A German Classic: Sauerbraten

Chef Thomas Ferlesch of Brooklyn’s Werkstatt restaurant says one thing is nonnegotiable when it comes to making this classic German dish: the use of beef shoulder, also called flat iron steak, or Schulterscherzel in German. “It has just enough fat for braising without being too rich and greasy or too dry,” he says.

SERVES 6-8 3 HOURS, 30 MINUTES

Ingredients

  • One 4-lb. flat iron steak
  • 12 tsp. kosher salt, plus more as needed
  • 34 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 14 cups unsalted butter, lard, or vegetable oil, divided
  • 2 carrots, diced (1 12 cups)
  • 2 parsnips, diced (1 12 cups)
  • 12 celery root, diced (12 cup)
  • 12 cup tomato paste
  • 1 (750-ml) bottle red wine
  • 4 cups apple cider
  • 4 cups beef or chicken stock
  • 1 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
  • 10 juniper berries
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 sprig fresh thyme
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 bunch flat-leaf parsley

Instructions

1

Season the beef generously all over with salt and pepper. In a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat, add 12 cup fat and heat until hot. Add the beef and cook, turning occasionally, until well browned on all sides, about 3 minutes each. Transfer to a large plate.

2

Lower the heat to medium-low and add the carrots, parsnips, and celery root to the pot; season with salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned in places, about 3 minutes. Raise the heat to medium and stir in the tomato paste. Cook, stirring occasionally, until darkened slightly, 3–5 minutes. Add the wine, cider, stock, vinegar, juniper berries, bay leaves, garlic, cinnamon, and thyme, and bring to a simmer over high heat. Carefully return the beef to the pot; cover and cook at a low simmer for 1 hour. (Alternatively, you can simmer the beef in the center of the oven at 350°.)

3

Meanwhile, in a medium skillet over medium heat, heat 34 cup fat until warm. Add the flour to make a roux and cook, stirring or whisking constantly and reaching all sides of the pan, until the flour is golden brown, about 15 minutes.

4

After the beef has been cooking for 1 hour, add the roux to the pot with the beef, stirring to incorporate. Bring the liquid to a high simmer, then reduce to a low simmer. Cover and let simmer until the meat is tender, 30 minutes to 1 hour more.

5

Chop 2 tablespoons of parsley and set aside. Add the remaining bunch of parsley to the pot. Cover, turn off the heat, and let rest 30 minutes.

6

Remove the meat to a cutting board. Using a fine-mesh strainer, strain the cooking liquid and discard the solids. Add the sauce back to the pan and season with salt and pepper to taste.

7

Cut the beef into thick slices and reheat briefly in the sauce. Serve drizzled with sauce and garnished with the reserved chopped parsley.

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