Reflections on Sauerbraten

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Inspiration can come from anywhere. At a recent used-book sale, I stumbled across this 1936 publication by Culinary Arts Press of the “Pennsylvania Dutch Cook Book: Fine Old Recipes” and decided it was time to try a traditional Sauerbraten which I had been considering for some time. Here is the recipe:

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I started with a 2 lb. chuck roast and adjusted accordingly on volumes but retained the spice levels. Then into a non-reactive container in the fridge for four days. The result:

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The marinade is strained and saved. The roast is patted dry and then seared over high heat to brown all sides. The roast is removed from the pan and thinly sliced onions and carrots are added, sauteed until golden, then the roast is returned to the pan. Then the marinade is added to the pan along with beef broth and allowed to simmer for 2 hours until tender. At this point, I deviated a bit from the traditional recipe. I removed the roast and kept it warm in the oven. I strained the cooking liquid and added the carrots to the roast. I used the onion to cook thin ribbons of lacinato (Tuscan) kale, dried cranberries, and wine. The traditional recipe calls for adding “crumbled gingersnaps” to make a gravy.  Instead, I added ginger, clove, and molasses to mimic the flavors and thickened the liquid with flour for a simple gravy. The side dish was a serving of buttermilk spaetzle with a generous amount of Edelweiss Creamery’s Triple Cream Butterkase.

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The Butterkase from Edelweiss is rich and creamy with just the slightest hint of something a bit grassier, fuller in the flavor.  Very mild, but added to the buttermilk dumplings it added just the right richness in texture and flavor to contrast the slight tang of the gravy. The kale offered a contrasting texture and bitterness.

The tang of the sauerbraten was not overly pronounced in the roast, but the gravy carried those flavors through the dish.  The meat was more tender than a traditional pot roast and lead to thoughts of shredding the leftovers and stuffing a periogi or dumpling. Good eating and more inspiration.

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