Classical vs. Modern: Sauerbraten

 

Chef Christopher Allen Tanner, CEC, AAC, is the Director of the Columbus Culinary Institute at Bradford School. He is originally from upstate New York where his great-grandparents emigrated from Germany. Chef Tanner loves the German dish Sauerbraten, which is ingrained into his own family tradition with his wife Jessica and their young children Lochlan and Baelyn. It is this tradition that makes it so exciting for him as a chef to turn a classical German comfort food into a modern dish.

Before You Start

• The traditional dish uses beef brisket while the modern uses beef cheeks.

• The modern version is cooked at specific temperature for gelatin and connective tissue to “melt” properly and remain moist and giving a different textural and flavor experience.

• In the modern version, searing the roulades rather than slicing a whole roast lends to a cleaner looking presentation.

Classical

Searing Brisket (classical)

Traditionally Sauerbraten is beef, usually bottom round or top round, but Tanner prefers to use brisket. The beef is marinated in red wine vinegar, aromatics and mirepoix for five to seven days. During this time the marinade “pickles” the beef, giving it a bit of sharpness from the vinegar and some savory notes from the myriad of spices.

Classical platedThe beef is then braised in its own marinade, the braising liquid is strained, and traditionally the sauce is thickened with lebkuchen, a German molasses cookie. Many people in the United States use ginger snap cookies in place of the lebkuchen which are often tough to come by. That is, unless you are in the Tanner home, where lebkuchen are made around the holidays and saved for the rest of the year to make sauerbraten.


Recipe: Classical Sauerbraten

Serves 6-8 people

Ingredients:

 2 cups Red wine
 1 cups Red wine vinegar
 2 each Yellow onions, large, Medium diced
 2 each Carrots, medium diced
 3 each Garlic cloves, minced
 2 sprigs Thyme
 2 sprigs Rosemary
 2 each Bay leaves
 8 each Juniper berries, crushed
 6 each Cloves, whole
 10 each Black peppercorns, crushed
 1tablespoon Mustard seeds
 1 ⁄ 4 teaspoon Ground nutmeg
 2tablespoons  Coarse sea salt
 2tablespoons  Granulated Sugar
 4lbs  Brisket, trimmed (alternatively you may use bottom or top round, tied as a roast)
 2tablespoons Clarified butter
 As needed Coarse sea salt and ground black pepper
 1 ⁄ 2 cup Lebkuchen or Gingersnaps, crushed

Procedure:

1. In a pot, combine red wine, red wine vinegar, onions, carrots, garlic, thyme, rosemary, bay leaves, juniper berries, cloves, black peppercorns, mustard seeds, nutmeg, sea salt, and granulated sugar.
2. Heat marinade to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and cool to room temperature. Place the marinade and meat in a non-reactive container and let it marinate, covered and
chilled, turning daily for 5-7 days.
3. Remove meat from the marinade and reserve the marinade. Season the meat with salt and pepper.
4. Heat a large pot over medium-high heat, add clarified butter and brown the meat on all sides.
5. Add the reserved marinade to the pot and bring to a simmer, cover and allow the meat to cook for 3 1/2 to 4 hours until meat is tender.
6. Remove the meat from the cooking liquid to rest and strain the cooking liquid reserving the liquid and discarding the solids.
7. Pour the marinade into a pot and bring to a boil, add the crushed lebkuchen (or gingersnaps), reduce to a simmer until the sauce has thickened.
8. Strain sauce, season with salt and pepper to taste.
9. Slice meat and serve with the sauce.


Modern

Roulade about to wrape (Modern 1)

Specialty Equipment Needed

 Immersion circulator

 

To modernize the dish, Tanner takes beef cheeks and marinates them in the same sauerbraten marinade. After three days of marinating he takes the beef cheeks and rolls them into a roulade heavily wrapped with plastic cling wrap.

