My sauerbraten recipe

My sauerbraten recipe.

It’s scaled for a 5 pound roast. I found when I make this we go through a pound of meat per person at dinner, and that’s with a ton of side dishes. You can use a single roast, or multiple smaller ones. This Thanksgiving I used six three pound roasts.

You start with 5 pounds of beef roast. Bottom round is best, but sometimes the cut change texture/taste along the run of it, in which case I go with eye of round. I trim off the surface fat layer, so it marinades better (and, honestly, there’s enough fat in it by the time I’m through with it).

For the marinade, take two medium onions, peeled, sliced thin, a celery stalk, coarsely chopped, including the tops, and a large carrot, peeled, sliced thin (yes, it’s your basic mirepoix). Add 3 whole cloves, 1/2 teaspoon of allspice, 3 black peppercorns, 1 tablespoon of mustard seeds (I crush them slightly with mortar and pestle), 1/4 teaspoon of freshly grated nutmeg (freshly grated makes a huge difference for nutmeg, more than any other spice I think), 2 bay leaves and 1 tablespoon of fine sea salt. Put them all in a large heavy bottomed sauce pan, with 2 liters of red wine (I like something “big” and usually end up using a box of French red: Cotes du Ventoux, Cotes du Rhone or so), and 2 cups of apple cider vinegar. Bring to a boil.

Pour the marinade mixture over the beef in a container so it is fully submerged. Put covered in the fridge, turning the beef once in a while for a minimum of three days (I’m a big believer in the week-plus marinade on this one).

About three and a half hours before you want to serve it, take the beef out of the marinade and pat it thoroughly dry.

Take a heavy pan that will hold all of this, put in a quarter cup of cooking oil (I use canola), and brown a pound of beef marrowbones and the meat over medium to high heat. If the bones brown faster than the meat, take them out. Brown the meat well: it is supposed to get to a glazed, dark brown to black, all over. Hold it with tongs to brown the ends, but brown it all over. It should take about 15 minutes or so.

Pour the marinade, vegetables and all over the bones and the beef. Make certain the beef is covered. If you don’t have enough, just add red wine. Bring to a simmer and cover. Turn the beef after 1 1/2 hours. Simmer another 1 1 /2 hours until tender.

Take the beef out, transfer to a platter to keep warm.

Strain the marinade and discard the vegetables, scoop the marrow from the bones and add it to the marinade (you can sieve it: I just run a stick mixer through it). Give the bones to your favorite dog(s).

Heat half a cup of lard in a heavy sauce pan over medium heat. Add half a cup of flour (I use unbleached all purpose: use what you like, feel free to do something gluten free here). Cook for 3 minutes while whisking to get rid of the flour taste. I like to go with a high enough heat to turn the roux a milk chocolate brown. Bring up the heat and pour in the marinade, whisk well, turn heat to low, stirring until thickened – You have two choices for finishing the sauce: sour cream or ginger snaps and brown sugar. For sour cream, thicken by whipping in a cup of sour cream. I prefer the other. – Stir in two table spoons of turbinado (brown sugar’s fine too), and 12 crushed to a powder ginger snaps. Stir together.

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