Monday, October 3, 2016
A Kitchen Keeper Original - Sauerbraten
From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite...Sauerbraten is one of Bob's favorite meals. I don't make it often, but his family tradition dictates that it be served on the last day of Oktoberfest. In Germany, Oktoberfest is a 15 day celebration that begins in mid-September and ends on the the first Sunday in October. If your German ancestors settled in the southern Illinois in communities like Effingham and Teutopolis, and you had a "sainted" mother who made Sauerbraten on that day, your Irish wife had better learn how to make it, or listen to that "sainted" mother shtick ad nauseam. This is a dish that flirted with popularity in the 50's and 60's but it had no staying power. Most recipes available at that time produced a pickled pot roast that was heavy on the sour and not generally appealing to American taste. Once the fascination with using gingersnaps in a gravy passed, so did interest in Sauerbraten for those not of German descent. I must tell you up front, that my version of the pot roast is not traditional. I go heavy on the wine and light on the vinegar to produce flavors that I enjoy. Fortunately, Bob has come to like my version of the dish as well. Sauerbraten is not hard to make, but it requires inactive wait time, so advance planning is necessary. If you decide to prepare it, you'll need three days to marinate the meat, and, if you follow my advice, another day once it's been prepared for its texture to firm for slicing. I think you'll like this version of the recipe. It produces a pot roast that has an almost velvety sauce that has beautiful color and a really pleasant sweet and sour flavor. When the kids were young, I'd serve Sauerbraten with homemade spaetzle, but these days I take the easy way out and make caraway noodles and red cabbage instead. I hope the more adventurous among you will give this recipe a try. It will not disappoint. Here is how my version of Sauerbraten is made.
Sauerbraten...from the kitchen of One Perfect Bite
3 cups dry red wine
3/4 cup red-wine vinegar
1 medium onion, sliced
1 large carrot, sliced
1 tablespoon chopped garlic
2 bay leaves
1/4 teaspoon black peppercorns
1/4 teaspoon mustard seeds
1/4 teaspoon whole cloves
1/4 teaspoon juniper berries
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon salt
3 to 4-pound boneless beef chuck or rump roast, rolled and tied
1-1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 tablespoons oil or bacon drippings
2 medium onions, sliced thin
1/3 cup golden raisins
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons flour
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 to 2 teaspoons teaspoons red-wine vinegar
1/4 to 1/2 cup crushed gingersnaps
1) To make marinade: In a stainless steel or enameled saucepan combine red wine, water, red-wine vinegar, onion, carrot, garlic, bay leaves, peppercorns, mustard seeds, cloves, juniper berries and thyme. Bring liquid to a boil and simmer, covered, for 15 minutes. Let marinade cool to room temperature.
Place roast in a deep bowl. Pour marinade over roast, adding water, as needed, to barely cover its top surface. Marinate, covered, in refrigerator for 3 days.
2) To braise beef: Preheat oven to 250 degrees F. Remove roast from marinade and pat it dry. Strain marinade through a fine sieve into a bowl, reserving solids and liquid separately.
Heat bacon drippings or oil in a heavy ovenproof pot. Brown roast over moderate heat, about 5 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate. Add onions to same pan and cook them over moderate heat, stirring, until they are golden, about 5 minutes. Add reserved marinade solids and cook mixture, stirring, 2 minutes.
Return beef to casserole and add enough of marinade liquid to reach halfway up sides of beef. Bring liquid to a boil and braise beef, covered, in preheated oven for 3 to 4 hours, or until meat is fork tender. Carefully transfer to a platter and tent with oil to keep warm.
3) To make sauce: Strain cooking liquid through a fine sieve into a bowl, saving liquid, but discarding solids. Steep raisins in 1/3 cup of reserved cooking liquid for 15 minutes.
In casserole melt 2 tablespoons unsalted butter over moderately low heat, stir in flour and sugar and whisking constantly, cook roux until it is golden brown, about 5 minutes.
Add 3 cups reserved cooking liquid in a stream, whisking constantly.
Add raisin mixture and bring liquid to a boil over moderate heat, whisking constantly.
Add red-wine vinegar to taste, and boil mixture until it is reduced to 2 cups.
Stir in crushed gingersnaps and simmer the mixture, stirring, 2 minutes, or until sauce is glossy and thickened slightly. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Discard strings from beef. Thinly slice and arrange slices on a platter. Nap slices with some sauce, reserving remainder to serve at table. Serves 6.
Cook's note: While sauerbraten is delicious served the day it is made, it will have a better texture and you'll be able to serve neater slices if you allow the cooked roast to firm in the refrigerator over night. The following day, and just prior to serving, slice the roast and warm sliced beef in a microwave on HIGH power for about 2 minutes. Nap warm slices with warm sauce and serve.
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