Saturday, November 21, 2009

German Style Brisket with Sweet Onions, Beer, and Mustard

Nothing makes me happier than a giant piece of meat roasting away in the oven. Which is funny because when I was little, the words 'pot roast' ranked right up there with 'tetanus shot' and 'bedtime.' I guess that proves getting older isn't all bad. But this really is more of a brisket pot roast than a classic rump style pot roast. Even though it's incredibly tender when it's done, you can still slice it into thick chunks and stack over mashed or roasted potatoes, orzo, or even spaetzle.

Despite the title, there isn't a strong mustard flavor in the final product. It's more of a mellow, wonderfully rounded gravy with just enough attitude not to bore you. When I'm really craving that smack you in the face piquant mustard flavor, I add more to mine at the table, especially if I'm eating it with roasted potatoes. Mmm. Mmm. Mmm. (Serves me right for making fun of that girl in high school who put mayo on her french fries!)

Final note - the leftover meat makes the best sandwiches on planet earth.

German Pot Roast with Sweet Onions, Beer and Mustard

3 tablespoons olive oil
1 (2 lb) flank steak, with just a light layer of fat on one side
per side, seasoned PER SIDE with 1 teaspoon English powder mustard, 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger, 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon, hefty pinch of salt and black pepper
1 large sweet onion, diced
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 bay leaf
1 bottle Hefeweisen (wheat) beer
1 cup low sodium beef broth, divided

1 1/2 teaspoons dijon mustard
good pinch nutmeg, preferably fresh ground

1 tablespoon cornstarch mixed with 2 tablespoons cold water

Preheat your oven to 300. Low and slow is the name of the game here, so yes I mean 300.

Put a large dutch over medium heat. Add oil and let heat through until hot - at least 2 minutes. Add your seasoned steak, getting a nice sizzle and cook until nice and browned on the first side - about 5 minutes. Turn and cook until browned on the second side - about 3-4 minutes. Add the onion around the exposed bottom of the pan around the steak. Season the onions with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring often for about 8-10 minutes or slightly softened. Stir the brown sugar into the onions and cook another 5 minutes. Add the vinegar, scraping up the browned bits under the onions and the steak, scooting the steak around if it moves easily. Cook until the vinegar dies down, just a couple of minutes, then add the beer and bay leaf and 1/2 cup beef broth.

Place the lid on your pot and cook 1 and 1/2 hours. Remove and stir in another 1/2 cup of beef broth (you could use water if you run out) then carefully flip the steak. Cover and put back in the oven for another 30 minutes. Remove again and stir in the mustard and nutmeg. Cook for 45 more minutes to an hour. Remove the steak to a holding tray or baking sheet and tent with foil.

Meanwhile, put the pot with sauce over a hot burner, bringing to a boil. When boiling, add your cornstarch/water mixture and stir for 1-2 minutes until thickened. Lower heat just to keep warm while you slice the steak, against the grain, into thick slices. Serve stacked over over your starch (potatoes, pasta, or spaetzle) and pour the thickened gravy over and all around.

Serve with a crisp green salad with some dijon in the dressing to complement the mustardy flavors of the sauce.

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