Heaven and Earth Mashed Potatoes or as they are called in Germany, Himmel un Ääd. The recipe was first referenced back in the 18th century. Heaven and earth is a simple comfort food recipe from the Rheinland Pfalz region in Germany. Himmel un Ääd proves that simplicity can sometimes be the ultimate satisfaction. In the US, German food deserves much more attention than it gets. What is sometimes served in German restaurants does not have much to do with German cooking and is rarely well prepared as it should be.
Mashed Potatoes + Apple Compote + Onions
The Rheinland Pfalz region
The Pfalz proximity to France can be felt everywhere, especially in the search for good food. Top chefs have now established themselves along the Deutsche Weinstraße, who successfully experiment with regional cuisine and offer premium wines to complement their culinary creations. More than 100 million vines and close to 3,000 winegrowers are established here.
Heaven and Earth Mashed Potatoes are usually served in a Weinstube, where you are rarely disappointed with the quality of food and service. A Kartoffel (Potato) in the Rheinland is called an Erdapfel or “earth apple” a direct translation from the French, Pomme de Terre. To put it into simple terms, you can’t argue about a potato recipe that has evolved over centuries and has literally been in use for over 200 years.
Me, supporting the local wineries by refilling
a jug of Young Wine or Federweisser.
Last fall I visited the Pfalz and I have great memories of collecting cleaning and roasting chestnuts with my brother and enjoying them with young wine. The young wine is usually made from white or red grapes that ripen early, and young wine is sold just as it begins to ferment. This means it has high sugar, yet low alcohol. The wine tastes slightly sweet and almost sparkling. It can be sold as soon as it reaches 4% alcohol, although it will continue to ferment and can reach 11% before consumption. During the wine harvest, young wine will pop up just about everywhere from roadside stands to supermarkets before it disappears until next year. Most of the time you purchase young wine in a two-liter plastic jug. One thing to remember, young wine will continue to ferment, so it’s not recommended to store young wine for a long time. As it’s stored and maturing at the same time, the fermentation creates more alcohol. I agree with you there is nothing wrong with that, however, due to the high carbonation during the fermentation process, jugs of young wine can explode.
Another simply amazing potato dish from the Pfalz
“Dirty potatoes with liver sausage”.
Tradition over Trend
There is nothing trendy about this recipe, that is why I call it a “Tradition over Trend” recipe. The apple represents heaven and the potatoes represent the earth, and not much has changed from the original recipe. In German Himmel und Erde is served with Blutwurst or blood sausage. Blutwurst is a great example of peasant food, a sausage made with pork blood and fillers like grains or bread. Heaven and Earth is a great side dish to a substantial meal like a braised beef short rib, grilled chicken, and even seafood
“Peasant food” is about cooking simple ingredients
Potatoes have been the food of farmers and their workers for centuries. Out of necessity, since there was usually very little meat available, they relied on vegetables, grains, fruits, and legumes. People had to make the most of their food. A freshly cooked warm apple compote simmered in apple juice added to mashed potatoes served with fried onions, and sage-infused olive oil drizzled over just before serving, made a memorable meal.
Russet potatoes, with olive oil, and apple compote
I agree, whipping and finishing mashed potatoes with butter and milk makes one of the best comfort foods ever. Creamy and buttery, just awesome! I make my heaven and earth recipe with extra virgin olive oil, not milk and butter. Mashing the potatoes and the cooked apples together the old-fashioned way using a potato masher, not a mixer, makes them so delicious in texture and flavor, and more like a Belgium Stoemp.
A Belgium Stoemp is a sort of mix and mash: a combination of potatoes mashed with one or several vegetables (and sometimes fruits). It’s a Belgium tradition of obliterating multiple food groups by mashing them together as comfort food. You get a great mixture of all flavors; how could you not when they are all mashed together.
Comfort food is humble, powerful, tasty food, and more important, comfort food does not need fancy ingredients. Research shows that comfort food may trigger the reward system in the human brain, which gives you distinctive pleasure or a temporary sense of emotional elevation and relaxation. That basically explains everything and confirms why I’m treating myself to one of my favorite foods, Heaven & Earth.
Are potatoes good for you?
