye in the leadoff position. After the goetta came a slice of Gouda cheese. It’s Dutch cheese (note the windmill above), but how could I go with anything else after “Gouda Goetta” popped into my head? I went with grilled cheese for several reasons. (1) It’s National Grilled Cheese Month and the day after National Grilled Cheese Day, (2) thanks to Tom and Cheese, a Cincinnati restaurant that recently appeared on Shark Tank, the people of Cincinnati have become famous for their ability to take this sandwich to new delicious heights, (3) I’m German! I love nothing better than a delicious cheese!
Now I just needed color. And thanks to gifts from Crooked Sky Farms and Rousseau Farms that were in the fridge when I was making this, I added maple syrup pickled beets and a slice of purple cabbage sauteed with a little bit of ginger and brown sugar.
For the fries, I simply rubbed fresh pear slice with olive oil, rolled them in fresh thyme, fried them in the skillet until slightly browned, and served them with candied walnuts.
Here are my recipes for the goetta and the pickled beets, if you’d like to try them at home! I used quick cooking oats on behalf of newbie chefs who are more likely to have this kind of oatmeal at home.
A special note: This slider tastes especially delicious if eaten while listening to this video. Prost!
- 3 large onions, finely chopped
- 1 1/2 pounds bison
- 1 pound beer bratwurst
- 6 cups water
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon pepper
- 4 whole bay leaves
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced or pressed
- 1/2 pound turkey bacon, cooked till crispy and chopped into small pieces
- 1 pound of quick oats
1. Saute the onions in a large pot.
2. Add the beef and bratwurst. Cook until browned. Remove the bratwurst.
3. Add the water, salt, pepper, bay leaves, cloves, and turkey bacon. Stir and cook for 30 minutes
3. While this mixture is cooking, chop the bratwurst into small pieces. Add to the cooking mixture for the remainder of the cooking time.
4. Remove the bay leaves.
5. Add the oatmeal and cook until it is done.
6. Pour mixture into a loaf pan. Freeze until the mixture is hard enough to withstand being sliced, but soft enough to slice.
7. Remove loaf pan from freezer. Cut into individual slices, portion into plastic bags, and freeze until solid.
8. To cook, place a slice of goetta in a frying pan and cook until it is browned on all sides, and warm in the center.
Maple Syrup Pickled Beets
- 1 pound beets (you can use any kind, I had red beets on hand)
- olive oil
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup
- 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1/4 cup water
Cook the beets
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- Drizzle beets with olive oil, and season with salt and pepper. Wrap each beet individually in a sheet of foil.
- Add each wrapped beet to a roasting pan and bake until fork tender. You can start checking them after about an hour.
- Remove beets from oven and let cool.
- Peel beets by rubbing skin with your fingers. It should peel off easily. Use a knife if it is stubborn.
- Slice beets and add to a clean canning jar.
- Combine vinegar, water, and honey. Stir, shake, or whisk until ingredients are dissolved and well mixed. Adjust to taste with salt and pepper. Pour this mixture over the beets.
- Eat as early as the next day! Be sure to eat everything within 3 weeks.