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Sauerbraten


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I just received a venison roast which I would like to make as a sauerbraten. I have used Luchow's recipe in the past with okay results, but I am looking for a new one. All comers welcome and thank you in advance!

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I found out that making sauerbraten with beer instead of wine comes out much better. With St Paddys coming up, let's call it Irish Sauerbraten.

Here is what I do:

2 bottles imported dark beer

1 beer bottle of white vinegar

bay leaf

onion

garlic clove

quartered lemon

6 peppercorns

dash gin

Marinade meat in this mixture for 3 to 5 days.

Remove meat and strain marinade.

Brown meat, and saute some chopped celery.

Add marinade, with 1 1/2 Tbsp sugar and 1 chopped tomato.

Simmer 4 hours on stove top or in dutch oven.

Gravy: Strain liquid, bring to boil, add 1/2 cup gingersnap crumbs. Simmer 10 minutes.

Serve with sour cream.

If you want my recipe for Red Cabbage in Wine Sauce, let me know. I always have to serve them together!

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The beer and vinegar pot roast sounds interesting. I've made a German pot roast with bear and Belgian carbonnade but I wouldn't have thought of beer and vinegar together.

Here is a recipe I've made a few times which is adapted from one given in 'Yankee New England Cookbook" by Leslie Land. Hmmm... unlike the Alton Brown version there is no sugar added. The added lemon, orange and ginger root are a bit different than some traditional recipes but I they've worked pretty well.

5 lb chunk of stewing beef (brisket or blade chuck are best but leaner bottom round will work)

Marinade:

2 lg onions, thinly sliced

1 large carrot, cut in thin rounds

2 quarter-sized pieces of fresh ginger root

2-3 thick slices of lemon, seeds removed

zest of 1 small orange

10 peppercorns

3-4 healthy sprigs of thyme or 2 tsp dried

1 small bay leaf

~ 2 cups dry red wine

1 ½ cups red wine vinegar

1 cup water

To Cook the Roast:

Flour to dust meat

2-3 tbs rendered beef fat or neutral oil

1 cup finely chopped onion

½ cup finely chopped carrot

½ cup finely chopped celery

4-5 gingersnaps crushed to a powder

salt to taste

Rub non-liquid marinade ingredients onto the meat. Bring liquid marinade ingredients to a brief boil; then let cool to RT and pour over meat. If meat is not covered by ½ or 2/3 add some more wine and vinegar (at a 50:50 ratio). Marinate in fridge for a minimum of 2 days and for up to 5 days. Stir and turn meat at least once a day; more often if marinating for the shorter amount of time.

Remove meat from marinade and dry surface with paper towels. Dust meat with flour and brown in Dutch oven. When browned, place chopped onion and carrot under the meat. Pour in marinade so that it covers about one third of the meat. Cover and simmer over very low heat for 3 ½ -5 hours. How long will depend on the cut of meat and the strength of the simmer; the meat should be tender but not falling apart. (Add more marinade as it cooks to keep the liquid level about the same.)

Strain gravy; skim fat off of liquid gravy (I like to leave a little for flavor). Puree vegetables. Add gingersnap powder to the cooking pan and pour degreased gravy and pureed vegetables over. Stir and heat until gravy thickens; you can add more gingersnap powder to thicken it further. Taste and correct for salt and pepper.

Serve with potato pancakes, spaetzle or egg noodles and braised sweet and sour red cabbage.

Edited by ludja (log)

"Under the dusty almond trees, ... stalls were set up which sold banana liquor, rolls, blood puddings, chopped fried meat, meat pies, sausage, yucca breads, crullers, buns, corn breads, puff pastes, longanizas, tripes, coconut nougats, rum toddies, along with all sorts of trifles, gewgaws, trinkets, and knickknacks, and cockfights and lottery tickets."

-- Gabriel Garcia Marquez, 1962 "Big Mama's Funeral"

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Do you mind giving the ingredients and an overview of the Luchow recipe, pup224? I don't have that book and would be curious to compare it with the recipes I have.

