The Volga German people who settled in Ellis and Rush County Kansas brought with them many of their traditional recipes that have been handed down for generations. Many of these immigrants share a common history that dates back to Germany in 1762. A manifesto by the Empress of Russia, Catherine the Great, prompted thousands of Germans to immigrate to Russia. During the late 1760’s many new villages were founded near the Volga River region of Russia. After many years of hardship and disappointment with some of the promises made by the manifesto, many groups of these Volga Germans came to America. The immigrants who settled in this area during the 1870’s used recipes that evolved from Germany to Russia and now America. Although some of the ingredients and names for the foods they prepared varied from village to village, if you had eggs, flour, potatoes and cream, then you could always make a delicious meal!
The German food that is available at several of the festivals and events in Ellis County is prepared by the cooks from community groups, church organizations or local clubs. Here are some of the foods that are popular in this area.
ZITTER OR GALREIH (HEAD CHEESE)
MAW WAIRST (PRESSED MEAT)
LEBERWURST (LIVER SAUSAGE
FLISH MOULDOSH (MEAT POCKETS)
HOCHZEIT SOUP (WEDDING SOUP)
MILICH NUDEL SUPP (MILK NOODLE SOUP)
STUTZ NUDEL UND BONA SUPP (WIDE NOODLE AND BEAN SOUP)
SCHNITZ SOUP (DRIED FRUIT SOUP)
KARTOFFELSUPPE (POTATO SOUP)
SEZEKRATSUPPE (CABBAGE SOUP)
KARTOFFEL KIGEL (POTATO PATTIES)
GREBBEL (FRIED BREAD DOUGH)
RAHM NUDELS (CREAM NOODLES)
KASE MAULTASCHEN (CHEESE FILLED POCKETS)
SCHWARTZBARREN KUCHEN (BLACKBERRY COFFEE CAKE)
PFEFFERNUSSE (PEPPER NUTS) COOKIE
KINDER BREI (CHILD'S CUSTARD)
BLATZ-KON BALLA (POP CORN BALLS)
SCHMARRA (SCRAMBLED OMELET)
Bierocks (loose meat sandwich)
A mouth watering combination of ground beef, cabbage and other seasonings which makes for a filling meal. Several different recipes for Bierocks may be found in the kitchens of Volga German cooks. This meat pie in baked bread dough is very a popular item on the Oktoberfest menu.
3 cups chopped cabbage 1 T. salt
1 cup of chopped onions ½ t. pepper
½ lb ground beef 1 cup sharp cheese
Bread dough or biscuit dough
Brown ground beef and season with salt and pepper. Add onions and cabbage, cook and cover about 15 minutes. Fold in cheese and set to cool until lukewarm. Roll dough ¼ inch thick and cut into squares. Put filling on each square, pinch together and place on greased pan. Let rise 20 minutes. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes until golden brown.
Grebbel (fried bread dough)
Grebbel is a traditional Volga German morning treat that might be compared to a toast stick or long doughnut. Recipes in Munjor (Krebel) and other villages include powdered sugar to be sprinkled over this golden brown delight.
2 eggs 2 cups flour 1 t. baking powder ½ t. allspice
Mix and add a pinch of salt to make soft dough. Roll out and cut into strips. Fry in deep hot shortening till brown
Grun Bohna und Kneebble Suppe – (green bean and dumpling soup)
2 small diced potatoes
4 cups of water
1 t. salt
1 can green beans
1 cup cream
2 T. flour
Cook potatoes in water and salt until they are soft. Then add green beans and bring to a boil and add dumplings.
Dumpling mix: 1 cup flour
1 egg egg
½ t. salt
Work with fork or hands into little round balls and add to boiling water. Brown flour with an equal amount of bacon fat or butter in a small pan and mix with cream to stir in with the potatoes and dumplings.
Guluskys (piggys in the blanket - cabbage rolls)
2 medium heads of cabbage 2 cups of uncooked rice
2 t. salt 1 t. pepper
4 lbs. hamburger 1 lb. ground pork
2 medium chopped onions 1 quart of water
Remove core from cabbage, put cabbage in boiling water until leaves are limp. Separate leaves. Combine meat, rice, salt, pepper and onions, mix well. Shape into rolls. Place a roll of meat into each cabbage leaf, roll up. Lay cabbage rolls in kettle. Pour about a quart of water over them and cook on low heat for 2 hours or until done.
