Recipe: German roast & noodles

I made this last Wednesday, a long and tiring day in which we did a lot of work with multiple employees, and badly needed to replenish calories. Hearty and tasty, it required very little work at the end, just some preparation a few days ahead. It probably took me 20 minutes once it was time for dinner at 8:30pm. No photos, unfortunately, because my camera is dead and Joanna’s doesn’t do indoor photos well. I make variations on this kind of German cooking all winter and early spring, but finally paid attention enough to write it up this time.

Beer-marinated venison roast with gravy-noodles & sauerkraut
all quantities estimated, as I just threw this together

1-2 lb meat, in this case a venison roast
3/4 bottle good beer (the other 1/4 for the chef)
1/2-1 cup dried or chopped onions
1/2-1 cup dried or chopped tomatoes
2t caraway seeds
2T cider vinegar
2T brown sugar
Some water if necessary to nearly cover the meat
Salt as desired

I made this with our own dried onions and tomatoes, which made the preparation super-easy with no chopping needed. I like the way they worked with the liquids, but fresh produce would work too. Combine everything and let sit for a few days. When ready, stick into a 350F oven and bake for a few hours. Browning the meat would be better, but I didn’t have time as I literally came back to the house from the field just long enough to throw it in the oven for later; it came out good enough.

2T butter
2T flour
Pan juices
Some good German noodles, spaetzle or otherwise

When the meat is nearly done, melt butter in a small pan, and add flour to make a basic roux. Stir until thick and starting to brown. Drain/spoon off a good amount of the remaining liquid in the meat dish, and whisk into the roux. Keep stirring/whisking for a few minutes to produce a nice, thick gravy. It should be a good balance of sweet and sour with undertones of the onion and meat; add vinegar or sugar as necessary to get the flavor right. Meanwhile, cook the noodles in a separate pan.

When the noodles are done, remove the meat from the oven and from its baking dish. Mix the rest of the cooking liquid, especially the onions & tomatoes, into the gravy and combine with the noodles. This should result in a thick, rich sauce on the noodles, which are then ladled onto a plate next to the carved roast. If you want, reserve a bit of the gravy to ladle over the meat, which should be tender and flake nicely. Serve with sauerkraut on the side.

In our version, we used our own venison, home-dried onions & tomatoes, home-fermented sauerkraut, and Boulevard wheat beer.

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