Roulade wrapped (Modern 2)

The roulade is then cooked in a water-bath controlled with an immersion circulator to 140 degrees F (50 degrees C) for eight hours, re-wrapped and then chilled overnight. It is important to not cook it for more than eight hours, as eventually the meat will express too much liquid and could become dry and/or mushy.

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The next day, Tanner slices the roulade into one-inch slices, dusts them with flour, and browns them in equal part butter and grapeseed oil. Once the two sides have browned well, the inside of the slice will be well heated.

To prepare the sauce, Tanner takes equal parts of the marinade and gelatinous veal stock and simmers together reducing by half. The sauce is then thickened with lebkuchen or ginger snaps. You can serve the sauerbraten roulade alongside braised red cabbage and spätzle.

Modern Plated

This presentation leads to a new experience for a traditional dish. The texture is crispy on the outside, with a nice soft texture on the inside and lots of delicious gelatin from the beef cheeks. The version lends itself to a modern kitchen where diners may not even be aware of the traditional dish but will love the flavors it plays into the modern gastropubs.

Helpful Hints

• Be sure to fully chill the roulade overnight so that it maintains it shape during the sauté step.

• Be sure to heat the pan well before the sauté step so that the roulade does not stick to the pan and fall apart when turning over.


Recipe: Modern Sauerbraten

Serves 8 people

Ingredients:

 1 cups Red wine
 ½ cups Red wine vinegar
 1 each Yellow onions, large, Medium diced
 1 each Carrot, medium diced
 1 each Garlic cloves, minced
 1 sprigs Thyme
 1 sprigs Rosemary
 1 each Bay leaves
 4 each Juniper berries, crushed
 3 each Cloves, whole
 5 each Black peppercorns, crushed
 ½ tablespoon Mustard seeds
 1 ⁄ 8 teaspoon Ground nutmeg
 1 tablespoons  Coarse sea salt
 1 tablespoons  Granulated Sugar
 4lbs  Beef Cheeks, trimmed
 2 tablespoons Clarified butter
 2 tablespoons grapeseed oil
 As needed Coarse sea salt and ground black pepper
 2 cups AP Flour
 2 cups Veal stock
 1 ⁄ 2 cup Lebkuchen or Gingersnaps, crushed

Procedure: 

1. In a pot, combine red wine, red wine vinegar, onions, carrots, garlic, thyme, rosemary, bay leaves, juniper berries, cloves, black peppercorns, mustard seeds, nutmeg, sea salt, and granulated sugar.
2. Heat marinade to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and cool to room temperature. Place the marinade and meat in a non-reactive container and let it marinate, covered and
chilled, turning daily for 3-4 days.
3. Remove meat from the marinade, strain and reserve the marinade.
4. Set an immersion circulator bath to 140 degree F or 60 degree C.
5. Pull out a large piece of plastic cling wrap about 12×24 inches. Place four beef cheeks on the plastics wrap and roll the cheeks into a roulade, roll again with a second piece to ensure a tight wrap. Tie the ends tight with additional plastic wrap or butcher’s twine. Repeat with the remaining beef cheeks.
6. Place roulades in water bath and cook for 8 hours, be sure that the roulades are fully submerged during the entire cooking time.
7. Remove roulades from the water bath, place in the refrigerator overnight to chill completely.
8. The next day pour the marinade and veal stock into a pot and bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and reduce by half. Once reduced by half, add the lebkucken (or gingersnaps) and simmer until fully thickened.
9. While the sauce is reducing, remove the roulades from refrigeration.
10. Keeping the roulades wrapped, slice each roulade into eight even slices, remove plastic wrap from the outside after slicing.
11. Dust each side of the roulades in AP flour.
12. Heat a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add the butter and grapeseed oil. Sear each side of the roulade slices until well browned and heated through and set-aside for plating.
13. Strain the thickened sauce, season with salt and pepper to taste.
14. Serve the roulade with sauce and accompaniments of choice.

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