The recipe I gave above is pretty similar to that given in the German Time Life Foods of the World volume. The Time Life recipe does not use the orange, lemon and ginger root.

Another recipe and variant I'd like to try is in Mimi Sheraton's The German Cookbook. (I might skip the addition of raisins though as I prefer more of a sour rather than sweet accent in the dish.)

This is a Rheinischer or Rhineland Sauerbraten

The marinade she gives is:

3 cups white vinegar

3 cups water

1 lg onion, sliced

1 peeled carrot, sliced

2 bay leaves

8 cloves

8 peppercorns

1 Tbs pickling spices

(Salt meat before pouring cooled marinade over it.)

Brown meat in lard or rendered bacon fat; then add in 2 lg sliced onions. Cook in marinade with 1 bay leaf and 6 cloves.

Her base recipe approaches the gravy in this way. Make a caramel-colored roux with 2 Tbs butter, 3 tbs flour and 2 Tbs sugar. Add this to strained gravy and season to taste with lemon juice. She then adds 1/2 cup of raisins which have been plumped in warm water. Optional add in are some tomato puree to pump up the color of the sauce or some sour cream for flavor. The latter is more common in Southern Germany and Austria.

Other variations she speaks of are to add powdered ginger snap cookies at the end to thicke to the gravy. Use some dry red wine in place of some of the water or vinegar.

She says that adding raisins, lemon juice and sugar in the roux are Rhineland touches but that they can be omitted for other versions. Other vegetables that you can cook with the meat besides onions are celery root and/or parsley root. (I think I'd like this.) Also, you can use a heel of rye bread rather than ginger snaps to thicken the sauce. (I may also try this next time.)

I think I may try her recipe next time but omit the raisins and lemon juice, add celery root to the cooking (and eventual gravy) and try thickening with rye bread crumbs. I may use the flour-sugar-butter roux as it is not a lot of sugar and I think the caramelization may add an interesting flavor note.

The Austrian in me will definately try adding sour cream to the non-raisin versions as well.

I would also enjoy hearing about other's recipes and experiences!

Edited by ludja (log)

"Under the dusty almond trees, ... stalls were set up which sold banana liquor, rolls, blood puddings, chopped fried meat, meat pies, sausage, yucca breads, crullers, buns, corn breads, puff pastes, longanizas, tripes, coconut nougats, rum toddies, along with all sorts of trifles, gewgaws, trinkets, and knickknacks, and cockfights and lottery tickets."

-- Gabriel Garcia Marquez, 1962 "Big Mama's Funeral"

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Major edit of the original post…

I had mistakenly been looking at an Epicurious recipe instead of the Alton Brown recipe that logicalmind posted about above when I made this original post. Sorry for the confusion for those that read my original post and apologies to logicalmind and Alton Brown! :wub:

I am a little surprised at the one third cup sugar added to the gravy in the Epicurious and Alton Brown recipes. It seems to me that this would add too much sweetness for my taste. Most of the recipes in my German cookbooks add little (~ 2 Tbs) or no sugar to the recipe. The Sheraton Rhineland Sauerbraten recipe also caramelizes the sugar which would add a bitter note in addition to the sweetness. A typical side dish for Sauerbraten is sweet and sour braised red cabbage and this adds a bit of sweetness to the meal as well in counterpoint to the “sauer” or ‘sour’ gravy.

It’s interesting that the Alton Brown and Epicurious recipes both recommend top or bottom round as the cut of meat. Most older recipes I’ve seen recommend chuck or blade roast; fattier cuts of meat that cook up more tenderly as a pot roast.

Lastly, and one of the things that I referred to in my original version of this post, the Epicurious recipe has a very unorthodox method of roasting the meat without the marinade. Per one of the recipe reviewers comments I think this cooking technique would be a recipe for dry meat; very different from traditional Sauerbraten.

Edited by ludja (log)

"Under the dusty almond trees, ... stalls were set up which sold banana liquor, rolls, blood puddings, chopped fried meat, meat pies, sausage, yucca breads, crullers, buns, corn breads, puff pastes, longanizas, tripes, coconut nougats, rum toddies, along with all sorts of trifles, gewgaws, trinkets, and knickknacks, and cockfights and lottery tickets."

