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Amanda is a co-founder of Food52.
You can just reduce the cooking juices once the roast is done. Remove the roast, make the gravy as planned, and simply boil down the liquid until it's concentrated to your liking. It won't thicken like a flour gravy but it'll taste great (a little cleaner, in fact).
Margie is a trusted home cook immersed in German foodways.
You could also add a few crushed gingersnaps to the juices. This is usually done when cooking Sauerbraten (beef marianted in vinegar and then braised with a bit of added sugar or honey). It will add flavor to the gravy, but it might be a nice addition.
Pegeen is a trusted home cook.
Maedl, I'd be deeply grateful if you could post a recipe for Sauerbraten or a link to what you think is a good recipe. I remember many great meals of it on Sundays, but never took the time to write down my mother's recipe.
Pat is a trusted home cook.
You can make a thickened gravy by kneading some flour and butter together (buerre manie)and add as you're reducing the liquid from the roast.
Sam is a trusted home cook.
I skim some fat add a bit of flour to that in a bowl and microwave in 15 second busts...adding some of the liquid to the bowl after the flour and fat have cook a few burst. And then heat it some more in the microwave and add that to the pot.
Pegeen, by the time I arrived on the scene, Mom made Sauerbraten without a recipe. I don't know that she ever had a written recipe--I will have to go through her recipes to see if I can find it. When I started cooking, Sauerbraten was one of the first things I made. I tried it in my college dorm, with only a tiny, shared refrigerator. People talked for days about the strange substance in the refrigerator and I am amazed someone didn't throw it out. the meat survived, though, and we had a delicious dinner of Sauerbraten and Spätzle--and those who were not invited to partake soon felt sorry for their initial skepticism.
Do you have a copy of the Time-Life Foods of the World series from the 1960s? The German volume has a fine recipe, a bit fancier than Mom's but still good. If you don't have the book, let me know and I will copy it for you.
I also found a recipe in a local cookbook published in Hermann, Missouri--I have no idea exactly when, but most likely in the late 1960s. Hermann was populated by descendents of German immigrants that arrived in the 1840s--and the cooking there was very good. The recipe was provided by Martha C. Kolb. I added notes after the recipe, based on how I remember Mom cooking the Sauerbraten.
4 pounds chuck roast
1 cup vinegar
1 cup water
2 sliced onions
12 black peppers, whole
3 bay leaves
3 or 4 whole cloves
Combine vinegar, water, salt, and seasonings and pour over meat. Keep in ice box, turning meat often.
then brown meat on both sides (first wipe dry) in fat, add liquid, cover and cook slowly until tender, about two hours.
Find a bowl, or better yet, a crock, with a lid that will hold the beef and liquid.Add 2 teaspoons or so of pickling spices to the other ingredients in the marianade. Heat the vinegar, water and spices to boiling and then cool before pouring over the beef.Top with the sliced onions. You can soak the meat for up to a week--in my opinion, the longer the better. Use bacon fat to brown the meat. If you like, you can braise the meat in the oven for several hours at 250 to 300 degrees. I like the oven version better than making it on top of the stove. To finish, remove the meat to a plate and reduce the cooking liquid if necessary. Crush gingersnaps or, better yet, Lebkuchen into fine crumbs and add to the cooking liquid. bring to a simmer and stir well. And give me a call and let me know what time dinner is on the table!
Chops is a trusted home cook.
Probaby too late now, but next time you could try Too late now, but perhaps next time to thicken gravy, remove 2 cups hot liquid. Using a separate bowl, combine 1/4 cup water and cornstarch until smooth. Mix with a little hot liquid and return mixture to pot. Stir and cook until bubbly.
Maggie, we have all told you various ways to thicken your gravy, but no one has said why gelatine wouldn't work. It would not be thick when it is hot--it has to be chilled to thicken.
Maedl, thank you so much. It's very kind of you to type out the recipe! It's always wonderful to have tips from someone who knows how to cook a particular dish.
I love the history with your mother and the historic background, so I saved your recipe on my computer as "Maedl's Hermann Sauerbraten."
It of course makes sense that, at the time, brining would be used to tenderize and keep the meat, and the flour and ginger flavor from cookies on hand to thicken the gravy.
I wish I had the Time Life Book series! All their book series are wonderful quality. I look for them at yard sales.
Again, thank you! I will definitely try it and will send you a message here to let you know how it turns out.
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