Monday, October 29, 2012

Sauerbraten (Sour Beef)

This is one of those recipes that I've been making for a very long time. It is also one of those that I only make in the fall/winter so I always look forward to making it.  Originally, this recipe came from a friends' family but I've adapted it over time mainly due to not having some of the original ingredients local to me any more.  I have no idea if this is even anywhere close to an authentic sauerbraten but it is homey and delicious.  It is tangy from cider vinegar, spicy and slightly sweet from the crushed gingersnaps melted into the sauce.  I love serving this on a cold day with a heaping bed of homemade mashed potatoes underneath.

My thoughts are with my friends and family (and all of you!) out East today as Sandy draws near.  I hope everyone is safe and warm inside with a nice homey dish like this one.

Sour Beef
2 tablespoons canola oil
2 lbs top round, or other stew beef, cut into cubes
1 large onion, chopped
1 cup ketchup
1 cup red wine vinegar
1 1/2 cups apple cider vinegar
pickling spice
gingersnaps (approximately 20)
Salt and pepper

Mashed potatoes
3lb potatoes
2 tablespoons kosher salt
1 1/2 cups milk
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
Salt and pepper

In a large dutch oven add the canola oil and heat on medium-high.  Once hot, add the beef and onions and cook until the beef is browned.  Season with salt and pepper.

Now pour in enough water to just cover the meat.  Stir in the ketchup and vinegar.  Next I fill a small tea ball with pickling spice and hang it on to the edge of the pot.  If you have no idea what I am talking about, this is what I use.

Let this all simmer for about 45 minutes.  In your food processor, grind the cookies into crumbs.  Transfer the crumbs into a small bowl and add some of the liquid from the beef into the bowl and stir to combine.  Now pour the melted crumbs into the dutch oven and stir to combine.  Simmer for another hour, uncovered.

Meanwhile you can make the mashed potatoes.  These are quick and easy!  Just toss the whole (clean but not peeled) potatoes into a pot of cold water.  Bring it to boil for about 10 minutes or until the potatoes are fork tender. While the potatoes are boiling heat the milk to just under a boil in a small saucepan.

Drain the potatoes.  Remove the skins by rubbing each potato with a clean kitchen towel, they slip right off!  Put the peeled potatoes back into the cooking pot with the butter.  Pour over about half of the hot milk.  Mash the potatoes with a potato masher, add more milk as you think is needed.  Season with salt and pepper.

Put some potatoes in the center of your plate and top with the sour beef.  Enjoy!

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