Today is Valentines day and I am thinking of my parents in Germany and thought I post a very German recipe – “Rheinischer Sauerbraten” – from the region I was born in and lived for the majority of my “German live” – its called “Rheinland” The “Rheinland” (where the word “Rheinisch” derives from) is the area around the city Cologne where the river “Rhein” has its home and the state is called Nordrhein-Westfalen. As you can see everything revolves around the river “Rhein” in my home state.
Sauerbraten is a German Signature dish of a beef roast heavily marinated in a mixture of vinegar, water and spices. The marinating process tenderizes the meat. I guess you can also use other types of meat, but I have only tried it with beef. At my home we always serve Sauerbraten with potato dumplings, a hearty gravy resulting from the roasted beef and marinade and a side dish of apple sauce – now it can’t get more German!
I will have to wait a few months before the entire family is vaccinated so that I can go back to Germany and can ask my mum to make me Sauerbraten – I could cook it myself but it just tastes better when mum makes it 🙂 – my mouth is watering just writing down and sharing her recipe. The last time I saw my parents was August 2019 when they visited us for 4th of July in Seattle and I had plans to go back to Germany for my mums birthday the following March but then Covid hit and since then no travels back to Germany.
And even though I am not traveling to Germany mainly because I don’t want to run the risk that I could infect my parents with Covid, we still travel from time to time to experience a little bit of “normality” and so for my birthday we packed our bags and the dogs for a short weekend getaway to one of our favorite places at the ocean in Long Beach. Its always nice to get out of the house and spend the day walking on the beach, playing with the dogs and enjoying the beach scenery. But now on to this very unique recipe of Rheinischer Sauerbraten
For the Brine:
- 200 ml Vinegar
- 600 ml Water
- 1 bag of “Sauerbraten spice mix” (you can get it at Amazon, or if you want to make it from scratch: combine, 6 bay leaf’s, 2 tablespoons juniper berries, 2 tablespoons black pepper corns, 8 cloves, 4 tablespoon mustard seeds and 5 sprigs of thyme)
- 1 Onion cut in slices
- 1 thick slice of celery root
- 1 carrot cut in slices
- 1 teaspoon salt
For the Meat:
- 2-4 pounds of beef rump roast or beef brisket
- 2 tablespoons of raisins
- 2-4 tablespoons of oil
- 2-3 tablespoons of corn starch
- Salt, pepper
- Optional: Apple Sauce
For the Dumplings:
- You will need a “potato sack” (flour sack) which you can get on Amazon. This is so that you can press out all the water from the grated potatoes. If you don’t want to buy a sack you can also use a tea towel.
- 2 kg raw potatoes
- 250 gram boiled (peeled) potatoes
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
Meat and gravy:
- Brine: mix all of the ingredients together, bring to a boil and simmer for 10 minutes on low. Make enough so that the meat is covered.
- In a porcelain bowl (don’t use metal or plastic) cover the beef brisket with the brine, let it cool down, cover and let it marinate for one week in the fridge. Turn the meet after 3 days.
- Once done marinating, remove the meat from the brine and dry it off.
- Heat oil in a large pot and fry the brisket from all sides.
- Pour 1 – 1,5 cups of the marinade to the meat, add 2-3 tablespoons of raisins. Cover and cook for 1-2 hours. Check after 1 hour and turn the meat, if its soft its done, if not, continue to cook and check after every 30 minutes.
- Once the meat is done, take it out, and pour the cooked marinade through a strainer, pour back into a pot and thicken with a flour mixture (mix together 1/4 cup water with 2-3 tablespoons of corn starch). Season with salt and pepper if need and mix in tablespoon of “Ruebenkraut” (sugar beet syrup, or a piece of soaked brown gingerbread – the kind without the chocolate)
- Slice the meat and serve it with dumplings and a big heaping of gravy. In a side dish serve some apple sauce.
Knoedel: Erdaepflspotz’n – Homemade dumplings
- Peel the raw potatoes and grate them very fine over a big bowl, they will look very “mush” and that’s exactly what we are going for. Fill the potato mass into a tea towel or flour sack and press out all the water, collect the water.
- Carefully pour out the water and catch the starch on the bottom – this is very important, so that your potatoes don’t fall apart when you boil them. Mix the starch into the potatoes.
- Now add the boiled potatoes by pressing the boiled potatoes through a ricer (as if you make mashed potatoes) and also add 1/2 teaspoon of salt.
- Now bring a big pot with lots of water to a very soft boil.
- Wet your hands and form medium sized round balls and carefully place the raw dumplings into the hot but not overly boiling water. Once the dumplings start to raise to the top, simmer the dumplings for 30 minutes.
- And now you are done and can enjoy the most amazing traditional Rheinischer Sauerbraten with home made dumplings!