Käsekrainer – Sausage and Accompaniment
There may be people who think that all sausages taste the same. I believe that only people who have never tried an original Austrian "Käsekrainer" say that. Once tried, you will for sure fall in love with this fabulous sausage combination of meat and cheese; and you may start to call it the best sausage in the world, as some people in Austria do.
Normally, the "Käsekrainer" is eaten at a sausage stand ("Würstelstand"), but I want to show how it can also be easily made at home and what the advantages of that are.
Cultural Background Information
The "Käsekrainer" is an Austrian variation of the Kranska kobsa, which is a Slovenian national dish, which does not contain any cheese. In contrast, the "Käsekrainer" contains 10% to 20% cheese (e.g. Emmentaler), which is cut into small chunks.
In Vienna, where the "Käsekrainer" is very popular, the dish can be ordered in the local dialect as "a Eitrige mit an Buckel und a 16er-Blech, owa Tschenifer". I think, this is an expression which is only understood by Viennese people, or by people who have been a lot to sausage stands. I will try to explain the meaning of this phrase.
To make it easier, I will translate the sentence into English. The words that cannot be translated and still need explanation are in brackets.
A "Eitrige" with a "Buckel" and a "16er- Blech", but "Tschenifer"
"Eitrige" = something festering
This refers to the cheese, which looks a little bit like pus when it comes out of the sausage while cooking.
"Buckel" = hunch(back)
This refers to the last piece of dark bread, which looks a little bit like a hunch.
"16er-Blech" = 16th sheet metal
With this, the inhabitants of Vienna mean a beer can of "Ottakringer", which is brewed in the 16th district of Vienna of the same name ("Ottakring").
"Tschenifer" = Jennifer
This is an allusion to Jennifer Rush. "Rush" sounds similar to the German word "rasch", which means "fast", or "quick".
If you ever come to Vienna, try to order your "Käsekrainer" at the sausage stand using this phrase. I am sure, you will impress the resident population a lot.
For more information on the "Käsekrainer" have a look at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kranjska_klobasa
This is the main ingredient of this dish, so it is really important that it is this kind of sausage. If you live in a country where "Käsekrainer" are not purchasable in super markets, you may have to look at a butcher's and ask for some. If it is impossible for you to get "Käsekrainer" anywhere, you will have to make them on your own. For detailed information about the different ingredients look here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kranjska_klobasa
You can decide freely which of these accompaniments you add and which you leave out. You can also think about new and other accompaniments - You can do it however you like.
- white bread
- black bread
- bread roll
- pickled cucumber
- pickled peppers/pickled cherry peppers
- cocktail onions
- 1 or 2 onions
- 1 horse-radish
- cocktail sauce
- barbecue sauce
Beer and Cigarettes
Directions - It is all about variety
There are several reasons why some people call the "Käsekrainer" one of the best dishes of the world. First of all, a "Käsekrainer" has a very unique taste. Second, a "Käsekrainer" is easily made - everybody can do it. Third, some people claim that a "Käsekrainer" can save your life after a night of excessive alcohol disabuse. Fourth, as a "Käsekrainer" can be cooked really quickly, it is used both as a main meal and as a short snack in between.
I want to add another reason why I think that the "Käsekrainer" is a really special dish. When you make your "Käsekrainer" at home, you have a high variety of ways to combine and design it. The sausage is the only thing in this dish that needs to be cooked, the rest is all about presentation and combination with the accompaniments. With the help of the pictures, I just want to show some ways of how it can be done. Just remember that you can add and leave out ingredients according to your preferences, and you can design your dish the way you like it. It is your "Käsekrainer" and you decide how it is done. Be creative!
The "Käsekrainer"; which should be poked before, or while cooking in order to release the melting cheese; can be boiled, baked, or grilled. It is important to cook it at a medium temperature, otherwise the outside gets burned, while the inside remains cold. You need to cook it for approximately 8 minutes. You can serve the "Käsekrainer" either as a whole, cut into two, or a lot of small pieces. You can also put a little bit of curry on top.
Some may think that the kind of bread you eat is not that important. But it makes a difference. You should try different types of bread to your "Käsekrainer" to find out which one you prefer. When you cook for friends, you should prepare different kinds of bread, so that your guests can choose from a large variety.
Almost every vegetable can be eaten with the "Käsekrainer". The ones I have listed above are just some examples. You can either put them on a plate together with the sausage, or, as I prefer to do, prepare separate plates, where the different vegetables are neatly put together. It is also possible to eat them directly out of the glass.
There are two ways of how you can serve the sauces. First, you can put them directly on the plate; either beside, or on top of the sausage. This is what I prefer when eating alone. Second, you can put them on an extra plate, or in small bowls. This is what I prefer when I have guests because - again - everybody can choose what he or she likes. Add the grated horse radish with care because a lot of people do not like its taste.
Beer and Cigarettes Usually the Viennese prefer to drink beer with the "Käsekrainer" and smoke a cigarette afterwards. I think that beer and cigarettes make it a different experience, but try whether you like it that way.
Take a baguette and cut it open at one end. Poke a hole into it and put in some sauce. Then just put the "Käsekrainer" into the hole and it is ready to eat.
The "Kafka" is a variation of the "Bosna", which is very famous in Linz (the capital of Upper Austria, which is one of Austria's 9 provinces). Cut a toasted white bread open and put sauces, vegetables and the "Käsekrainer" into it. Then put it back on the toaster until it is finished.
For me it is important to make one point clear. Those who want to eat fast food should go to McDonalds, or the next running sushi restaurant, but the "Käsekrainer" is a dish with a cultural background and should be eaten with this attitude in mind. A lot of this cultural background comes from the sausage stand ambiance (the drunk people, the night air, the sound of the city, …); therefore, I prefer to eat my "Käsekrainer" at the next sausage stand. This recipe is meant for those people who do not have sausage stands that have "Käsekrainer" on their menu, or for those who do not have a sausage stand within their reach, and also for those pitiful people who live in countries where the wonderful "Käsekrainer" does not exist. Try to get a sausage that is at least similar to an Austrian "Käsekrainer" and have a try.