Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Sasha's Kitchen: Beef Sauerbraten with Sweet and Sour Cabbage and Pretzel Dumplings

I've been meaning to post this recipe I made with my mom when she was visiting for awhile now, but it's just so complex, that it's quite a lengthy write up. The meal was really, really good - absolutely fantastic though. This is not a tuesday night dinner. This is a weekend meal, that you need to prepare in advance for and should probably cook for company and not "just for fun." But it truly was fantastic. The recipe is one of the signature dishes at Prime Meats, a fabulous farm to table restaurant right here in Brooklyn, and I came across the recipe in the New Brooklyn Cookbook.

Prime Meats' Beef Sauerbraten with Red Cabbage and Pretzel Dumplings
2 lb beef brisket (I used a three pound cut)
2 cups dry red wine
1 cup red wine vinegar
4 juniper berries
2 tsp white peppercorns
1 celery stalk, sliced
2 carrots, diced
1 leek, sliced
2 cloves of garlic, halved
3 yellow onions, 1 diced and three cut into 1/4 inch slices
1/4 cup canola oil
salt and pepper to taste
2 granny smith apples, peeled and diced
1 cup raisons
1 bay leaf
1 tsp fresh thyme
3/4 cup low sodium beef or chicken stock

Pretzel Dumplings
1 cup while milk
six day of soft pretzels (I cheated and used store bought ones rather than making my own)
salt and pepper
3-4 T buter
1 medium spanish onion, diced
1/4 cup chopped flat leaf parsley
1 large egg, beaten

Sweet and Sour Cabbage
4 T unsalted butter
1/2 cup diced red onion
1 medium white onion, diced
2 granny smith apples, peeled and diced
1 large red cabbage (three pounds) cored and sliced thin
2/3 cup dried cherries (I used frozen cherries, instead)
1 1/2 cups dry red wine
2 cloves garlic
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 bay leaf
1/8 cup apple cider vinegar
juice of 1/2 of a lemon

Whew! It just took forever and that's just the stuff you need to buy to make this monster of a meal! First, place the beef in a large bowl and combine the wine, vinegar, juniper berries, peppercorns, celery, carrot, leek, garlic and one of the sliced onions for the marinade. Marinade the brisket for 3-4 days. If the brisket is not completely submerged, turn the meat a couple of times a day (which you should do anyhow).

Strain the marinade and reserve. Preheat the oven to 275. Heat the canola oil in a dutch oven and brown the brisket on all sides, about ten minutes. Remove the meat and season with salt and pepper. Add the remaining two onions to the dutch oven, and cook the onions about 15 minutes in the remaining oil until caramelized. Add the reserved marinade to the pan and scrape the bottom. Add the apples, raisins, bay leaf, thyme and stir to combine. Return the meat to the dutch oven and bring to a summer over medium heat. Place in the oven and braise for two and a half hours until tender, turning the meat every hour or so.

To prepare the dumplings, do so while the meat is in the oven. Warm the milk over low heat and pour the milk in a bowl over the pretzels. Allow to soak for thirty minutes after seasoning with salt and pepper. In a saute pan, melt one T of butter and saute the onion until translucent. Add the parsley and the onion mix to the dumpling mix and mix well with your hands to combine.

Add the egg to the dumpling mix and incorporate well, again using your hands. Form three logs out of the mix that are two inches across and wrap each log in plastic wrap top secure. Wrap in aluminum foil and secure the ends. Drop the logs in a pot of boiling water, then reduce to a summer and simmer partially covered for thirty minutes. Remove the logs, unwrap and allow to cool.

Next, prepare the cabbage, which is a wonderful pickled cabbage. I wasn't expecting to LOVE this part of the dish as much as I did. Who knew that I liked pickled cabbage? In a dutch oven, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the apples and onions and saute until translucent, about five minutes. Add the cabbage, cherries, red wine, cloves, brown sugar and bay leaf, stirring to combine. Increase the heat to medium and bring to a boil. Cover the pan, reduce heat and summer for an hour. Then stir in the apple cider vinegar and lemon juice and cook for one minute.

When the brisket is tender, transfer to a cutting board and cut with a meat knife against the grain. Add the stock to the dutch oven and reduce by half over medium heat with the marinade for twenty minutes.

To finish the dumplings, discard the foil and plastic wrap and slice into half inch slices. Saute for a few minutes in one T of melted butter.

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