Cooking in Germany can be a pain, especially when you want something from home. I am so thankful that thanks to Fionn I now can shop at the commissary on post, but I vividly remember how frustrating it was back in my old expat days when trying to cook something meant having a dictionary on hand.
Like that time I volunteered to help make Thanksgiving dinner for 60 students during my German study abroad...do you know how hard it is to find whole turkeys and sweet potatoes here?! (Spoiler:It all worked out!). Anyway, back on topic...
My craving for tacos the other day led me to pull out a recipe I invented many moons ago when I was the unofficial chef for the foreign exchange students on my floor during my German study abroad days (I hope y'all have gotten your mamas to teach you to cook by now!). It's expat kitchen friendly, pretty quick and easy to make, and I even included the translations if you need them. I was able to find all the ingredients at my local Rewe or Netto.
1 half of an onion, diced
1/2 tsp onion powder (Zwiebelpulver)
1/2 tsp garlic powder (Knoblauchpulver)
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 oregano (Oregano)
1 tsp cumin (Kreuzkümmel)
1/2 tsp chili powder (Chilipulver)
1 bay leaf (Lorbeerblatt)
3 chicken breasts
1 Tbsp tomato paste (Tomatenmark)
1 tsp chicken bouillon powder
1 cup water
Toss onions in oiled pan and begin browning on medium heat. (I love using my cast iron skillet for this, but any pan will do).
While they're browning, mix together the spices and sprinkle a little bit of the spice mix over the chicken breasts. Turn up the heat and sear the chicken breasts for 2 minutes on each side. You don't want to cook it all the way through, just sear in the spice crust.
Mix together the chicken bouillon powder and water, stir to combine. Then add the tomato paste and stir again. Pour the boullion-tomato paste mixture into the pan, and reduce the heat to low. Add the bay leaf and remaining spice mixture and let everything simmer for 20-30 minutes, flipping the chicken breasts halfway through the time.
If the water level gets low, add a bit more-you don't want it to be soupy, you just want enough water to simmer the chicken breasts without everything else starting to burn.
When the chicken is done, remove from heat and carefully shred with 2 forks. Return the chicken to the pan and coat in the sauce (add more water if it's cooked down too much) and add salt to suit your preference.
Black Bean topping
Black beans are sometimes hard to find in Germany, but kidney beans (Kidneybohnen) could also work in a pinch.
1 can of black beans, rinsed
1/4 cup chopped onion
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp garlic salt
1/4 cup water
Combine all the ingredients and let simmer on the stove until the onions are tender.
Last minute Guacamole
I love guac, but sometimes I don't have time to make it a big production. This is my go to when I just want a super easy spread to act as a base for burritos and the like. Of course, you can always jazz it up however you like! :)
2 avocados, pitted and mashed
1/2 of a lime
1 tsp garlic salt
1 handful of cilantro (if you can find it! It's called Koriander in German)
Mash avocados, squeeze your lime over it, add garlic salt and cilantro, and stir. Easy!
Guten appetit! :)