Too hot outside to be standing too long in front of the stove or grill? Maybe it's time for a Stirum dinner. Stirum is a traditional prairie supper as old as the days of the sod shanty - a meal that could fill you up to work long hours without being too heavy and one that was easy to make in times of few resources.
And now that I have more fresh lettuce than I know what to do with, it's an excellent time to make it the main meal! Stirum is basically salad with little pieces of broken-up thick pancake on top served with a light dressing - a perfect fast easy meal for days when no one wants a big dinner.
I tried to find where the word 'Stirum' came from and whether it was a German or German-Russian dish but there is very little out there as far as history on this dish. I found this surprising as I would imagine it's a very common recipe to this day and done a thousand ways.
I did find that the word 'stierum' appears to be part of the Schwäbisch German dialect (the region near Stuttgart), which makes sense since we believe my father's family was from that area before moving to Odessa, Russia and then the Dakotas. One source said the word 'stierum' means 'chopped pancakes' (believable, since this is basically what it is). The most simplistic explanation out there suggested it's a variation on stir 'em (short for 'stir them') - however, this seemed a little too 'Americanized' of an explanation to me. I'll be traveling to Germany in August to visit my husband's family so I'll have a little side mission to investigate the origin!
- Batter: 3 eggs, 1 cup milk, 2 tsp sugar, ½ tsp salt, 2 cups flour
- Dressing: 2 tbsp mayonnaise, 2 tbsp milk, 2 tbsp vinegar, 1 tsp sugar, salt and pepper
- Fresh leaf lettuce
- Mix batter (should be a little thicker than pancake batter)
- Add 1-2 tbsp oil in fry pan then pour in batter size of a pancake.
- Allow to brown on one side, flip it over and then break into pieces allowing to fully cook through.
- This amount of batter makes 2 large pancakes that can be broken up into small pieces.
- Serve stirum pieces on top of fresh lettuce and drizzle the dressing on top.
There are a few other variations out there that use baking powder or small differences in the combination of eggs and flour compared to my grandmother's recipe but they are essentially the same basic pancake.
My favorite variation I came across made me realize I had already tried it without knowing it was a relative of stirum!
Last Fall, my husband and I visited Vienna, Austria. For dessert one evening, we shared 'Kaiserschmarrn'', a popular dessert you can find throughout Austria and southern parts of Germany. I usually take pictures of all my food adventures when I travel (Exhibit A below) but I must have been too busy devouring it at the time so I don't have a picture of the yumminess we ate - this picture from Wikipedia looked the closest.
It is basically the same recipe with raisins added to the batter (in some recipes raisins soaked in rum). The final little pancake pieces are sprinkled with powdered sugar and cinnamon and served with applesauce (or other fruits like plum or lingonberry sauce) for dipping.
So maybe next time I make stirum for dinner, I'm going to double the batch and have half for dessert!
Stay cool out there!
Exhibit A: Austrian food adventures
|Enjoying sturm not stirum!
|Gröstl (pork and potatoes hash)||Afternoon coffee|