If you need a little extra warmth this winter, let eintopf be your go-to.
There are as many versions of eintopf, a hearty German stew, as there are people who love it. A traditional eintopf might include bratwurst and sauerkraut, but how it’s cooked (eintopf translates to “a pot”) is more important than what goes into the pot. As long as you have meat and vegetables, you have the basis for eintopf.
I first knew eintopf when I was a child. My parents took us back to Lagos after finishing their higher education in Berlin, and they shared eintopf with me and my siblings. They didn’t have a one-size-fits-all approach, and neither did I. It’s a dish I’m constantly perfecting and probably always will be.
That’s because eintopf is as generous as it is brilliant when it comes to quality replacements. Any root vegetable you have on hand will work, and any combination of two or three works best: carrots, parsnips, beets, Jerusalem artichokes, and potatoes are just a few options. Spicy greens, hearty greens or sprouts are ideal to finish the stew, adding a bit of crunch.
This recipe highlights bone-in short ribs, which, like other tough but flavorful cuts of meat, will need time to break down, but will eventually reach a point where the bones, juices, and fat will all contribute. indistinguishable contributions to the broth. Coconut milk provides a finish that works for me – a dairy avoidant – but you can add heavy cream or any other ingredient that thickens quickly without thinning the dish.
Once out of the oven, you can then separate what you will save for the days to come. To the portions I’m going to serve right away, I add kale, followed by a mixture of reserved fennel leaves. At this point the broth retains some shine, but if after tasting a wedge of lime or a quick twist of another citrus zest works for you, that would also be fine.
I am a tireless believer in one-pot meals. From them, I learned new techniques, cuisines and ingredients that are unfamiliar to me. But my favorite one-pot meals are the ones that get better within days of finishing cooking. By the second or third day, all the flavors you have developed have had time to get to know each other.
It’s the kind of cooking my parents did when they were students: building something in a single pot for a week’s worth of meals. For them, and now for me, it’s comforting to come back to a good meal, especially one that packs as much warmth and memory as this cozy dish.
Recipe: Eintopf (Braised short ribs with fennel, squash and sweet potato)