Sonntag, 7. November 2010

Mofo Day 7: Vegan Sauerbraten (Seitan-Roast marinated in vinegar with a special rasin flavoured gravy

This was my lunch today. It's called "Sauerbraten" (sour roast) and it's a roast, that's marinated in a mixture of vinegar, wine, chopped vegetables (Suppengrün) and a mix of different whole spices. The spice mix normaly includes pepper, bay leavs, cloves, mustard seeds, and allspices.
Everything I had in my pantry was pepper, mustard seeds and bay leaves but I think this was still fine. The raw roast is marinated for 4-2 days depending on which kind of meat people use. It varies from beef (which is the most popular way) to horsemeat and even pork, but pork is very unusual.

I also always wondered why the people today hate horsemeat or the meat of dogs and cats, like some asian cultures like to eat and enjoy their beef pork and chicken without even thinking about the way those animals are threated. It's always like "Uhhh, horesemeat, it's so digusting, I could never eat a horse but hey, I like my ground beef so much much, as I doesn't look at me. In my opionion as someone who has studied philosophy, which was also one of the main reasons, why a became a vegan, that sometihng that's called "Mitleidsethik" in german (something like mercy ethics, I don't know the real scientific term for that). People just care for the persons and animals of know identity. If they don't have to see the farmers in africa, who grow their tobbaco, if they've never met the poor workers in central ameica who harvest their cocoa, if they've never seen all the cows, chicken and pigs, how they threat them and how they slather them in a industrialized way, they just don't care, because their dog and cat and their horse is fine a the farmer around the corner gets paid enough to have a good life.

But let's come back to the preparation of the roast.
After marinating, the roast is fried and then baked along with the marinade until it is done. Then the marinade is strained and the gravy is, as always, prepared out of the remaining liquid. The gravy has to be sweetened, because is based one vinegar, which has even concentrated after baking and tends to be very sour. People use different kinds of sweeteners, such as sugar beet molasses, different kinds of jellies and jams, sugar, honey, raisins, dried fruit (mainly dried plums) or even different kinds of gingerbread such as "Aachener Printen" (a very hard kind of gingerbread which is even often vegan) or "Soßenkuchen" (means gravy cake, a kind of dry gingerbread from eastern germany, which is just made to use in gravys and sauces).
I chose raisins and sugar beet molasses, because those ingredients are very traditional and they perfectly fit the cuisine of my region. The sauerbraten is often served along with "Rotkohl" ( red cabbage), applesauce and potatodumplings or just cooked potatoes. I chose the cooked potatoes because thr rest of the components of this meal were still enough work to be done before lunch.

That made me think about the amount of work, that's done in the kitchen to prepare a festive weekend meal for the family. Everyone is always so enthusiastic about all the work the italian and frensh grandmas spent in the kitchen. Everyone is so impressed by the artisan preparations of pasta. But has anyone every talked about all the work, chemistry and knowledge, that's behind all those german potato dishes and other carb sides? I think that traditional german cusine can be as simple and as creative and educated as every other traditional cuisine in the world. But ok, that's an argument about the possibilities and past of german cuisine and things have changed after WWII as we got richer and lazier. People around here now tend to buy premade things and canned vegetables and often they even eat ready-to-serve-meals and when they got richer and the interest in cooking grew, the germans started to discover other cuisines and slowly lost all their knowledge about their own food.

The "Sauerbraten" turned out nicer than I thaught it would. The flavour is as close to the original as possible but I want to experiment a bit with the texture, which was like nice, meaty and chewy homemade seitan but the orginal is like the tender pieces of beef you may have inside of a stew. Maybe something based on the recipe for chickpeacutlets, like i made for the "Vegan Rinderrouladen" would fit the consitency better. This kindof fake meat wouldn't be could for marinating but you could still bake it along with the marinate and if you'd serve it along with the same sauce I think, that this would change the flavour so much and it wouldn't be so much work.
Here's the recipe:

Vegan Sauerbraten

for the homemade seitan:

1 kg of wheat flour

for the marinade:

300 ml of vinegar

150 ml of vine

a diced carrot

a smal chunk of diced celaric

a smal piece of diced leek

1 tbs of whole peppercorns

2 bayleaves

1 tbs of whole mustard seed

(maybe some cloves and allspice)

for the seitan cooking liquid:

1/2 cup of soysauce

2-3 tbs of nooch

1 tbs of vegetablestock powder

2 tsp of vegemite

some oil to fry the seitan

to finish the gravy:

one to four tbs of sugar beet molasses or any other of the sweetners I metioned

a small hand of raisins

1/2 cup of magarine

the amount of starch you want depending how thick you want to have your gravy

1. Mix the flour with aprox. 500 - 600 ml of warm water until you have a soft dough. Cover with cold water and set aside for 2- 4 hour to alow the gluten the work.

2. Knead the dough inside of a colander under running water until all the starch has gone and you've got a nice bouncy ball of gluten.

3. To make the marinade put all the irgredients for the marinate into a pot and heat it until it boils. Set aside until it's cold.

4. Put the raw gluten and the marinade into a plastic bag and let the seitan marinate over night.

5. At the next day put the seitan out of the plastic bag and safe the marinade inside of a pot.

6. Take and new plastic bag and mix the cooking liquid irgedients along with the same amount of water. Put in the seitan, seal the bag and cook in inside of a big pot with some water for about one our until the seitan is done.

7. Put the lquid to the marinade and fry the seitan until it's crispy one the outside.

8. Place the seitan into the mix of cooking liquid and marinade and bake it isinde of the oven at 180 ° C for baout one hour. Keep turnig the seitan from time to time to make sure, that the surface doesn't burn.

9. After baking, put out the seitan and slice and and strain the liquid trhough a collander. Put away the vegetables pieces and spices and bring the strained liquid to a boil inside of a smal pot.

10. Put in th raisins and sweetener and disolve the starch in some cold water. Mix in the starch and stir the gravy until it has thickened. If it's to sour for your taste, add some more sweetener.

11. Serve with red cabbage, applesauce and cooked potatoes or potato dumplings. The recipe for the red cabbage is here.


  1. The amount of research you seem to have put into this is impressive!

  2. Wonderful recipe! Thank you! :)