The Literate Chef

Posts Tagged ‘Sauerbraten’

Where Have All the Germans Gone?

In General Articles on November 2, 2012 at 3:31 PM

Once upon a time German restaurants were abundant in New York City. On East 14th Street & Irving Place, there was the famous Lüchow’s, and in the Yorkville neighborhood, once known as Germantown, along East 86th Street one could find Kleine Konditorei, the Lorelei (a new Lorely Biergarten has popped up on the Lower Eastside), the Ideal Café as well as many others. There were also numerous German butchers, bakers, delis and even a famous candy store, Elk, which carried delicious marzipan and was very popular around Easter and Christmas and is now, apparently, only on-line. Thankfully, the great butcher shop, Schaller & Weber still exists.

My introduction to German food occurred at Ehring’s, a small gem of a place located on W. 231st Street in the Kingsbridge neighborhood of The Bronx. My friend, Jimmy Murphy (R.I.P.), loved the place and convinced me to try the food. I even took my future wife there on our first date. Unfortunately, like the aforementioned establishments, Ehring’s is now but a happy memory.

Hearty German fare, such as Sauerbraten, Hasenpfeffer, Kasseler Ripchen, and Wurst Platters were plentiful in those German restaurants. You never left any of them hungry, and to help wash the food down, there was plenty of fresh German beer on tap. The entire Yorkville neighborhood always seemed like a party and was a favorite destination for those of us who loved food, beer and conviviality.

Then, along came changes in the U.S. Immigration Laws and urban re-development. With the former, fewer Germans immigrated to the U.S., and with the latter, the low rise apartment houses that once harbored the German retail establishments began to slowly disappear, only to be replaced by high rise apartment houses and generic retail stores. Eventually, most of the German culture disappeared as well, having been replaced by younger non-German speaking residents. Food tastes also changed, German food was deemed to be too heavy and didn’t sit well in the new atmosphere of health-consciousness and fitness. The City is much poorer for the loss.

Finding a good German meal in the City these days is an unexpected pleasure. One such place that is still thriving is Zum Stammtisch in Glendale, Queens, where I had a superb meal a few weeks ago with friends. With the cold weather now settling in here on Cape Cod I decided to make a Sauerbraten this week. A few years ago, when we had weekend guests, Captain Jack brought his firehouse Sauerbraten, it was a treat. Jack is a retired New York City Fire Captain and a good friend. He was kind enough the share this recipe, and I hope that you will enjoy it as much as we just did.

Sauerbraten

In Beef, Meat, Recipes on November 2, 2012 at 3:29 PM

Sauerbraten

(Active preparation-45 minutes; inactive preparation-4 days; cooking time 5 hours)

Ingredients

4 tbsp. unsalted butter
1 6.5 lb. Bottom Round Roast
1 tsp. ground black pepper
2 tbsp. Kosher salt

For the marinade:

2 cups of water
2 cups dry red wine
2 cups red wine vinegar
2 cups cider vinegar
2 large carrots peeled and sliced
2 medium onions, chopped coarsely
2 tsps. yellow mustard seeds
24 juniper berries
12 cloves
4 bay leaves
1 tbsp. whole black peppercorns

For cooking and finishing:

½ cup of sugar
3 dozen Gingersnap Cookies, crushed

Preparation

Marinate the Roast:

1.    Pat dry the roast with paper toweling and sprinkle with Kosher salt and ground black pepper.
2.    In a 5 quart or larger pot, melt the butter, add the seasoned roast, fat side down, and brown on all sides for about 10 or 12 minutes in total.
3.    When fully browned, remove the roast and set aside in an enameled Dutch Oven, or large non-reactive bowl, preferably one with a cover.
4.   Next, prepare the marinade: add the 11 ingredients to the pot, cover, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool.
5.    When the marinade has cooled, pour it over the roast, cover and refrigerate for 4 to 5 days, turning it once each day.

Cook the Roast:

6.    When ready to cook the roast, remove from the refrigerator and pre-heat oven to 325 degrees. Alternatively, cook on stove top.
7.    Add sugar to marinade and stir well, place Dutch Oven on middle rack of oven and slow cook, covered for 5 hours until roast is fork-tender. If using stove top, bring to a boil, reduce heat so liquid is just bubbling, cover and cook 5 hours.
8.    With either cooking method, if roast is not completely covered by the liquid, turn it once or twice during the 5 hours.
9.    When done, shut the oven, or heat, remove the meat to a platter and keep warm.
10.    Strain the solids from the marinade and discard them. Wipe clean the Dutch Oven, and remove and discard any solids still attached to the roast.
11.    Add the strained marinade back to the Dutch Oven, place it on the stove top, bring to a boil and whisk in the crushed gingersnap cookies.
12.    Add back the roast and keep warm on a low flame until ready to serve.
13.    Slice the roast and pour the gravy over the slices. Serve at once with sides of red cabbage and mashed potatoes.

Please see Where Have All the Germans Gone?

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