Three Days Until
By John Havel
Much as summer's warm days and plentiful rains lead to sun-ripened
tomatoes and plump eggplants, frigid winter is the promise on which
comfort food relies. Instinctively, we gravitate to the stove and the
gifts it gives us. Time, now somehow a little less urgent, is given a
wider berth, one generous enough to accommodate a rising yeast dough,
or the baking of an apple pie, or the preparation of sauerbraten.
Sauerbraten (literally translated, sour roast) is one of those
dishes for which there are almost as many recipes as there are cooks
who make this uber-Germanic specialty. Some use gingersnaps to season
and thicken the gravy. Other cooks use a roux. Some add red wine;
others just vinegar. In some regions, buttermilk is part of the
marinade. Garlic is favored by some cooks; others just add lots of
Whichever way you cook it, it's a wonderful way to turn a relatively
inexpensive cut of meat into a splendid winter main course. Although
in many German-style restaurants in America, potato pancakes are
paired with sauerbraten, this is common only in a small part of
Germany. Spaetzle or another form of plain pasta is the choice of
many cooks, while others might serve potatoes -- plain boiled, mashed
or potato dumplings -- that will absorb the delicious gravy.
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