Potatoes are America’s favorite side dish, they are a nutrient-dense vegetable that provides the energy, potassium, and vitamin C you need to fuel your day. They are cholesterol-free, sodium-free, and naturally fat-free. A medium potato with skin has only 110 calories per 5.3-ounce serving. Foods that are good sources of potassium and sodium-free, such as potatoes, may reduce the risk of high blood pressure and stroke. I love the fact that today’s Chefs elevate potatoes to another level. Chefs like, RJ Harvey, Culinary Director of Potatoes USA are looking at opportunities and innovation, taking potatoes and turning them into top-notch food. Here is one more interesting Potato fact, there are more than 200 varieties of potatoes sold in the USA, and each of these varieties fits into one of 7 potato categories.
Food is all relative, it’s how you look at things, how you were raised, and what your parents could afford to put on the table for supper. As kids, we had potato pancakes, inexpensive food that we loved and preferred at any given time over a prime piece of meat. We had applesauce with our pancakes; in fancy restaurants, they may serve the pancakes with a confit of Duck, slow-cooked using the leg and thigh turning a simple meal into a high-end meal. Every country in the world has peasant dishes, and in several cases, they are equally popular with the rich and the poor.
An awesome balance, contrast, and clean layers of flavors.
The apple compote adds sweetness, another welcome layer
of flavor, and creaminess without using butter and cream.
Easy to cook, with flavor that speaks for itself.
Traditionally cooked with butter and cream, my recipe calls for extra virgin olive oil.
Selecting a “better for you” cooking method is important and
makes Heaven and Earth a well-rounded and nutritious meal.
The way you prepare potatoes can affect their nutritional value and your health.
Don’t get me wrong, I love butter, and I cook potatoes with butter in moderation,
and there is certainly a place in our lives for butter.
My recipe uses Extra Virgin Olive Oil and if you are looking for good HDL and cholesterol numbers,
Olive Oil is lower in saturated fats and has more heart-healthy monounsaturated fats than butter.
Heaven & Earth Mashed Potatoes
- 2 lbs Russet potatoes
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 pinch nutmeg freshly grated
- 1 pinch sea salt, fine ground
- 1 lb Granny Smith apples
- 1/2 cup apple Juice organic, unsweetened
- 5 ounces Granny Smith apples
- 2 tbsp apple juice organic, unsweetened
- 2 onions medium
- 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tbsp all-purpose flour
Sage infused olive oil
- 12 sage leaves fresh
- 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Cook the apple compote
- Wash and peel the apples. Core the apple and cut the apples into 3/4 inch dice. Add the diced apples and the apple juice to a saucepan and simmer without a lid until the apples are very tender. Almost all the liquid should have evaporated. Set aside.1 lb Granny Smith apples, 1/2 cup apple Juice
Cook the apples for the garnish
- Wash the apples, do not peel, core the apples, and cut the apples into wedges. Add the apple juice and simmer with the lid on until the apples are tender. Almost all the liquid should have evaporated. Set aside for final plate garnish.5 ounces Granny Smith apples, 2 tbsp apple juice
Cook and mash the potatoes
- Washed, peel and cut the potatoes in half or quarters. Add the potatoes to salted water and cook for about 20 minutes until tender. Pour off water and set aside.2 lbs Russet potatoes
- Add the olive oil, and the apple compote, and season with a pinch of sea salt, and freshly ground nutmeg. Mash the potatoes using a wire masher. You want to see potato and apple pieces in the mash. If you prefer smooth mashed potatoes feel free to whip the potatoes in a blender. Just make sure that you don't overwhip your potatoes into a gooey mess. Should the potatoes need more creaminess, you can add 2 to 3 tbsp of apple juice.1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, 1 pinch nutmeg, 1 pinch sea salt, fine ground
Fry the Onions
- Peel the onions, and cut them into rings. Dust with flour and fry in hot oil until nicely browned and crisp.2 onions, 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, 1 tbsp all-purpose flour
Cook the sage-infused olive oil
- Heat the olive oil in a saute pan to medium. Add the sage leaves and fry for 2 to 3 minutes.12 sage leaves, 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Plate and serve
- Serve the potato mash in a bowl, and garnish each plate with the apple wedges, fried onions, and sage leaves, and drizzle with the sage-infused olive oil.
Potato Storage:To help your potatoes last longer, keep them in a paper bag or another container with holes for ventilation. Store potatoes in a cool, dark place with plenty of air circulation — not in the refrigerator.
Green Potatoesshould be taken seriously. Although the green color itself is not harmful, it may indicate the presence of a toxin called solanine. To be safe, once a potato has turned green, I recommend throwing it away.
Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate