Tuesday, March 5, 2013

German Comfort Food - Sauerbraten (part 1)

I love my comfort foods.   Macaroni and Cheese, Lasagne, Corned Beef Pinwheels, Chicken and Dumplings, Boeuf Bourguignon, Lentil Soup, Biscuits and Gravy, Stroganov, and Pasta Carbonara, to name just a few.  There is one comfort food though, that I don't make very often.  This is mainly because, as a single person, there is no possible way I can eat my way through a 4 lb hunk o' beef.  Something of that size is better regulated to the proverbial "holiday get together". Sadly, those usually already include a large turkey, a BBQ, or a leg of lamb, leaving no room for an additional large roast.

I speak not of Pot Roast, per se, but of that most quintessentially "German" of dishes on this large blue marble.  Sauerbraten (Sour Roast).  

As luck would have it, we are going to have a small get together with a family friend, so it's time that I whipped this recipe out and brushed the cobwebs off.  And it's a good thing, because Sauerbraten takes a little forethought.  You must begin marinating the meat 48-72 hours ahead of time.

So what exactly IS Sauerbraten?  Well, it's sort of Germany's answer to Boeuf Bourguignon.  Though considering the antiquity of the recipe, it's more correctly stated that Boeuf Bourguignon is France's answer to Sauerbraten.  Legend has it that the recipe stems from when Julius Caesar was shipping in meat for his legions during one of his campaigns against the Thuringians.  In order to preserve the meat, it was stored in amphora full of vinegar.  Since the Romans had a tendency to simply colonize the areas of their conquests and merge with the local peoples, the defeated Thuringians, Bavarians, and Saxons were eventually exposed to this soured meat. The flavor was well received and eventually became part of the local cuisine.

Granted, the Thuringians, as well as several other tribes that inhabited the area in Europe that we know today as "Germany", originally used this method of marination on Horse meat.  Horse can be a very tough chew, but the vinegar marinade has the added benefit of tenderizing the meat. While I am normally a stickler for tradition, I will be foregoing the horse meat for this recipe.  While I have eaten A LOT of things that most people would not, from Opossum to Bear and back again, but I find the idea of eating horse to be somewhat horrifying.  I know it is still eaten in Europe; France, Belgium, Austria, Italy, Germany, the Netherlands & Iceland just being a few, but I find horses to be too intelligent to be eaten.  I am not even overly fond of them, but when you look them in the eye, you can see that they have a level of self awareness beyond that of a sheep, cows and pigs.  Heck, they are even smarter than goats (being from a goat dairy, it really annoys me to say that).  Sorry, I firmly believe that it's on par with eating your dog, your cat or a dolphin.  But that is just how I feel about it. 

Thus, when I make Sauerbraten, I use a big chunk of beef.  Parts such as the Bottom Round, Top Round, Rump or Chuck are good choices and tend to be cheaper pieces of meat.  Basically anything you would use for a Yankee Pot Roast will be just fine.

But we gotta get this chunk of Bovine marinating, so it's time for me to quit yappin and get to cookin.
I am going to do this post in 2 installments because of the amount of time required.  It will give you a chance to follow a long it you want.  :)

An old Corningware 5 quart pot works GREAT for this, since it goes from the stove to the refrigerator to the oven to the table.   LOVE this stuff.  (That is why this recipe will be posted to Corningware411 as well)


2 Onions, sliced
1 rib of Celery, chopped
1 Carrot, chopped
4 Bay Leaves
7 whole Clove Buds
1/2 tsp Coriander Seed
3/4 tsp Black Peppercorns
2 1/2 cups Water
1 1/2 cups Red Wine Vinegar
3 1/2 - 4 lb Beef Roast

Later you will need (just so there are no surprises in the second installment)
1/2 cup Water
1/3 cup crushed Ginger Snaps

Grab a 5 quart pot and add the Onions, Celery, Carrot, Bay Leaves, Cloves, Coriander and Black Peppercorns.

Pour in the Water and the Red Wine Vinegar.

Cover the pot and bring to a boil.

Remove from the heat and add the meat to the hot marinade.

Turning to coat.

Cover again, and place in the refrigerator.

Turn the meat every 12 hours for at least 2 days (48 hours) but preferably 3 days (72 hrs)

Your patience and perseverance will be rewarded.

Through the magic of the Blogverse you can Fast Forward to Sauerbraten Part 2

1 comment:

Spryte said...

I've been dying to try or make sauerbraten! I went to a local German restaurant and ordered it one time and it was tough! How is that even possible?? I was so disappointed! I'll be watching for part number 2!!