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Sauerbraten

 

 

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Rheinstein Castle Overlooking the River Rhine, Rhineland, Germany, Europe
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Pfalz Castle and Rhine River, Kaub, Rhineland, Rhine Valley, Germany
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La Belle Cuisine

 


The subject of Sauerbraten ranks right up there with gumbo, potato salad, red
beans and rice
and fried chicken on the controversiality scale. Just ask any
German Hausfrau what the proper way is. Her way, of course, using a recipe
passed down through the generations. That will vary from family to family, as
well as from village to village and state to state. A Bavarian Sauerbraten is
not the same as a Rhineland Sauerbraten. Etc.
We are quite fond of the recipe below, but decided anyhow to have a look
at Mimi Sheraton’s German Cookbook: A Complete Guide to Mastering
Authentic German Cooking
 (which, over the years, has become our pre-
ferred authority on German cuisine). It pleased us to find that her Sauer-
braten recipe is very close indeed to the one we had chosen to publish.
(You are wondering how many we have in our files, right? Well, would you
believe 7? As of today. We were looking for THE Sauerbraten recipe,
of course.)
The primary difference in the two is that Mimi’s Rheinischer Sauerbraten
uses vinegar and water for the marinade. No wine at all. Hmm... I know for
a fact that my ex-sister-in-law, who lives in a tiny village just a few kilo-
meters from the banks of the Rhine, uses wine for her most excellent
Sauerbraten. That is good enough for me. But I digress... Here is what
Mimi Sheraton has to say on the marvelous subject of Sauerbraten:

“Next to frankfurters and sauerkraut, Sauerbraten is Germany’s most
famous food specialty. Every cook and every province has a different
version of this dish, but in my travels, none compared to the Sauer-
braten found along the Rhine. Its distinguishing characteristics are
the white raisins and the velvety, golden-brown, sweet-sour sauce that
bears absolutely no resemblance to the watery, vinegar-sharp gravy
served in German and Austrian restaurants in the United States.”

Ja wohl!  I’ll drink to that!
 

Sauerbraten
Gourmet Archives

3 cups dry red wine
1/2 cup red-wine vinegar
1 onion, sliced
1 carrot, sliced
3 garlic cloves, chopped
2 bay leaves
10 peppercorns
3 whole cloves
2 juniper berries
[We add 1 tablespoon pickling spices.]
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
3- to 3 1/4-pound boneless lean beef
chuck roast, rolled and tied
[We prefer a rump roast.]
2 tablespoons oil
2 onions, sliced thin
1/3 cup golden raisins
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons flour
2 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons red-wine vinegar
2 gingersnaps, crushed

In a stainless steel or enameled saucepan combine the red wine, 1 cup
water, the 1/2 cup red-wine vinegar, 1 sliced onion, carrot, garlic, bay
leaves, peppercorns, cloves, juniper berries and thyme. Bring liquid to
a boil and simmer the mixture, covered, 15 minutes. Let marinade
cool.
In a deep bowl pour marinade over the roast, adding more water if
necessary to barely cover the beef, and let beef marinate, covered
and chilled, for 2 to 4 days.
Remove the roast from the marinade, pat it dry, and strain the marinade through a fine sieve into a bowl, reserving solids and liquid separately.
In a large stainless steel or enameled casserole brown the roast in the oil
over moderately high heat and transfer it to a plate. Add the 2 sliced onions
to the casserole and cook them over moderate heat, stirring, until they are golden. Add reserved marinade solids and cook mixture, stirring, 2 minutes. Return beef to casserole and add enough of the reserved marinade to reach halfway up sides of beef. Bring liquid to a boil and braise beef, covered, in preheated 300-degree F. oven 2 hours 45 minutes, or until the meat is
tender when pierced with a fork. Transfer beef to a platter and keep it
warm, covered loosely. Strain cooking liquid through a fine sieve into a
bowl and skim the fat.
In a small bowl let the raisins macerate in 1/3 cup of the liquid, reserving remaining liquid, for 15 minutes.
In casserole melt 2 tablespoons unsalted butter over moderately low heat,
stir in the flour and sugar and cook the roux, stirring, until it is golden
brown. Add the 3 cups reserved cooking liquid in a stream, whisking, and
the raisin mixture, and bring liquid to a boil over moderate heat, whisking
constantly. Add the 1 1/2 teaspoons red-wine vinegar or to taste, and
reduce the liquid over high heat, stirring, to about 2 cups. Stir in crushed
gingersnaps and simmer the mixture, stirring, 2 minutes, or until sauce is
glossy and thickened slightly. Discard strings from beef, slice beef thin,
and arrange the slices on a heated platter. Nap slices with some of the
sauce and serve remaining sauce separately. Serves 6.
[Don't forget the Kartoffel Kloesse
and German Red Cabbage!]


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