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Dining on Oktoberfest's Best

This year, the 176th Oktoberfest in Munich is expected to serve more than six million guests over the two-week festival. Obviously beer is a huge part of the festival, but more than 200,000 sausages and 480,000 spit-roasted chickens will also be consumed.

Bottoms Up with Oktoberfest Beers

To kick off our Oktoberfest Extravaganza, Chef Walter Staib, of Philadelphia's City Tavern and author of "Black Forest Cuisine," was on the plaza cooking up traditional dishes you would see while at the festival.

RECIPES:

Schashlik

Serves 4

Pork Skewers
2 pounds pork tenderloin, cleaned, trimmed, and sliced into 2-ounce pieces
8 ounces bacon, cut into 2-inch pieces
2 medium onions, peeled and chopped into 2-inch pieces
2 large bell peppers, stemmed, seeded, and chopped into 2-inch pieces
Salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Vegetable oil
2 tablespoons unsalted butter

Sauce
1 1/2 teaspoons finely chopped garlic
2 tablespoons finely chopped bacon
2 tablespoons chopped onion
2 tablespoons finely chopped green or red bell pepper
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tablespoons Hungarian paprika
1/2 cup full-bodied red wine, such as Burgundy
1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes
Salt
Freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons sour cream
Chopped fresh chives, for garnish

METHOD
1. To make the skewers, soak 4 bamboo skewers (8 to 12 inches long) in water for about 30 minutes. (You can skip this step by using metal skewers.) Place a piece of pork, bacon, onion, and bell pepper on each skewer, continuing the process until the ingredients are equally divided among the skewers. Season the skewers with salt and pepper, brush with oil, and set aside in a shallow casserole dish or pan to marinate in the refrigerator for 1 hour.
2. Melt the butter in a large sauté pan over high heat, place the skewers in the pan, and brown them on all sides, about 2 to 3 minutes per side. Remove the skewers, setting them aside momentarily, and return the pan to the stove.
3. To make the sauce, heat the butter remaining in the pan over high heat, toss in the garlic, and sauté until slightly softened, about 1 minute. Add the bacon, sautéing until crisp, then add the onion and bell pepper, sautéing until slightly softened, about 2 to 3 minutes.
4. Stir in the flour and paprika and add the wine to deglaze, stirring with a wooden spoon to loosen any browned bits on the bottom of the pan. Bring the wine to a boil, and cook for about 5 minutes.
5. Stir in the cayenne pepper and red pepper flakes and season with salt and pepper. Return the skewers to the pan, reduce the heat to medium, and simmer for 5 to 10 minutes, until the sauce is creamy.
6. To serve, place the skewers on a platter or individual plates, stir the sour cream into the sauce, and spoon the sauce over the skewers, garnishing with chives.

Potato Dumplings
Kartoffel Knödel

Serves 8
15 slices day-old white sandwich bread, crusts removed
1 cup whole milk
7 large red-skinned potatoes, peeled and grated (about 2 cups)
2 medium yellow onions, peeled and grated (about 1 cup)
About 1/3 cup chopped fresh parsley
1 tablespoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper
1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon dried marjoram
3 large eggs, beaten well
All-purpose flour, for dredging

1. Place the bread in a large bowl, pour the milk overtop, tossing to coat, and set aside until soggy, about 2 to 3 minutes. Using your hands, squeeze the milk out of the bread, discarding the milk, and set the bread in another large bowl. Place the grated potato in a clean kitchen towel or cheesecloth and squeeze out the excess water completely.
2. Stir the grated potatoes, onions, parsley, salt, white pepper, nutmeg, and marjoram into the bread, add the eggs, mixing to combine, and shape the dough into 24 round dumplings about 1 1/2 inches in diameter.
3. Bring 2 quarts of lightly salted water to a boil in a large saucepan over high heat. Dredge the dumplings in flour, coating generously, and slip them gently into the water. Return the water to a boil, reduce the heat to medium, and cover the pan, simmering until the dumplings expand and float to the surface, about 15 minutes.
4. Drain the dumplings and serve on a large platter.