Domaskin, Andrea. "Fleischkeüchle Queen; Beulah Dairy Queen Known for its Cool Treats, German Eats." Minot Daily News, 14 July 2003, sec. A1 and A7.
Beulah - The local Dairy Queen serves blizzards, sundaes, peanut buster parfaits, slushes, burgers and fries - all the foods people go to Dairy Queens to eat.
But at this Dairy Queen, the ice cream isn't always the draw. It's the fleischkeüchle.
Fleischkeüchle, a German dish made of seasoned ground beef wrapped in dough and deep fried, are an often-ordered dish at this restaurant. They're even the lunch special on Mondays.
"You can go to 20 Dairy Queens, and not find another one that serves fleischkeüchle," said Beulah Dairy Queen owner Phil Eastgate.
The Dairy Queen franchise is flexible enough to allow individual restaurants to serve foods that are popular in their area, and for 18 1/2 of the 20 years the Beulah restaurant has been in business, it has served up fleischkeüchle.
Fleischkeüchle are a testament to the area's heritage, which is predominantly German and Germans from Russia. Most local restaurants serve fleischkeüchle, and local festivals and fairs offer the food. Even a few roadside stands in the area sell fleischkeüchle.
The Dairy Queen has served "thousands and thousands and thousands" of fleischkeüchle, Eastgate said.
"Obviously it is a very popular food."
When Lee and Carla Wolf of Center, about 35 miles from Beulah, came to town for a doctor appointment, they made a point to stop at Dairy Queen to order the food. They've been coming to the Beulah Dairy Queen for a long time, the said.
"It's the homemade fleischkeüchle," Carla Wolf said as she took one of the golden delicacies out of the wrapper. "They're just the best. They're homemade and they're good."
People order fleischkeüchle to eat in the restaurant and top them with pickles and ketchup. They order dozens of them to go to serve at family reunions. Some people take them home to eat later, straight from the refrigerator.
"The real die-hard Germans, it's a middle of the night snack," Eastgate said.
Out-of-towners sometimes try the food, said Dairy Queen employee Cris Flemmer, and she can tell when they've never had it before because they have trouble pronouncing fleischkeüchle (It's fleish- KEE- kla).
Flemmer can probably tell pretty easily by now - she's been at the Dairy Queen for 14 years. The restaurant has several longtime employees who have been there almost from the beginning.
Betty Hausauer is one of them. Hausauer, of German-Russian heritage, makes the fleischkeüchle.
She is something of a fleischkeüchle guru.
"She's known as the fleischkeüchle lady," Eastgate said.
The Wolfs, who aren't even from Beulah, said they had heard of her - they had a connection through someone who works with Carla Wolf.
Hausauer cooks up her dish using a special recipe in a room in the basement of the Dairy Queen. There, she mixes the dough, forms it into balls and runs the balls through a roller to form circles. she spreads the carefully-seasoned ground beef on one side of each circle and folds the dough over.
"The key is the spices," she said.
It's her particular combination of salt, pepper, onions, garlic and perhaps other ingredients that make her fleischkeüchle taste so good, she said.
She works for six to eight hours per day, four or five days per week, depending on the demand. In the winter, she said, the restaurant isn't as busy and so she doesn't work as much, and in the summer, the demand can be much higher. She said there have been times when she's worked seven days a week, 12 hour a day to keep up with the demand for fleischkeüchle.
Once Hausauer finishes the fleischkeüchle, they're frozen. They are deep fried to a golden-brown when people order them. Hausauer also makes ethnic soups - borscht and knoefla which are popular items at the restaurant.
She began making fleischkeüchle at the Dairy Queen because of an enterprising former owner, Bob Alexander. She baby-sat his children, and cooked fleischkeüchle for them, among other things.
Alexander thought they could be a good fast food because they could be frozen and then deep fried, Eastgate said. He was right.
Hausauer has been preparing the fleischkeüchle the entire time. She said she never planned to become a cook.
"I always wanted to become a teacher or a nurse," she said. "But whenever anybody cooked, I watched, to see what they did and how they did it." She worked at a restaurant when she was in high school, and figured out how to make some of the restaurant's dishes by watching the cooks. She said she's always done that.
"It's not just the ingredients you use, it's how you put it together," she said.
Ethnic foods, she said, can take a lot of time to make. Although she whips out fleischkeüchle, borscht and knoephla soup in mass quantities at the Dairy Queen, for her family she usually cooks many of the favorite foods - such as kuchen, a German coffee cake, or platchinda, a pumpkin turnover - on special occasions because cooking them is so time-consuming.
"It takes a lot of time to make them," she said.
That might be why so many people enjoy fleischkeüchle at the Dairy Queen, workers there speculate.
"It just doesn't even pay to make it at home when you can come here," Flemmer said.
A recipe from Betty Hausauer
1 egg, beaten
1 cup half and half or canned milk
2 cups milk
1 tbsp oil
1 tsp salt
enough flour to make a smooth dough, let rest while preparing filling
2 lbs ground beef
2 tsp salt and 1 tsp pepper or to taste
1/2 cup chopped onions
1/2 cup water to make filling spreadable, or put onions in water and in blender.
Divide dough into small balls the size of lemons. Roll each out the size of a small plate. Spread tablespoons of meat filling on one half of dough, fold over and seal. Prick twice with fork to let steam escape while cooking. Deep fry at 350 to 375 degrees.
Reprinted with permission of the Minot Daily News.