|EVERY FEW MINUTES|
1/2 c. dry red wine
1/2 c. red wine vinegar
2 c. cold water
1 med.-sized onion, peeled and thinly sliced
5 black peppercorns and 4 whole juniper berries coarsely crushed with a mortar and pestle
2 sm. bay leaves
4 lbs. boneless beef roast, preferably top or bottom round or rum, trimmed of fat
3 tbsp. lard
1/2 c. finely chopped onions
1/2 c. finely chopped carrots
1/4 c. finely chopped celery
2 tbsp. flour
1/2 c. water
1/2 c. gingersnap crumbs, or 1 c. crumbled honey cake, or 1 c. crumbled ready-made imported honey cake
In a 2 to 3-quart saucepan, combine the wine, vinegar, water, sliced onion, crushed peppercorns and juniper berries, and bay leaves. Bring this marinade to a boil over high heat, then remove it from the heat and let it cool to room temperature.
Place the beef in a deep crock or a deep stainless-steel or enameled pot just large enough to hold it comfortably and pour the marinade over it. The marinade should come at least halfway up the sides of the meat; if necessary, add more wine.
Turn the meat in the marinade to moisten it on all sides. Then cover the pan tightly with foil or plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2-3 days, turning the meat over at least twice a day.
Remove the meat form the marinade and pat it completely dry with paper towels. Strain the marinade through a fine sieve set over a bowl and reserve the liquid. Discard the spices and onions.
In a heavy 5-quart flameproof casserole, melt the lard over high heat until it begins to splatter. Add the meat and brown it on all sides, turning it frequently and regulating the heat so that it browns deeply and evenly without burning. This should take about 15 minutes.
Transfer the meat to a platter and pour off and discard all but about 2 tablespoons of the fat from the casserole. Add the chopped onions, carrots and celery to the fat in the casserole and cook them over moderate heat, stirring frequently, for 5-8 minutes, or until they are soft and light brown.
Sprinkle 2 tablespoons of flour over the vegetables and cook, stirring constantly, for 2 or 3 minutes longer, or until the flour begins to color. Pour in 2 cups of the reserved marinade and 1/2 cup of water and bring to a boil over high heat. Return the meat to the casserole. Cover tightly and simmer over low heat for 2 hours, or until the meat shows no resistance when pierced with the tip of a sharp knife.
Transfer the meat to a heated platter and cover it with aluminum foil to keep it warm while you make the sauce.
Pour the liquid left in the casserole into a large measuring cup and skim the fat from the surface. You will need 2 1/2 cups of liquid for the sauce. If you have more, boil it briskly over high heat until it is reduced to that amount; if you have less, add some of the reserved marinade.
Combine the liquid and the gingersnap or honey-cake crumbs in a small saucepan, and cook over moderate heat, stirring frequently, for 10 minutes. The crumbs will disintegrate in the sauce and thicken it slightly.
Strain the sauce through a fine sieve, pressing down hard with a wooden spoon to force as much of the vegetables and crumbs through as possible. Return the sauce to the pan, taste for seasoning and let it simmer over a low heat until ready to serve.
To serve, carve the meat into 1/4-inch-thick slices and arrange the slices attractively in overlapping layers on a heated platter. Moisten the slices with a few tablespoons of the sauce and pass the remaining sauce separately in a sauce boat. Traditionally, Sauerbraten is served with dumplings or boiled potatoes and red cabbage.
NOTE: If you prefer, you may cook the Sauerbraten in the oven rather than on top of the stove. Bring the casserole to a boil over high heat; cover tightly and cook in a preheated 350 degree oven for about 2 hours.
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