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The classic German “Himmel un Ääd” (heaven & earth) gets a modern twist by using sweet potato mash.
For the record:
“Himmel un Ääd” (heaven & earth) is a traditional German dish made from potatoes (“the earth”) & apples (“the heaven”) accompanied by black pudding (resp. blood sausage). Black pudding is a very traditional sausage in Germany (you see: lots of traditions!) & comes in lots of regional manifestations; in this case a rather spicy one is recommended. “Himmel und Ääd” is Rhineland slang, but the dish is well-known in almost all parts of Germany as “Himmel und Erde”.
Now let’s break with the traditional rule & substitute ordinary potatoes by sweet potatoes!
We’ll prepare a dish for 2 (up to 3) people depending on their appetite (or hunger) & facts like just having joined a weight-loss program or not. I think it’s always difficult to determine exactly how “big” or “small” a dish should be because it always depends on yourself & your better half & your guests…
In my 101 I started discussing the problem of defining exact durations for preparing, cooking & baking etc. because reality is far from a culinary training kitchen. I mean: normally I’m multitasking in the kitchen – no news: I’m a woman! – meaning that preparation times & cooking times & baking times of different courses of brunch or dinner get mixed up…
Something similar is true for defining quantities in recipes:
- It depends on the special people joining for breakfast, brunch or dinner.
(This is the point of how much people tend to eat…)
- It depends on the get-together event as a whole.
(This is the point of how many different courses are planned…)
Therefore I always tend to imagine what quantities I’d need to prepare if all guests won’t eat much or & like big dishes: I really try hard to have a touchdown in between! (Pls don’t confuse this issue with distinguishing gourmets from gourmands!)
…and there is another point (compare with my rules (especially #8 & #52):
- I always try to leave no basic leftovers behind me like half-used packages of bacon, some tablespoons of whipping cream, almost empty bottles of lemon juice etc.
- On the other hand: if everything is processed into a dish ready-to-eat & there are leftovers to be quickly reheated it’s fine for me because I can save time & resources next day & next-next day…
(So preparing a little more than necessary is just fine for me!)
Oh, well: I lost my way during this excursion! Let’s go back to sweet potato mash…
The main ingredients are very basic:
- sweet potatoes & milk
- an apple & spring onions & bacon
- an onion
- black pudding.
I start with the sweet potatoes which are normally quite big with a rather thin skin – easy to peel. We cut it into rather large slices to be cooked in salted water.
Once the sweet potatoes are cooking we prepare a mix of diced apple bits, fine chopped spring onion & bacon to be fried in olive oil:
- Don’t forget salt & pepper!
- Don’t overdo it: The spring onions shall be soft, but the apple shall stay firm.
The sweet potatoes are very soft in a rather short time – so they’ll be mashed & pureed (including the hot milk!). Finally the apple-spring onion-bacon mix is added & everything is well mixed. The sweet potato mash is ready for consuming now, but we’ll have to care for the rest – so put it aside & keep it warm for some minutes.
I start with a piece of black pudding peeling & discarding the skin. The black pudding is cut into slices of about 1 cm. Along to the black pudding we prepare a Spanish onion by slicing it into rings as thin as possible.
We start frying the onion rings in olive oil with salt & pepper. If they are rather soft we add the black pudding slices.
Attention: Black pudding is very soft! You only need 2-3 min on each side to heat it up & create some crispy surface. If you fry it too long the black pudding will melt away!
Finally we’re touching the finish line:
- a bowl with sweet potato mash
- a pan with fried onion rings & black pudding.
Next action point is arranging everything on a plate.
(I added the peeled apple skin only for decoration – to get some nice color focus!)
…and here’s the recipe:
- 500 gr sweet potatoes
- 125 ml milk
- 1 green apple about 250 gr
- 2-4 spring onions
- 20-30 gr bacon
- 1 Spanish onion
- 200 gr black pudding a spicy version
- 1 tablespoon olive oil for the apple-spring onion-bacon mix
- 2 tablespoons olive oil of the Spanish onion
- salt & pepper
- Peel the sweet potatoes & cut them into pieces.
- Boil the sweet potatoes for about 10 min in salted water.
- Dice the apple & chop the spring onions & the bacon.
- Start frying apple, spring onion & bacon in olive oil for about 5 min at high heat.
- Heat the milk.
- Drain the water & mash the sweet potatoes.
- Add the hot milk continuously.
- Finally add salt & pepper.
- Add the apple-spring onion-bacon mix to the sweet potato mash & combine well.
- Put the sweet potato mash aside & keep it hot.
- Cut the Spanish onion into fine rings & fry them in olive oil at medium heat until starting to soften (about 5 min).
- Add salt & pepper.
- Cut the black pudding into slices (about 1 cm) & put the slices in the frying pan together with already softening Spanish onion.
- Fry the black pudding for about 2-3 min on each side (only once turning the slices!).
- Arrange sweet potato mash on a plate, add the Spanish onion & the black pudding.
- Serve immediately.
“Himmel un Ääd” is slightly transformed: we use sweet potatoes instead of potatoes, we mix the apple into the sweet potato mash instead frying apple slices separately. The overall flavor combines sweetness & slight sourness with the soft sharpness of the onion rings & the bacon’s salty hint on the spicy background of black pudding. (When re-reading this description I started thinking if to envision a career in wine testing & reviewing – I’m always overwhelmed when reading wine connoisseur’s articles in the press!)
Sweet potatoes are harder than potatoes & rather dry & you need more muscle to cut them: nevertheless they soften much faster than potatoes. This is true for boiling as well as frying or baking. Sweet potatoes are sweetish & need to be spiced: apples, onions & bacon as well as salt & pepper fit very well.
The businesswoman with too many office hours thinks
Is this really a dish for me? Well – sometimes I remember childhood delights… I don’t think I’ll ever present this to any guests – except the sweet potato mash which sounds simply delicious!