Behold our German feast!! I was in the mood for trying something new the other day, it all started with spätzle (pronounced shp-eh-tzle), I always thought it looked delicious but I had never tried it before so while I was looking for a recipe, I saw that it was typically served with this freaky dish called Sauerbraten.
Sauerbraten literally means "sour roast" usually pertaining to beef but you could also use venison, lamb, or pork. It's it served with a "gravy" made from the cooking juices with crushed gingersnaps to thicken it - sounds weird I know but it creates a really unique flavor and texture.
Unlike the traditional American roast beef, Sauerbraten has a slight sour taste from the vinegars but with the gingersnaps and the sweetness from the sugar as well as the cabbage, it all goes together perfectly. Since this was my first time EVER hearing of the dish, let alone making it, I decided to follow Alton Brown's recipe directly (for the most part). I marinated the beef for about two and half days and decided to cook mine in the crock pot rather than the oven. I started off cooking it on low for 2 hours then I switched it to the high heat setting for three additional hours.
recipe from Alton Brown
2 cups water
1 cup cider vinegar
1 cup red wine vinegar
1 medium onion, chopped
1 TBS plus 1 teaspoon kosher salt, additional for seasoning meat
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
2 bay leaves
6 whole cloves
12 juniper berries
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 (3 1/2 to 4-pound) bottom round
1 TBS vegetable oil
4-5 carrots peeled and chopped
2 cups red potatoes
1/3 cup sugar
18 dark old-fashioned gingersnaps (about 5 ounces), crushed I used Anna's Ginger Swedish Thins (don't worry if you have some big lumps left, they'll melt down)
1/2 cup seedless raisins, optional
1.In a large saucepan over high heat combine the water, cider vinegar, red wine vinegar, onion, salt, pepper, bay leaves, cloves, juniper, and mustard seeds. Cover and bring this to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Set aside to cool.
2.Pat the bottom round dry and rub with vegetable oil and salt on all sides. Heat a large saute pan over high heat; add the meat and brown on all sides, approximately 2 to 3 minutes per side.
3.When the marinade has cooled to a point where you can stick your finger in it and not be burned, place the meat in a non-reactive vessel and pour over the marinade. Place into the refrigerator for 2-3 days. If the meat is not completely submerged in the liquid, turn it over once a day.
4.After 2-3 days place cut carrots and potatoes on the bottom of the crock pot and place the meat on top. Strain the marinade and add the 1/3 cup sugar. Pour marinade over meat and veggies. Cover and cook on high for four hours.
Remove the meat from the vessel and keep warm. Strain the liquid to remove the solids. Return the liquid to the pan and place over medium-high heat. Whisk in the gingersnaps and cook until thickened, stirring occasionally. Strain the sauce through a fine mesh sieve if needed to remove any lumps. Add the raisins if desired. Slice the meat and serve with the sauce.
For the braised cabbage recipe, click HERE
Spätzle recipe is HERE