Work took me to Cincinnati this week, where I was introduced to one of that area’s regional culinary specialties. Not chili smothered in a mountain of shredded cheese, but a delicious German specialty called goetta. Pronounced ged-da or get-uh, it’s a rustic sausage made with ground meat (usually pork) and oats that became popular among poor families trying to stretch out their food supply in the early 19th century. (Thus the oat “filler.”) It’s usually seasoned with a blend of salt, pepper, bay leaves, thyme and rosemary, and can include minced onions and vegetables inside as well.
Peasant food no more, goetta’s modern-day popularity has garnered it the nickname “Cincinnati caviar” among aficionados. You’ll find it served on a bun with spicy mustard and onions, of course, but it also pops up in omelets, pastas, pizzas and a number of other dishes, too. I loved my goetta omelet and – because of the oats inside – even pretended it was “good” for me. Not a chance, but it tasted so good I didn’t care.
Go get ya’ some goetta!