Simple WWII German recipes for Schmorbraten, Gulasch, and meatballs

The Oberkommando des Heeres published a cookbook called “Oestliche Speisen nach deutscher Art” (Eastern Dishes in the German Style) for German personnel serving in the occupied East. The book included instructions on how to cook in Russian home kitchens and had a mix of German recipes that could be made with locally available ingredients, and local recipes. We have previously posted a Borscht recipe from this cookbook. Here are some meat recipes. Translations are mine. Note that these recipes are deliberately vague so as to be adaptable based on availability or simply taste. Any of these are easily prepared over a fire with very minimal equipment required.


Cut the meat into as big pieces as possible. Brown on all sides in hot oil, season with salt and pepper. Remove meat from pan and keep warm. Add coarsely chopped root vegetables to pan and brown well. Dust with flower and mix together. Add water or broth and bring to a boil. Put the meat back in and cook with gentle heat until it is done. Season with bay leaves, juniper berries, allspice and/or peppercorns. Add wine to taste.

Gulasch – Basic recipe with fresh meat

Dice the meat, add salt and pepper, fry in a little oil. While browning, add finely chopped onions, a teaspoon of tomato paste, a little paprika, and roast together. Cover with water and braise until done. Add flour to thicken and bring to a boil, simmer until done.

Variations on Gulasch:

1. Gulasch with bell peppers. Add 1 chopped bell pepper for the last 30 minutes of cook time. Or, add 1-2 canned peppers, sliced, to the dish at the end just until heated.

2. Szegediner Gulasch. Add 1/8 kg of sauerkraut per person to the dish at the end just until heated.

3. Gulasch with vegetables. Add fresh or dried vegetables, even pumpkin, and cook together. Soak dried vegetables before using. Canned vegetables can be added at the end just until heated.

4. Serbian Rice Meat. Use veal if possible, seasoned with paprika. Add 4-5 tablespoons of rice (about 100 grams) in the last 20-25 minutes of cooking. Or instead of rice you can use risotto, just mix it into the finished dish.

Gulasch from canned meat

Meat in cans is pre-cooked. Because it is usually very fatty, you can make it more productive with this sauce: Roast chopped onions and 1 teaspoon tomato paste in a little fat. Add 1/8 liter water and bring to a boil. Thicken with flour, use 10 grams of flour per 1/8 liter water. Bring to a boil again, cook until done. Season with pepper or paprika. In this sauce, add the canned meat just to heat it up.

Meatballs from fresh meat

Grind the meat in a meat grinder. Add salt and pepper and mix well. Add bread crumbs or soaked bread, finely chopped onions, egg or just egg whites or egg substitute. Mix well and form into balls. Coat with flour or bread crumbs and fry in hot fat until done. The meat mixture tastes best when the onions are cooked and it is seasoned with available herbs. The meat can be extended with finely clopped and mixed in cabbage cores or other vegetable waste, without sacrificing goodness.

Meatballs from canned meat

Finely chop the meat and leave it to dry in the air for a little while. To cook, use the same recipe as for fresh meat but you must add flour.