Weekend with the family in the countryside – clearly a case for Bavarian cuisine. Zwiebelrostbraten is a typical southern German dish that can be prepared with briefly roasted beef or braised. The braised version is especially good if, like us, you can’t stay at the cooker all the time, but do some gardening while the food is cooking itself.
For this dish we recommend beef rump. Alternatives are parts of beef that are suitable for braising, such as shoulder or leg, but then the braising needs more time. For us, it was a “Tri Tip” today. We like to reduce the amount of meat and serve fine side dishes instead, this time “Rahmschwammerl” (mushrooms in a creamy sauce) and hand-scraped spaetzle.
Cut the meat – as always across the grain – into slices about 1 cm thick and then pound it flat to about 5 mm. This is best done with a meat tenderiser, or alternatively with the bottom of a saucepan.
Other main ingredients are plenty of onions cut into strips, chicken or vegetable stock, red wine, a little icing sugar and some tomato paste. As for spices, you only need salt and pepper and definitely dried marjoram.
First, the slices of beef are generously seasoned with salt and pepper on both sides and then seared in neutral oil or clarified butter, also on both sides. It is all about browning and caramelisation and the flavours that develop from this (the so-called Maillard reaction). It is therefore very important to sear at a really high heat and for a correspondingly short time, without cooking the meat to its core.
The seared pieces are placed in a deep dish, because meat juices will ooze out and need to be collected
Then sauté the onion strips in the same pan over a now medium-high heat until translucent, then sprinkle with the icing sugar and add the tomato paste. Stir everything well and continue sautéing so that the sugar caramelises and the tomato paste is lightly toasted. It thus loses its acidity and bitterness and, like the sugar, acquires a brownish colour.
Now add red wine, but not all at once. Add a third of the amount and let the wine simmer down almost like syrup. Then add the next third and so on.
When this is done after only a few minutes, you have already created the basis of a fine brown braising sauce:
Now pour on all the stock and bring to the boil. The slices of meat are distributed in the pan so that they are all covered with liquid, which cools the sauce down immediately.
Then it comes to the most important point: patiently set the temperature so that the sauce simmers very gently with the lid on, only a few bubbles should rise. To do this, stay on the cooker for a few minutes and find the right setting, which will be in the lowest range (for us, about level 2 of 12).
Beef rump now takes a maximum of 90 minutes. Other pieces of braising meat may well need 2 ½ hours until they are completely tender. Just test it once every 30 minutes with a fork to see if it is tender enough for your taste. The beauty is that you don’t have to worry about anything during this time, as long as the temperature is right. Only if you cook the meat will it become hard and tough.
When the meat is almost soft, the lid is removed, at which point the temperature of the cooker must of course be increased a little (for us: 4 of 12). Now also add the dried marjoram and stir it in.
In the meantime, we prepare the mushrooms, which only takes about 25 minutes in total and is very easy.
Finely dice the onions. Clean the mushrooms and cut off the end of the stems, then cut them into quarters. Mushrooms can be washed in water, but it must be done quickly so that they don’t get soaked like a sponge. Other mushrooms should only be brushed off or rubbed with a tissue. The parsley is washed, shaken dry and then chopped without the stems. This should not be done too finely for this dish.
Then the onions are sautéed in 2 tablespoons of butter until translucent.
Now add the mushrooms and half of the parsley. Season with salt and pepper, stir everything together and put a lid on. The mushrooms should now steam at medium-high heat for 15 minutes. The lid ensures that their liquid is retained with its intense flavour.
Meanwhile, melt the rest of the butter in a saucepan, then stir in the flour. It is best to use a whisk for this.
Pour in the broth and stir everything thoroughly, then let the mixture simmer gently for at least 5 minutes.
Now you can add the cream and the contents of the mushroom pan. Let it all simmer gently without a lid for another 10 minutes and season again with salt and pepper. Finally, add the other half of the parsley.
The meat is now as tender as we want it to be. If the sauce is still too thin, you can stir in a little cold butter, a spoonful at a time, until the consistency suits your taste. Alternatively, you can take the meat out of the sauce, mix a teaspoon of starch in 2 tablespoons of cold water until smooth, add to the sauce and bring to the boil briefly, this will also thicken the sauce. Then return the meat to the sauce to keep it warm.
Time to set the table, we have a celery salad to accompany the meal today and that was a very good idea (thank you, Ellen!).
Served with the side dish of your choice. In Bavaria, that would probably be bread dumplings, potatoes or noodles.
And may the taste be with you.
Ingredients ( for 4 people):
The quantities assume a side dish, such as pasta or potatoes.
For the stewing meat:
700 g beef rump
Some neutral oil (e.g. sunflower, rapeseed) or clarified butter
500 g onions
2 tsp icing sugar
1 tbsp tomato paste
180 ml red wine
700 ml chicken or vegetable stock
1 large tablespoon dried marjoram
25 g butter or 1 tsp starch
Salt and pepper
For the creamed mushrooms
1 medium onion
500 g mushrooms
1 bunch of parsley
2 tbsp flour
4 tbsp butter
200 ml white wine
250 ml vegetable stock
120 ml cream
Salt and pepper