Before I simply start sharing this recipe, there may be readers out there asking, what is goetta, and why should I care?
Goetta, pronounced “get-uh” is a dish that originated in southwestern Ohio, and was invented by German settlers in the 19th century. It is a type of sausage made of ground meat (either pork, beef, or a mixture of the two), steel oats, and spices. It can be fried in a skillet like sausage, or added to numerous dishes. It is so popular in the Cincinnati area that it has its own annual festival.
My family is a transplant to the region, but goetta is one food that we’ve come to love, though we don’t eat it often because it’s definitely not the healthiest of fare. However, for the holidays, we indulge and I often prepare this recipe for special breakfasts or brunches. It does take time to make, because the casserole turns out best if it is prepared and then refrigerated overnight, before baking. This also allows for a little less work in the morning if you have guests or excited children anxious to open presents.
8 frozen hash brown patties, or one package frozen shredded hash browns
8 slices of goetta-one block (no pre-cooking required), or 1 lb bulk breakfast sausage, browned and drained
4 cups of any blend of shredded cheddar, Colby and Monterey jack cheeses
1 thinly chopped green onion, or equivalent in dried chives
1 cup milk
Season salt, plus ½ tsp table salt
¼ tsp pepper
Place or press hash browns into a single layer in a greased 13 x 9 baking dish. Liberally sprinkle with season salt. Top with goetta, then cover with shredded cheese and green onion.
Beat eggs, milk, salt and pepper until well combined. Pour over other layers in dish, coating well.
Cover with foil and refrigerate overnight, or bake immediately.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees, and bake casserole, covered with foil, for 1 hour. Uncover and bake for 15 minutes or until edges are golden brown and knife inserted near center comes out clean.
Feeds 8-12 people. Great served with fresh fruit and pumpkin bread. Refrigerate any leftovers.
*If goetta is not available in your area, there is always the Internet. Or, if you’re not feeling adventurous, the recipe would work for ordinary breakfast sausage as well, though make sure to pre-cook the meat before adding it to the casserole.
I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as my family does, and I hope you’re doing well with all your holiday preparations and plans.
Till next time,