Saturday, October 23, 2010

An old favorite

Friday night, I made an old favorite -- sauerbraten -- and it really was amazing. A big hunk of bottom round was marinated four days in a spiced vinegar mix, followed by hours spent in the oven. The result, as always, was a flavorful brined beef, a true stick-to-the-ribs meal.

Later that night I clicked on my email, only to find the following recipe for Bavarian Beef from SparkPeople. Yes, that site is flooding my email box daily, but honestly, some of the advice and recipes are truly food for thought.

When I compare this recipe for Bavarian Beef and my sauerbraten, there are similarities, but there are also big caloric differences. I made my sauerbraten the way my grandmother taught me so many years ago. The gravy base is one big roux, made with 5 tablespoons of butter. Gingersnaps give it zing. This recipe omits the roux and goes straight to the gingersnaps, which cuts down incredibly on fat and calories.

Since I only make beef once a week, I'll wait a few days before giving this a try. But if I read it correctly, this has all the makings of a great meal, and just might replace my sauerbraten. I also plan on cooking this in my slow cooker -- 8 to 10 hours on low will turn the stew meat soft as silk.

This classic German stew is made with lean trimmed beef stew meat and cabbage.

1 1/4 lb. lean beef stew meat (trimmed of fat), cut in 1-inch pieces
1 Tblsp. olive oil
1 large onion, thinly sliced
1 1/2 cup water
3/4 tsp. caraway seeds
1/2 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. black pepper
1 bay leaf
1/4 cup white vinegar
1 Tblsp. sugar
1/2 small head red cabbage, cut into 4 wedges
1/4 cup crushed gingersnaps

* Brown meat in oil in a heavy skillet. Remove meat and sauté onion in remaining oil until golden. Return meat to skillet. Add water, caraway seeds, salt, pepper, and bay leaf. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer 1 1/4 hours.
* Add vinegar and sugar; stir. Place cabbage on top of meat. Cover and simmer 45 minutes more.
* Arrange meat and cabbage on a platter and keep warm.
* Strain drippings and skim off fat. Add enough water to drippings to yield 1 cup of liquid. Return to skillet with gingersnap crumbs. Cook and stir until thickened and mixture boils. Serve with meat and vegetables.
* Makes 5 servings. Per serving: calories: 304; fat: 11.9g; carbs, 12.7g; fiber: 2g protein: 35.8g.

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