Dibbelabbes (German Hash Browns)Course: MainCuisine: German – RhinelandDifficulty: Easy
Dibbelabbes is a traditional potato dish from the rural regions of West Germany, particularly the Saarland, Eifel, Hunsrück and Westerwald. This variant is fried on the stove like a traditional British or American potato hash. It’s traditionally served with applesauce.
There’s some debate over the exact terminology, but Dibbelabbes is the term used in the Saarland, Scha(a)les in the Hunsrück and Döppekooche in the Eifel and Westerwald. There are some slight variations, with one described here, where it is prepared as a casserole rather than a hash. Another variation for the Catholic regions on St. Martin’s day and Christmas is often made with more meat.
- Spice Mix
1 tsp Salt
1 tsp Dried Oregano
1 tsp Dried Lovage
1 tsp Nutmeg
1 tsp Black Pepper
1 tsp Smoked Paprika
1.5kg Firm-Boiling Potatos
1 Large Onion
200g Fatty Bacon or Cured Pork Fat
1 Large Leek
2 Tbs Spice Mix
1/4 Cup Chopped Fresh Parsley
(Optional) 1/4 Cup Chopped Lovage (Use Fresh Celery Leaf)
- Prepare the spice mixture. This varies quite substantially, but you will need 2 Tbs in total so feel free to change the proportions to suit your tastes.
- Peel and grate the potatoes. Press the remaining liquid out of the potato mixture through a cloth. Make sure to remove as much liquid as possible, as this will make the final result crispier.
- Dice the onions and cut the leek into thin rings.
- Add the prepared vegetables to a large mixing bowl with the eggs. Add the spices and mix thoroughly.
- In a medium sized pot or dutch oven, cut the bacon or pork fat into small cubes and fry in a large pan with some oil.
- Though traditionally, you would through all of the mixture into the pot to make one big hash, in my experience, the more Anglo-Saxon hash brown approach is better. For this grab a handful of potato mixture and flatten it before adding to the pan.
- Once the oil has rendered out, put the vegetable mixture into the pot and stir vigorously. Reduce the temperature to low and let cook for about 30 minutes, stirring or flipping to prevent it from burning.
- Right before its finished, turn the temperature up to high and fry to get a nice crust. Flip over to crisp the other side or break up into chunks and crisp everything.
- Some regional variations use grated cooked potato instead of grated raw potato. This will reduce the cooking time and will create a different texture.
- Some recipes recommend adding a grated apple. My experience with this was pretty weird, so Im not sure I can recommend this.
Learn more about the regional foods of Europe
The Saarland has a rich tradition of rich foods for its hard working people in the mines and mills of the Saar. Come explore the nuanced and French influenced cuisine of an under-explored region.
Its not entirely fair to say that Moselland cuisine is simply a poorer version of the Rhineland’s, rather its a poor-man’s collection of recipes from a variety of neighboring regions.