-- Gabriel Garcia Marquez, 1962 "Big Mama's Funeral"

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... most surprisingly, the recipes instructs cooking the meat in the oven in a roasting pan without the marinade.  All the recipes I've seen cook this as a pot roast--slowly simmering in the marinade and other other vegetables untili the meat is tender.

One correction, the recipe says:

"Add the sugar to the meat and marinade, cover and place on the middle rack of the oven and cook until tender, approximately 4 hours."

So it is cooked in the marinade. When I made this it actually was quite sour. The amount of gingersnaps I added mostly determined the sweetness of the sauce.

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... most surprisingly, the recipes instructs cooking the meat in the oven in a roasting pan without the marinade.  All the recipes I've seen cook this as a pot roast--slowly simmering in the marinade and other other vegetables untili the meat is tender.

One correction, the recipe says:

"Add the sugar to the meat and marinade, cover and place on the middle rack of the oven and cook until tender, approximately 4 hours."

So it is cooked in the marinade. When I made this it actually was quite sour. The amount of gingersnaps I added mostly determined the sweetness of the sauce.

Thanks for the correction, logicalmind and apologies to you and Alton brown. :wub:

Brown's recipe does indeed cook the meat in the marinade in the typical manner. I mistakenly was referencing this recipe for "Classic Sauerbraten" on epicurious in my previous post. click

Good to hear that the sauce is nice and vinegary; although I'd still not be too sure about adding the 1/3 cup sugar.

Thanks for your comments; I'm going back to edit my previous point to clear up some of the confusion.

"Under the dusty almond trees, ... stalls were set up which sold banana liquor, rolls, blood puddings, chopped fried meat, meat pies, sausage, yucca breads, crullers, buns, corn breads, puff pastes, longanizas, tripes, coconut nougats, rum toddies, along with all sorts of trifles, gewgaws, trinkets, and knickknacks, and cockfights and lottery tickets."

-- Gabriel Garcia Marquez, 1962 "Big Mama's Funeral"

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Thanks for the correction, logicalmind and apologies to you and Alton brown.  :wub:

Brown's recipe does indeed cook the meat in the marinade in the typical manner.  I mistakenly was referencing this recipe for "Classic Sauerbraten" on epicurious in my previous post. click

Good to hear that the sauce is nice and vinegary; although I'd still not be too sure about adding the 1/3 cup sugar.

Thanks for your comments; I'm going back to edit my previous point to clear up some of the confusion.

No apologies necessary :biggrin:

All this talk of sauerbraten makes me hungry to make some :biggrin:

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^I know, my mind it turning to spring ingredients with our recent warm weather out here but this discussionn is making me crave Sauerbraten! Maybe I can still squeeze it in this season!

For pups224's version with vension, I'm thinking the addition of juniper berries to the marinade might be nice. Alton Brown's recipe and some others use juniper berries and this is traditionally a good flavor with game like venison.

"Under the dusty almond trees, ... stalls were set up which sold banana liquor, rolls, blood puddings, chopped fried meat, meat pies, sausage, yucca breads, crullers, buns, corn breads, puff pastes, longanizas, tripes, coconut nougats, rum toddies, along with all sorts of trifles, gewgaws, trinkets, and knickknacks, and cockfights and lottery tickets."

-- Gabriel Garcia Marquez, 1962 "Big Mama's Funeral"

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When I first tried this I took a bunch of recipes and figured out what ingrediants I had and came up with my own list

1 carrot, celery stalk, onion ..sliced

1 cup vinegar ..cider and or red wine

1cup water

1/4 cup sugar

2 tbl salt

peppercorns, juniper berries, and bay leaf

marinate meat 3 to 7 days

roast tightly covered or cook in crock pot W/ marinade

defat the drippings and pour into sauce pan. whisk in enough crumbled gingersnaps to thicken to gravy

serve or spaetzle or noodles

tracey

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When I first tried this I took a bunch of recipes and figured out what ingrediants I had and came up with my own list

...

tracey

Nice and simple! :smile: I still think I like the onions and other vegetables that one can cook with the meat to additionally flavor the gravy and then possibly puree to add into the gravy.

