Ham cubes plus German supermarket convenience foods equal tasty snacks in a flash
A product commonly available in German supermarkets is that of Schinkenwürfel, tiny cubes of bacon-like goodness that make foods from pastries to pastas sing. These pork bits with a salty-fatty flavor punch are found in the deli section and typically cost about 1.69 euros for a twin-pack. Katenschinken or Gourmet-Rohschinken are variations of the same product. The word “servierfertig” means they’ve been smoked or cured and are ready to eat.
These tasty bits team up wonderfully with a whole range of German pre-fab food products, allowing you to plate up treats in the style of a modern-day German domestic god or goddess in just minutes flat. Here are five simple recipes— guidelines, essentially— to get you started on your savory way. They’re meant for inspiration and can easily be adapted to whatever’s lurking in the back of the fridge. (As these ingredients come from German supermarket shelves, we’re leaving them in the metric measurements in which they’re sold.)
Blätterteig Stangen mit Schinken und Käse/ Breadsticks with ham and cheese
1 275 g package Blätterteig, essentially a flaky pie crust, from the refrigerated section of the supermarket
200 grams of Schmand, more or less a crème fraiche or sour cream, sold refrigerated or next to other long-life dairy products
Approximately 150 grams of Schinkenwürfel
100 grams of grated cheese
Unfold all the dough and smear the Schmand across half of it. Sprinkle half the cheese and ham cubes on top and fold it in half. Repeat the process with the remaining ingredients and fold again.
Cut the dough into 5-6 strips, twist and place on a baking sheet that’s either been greased or lined with baking paper. Bake in a pre-heated oven at 180 degrees Celsius, about 350 degrees Fahrenheit, for 20-25 minutes or until done.
One Flammkuchenboden, a ready-made base found in the refrigerated section
200 grams Saure Sahne; the above-mentioned Schmand works fine too
125 grams of Schinkenwürfel
1 large red onion, sliced into thin rings
Unroll the prefab bottom onto a greased or papered baking sheet and spread the sour cream over it. Top with ham cubes and onions. For extra flavor, add cheese, olives, smoked salmon and/or slices of zucchini, tomato or other veg.
Bake in a preheated oven at 250 degrees; check often after 12 minutes or so and remove when its edges have turned golden brown.
Pretzels topped with ham cubes and cheese
Laugenbrezeln, ready-made pretzels from the freezer section
Bake the pretzels according to the instructions on the box. 2-3 minutes before they’re done, sprinkle a generous amount of cheese and ham cubes atop each pretzel. Return to oven until cheese has melted.
Spätzle mit Schinkenwurfeln und Käse/ Spätzle with ham cubes and cheese
One package fresh Eierspätzle, typically sold in a 500 gram package
2 large onions
1-2 tablespoons cooking oil
150 grams Schinkenwürfel
1 package grated Emmental (or any other) cheese
Cream—Schlagsahne works, as does any cooking cream such as Rama Cremefine
Röst-Zwiebeln, French-fried onions like those used to top a green bean casserole
Prepare the Eierspätzle according to the directions on the package. Slice the onions and slow cook them in oil in a large frying pan to caramelize them. Drain the Eierspätzle and add to the frying pan. Turning with a spatula continuously, gradually add quantities of cheese and cream until the dish reaches the desired level of consistency. Add the ham cubes. Season with salt and pepper; freshly grated nutmeg will lend the dish an air of authenticity. You can also through the mix into a baking dish, top with more cheese, and bake until the cheese topping melts.) A generous sprinkling of Röst-Zwiebeln before serving adds just the right crunch.
Green salad with boiled egg and ham cubes
One package pre-washed mixed salad greens; Feldsalat or Lamb’s lettuce is a good choice
2-3 hard boiled eggs
125 grams Schinkenwürfel
Olive or other salad oil
Make a salad and dress it with oil and vinegar according to taste. Peel and slice the boiled eggs and add them to the bowl. Top with ham cubes. Additional ingredients that taste great with this salad include red onion, scallions, avocado or asparagus spears.
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