German Sauerbraten with a Belgian Twist

Sauerbraten-300As the leaves change with the season, so does our appetite. With shorter days, colder nights and wetter climates, we crave that soul-soothing comfort food: Sunday suppers and hearty meals designed to not only stick to our bones and provide energy, but to fulfill a deeper craving of nostalgia. German cuisine can satisfy these yearnings with slow-braised meats, crispy mini-dumplings, ales and lagers. These slow-cooked foods allow us time to sip beer with our friends as we wait patiently for sinuous tissues to break down into tender bits of meat, filling the home with glorious aromas.

While the traditional German recipe would use vinegar to sour the sauerbraten, I am suggesting that you cross the German border into Belgium and use a Gueuze or a Lambic to marinate the meat and use as a braising liquid.  The extra depth that the sour ale adds to the dish is noticeable and adds extra complexity and depth to this German classic recipe.

An alternative to using a lambic style ale, would be to use a malt vinegar, made with a malt forward German beer such as Märzen | OktoberfestBockMunich DunkelRauchbier (to add a touch more umami)Roggenbier, or Berliner Weisse.  Each beer style will produce an interesting and unique flavor difference in the final dish.

The using of a malt product, that has been grown, kilned, mashed, fermented then soured adds a lot of character, different than just standard off the shelf malt vinegar with a British flag on it… This further enhances the character and thought of this dish.  One can play homage to the different German regions of country.  As geography played a key factor in how their community ate and drank.  Going back as far as the fourteenth century, cooking with what was available was common practice.  Using sour beer in this dish would also help better preserve the meat, with it’s lower pH or acidity.  Furthering this lowing the pH direction by using a vinegar (malt or grape based), since refrigeration was not yet a household luxury.

 

Serves: 6 as an entrée

Adapted from BeerAdvocate Magazine: Cuisine à la Bière | Oct 2008 | Issue #21

Sauerbraten with a Twist
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A German Sauerbraten recipe using a sour beer to brine | pickle the meat, before being braised in the same marinade.
Servings Prep Time
6 guests 20 minute
Cook Time Passive Time
4 hour 3 - 4 day
Servings Prep Time
6 guests 20 minute
Cook Time Passive Time
4 hour 3 - 4 day
Sauerbraten with a Twist
Votes: 0
Rating: 0
You:
Rate this recipe!
Print Recipe
A German Sauerbraten recipe using a sour beer to brine | pickle the meat, before being braised in the same marinade.
Servings Prep Time
6 guests 20 minute
Cook Time Passive Time
4 hour 3 - 4 day
Servings Prep Time
6 guests 20 minute
Cook Time Passive Time
4 hour 3 - 4 day
Ingredients
Lambic Brined Top Sirloin Roast Ingredients:
Sauerbraten Braising Ingredients:
To Finish The Sauce Ingredients:
Servings: guests
Units:
Instructions
Lambic Brined Top Sirloin Roast Technique:
  • In a stainless steel pot, bring sour beer or homemade malt vinegar, garlic, pickling spices, onions, bay leaves and salt to a boil and cook for 3 minutes to combine the flavors. Turn off the heat and let rest until marinade is room temperature. This will let the spices bloom into the beer solution, much like a 'tea' infusion. Place into either a large seal-able container or Ziploc bag and add the roast. Remove as much air as possible and seal, placing in the refrigerator for 3 - 4 days. If you have the ability and equipment, a vacuum chamber set to high is a great way to increase the flavor and better penetrate the muscle fiber. At least once a day, flip the bag to distribute the marinade equally over the meat.
Sauerbraten Braising Directions:
  • In a Dutch oven over medium-high heat, add oil | fat and brown the roast (first removing from the marinade, patting dry and reserving the marinade) on all sides. After meat has formed a nice crust, add the onions, garlic, leeks, bay leaf and stir, cooking down the vegetables, intensifying their flavor. Add the and reserved marinade liquid only, discarding other spices and vegetables. Bring to a simmer and then place into a 250°F | 121°Coven for 4 hours.
  • Remove the roast from the from the oven and carefully take out the roast and place onto a serving plate or cutting board. Cover with an aluminum foil tent and let rest for 10 minutes, as the sauce is made.
To Finish The Sauce Directions:
  • Sprinkling the braising liquid with flour and whisking to prevent any lumps. Bring to a low simmer and thicken for about 3 - 4 minutes, while cooking that flour taste out of the sauce. Turn off the heat and add sour cream | Mexican crème | crème fraîche . Adjust seasoning if needed. Slice the roast against the grain of the meat and serve with the sauce over buttered egg noodles tossed with chopped fresh leaves of parsley, thyme and savory.
Sean Paxton

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