Here is an SFgate article I found on Sauerbraten. The attached recipe is said to have descended from the Luchow recipe. In this given recipe, sour cream is blended into the gravy at the end of cooking. click

Some other comments from the article:

Vanderbilt credited her recipe to Luchow's, a famous German restaurant in New York. Luchow's used gingersnaps to season and thicken the gravy. Other cooks use a roux. Some add red wine; others just vinegar.

In some regions, buttermilk is part of the marinade. Garlic is favored by some cooks; others just add lots of onions.

Whichever way you cook it, it's a wonderful way to turn a relatively inexpensive cut of meat into a splendid winter main course.

P.S. Although in many German-style restaurants in America, potato pancakes are paired with sauerbraten, this is common only in a small part of Germany.

Spaetzle or another form of plain pasta is the choice of many cooks, while others might serve potatoes -- plain boiled, mashed or potato dumplings -- that will absorb the delicious gravy.

"Under the dusty almond trees, ... stalls were set up which sold banana liquor, rolls, blood puddings, chopped fried meat, meat pies, sausage, yucca breads, crullers, buns, corn breads, puff pastes, longanizas, tripes, coconut nougats, rum toddies, along with all sorts of trifles, gewgaws, trinkets, and knickknacks, and cockfights and lottery tickets."

-- Gabriel Garcia Marquez, 1962 "Big Mama's Funeral"

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The beer and vinegar pot roast sounds interesting.  I've made a German pot roast with bear and Belgian carbonnade but I wouldn't have thought of beer and vinegar together.

Thanks ludja for helping me post this reply!

I started using beer instead of wine in my sauerbraten when a friend told me his Irish mother made the best and made it with beer, although he didn't have an actual recipe .  So I just took the recipe I had always used, and wasn't crazy about, and subbed beer and just loved the result.

Edited by cooleen (log)
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Any Germans out there with an opinion on Sauerbraten or what to serve with it?

Besides the Americanized and German versions I can glean from cookbooks, I wonder about some of the regional and personal variations and what people eat with it?

"Under the dusty almond trees, ... stalls were set up which sold banana liquor, rolls, blood puddings, chopped fried meat, meat pies, sausage, yucca breads, crullers, buns, corn breads, puff pastes, longanizas, tripes, coconut nougats, rum toddies, along with all sorts of trifles, gewgaws, trinkets, and knickknacks, and cockfights and lottery tickets."

-- Gabriel Garcia Marquez, 1962 "Big Mama's Funeral"

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The beer and vinegar pot roast sounds interesting.  I've made a German pot roast with bear and Belgian carbonnade but I wouldn't have thought of beer and vinegar together.

Thanks ludja for helping me post this reply!

I started using beer instead of wine in my sauerbraten when a friend told me his Irish mother made the best and made it with beer, although he didn't have an actual recipe .  So I just took the recipe I had always used, and wasn't crazy about, and subbed beer and just loved the result.

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The Luchows sauerbraten recipe is on the web:

http://www.astray.com/recipes/?show=Sauerb...toffel%20klosse

I never found that the gravy came out well and did not thicken with the ginger snaps.

I serve my sauerbraten with spaetzle which I make myself from a Wolfgang Puck recipe on the food channel. I have tried many spaetzle recipes and this one is the most authentic and fool proof. It makes a lot of spaetzle, which you can freeze after mixing them with a little oil or melted butter. I do use a spaetzle maker, which I purchased at a now defunct Hungarian grocer. It makes the job go in a jiffy.

I did find another Sauerbraten recipe in an old favorite cookbook. Craig Claiborne's "cooking with herbs and spices". It looks interesting.

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The Luchows sauerbraten recipe is on the web:

http://www.astray.com/recipes/?show=Sauerb...toffel%20klosse

I never found that the gravy came out well and did not thicken with the ginger snaps.