Kartoffel und Klobble (potatoes and dumplings)
Always a popular dinner dish with Ellis County Volga Germans. The recipes from Catherine, (Kartoffel Knoedel), Liebenthal (Katoffel Knaedel), or Munjor (Katoffeln Knebble) vary somewhat, but potatoes, flour, eggs and cream are the necessary ingredients.
3 potatoes 2 cups of flour 2 eggs 1 t. salt cream
Peel potatoes and cut into small pieces, put into kettle of boiling water with salt. Mix flour, eggs, salt and enough water to make a soft dough. When potatoes are tender, drop the dough from tablespoon into boiling water and cook until dumplings float to the top. Pour water off and fry dumplings and potatoes in shortening. Add chopped onions to flavor if desired. Very good served with cream over the top.
Kase Maultaschen (cheese filled pockets)
1 (12 ounce ) dry curd cottage cheese 1/4 cup finely chopped onion
1/2 teaspoon salt 1 egg, beaten
1/8 teaspoon pepper
3 cups flour 1 egg, beaten
1 teaspoon salt water or milk to make stiff dough
Mix dough ingredients by hand. Knead till smooth and no longer sticky. May take a little less or more flour. Let rest.
In a large kettle, bring salted water to a boil. Roll dough on floured surface avout 1/8 to 1/4 inch thickness. Cut into 4 inch squares. Place one tablespoon cheese filling on each square. Bring corners to the center and while holding center pinch seams shut to seal completely. Place about 10 pockets into boiling water, boil gently about 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from water with a large slotted spoon placing them in an oven proof bowl.
Prepare topping in a heavy saucepan; lightly brown 1/2 butter, 1 onion sliced , add 1-1/2 to 2 cups cream or half and half, heat to boiling. Pour over pockets.
Brown 1 slice of cubed bread in 1/2 stick oleo, pour over pockets as a garnish
Rahm Nudel (cream noodles)
This sweet and creamy favorite is a simple recipe of rolled dough with cinnamon and sugar is often added.
2 cups flour 2 eggs
½ cup milk 1 t .baking powder
sugar 2 ½ cups cream
Mix to make soft cookie dough and roll out. Spread sweet cream on rolled dough and sprinkle on sugar and cinnamon. Cut into 4x3” strips and roll up. Place in long baking pan and pour 2 cups of sweet cream over the top. Bake at 350 for 35-45 minutes until golden brown. Serve hot
1 cup flour
1 t. salt
Add enough water to eggs and flour until mixture sticks together. Roll into
small balls and drop in boiling chicken or beef stock. Add cream to thicken
Schmarren (scrambled pancakes)
Pancakes that are chopped up like scrambled eggs is the best way to describe this easy to make recipe. Serve hot with syrup or honey drizzled over it.
1-2 cups of flour 4 eggs
1 t. salt 1 cup milk
Mix ingredients and add enough flour to make medium consistency batter. Fry on hot greased skillet and turn when brown. Chop and cut into small pieces until the Schmarren is golden brown.
Schneeda - Pancake Toast (french toast)
1 cup flour ¼ t. salt
1 egg ½ baking powder
cinnamon ½ to ¾ cup of milk
Mix ingredients and dip slices of bread in batter. Fry on well greased skillet.
Wiener Schnitzel (breaded veal cutlet)
This is not the German word for hot dog!
It’s a lightly breaded cutlet fixed the German way.
2 lbs. veal round steak cut ½ inch thick
¼ cup flour 1 egg
1 t. salt ¼ t. pepper
1 T. milk 1 cup bread crumbs
4-5 T. butter
Cut veal into 6 serving size pieces. Coat cutlets with mixture of flour, salt a & pepper. Dip into a blend of eggs & milk. Coat with bread crumbs. Let stand 5-10 minutes to seal coating. Cook breaded cutlets in hot butter