Food Sunday: Goetta
Goetta is a breakfast sausage of likely German-American origin that is popular in the greater Cincinnati area. It is primarily composed of ground meat (pork, or pork and beef) and steel-cut oats. Pronounced get-uh, this dish probably originated with German settlers from the northwestern regions of Oldenburg, Hannover, and Westphalia who emigrated to the Cincinnati area in the 19th century. The word “Goetta” comes from the Low German word götte.
The modern popularity of goetta in Cincinnati has led to it being called “Cincinnati Caviar”. Glier’s Goetta, the largest commercial producer of goetta, produces more than 1,000,000 lb (450 metric tons) annually, around 99% of which is consumed locally in greater Cincinnati.
I lived in Cincinnati for 3 years, had heard frequently of goetta, but had never eaten it until recently, when a friend who grew up in the Cincinnati area invited me for brunch and served it. I got her recipe (below), made a batch and froze it, and have been thawing some, browning it, and eating it with eggs every couple of weeks. This recipe fills two loaf pans, so you may want to cut it in half.
1 lb. lean ground beef, browned and drained
(you also can use leftover roast beef, chopped fine, including juices)
1 lb. ground pork, browned and drained
(you also can use leftover roast pork, chopped fine, including juices)
8 cups water
2-1/2 cups pinhead (steel cut) oats
1 large onion, chopped
4 bay leaves
3 tsp. salt
pinch of pepper
Boil water in large saucepan, add oats, salt & pepper. Cook covered, 2 hours over low heat, stirring frequently. Add meat, onion and bay leaves. Cook 1 additional hour, stirring frequently. It should be the consistency of thick oatmeal. Remove bay leaves! Pour into loaf pan, refrigerate.
Slow cooker method
Follow regular method, except reduce water to 6 cups. Heat water, salt & pepper 20 minutes on high. Add oats, cover and cook 1-1/2 hours on high setting. Add remaining ingredients, reduce to low setting and cook 3 hours longer. If not thick enough, cook longer, stirring often. Remove bay leaves, pour into loaf pans, refrigerate.
After you have chilled the goetta for a few hours, it will be firm enough to cut into 1/2 inch slices, which may be browned in butter or oil and served. You can wrap unbrowned slices in individual sandwich bags and freeze them, and then when you want to serve goetta, simply thaw and brown the number of slices you need. Goetta is wonderful with eggs, probably somewhat more healthful than fried potatoes because it’s made with oats. There are ideas online for other ways to serve goetta.
I have not tried it, but I think you could substitute browned and drained pork sausage for the ground pork, or even browned and drained turkey sausage for a more healthful dish.