Schaales (German Potato Casserole)Course: MainCuisine: German – RhinelandDifficulty: Easy
Schaales is a traditional potato dish from the rural regions of West Germany, particularly the Saarland, Eifel, Hunsrück and Westerwald. This variant is baked in the oven like a casserole. In some variations the potato is grated much finer, to give the result the texture of a light cake.
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 hash rather than a casserole. Another variation for the Catholic regions on St. Martin’s day and Christmas is often made with more meat.
- Spice Mix
1 tsp Salt
2 tsp Dried Oregano
1 tsp Dried Lovage
1 tsp Nutmeg
2 tsp Black Pepper
1 tsp Smoked Paprika
1kg Firm-Boiling Potatoes
1 Large Onion
100g 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 about 2-3 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.
- 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 an ovenproof pot or dutch oven, cut the bacon or pork fat into small cubes and fry in a large pan with some oil. If using a separate pan for the casserole, make sure to add the fired pork to the mixture.
- Once the oil has rendered out put the vegetable mixture into the pot and lay evenly. Cover and bake at 180C for one hour.
- At the one hour mark remove the lid and bake for an additional 30 minutes to get a nice golden crust
- Some recipes seem to indicate a longer cooking time, I would start with the shorter one first
- I think for this recipe, using mashing potatoes or pre-boiled potatoes might make more sense
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.