I serve my sauerbraten with spaetzle which I make myself from a Wolfgang Puck recipe on the food channel. I have tried many spaetzle recipes and this one is the most authentic and fool proof. It makes a lot of spaetzle, which you can freeze after mixing them with a little oil or melted butter. I do use a spaetzle maker, which I purchased at a now defunct Hungarian grocer. It makes the job go in a jiffy.

I did find another Sauerbraten recipe in an old favorite cookbook. Craig Claiborne's "cooking with herbs and spices". It looks interesting.

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Is there a substitute for the ginger snaps? Would powdered ginger with whatever other spices are in ginger snaps with flour work?

The way that Mimi Sheraton describes the thickening of the gravy is to make a roux (sauteeing butter with small amounts of flour added in). The recipe also has some sugar in there that also carmelizes to add flavor. As typival when using roux's, add it slowly into the sauce while whisking briskly. This is what Sheraton discribes in the base recipe. She says that sometimes finely crumbled ginger snaps are added for additional flavor and richness--so this is an option, not a necessity.

Other thickening and flavor agents that I have seen added in to the sauce at the end besides powdered gingersnaps are crumbled lebkuchen or the rye bread crumbs I mentioned above.

I guess that adding in a judicious amount of powdered ginger to the roux (especially one that had some sugar in it) would approximate the effect of the gingersnaps with respect to flavoring and thickening the gravy.

Mimi Sheraton is a member of eGullet so perhaps she may weigh in!

Edited by ludja (log)

"Under the dusty almond trees, ... stalls were set up which sold banana liquor, rolls, blood puddings, chopped fried meat, meat pies, sausage, yucca breads, crullers, buns, corn breads, puff pastes, longanizas, tripes, coconut nougats, rum toddies, along with all sorts of trifles, gewgaws, trinkets, and knickknacks, and cockfights and lottery tickets."

-- Gabriel Garcia Marquez, 1962 "Big Mama's Funeral"

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The Luchows sauerbraten recipe is on the web:

http://www.astray.com/recipes/?show=Sauerb...toffel%20klosse

I never found that the gravy came out well and did not thicken with the ginger snaps.

I serve my sauerbraten with spaetzle which I make myself from a Wolfgang Puck recipe on the food channel. I have tried many spaetzle recipes and this one is the most authentic and fool proof. It makes a lot of spaetzle, which you can freeze after mixing them with a little oil or melted butter. I do use a spaetzle maker, which I purchased at a now defunct Hungarian grocer. It makes the job go in a jiffy.

I did find another Sauerbraten recipe in an old favorite cookbook. Craig Claiborne's "cooking with herbs and spices". It looks interesting.

Another way to achieve some thickening of the sauce is to dust the meat with flour before browning it. Another way to thicken and add flavor to the sauce is the route given in my adaptation of Leslie Land's recipe. Namely, simmer the roast with a mixture of chopped onions, carrots and celery. These are then removed, pureed and added back to the sauce at the end of cooking. Lastly, there is route of using a roux described in the previous post.

I don't think the final gravy will or should be extremely thick; I just shoot for a nice richness and texture that will coat the meat and accompaniements like your wonderful spaetzle!

edited to add: Thanks for the link to the Luchow recipe! I notice that the Luchow recipe also uses a butter-flour-sugar roux. Looking at the Luchow recipe, another variation that might result in a sauce more to your liking would be to add 1 cup of dry red wine to the marinade. Also, I think the Leslie Land recipe is different enough from the Luchow recipe that you might taste a difference as well.

Edited by ludja (log)

"Under the dusty almond trees, ... stalls were set up which sold banana liquor, rolls, blood puddings, chopped fried meat, meat pies, sausage, yucca breads, crullers, buns, corn breads, puff pastes, longanizas, tripes, coconut nougats, rum toddies, along with all sorts of trifles, gewgaws, trinkets, and knickknacks, and cockfights and lottery tickets."

-- Gabriel Garcia Marquez, 1962 "Big Mama's Funeral"

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