Beef Hot Pot (German – Westphalia)

According to food writer, Horst Scharfenberg in his classic cookbook, The Cuisines of Germany, the Beef Hot Pot, or “Pfeffer-Potthast,” is a traditional dish from Westphalia in Germany.  It hails back a few centuries ago–to the thirteenth century, but who’s counting.

“Potthast” means flesh pot.  The English meaning kind of puts the dish in a different light.  It is a hearty, spicy stew, that is not for those with light taste buds.  Scharfenberg recommends serving this dish with potatoes, pickles, pickled beets, and German beer.  You get the picture.  I’d like to add that it should be served when the temperatures outside are wavering around freezing–this dish will warm you in a second!

When preparing this dish for the first time, I added into the pot lemon slices with the lemon peel.  That added touch may be more authentic, but it sure made the dish bitter!  The dish is very hot from the pepper, so the added bitterness from the lemon peel took it way over the edge.  I suggest to stick to lemon juice for your own sanity.

I also must have initially used too much liquid because after an hour, there was a whole lot of liquid left, which probably isn’t the right outcome.  It wouldn’t reduce!  I cooked it a little longer and more vigorously.  When I threw in the bread crumbs, it was like magic.  A thick sauce appeared!  I then just adjusted the seasoning to wrap things up–a little more salt and a bit of sugar (to counteract the bitterness from the lemons).

By the way, use a heavy-bottomed pan, or else you’ll have a lot of explaining to do to the poor soul who has to wash dishes after dinner.

Print Recipe
German Beef Potthast (Hot Pot)
2016 HollyTrail.com
Course Main Dish
Cuisine German
Cook Time 1 1/2 hours
Servings
servings
Ingredients
  • 3 pounds beef (chuck) or mix of beef and pork cut into 1 inch cubes
  • 4-5 medium onions
  • 2 teaspoons salt (or more to taste)
  • 1 tablespoon coarsely ground black pepper
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 2-3 bay leaves
  • Juice of one lemon
  • 1 1/2 cups dry white wine
  • 1 1/2 cups beef stock or water
  • 2-3 tablespoons bread crumbs
  • 1 tablespoon sugar (if necessary)
Course Main Dish
Cuisine German
Cook Time 1 1/2 hours
Servings
servings
Ingredients
  • 3 pounds beef (chuck) or mix of beef and pork cut into 1 inch cubes
  • 4-5 medium onions
  • 2 teaspoons salt (or more to taste)
  • 1 tablespoon coarsely ground black pepper
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 2-3 bay leaves
  • Juice of one lemon
  • 1 1/2 cups dry white wine
  • 1 1/2 cups beef stock or water
  • 2-3 tablespoons bread crumbs
  • 1 tablespoon sugar (if necessary)
Instructions
  1. Slice 2 onions thinly. Finely chop the remaining onions.
  2. In a large pot, place beef/pork cubes, onions, salt, pepper, allspice, lemon juice, and bay leaves.
  3. Add white wine and water or stock to just cover the cubes of meat.
  4. Mix well and cook uncovered over low to medium heat for about one hour, stirring often. There should be enough liquid to make a sauce. If not, add some more liquid during cooking.
  5. Remove bay leaves and add the bread crumbs to the pot, stir, and cook for 20 more minutes. Sauce should become thick.
  6. Taste sauce and add additional seasoning, such as salt, allspice, pepper, or lemon juice, to taste. Add sugar if too tart.
Recipe Notes

For added flavor, brown the meat cubes in olive oil before adding to the pot.

Adapted from recipe by Horst Scharfenberg in The Cuisines of Germany.

Share this Recipe

You may also like

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.