A German specialty, sauerbraten is tender, melt-in-the-mouth meat

-A A +A
By Norm Harding, Reporter

Sauerbraten is a German specialty (sour roast) consisting of a beef roast marinated for 2-3 days in vinegar and/or beer and spices such as cloves, juniper berries, allspice and peppercorns, bay leaves and onions.
The roast is then braised in the marinade over low heat for a few hours, resulting in very tender melt-in-the-mouth meat.
A popular variation is the addition of gingersnaps, which are crumbled into the sauce to help thicken it and/or the addition of raisins or currants.
The peculiarity of German food is in its sustenance, which is probably the reason that some people consider it somewhat “heavy.”
This recipe came about as a means of using up leftover roasted meat.
Serve this dish with potato dumplings or potato pancakes, sweet and sour red cabbage and applesauce.

German Pickled Beef Roast (Sauerbraten)
1 4-5 lb. beef roast
1-1/2 cups red wine vinegar
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup dry red wine
1 medium onion, peeled and chopped
1 medium carrot, chopped
1 stalk celery with leaves, chopped
8 black peppercorns
4 whole allspice
4 whole cloves
2 bay leaves
Place the beef in a deep-glass, earthenware or stainless steel bowl. Combine the marinade ingredients in a medium saucepan and heat to boiling over high heat. Cool. Pour the cool marinade over the meat, turning to coat all sides. Cover and refrigerate 2 to 3 days, turning the meat several times each day.
To cook the meat:
3 Tbsps. oil (vegetable or peanut)
1 medium onion, peeled and chopped
1 medium carrot, chopped
1 stalk celery with leaves, chopped
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup dry red wine
1/2 cup gingersnap crumbs (just crush them up!)
Three hours before serving, drain the meat, reserving the marinade, and pat meat dry. Heat a large saucepan, and then add the oil. Add meat and brown on all sides, turning frequently, about 30 minutes. Remove meat from the pan and reserve. Pour off all but 2 Tbsp. of the fat.
Sauté onion, celery and carrot until tender, about 10 minutes. Return meat to the pan. Strain marinade plus 1/2 cup water into the pan, discarding the marinade vegetables. Reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, until meat is tender, about 3 hours.
Remove meat and keep warm. Puree the liquid in a blender or food processor and strain into pan, adding the red wine. Bring to a simmer and stir in the gingersnap crumbs. Simmer, stirring frequently, until the sauce is thickened.
Slice and arrange meat on a serving platter. Serve with sauce and garnish with parsley. Makes 6 servings.

Red Cabbage, Apples and Sausage
4 Tbsps. rendered bacon fat
2 Tbsps. sugar
1 small yellow onion, chopped
4 cups shredded red cabbage
2 tart red apples, such as Jonathan, cored and sliced thin but not peeled
2 Tbsps. cider vinegar
1/2 tsp. caraway seeds
1 to 1-1/2 lbs. German or Polish-style smoked sausage links, or bratwursts
1 lb. new, red potatoes
Salt and fresh-ground black pepper to taste
1 cup beer
Melt the bacon fat in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the sugar and cook, stirring often, until the sugar browns, about 4 minutes.
Reduce the heat to medium-low, add the onion, and sauté until golden, about 5 minutes. Add the cabbage, apples, vinegar and caraway seeds; stir to blend.
Place the sausage links and the potatoes on top of the cabbage mixture. Season with salt and pepper and pour the beer over all.
Bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat; reduce the heat and simmer, covered, for 45 minutes. Taste, adjust the seasonings and serve hot. Makes 4-6 servings

German-Style Jaeger Schnitzel
German-style schnitzel is made with thin pieces of breaded and fried pork cutlets. A dill-flavored sour cream sauce, lemon slices and fresh dill garnish add flavor and color accents. Serve with potato pancakes and applesauce.
6 pork loin cutlets (cut 1/2 in. thick)
1/4 cup flour
1 tsp. seasoned salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1 beaten egg
2 Tbsps. milk
3/4 cup fine breadcrumbs
1 tsp. paprika
3 Tbsps. shortening
3/4 cup chicken broth
1 Tbsp. flour
1/4 tsp. dill weed
1/2 cup sour cream
Pound pork to 1/4 thickness. Coat with mixture of flour, seasoned salt and pepper. Combine egg and milk. Dip cutlets in egg mixture, and then in mixture of crumbs and paprika. Cook in a large skillet, three cutlets at a time for 3 minutes on each side. Remove and pour broth in skillet; loosen drippings.
Mix together dill weed, 1 tablespoon flour and sour cream; stir and pour into broth. Cook until thick. Pour over warm cutlets. Makes 6 servings.

German Potato Pancakes
While the grating and frying can be somewhat labor intensive, the results are quite satisfying. Just make sure to get the oil to the right temperature.
4 large baking potatoes, peeled and grated
1 large onion, peeled and grated
2 whole eggs
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1 tsp. salt
Pinch white pepper
Vegetable oil
1 Tbsp. flour
Combine the grated potatoes, onions, eggs, nutmeg, salt, pepper and flour until well blended. Heat a generous amount of oil (about a half-inch deep) in a heavy skillet over medium-high heat, about 400 degrees.
Drop the potato mixture in by spoonfuls. Cook the pancakes until golden brown on each side; about two minutes per side. Remove and drain on paper towels. Serve with applesauce or sour cream. Makes about a dozen pancakes.
Norm Harding is a cooking columnist for the Beacon. To send him recipes, email him at nharding@brunswickbeacon.com.