Friday, January 20, 2012

A Taste From The Past

I have had a craving for my mother’s Sauerbraten for at least 10 years but I’ve been afraid to try making it even though I have her recipe. It has, however, followed the path of her German Potato Salad that she made for every special dinner or picnic that we ever had. Our Daughter has come the closest to making it taste the same. The reason is that she cooks like her Grandma Margie who had recipes written down, but also tasted as she cooked.

The other day while walking through the store I found the perfect chuck roast on sale and told everyone this would be on the menu for tonight. It marinated in vinegar, water, bay leaves, a whole cut up onion and 10 black pepper corns in the refrigerator for 48 hours. At 2:30 pm today I transferred the meat and marinade into a roasting pan and cooked it for two hours. I took it out and added 35 ginger snap cookies and a whole bottle of dark Karo syrup and put it back into the oven for another hour. I then removed the meat and tried to slice it up. It was so tender and done it just fell apart as I cut it. So far so good. The ginger snaps just dissolve so all that is left is liquid and onions, peppercorns and a bay leaf. This all gets put through a strainer and is the sauce or gravy, which gets put back into the roasting pan with the meat to warm through again while the dumplings simmer for 20 minutes.

German Potato dumplings. You either love them or hate them, even if you grew up with them. My son and I love them and wife calls them wall paper paste. It’s not her fault, she’s Danish. My son, wife and I agreed that I had done very good for the first try at sauerbraten and that I can make it again. I think we have a new convert to dumplings in my daughter-in-law. I’m almost sure my mother left something out of the recipe because my son and I agreed the gravy was too sour when we were putting it through the strainer so we added some brown sugar and it was almost perfect.

Sometimes you have to even read between the lines of recipes. Memories came flooding back with each bite of sauerbraten and dumplings that I ate. We usually had it only at Christmas and some special occasions. In this case I was able to go home again, if only through my taste buds, for a short time. Enough left over’s for another meal, probably on Sunday. I’ll just have to make some more potato dumplings because there was only one left. Guess those came out ok too.

Never be afraid to try something you haven’t done before, it might turn out better than you think.