Rhineland Sauerbraten in just a mere five days
To marinate or not to marinate. Or to marinate some more? This is not the question.
Westphalia and Northern Rhineland are two areas of Germany you should never go to. Not unless you want to eat yourself silly, that is. Every area of Germany has its own wonderful local specialties, but these two regions, relatively centrally located as they are, offer a fistful of classic German dishes that are prepared, or better yet imitated, throughout the entire country – and all over the world, for that matter. And you know what they say about imitation; it is the most sincere form of flattery. And at the top of this heap of shameless flattery, and one my absolute favorites, too, I might add, is the infamous Rhineland Sauerbraten.
Some say that Sauerbraten (sour roast) is about as close to being Germany’s national dish as you can get and, although this simply isn’t true, it is prepared in just about every region of Germany you can think of. Variations to the idea of what Sauerbraten actually is – and therefore to what the recipe actually consists of – obviously differ from region to region but, traditionally speaking, it is always prepared with a beef roasting joint like a topside and is marinated for a few days beforehand. Sometimes beer is used, sometimes juniper berries and sometimes even raisins, but is always marinated.
Now I don’t know if you gathered from the title and subtitle up there or that last sentence, but I’ll repeat it again: Marinating your roast will be a very important aspect of properly preparing the following dish, well, properly. And what will you need for this marinade? I though you would never ask. You will need the following:
1 kg of leg beef, no bone
4 juniper berries
3 dried cloves
2 pieces of celery
1 bay leaf
Ã?Â½ l of red wine (dry, of course)
Ã?Â¼ l of water
salt and pepper
some parsley if you wish
So now please combine all the marinade ingredients (not the meat!) in a stainless-steel pot, bring everything to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 5 to 10 minutes. Then remove the pot from the heat.
Now put the meat in a large glass bowl and pour the marinade over the top. Let it cool. If you wish, add some parsley and then turn the meat for 5 to 10 minutes in the marinade. Then cover this up and refrigerate it for 5 (five) days – but don’t forget to turn the meat at least once a day during the wait.
No, do not marinate your roast for 4 (four) days and not for 6 (six) days. Don’t marinate it for 2 (two) or 3 (three) days, either. Don’t even think about marinating it for a mere 24 hours – that’s 1 (one) day. Marinate this stuff for 5 (five) days, got it? Good.
When it comes time for you to cook (after 5 days, remember?) just remove the meat from the marinade and dry it a bit. Then strain the marinade to keep the liquid, but just the liquid. Season your meat with some more salt and pepper and roll it in flour. Then melt some butter (a quarter of a stick) over medium heat and add the meat until it is nice and brown all over. Then place the meat and a plate – but keep it warm.
Get rid of any excess fat that has remained in the pot and then fry up an additional sliced onion with cloves and pepper, then add the marinade. Cook this over medium to low heat for 10 minutes while stirring continually. Place the meat back into the pot, cover it tightly and simmer it for 2Ã?Â½ to 3 hours, turning it occasionally. You will know when it’s done when the meat gets tender, very tender.
Now remove the meat, strain the marinade a second time (just keep the liquid), wipe off the pot and return the liquid back to the pot.
If you want to have a sauce (I prefer my Sauerbraten without sauce!), melt some butter in a small pan and stir in some flour. At a very low heat, cook for about 5 minutes, add some sugar and whisk it around until it is brown. Pour this into the marinade and add a touch of wine (the same red wine). After mixing, bring this to a boil over medium heat for just a moment and then turn the heat down. Now you can return the meat to the pot and let this simmer for 30 more minutes, but stir occasionally.
That’s it. Just return the meat to the platter and let it “rest” for about ten minutes. Serve it with potatoes and red cabbage, if you prefer. I do.
And by the way, this portion will serve six people. Or me, whoever comes first.