A shrub is a beverage made from fruit, some sort of acid, and a sugar. They were popular in colonial America as a means of preserving fruit without refrigeration. The vinegar breaks down the fruit and the sugar sweetens everything up a bit. The result is a tangy, sweet, complex mixture that is very refreshing when mixed with soda water.
Now that it is starting to cool down in the northeast, I’ve been craving some warm comfort food. This German Potato Salad, served hot, fits the bill. It is a completely different animal than its cold, mayo-dressed cousin.
- 3-4 pounds of medium red potatoes
- 1 pound of bacon
- 1 yellow onion
- 1 cup of Apple Cider Vinegar
- 3/4 cup of water
- 3 tablespoons of course German-style mustard
- 1 small bunch of parsley (about 1/2 cup when chopped)
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 tsp black pepper
- Cut the potatoes into small, bite-sized wedges. Cook them in a large saucepan, covered in salted water, until the water starts to boil. Then turn the heat down to about half and let them simmer for 10 more minutes. They should be easily pierced with a fork, but not falling apart. Drain the potatoes and set aside.
- While the potatoes are cooking, slice the bacon into half-inch pieces. I usually keep my bacon frozen, so I remove it from the packaging and use my chef’s knife to slice through it while it is still frozen and easier to handle. Heat up your favorite large cast iron skillet and cook the bacon until it is crispy. I usually start out at 3/4 power and then reduce it to 1/2 power once it starts to brown. Once crispy, remove the bacon from the skillet and set aside. Make sure to keep the bacon grease in the pan, though.
- Dice the yellow onion and cook it in the bacon grease over 1/2 power, stirring occasionally, until it is translucent. Don’t let it get brown.
- Meanwhile, whisk together the cup of water, cup of vinegar, mustard, salt, and pepper. Carefully add it to the skillet with the onion once it is translucent. Turn the heat up to full power and get the concoction simmering. Stir regularly and let it reduce by half. This takes about 10 minutes.
- Once the sauce is reduced, add the potatoes and bacon back into the pan, along with the chopped parsley, and toss everything to evenly coat. I like to leave the heat on during this to warm the potatoes backup a little bit in case they’ve cooled.
- Once you are satisfied that the potatoes are warm, the dish is ready to serve. I like to set the entire cast iron skillet on a trivet on our dining room table and serve it from there.
If you don’t eat it all in one sitting (it is a lot!), it saves and reheats pretty well. We usually eat our leftovers within a few days because it is so delicious.