Grandma Garstang's German Potato Salad

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Total Time
1hr 30mins
Prep
1 hr
Cook
30 mins

Please make sure you have a working AED (automated external defibrillator) present before attempting to serve this recipe. Just sayin'. You will notice this recipe does not call for mayonnaise. Mayonnaise is a cheap, quick and dirty shortcut, not to mention it changes the way German potato salad is supposed to taste and how it is served. Mayo-based salads must be kept cold or the mayo will turn. Real German recipes are served warm, and the action of combining the ingredients in the correct order creates its own natural mayonnaise, right in the bowl, that won't go bad when it gets warm - er, cold - er, whatever. This recipe in not low-calorie. It's not supposed to be. It's supposed to be good, filling and the kind of food you have to eat when you're burning off 5,000 calories a day working the farm. We don't generally work the farm anymore, but the women in the Garstang family that ate this kind of food have lived to 95, 98, 103 and 94. One turned 75 this year and can still outrun you. So there.

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Ingredients

Nutrition

Directions

  1. Peel potatoes and cut into half-dollar size slices 1/4" thick or so. If the potato is large, cut it in two lengthwise then slice. Place the slices into a large bowl filled with cold water, keeping the potatoes submerged to prevent browning.
  2. Cook bacon, saving all of the drippings. Crumble or chop bacon and place into a bowl, covering bacon and drippings and set aside. Yes, I said save the drippings. All will be revealed to those who are patient and/or hungry. Tip: Use the Alton Brown method of oven-baking the bacon. It's less messy, the bacon cooks more evenly and it conserves more of the drippings for later. Don't know what the Alton Brown method is? Google it.
  3. While bacon is cooking, boil eggs until very hard, 15-20 minutes after the water reaches a boil. Shell and chop coarsely. Cover and set aside.
  4. While eggs are boiling, chop onion into medium pieces. Place in a colander and rinse under hot water for a minute or so to remove the bitter compounds.
  5. Put a large stock pot (12 quart at least) half-filled with water on to boil. (Tip: fill pot with hot tap water - it will cut the boil time considerably) When it reaches a full rolling boil, drain the potato slices and *slowly* dump them into the pot. Cook until just done - soft-ish but still firm enough they won't fall apart when stirred. Al dente, if you will, were such a term applicable to potatoes. Drain.
  6. Keep in mind the potatoes will continue too cook in the retained heat for several minutes after taken off the boil. Try to coordinate the other steps to all be ready as sson as the potatoes are done.
  7. While potatoes are boiling, quickly combine the bacon crumbles, onion and eggs in a large bowl. In a 4 quart saucepan, heat the reserved bacon drippings (there should be about one cup) on low and when warm add the flour until smooth and all the lumps are gone. Add the sugar and whisk in the vinegar. Heat over medium slowly, gradually increasing the temperature to medium high, until the sauce has thickened to thin mayonnaise consistency. Remove from heat and cover.
  8. After the potatoes are drained, put them back into the stock pot (you'll need the room). Add the bacon-egg-onion mix and stir gently until reasonably well combined. Pour the sauce over and stir gently until well-combined, taking care not to damage the potato slices too much. The egg yolk will emulsify into the sauce and create a mayonnaise right in the pot.
  9. Making sure your cardiologist is standing by, serve warm aside with any German food - Bratwurst, knockwurst, schnitzel, sauerbraten, with good strong beer. My wife says this potato salad is a meal in its own right. I believe her.