Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Babette & Sauerbraten

The Grandma: Babette, my Uhr Oma (great-grandma)
My maternal grandmother’s mom

-       Babette was born in Augsburg, Germany, 1892.
-       She was a tough cookie, good cook and nurturing.  For example, her honeymoon was over on her wedding day.  On May 19,1919, she was married in a Lutheran church to a WWI hero … who fainted at the altar from Malaria.  Their honeymoon included her nursing her new husband back to health.  She often took care of her son Albert’s many injuries, as he was quite the schlinglekind (or naughty child).  Albert was hit by nearly every mode of transportation and always found trouble... To see his rap sheet, click here.
-       On the topic of being a toughie, Babette flew alone in 1959 (when she was nearly 70) to New Orleans from Germany on a propeller airplane. Babette only spoke German, which made this trip to America extra adventurous.

I often imagine this famous Norman Rockwell picture when Babette's big flight is discussed.
-       When my mother lived in Germany in ~1963 she remembers Babette’s (her Oma’s) vigor.  My mother said she had the stamina of someone half her age.  She also remembers their walks to the Konditorei, or cake shop, where she was met with tantalizing cakes decorated with marzipan figures and chocolates shaped like happy June Bugs, ladybugs. Her Oma, Babette, would always by her grandgirls a treat while enjoying hot tea.

This series of photos, from several Lake Pontchartrain beach days, during Uhr Oma's visit to New Orleans are some of my favorite family photos ...  

Babette at the beach.

Opa being handsome with his girls (my aunt and mom).

I want Oma's suit!

Her Recipe: Sauerbraten
Uhr Oma's recipe as dictated by my sister Julie

You’ll need some heavy hardware here: a heavy 4 qt kettle or pot with a tight fitting lid is a must. Plus a 3 or 4 qt glass or crockery bowl/container.

·       3 lb pot roast of beef such as top round or rump roast
·       1 cup vinegar
·       2 cups water
·       1 large onion
·       1/4 cup sugar
·       2 tsp salt
·       10 peppercorns
·       5 or 6 whole cloves
·       4 or 5 bay leaves
·       1 lemon (use rind)

Put meat in bowl and set aside. Slice onion. Combine vinegar, water, onion, sugar, salt, peppercorns, bay leaves, cloves and lemon rind in a saucepan and heat WITHOUT boiling until sugar is dissolved.
Pour hot mixture over meat in bowl and allow to cool, mixture should just about cover meat — you may add a little more water, broth or red wine. Cover the pot and refrigerate.
Turn the roast morning and evening (at least 1 time a day) for 4 days.
After 4 days, remove meat from marinade, strain and reserve all marinade.
Set out a kettle or pan with tight lid. Heat 3 table spoons of butter or oil to brown meat (there will still be some marinade coming out of the meat). Slowly add two cups of marinade. Bring liquid to boiling, reduce heat and simmer for 2 1/5 - 3 hours. Important to simmer NOT boil.
Remove meat. keep warm. Pour cooking liquid from kettle, set aside for gravy.  
For gravy: melt 1/4 cup butter, blend in 1/4 cup flour and heat until golden brown, stirring constantly. Add 3 cups of liquid, cooking liquid and marinade, stir until gravy thickens. You can add 1 cup of thick sour cream here. *The gravy is where all the calories are
Put meat back in gravy to make tender.


*This week's feature is in conjunction with my Women's History series. To make it skinny ... don't make this dish? JK Try it with a lean cut of beef, portion the sizes and gravy on the side. 

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