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Sauerbraten is a German specialty marinated for several days

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By Staff Brunswick Beacon

Sauerbraten (sour roast) is considered by most to be Germany’s National dish, but while the basis of the recipe remains the same, variations do occur from region to region.

Traditionally made with a beef roasting joint (topside or similar) the meat is marinated for two to three days in vinegar and/or beer, spices such as cloves, juniper berries, allspice and peppercorns, bay leaves and onions; and then braised in the marinade for a long period, resulting in very tender melt-in-the-mouth meat.

A popular variation is made with venison. Other variations include the addition of gingersnap biscuits crumbled into the sauce to thicken it and/or the addition of raisins or currants.

Several sources believe sauerbraten was invented by Charlemagne, who died in 814 A.D. The recipe was used as a means of using up leftover roasted meat. Albert of Cologne, in the 13th century, a man, like Charlemagne, much interested in foods and gardening, used the recipe with fresh meat; however, this is somewhat vague and no real confirmation of it seems to exist.

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

Marinade:

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 two to three days, turning the meat several times each day.

To cook the meat:

3 Tbsp. 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. Saut 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 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 5-6 servings.

Red Cabbage, Apples and Sausage

4 Tbsp. rendered bacon fat

2 Tbsp. 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 Tbsp. 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 saut 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 to 6 servings

German-Style Schnitzel

German-style schnitzel is usually made with thin pieces of breaded and fried veal (Wiener Schnitzel). To whittle the cost without sacrificing goodness, substitute pork cutlets (Jaeger Schnitzel) for the veal. 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 Tbsp. milk

3/4 cup fine breadcrumbs

1 tsp. paprika

3 Tbsp. 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, then in 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 dill weed, 1 tablespoon flour and sour cream; pour and stir into broth. Cook until thick. Pour over warm cutlets.

Norm Harding is a cooking columnist for the Beacon. To send him recipes, e-mail him at nharding@brunswickbeacon.com.