The first thing you will see when you open up a copy of The Black Hills: The Last Hunting Ground of the Dakotahs, is a photograph of a slender, elderly lady, looking quizzically up over her pince-nez at you. She is Annie Tallent, the author of this book describing the journey she made with her husband and son into the Dakotas to pan for gold in 1874. (First published in 1899, The Black Hills is available here in the Internet Archive Library.)
Mrs. Tallent was a woman with sand, as even her brief description of her traveling party’s nightly camp dinners crossing the Plains shows. “For supper,” she recalled, “[There was] black coffee, hot biscuit and baked beans warmed over…All formality was thrown to the winds at meal time, each one helping himself or herself with a liberality and abandon, that was truly astonishing…we enjoyed our meals, for with appetites whetted with much exercise and fresh air we were always ravenously hungry, and could eat bacon and beans with the keenest relish.”
Mrs. Tallent’s remark is a reminder that the end of a hard day’s travel is, in itself, a sufficient cause for celebration. The prospect of dinner at journey’s end is a cheering one to any traveler, especially if it will not be eaten in solitude. This is the premise of the latest diplomatickitchen Dinner Menu: Dinner at Journey’s End, a selection of dishes, both hearty and kind to tired bodies and spirits.
The food is of the reviving sort. Travelers who begin the evening with a feeling of fatigue, may find themselves, as the evening progresses, relaxed, rejuvenated and in no hurry to leave the table.
A recipe for Sauerbraten introduces the menu. It is adapted from one served for many years at New York’s famous German restaurant, Lüchow’s. Not all Sauerbratens are equal. Lüchow’s version is a fine one.
Note: To print this recipe, or any other diplomatickitchen recipe, go to the bottom of the page, at the end of the post, and click on the icon: Print & PDF. You will have the option of printing in smaller text size and without photos.
- a 4-pound Beef Round Tip Roast, tied
- 1 Tablespoon of Kosher Salt
- 1/2 teaspoon of coarse ground Black Pepper
- 1/2 pound of Yellow Onions, sliced
- 1 Carrot, sliced
- 1 stalk of Celery, chopped
- 4 whole Cloves
- 4 Black Peppercorns
- 1 cup of Red Wine Vinegar
- 1 cup of Red Wine
- 2 Bay Leaves
- approximately 5 cups of Water, a little more or less depending upon the size of the bowl in which the meat marinates. Once the roast is added to the marinade, enough water is added so that the liquid will cover the meat.
- 2 Tablespoons of Fat: Goose Fat was used to make the photographed version, but any fat, from bacon to sunflower oil, will be fine.
- 1 Tablespoon of Butter for browning the roast, plus 6 Tablespoons of Butter for making the sauce
- 5 Tablespoons of Flour
- 1 Tablespoon of Sugar
- 1/2 cup of pulverized Gingersnaps: The recipe for Homemade Gingersnaps used in the photographed Sauerbraten is here in a previous diplomatickitchen post.
- a large Earthenware or Glass Bowl
- a Colander
- a second large Mixing Bowl
- a wide, heavy-bottomed Pan for searing the meat and making the sauce
- a Dutch Oven or other deep ovenproof Casserole with a Lid
- a Whisk or Wooden Spoon
2. Put the meat in the earthenware or glass bowl, along with the onions, carrot, celery, cloves, peppercorns. vinegar, wine, bay leaves and about 5 cups of water, or enough so that the marinade covers the meat.
3. Cover the bowl and marinate the roast for 4 days in the refrigerator.
4. On the fifth day, remove the meat from the marinade and strain the marinade through a colander placed over a mixing bowl. Set the strained marinade aside. Discard the vegetables, herbs and spices collected in the colander.
5. Preheat the oven to 300 F.
6. Heat the goose (or other cooking) fat and 1 Tablespoon of butter in a heavy pan over medium heat and sear the roast on all sides. Transfer the meat to a Dutch oven or deep casserole. Pour the strained marinade into the pan in which the meat was seared and deglaze the bottom of the pan. Bring the liquid to a boil and pour it over the meat in the Dutch oven or casserole.
7. Bring the liquid back to a simmer, cover the Dutch oven and braise the Sauerbraten for about 3 – 4 hours in a 300 F. oven, or until the roast is tender.
8. Transfer the meat from the Dutch oven to a platter and cover it with foil to keep it warm while making the sauce.
9. Melt 5 Tablespoons of butter in a heavy pan over medium heat. Stir in the flour and, as soon as it is combined with the butter, add the sugar. Cook, stirring with a whisk or wooden spoon, over medium heat, until the mixture is a deep, golden brown.
10. Slowly add the reserved marinade, stirring to combine it with the brown roux. Simmer the sauce, still stirring, until it is smooth. Then, thicken the sauce with the pulverized gingersnaps. Add a few Tablespoons of gingernsnaps at a time, as you continue to stir and simmer the sauce. Add up to 1/2 cup, or less, if you prefer a thinner sauce.
11. Slice the meat. Arrange several slices on each plate and spoon some sauce over each plate of Sauerbraten. Serve the rest of the sauce at the side for guests to add, if they like. (There will be plenty of sauce.)
A Note: Sauerbraten Lüchow’s is the Main Course of the Dinner Menu: Dinner at Journey’s End. The recipe is adapted from one in Lüchow’s German Cookbook: The story and the favorite dishes of America’s most famous German restaurant. Introduction and illustrations were provided by Ludwig Bemelmans, author of the beloved Madeline books for children. The book is a treasure trove of fine recipes and is available here at openlibrary.org. Should the online copy of the original volume (complete with illustrations) be checked out, the plain full text version may always be accessed here at the internet archive. The text and recipes in it are identical to those in the original.
An Invitation: You are invited to request suggestions from the diplomatickitchen for your own menus for any occasion by clicking on the feature ‘Ask and Tell’ here or in the Menu at the top of the page. Do you have a menu concept with a gap or two that wants filling…or perhaps you are an expat looking for ways to adapt your recipes to what is available in your temporary home…maybe you are just looking for a new way to use a familiar ingredient or would like suggestions on how to adjust quantities of a recipe from the diplomatickitchen for smaller or larger groups…Replies will be published in ‘Ask and Tell’ or sent by email if you prefer.
© Elizabeth Laeuchli, the diplomatickitchen, 2011-2013