This meal was as much about getting in touch with my roots as it was about braising. The meal was ok – not my favorite braise. The meat is marinated in a vinegar and spice mixture for several days before the braise followed by a sweet and sour sauce when serving. I didn’t think much of it at the time, but I just finished an audiobook that put that into perspective. In certain parts of culinary history, the focus has been on very complex and strong flavors that often contrast and compete in a dish. In other parts of culinary history, the focus has been to accentuate the taste of the thing you are cooking. The sauerbraten tasted like everything used to flavor the dish and nothing like the beef that was the starting point. I think back on the smoked and braised short ribs that I made for a wine party – those tasted like beef hooked up to the amplifiers and speakers at a rock concert. Everything has it’s place, I do believe. My preference is for meat to be amplified and I think the flavorings being center stage work better for other courses. Think homemade vinaigrette over greens or a baked apple dessert full of cinnamon. For additional context, think about all of the molecular gastronomy trends that have recently fallen out of style and how everything now is about fresh and local. Your restaurant just isn’t hip if you don’t have a few farm names listed in your menu or some greens that are anything but lettuce.
Short post this time… I have an Italian dinner to prep for today and a make-up April Braise-of-the-Month to plan since I missed this month.