This German recipe for Mashed Apples and Potatoes, or Himmel und Erde, literally means "heaven and earth").
The apples are the "heaven" part of the name because they come from the trees up in the sky, and the potatoes are the "earth" because they come from the ground.
Himmel und Erde is made by mixing mashed potatoes with homemade applesauce and smothering the whole with caramelized onions. There are so many variations of this, and so many German regions claim to have invented it, that any written recipe will be controversial.
Germans like to make this popular winter dish as the main part of the meal, using Boskops or Elstar apples when available. It is usually eaten with sausage and most often with Blutwurst (blood sausage) or bratwurst.
This recipe can be doubled easily.
Makes 2 servings as a main dish with sausage or 4 servings as a side dish for pork.
- 1 pound yellow onions, about 2 large
- 4 to 6 tablespoons butter
- 1 pound apples (about 4, Boskop or Elstar)
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 2 teaspoons sugar (or to taste)
- 1 pound starchy potatoes (such as Russet, about 4 to 5 medium)
- 3 tablespoons butter (or to taste)
- Pinch freshly ground nutmeg
- Dash salt (or to taste)
- Dash pepper (or to taste)
- Slice 1 pound onions thinly and evenly. In a large skillet on medium heat, start to brown them in 3 tablespoons of the butter.
- Cook and stir until golden brown, adding some or all of the remaining 3 tablespoons butter, as necessary, to keep the onions from sticking. Depending on how brown/caramelized you like them, this will take 20 minutes or more. Set aside.
- Peel, core, and chop 1 pound apples. Place them in a medium saucepan with 1 cup of water, 1 tablespoon lemon juice and 2 teaspoons sugar or to taste, and cook until apples start falling apart and become chunky applesauce. Add additional water as necessary.
- After apples have been cooking for 15 minutes, peel and slice or chop 1 pound starchy potatoes.
- In a separate saucepan, cook potatoes in salted water until tender.
- Pour off water and mash with a potato masher, adding butter, freshly ground nutmeg, salt, and pepper to taste.
- When applesauce is cooked to your liking, taste and adjust the lemon or sugar. Stir applesauce into the potatoes.
- Serve with the caramelized onions on top.
- With blood sausage that has been sliced, dipped in flour and lightly fried
- With fried German bologna
- With fresh, grilled or fried bratwurst
- As a side with pork chops or pork loin