Wednesday, October 29, 2014


Flag courtesy of Wikipedia
Location: Central Europe, between the Netherlands and Poland
Area: Over 350,000 sq km; 63rd biggest in the world
         Slightly smaller than Montana
Population: Almost 81,000,000; 18th largest in the world
          Second largest in Europe after Russia
Capital: Berlin
Economy: Based on GDP per capita the 5th biggest in the world and the biggest in Europe

Source: CIA World Factbook

Next up in fast-forwarding through Danielle's life is...Germany!  And not only Germany, but Germany in Colorado at Christmas.

Why such time travel?  Sickness, tiredness, general lack of time.  What does that sound like?  Yep, that's right, time to have another baby!  And this time, although we didn't know it when I cooked this food, there were twins.  Turns out that makes things a lot more interesting.  There were a lot of foods I had aversions to, and just making a shopping list was difficult sometimes.  So bear with me.

Anyway, Germany!  As you may be able to tell from the Hetzel in this blog's title, my husband's family has some German in them, so they were more than willing to help me out with this one.

I found two recipes I wanted to do, and one of them was specifically a German Christmas recipe.  Thank you, sauerbraten!  It has to marinate for three days, so it is extra-special and usual only done for the holidays.

First you combine a ridiculous number of things and bring them to a boil to make the marinade.  The most interesting ingredient here is Juniper Berries.  They aren't really available many places.  So instead, my father-in-law picked them.  Yep, he found a juniper bush and picked the berries.  Talk about local sourcing.
By comparison, the rest of the ingredients are pretty boring.  Vinegars, vegetables, spices, mostly standard stuff.

I worked on the marinade while my mother-in-law salted and browned the meat per the recipe.  Raw meat wasn't really agreeing with me at the time.

Bottom Round
Brendan and his cousin were getting into all sorts of things they weren't supposed to, so we tried to improvise some child locks.  They were too smart.

And from there you combine the meat and marinade and let it sit for three days, turning occasionally.  This part sounds easy, but we definitely forgot to turn it for a while...
So!  The day of reckoning arrives and you add some sugar to the marinade and put it in the oven for four hours.  Then you strain the liquid and add gingersnaps to make a thick gravy.  Sounds easy, right?  It is if you have gingersnaps!  However, apparently all of them in the house seem to have gotten eaten over Christmas (how could that have happened?) so there was a last-second grocery store trip involved.
Crisis averted.

It got really thick and ginger-smelling.  I had never thought of using cookies as a thickener for gravy before, but think of the possibilities!  Like ginger snaps!  And...ummm...things!  First person to do Oreo-gravy gets a prize.

I thought maybe this would be good served with potatoes, and Kevin's mom suggested potato pancakes.  Perfect!
The meat gets cut up and served with the gravy.  Time to eat!
Our nephew liked the spread.
Everyone seemed to really like it.  The gingersnap gravy was a huge hit, and marinating the normally-tough meat seemed to tenderize it a lot.  With my ups and downs of being able to eat food, I was less sure.  I didn't dislike it, but just couldn't eat much.  The potato pancakes hit the spot, though!

This sort of thing is a really good way to use, as I said, a normally-tough cut of meat.  It is amazing what three days of marinating and then four hours of cooking can do.  Plus a delicious gravy.

Yes, those things seem to take a lot of time.  Most of it, however, wasn't active cooking.  I was actually surprised at how little direct-work it took, although I did have a lot of help.  I'm not sure I'll be doing this again, but if you want some German Christmas I highly recommend you try it.

Next time: More Germany


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  2. Interesting, i wrote one comment and it showed up twice, i deleted it and now both of them are if for some reason my comment shows up twice again..i am sorry, i only clicked once. :) This is what i said, "mmm looks good, i love your adventures in cooking!" Thank you for tagging me so i could come and look!