Goodcookbecky's Blog

Letting the juices of life (or food) drip from my chin!

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My husband is of German descent.  I grew up in Austria and have a love for German and Austrian food.  A little German restaurant that we used to frequent in Anaheim had a good Sauerbraten – though the last time we went there the spätzle were not very good and the Sauerbraten also was not on its usual game either – we are a little scared to go back and try it again.  Many Americanized recipes for Sauerbraten have a super sweet gravy that has been sweetened with gingersnaps, but I found that the authentic recipes are not super sweet.  Many thicken the sauce with bread (dark rye bread) or a slurry of cornstarch.  Like most things in life there is more than one way of doing things.  I wanted to find a recipe that was not too sweet.The variations of Sauerbraten are as diverse as the regions that make it, so if you like it sweet find a recipe with gingersnaps.  This time I made a rendition that I found on a German recipe site on the internet.  It claims to be someone’s grandmother’s recipe. (link) I served ours with red cabbage and homemade spätzle (Wolfgang Puck’s Goulash and spätzle recipe follow directions for spätzle.)

Why is it called Sauerbraten? Sauer means sour.  Braten means roast.  What makes this dish unusual is the time it marinates.  I let mine marinate for 3 days before preparing it.  I made it to celebrate my husband’s birthday because he loves German food.  I used a larger roast than the original recipe, because of the effort it takes to make the roast and because I wanted to get two meals out of it.

Sauerbraten (German recipe)

Serves 10


  • 3-4 lb rump roast
  • 3 onions, peeled and quartered
  • 4 carrots, cut into pieces
  • 8 Juniper berries (I found them at my local grocery store.  Brand: Morton and Basset)
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 1 leek, cleaned and cut into quarters lengthwise
  • 3 1/4 cup vinegar (you could use red wine vinegar or white)
  • 3 1/4 cup water
  • 1 Tbsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 2 Tbsp canola oil
  • 2 Tbsp sugar
  • 1/2 Tbsp salt
  • dash pepper
  • 2 Tbsp cornstarch
  • 3 Tbsp cold water


In a large pot, combine the quartered onions, pieces of carrot and cleaned leek.  Add the vinegar and water.  Add Juniper berries, bay leaves, salt and pepper.  Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to a simmer and simmer for 5 minutes.  Turn off the heat and allow to cool to room temperature.

I lined a large pot with a liner that is used for crock pots and folded the edges over the rim of the pot.  I placed the roast into the bottom of the pot and poured the marinade (now at room temperature) over the roast.  I tied the plastic liner shut and covered the pot with a lid (you do not have to use a liner, I wanted the keep as much as the roast covered as possible and the plastic “pulled” the liquid up and around it more than if it had just been in the pot by itself)  Place the covered pot in your refrigerator.  Turn the roast over once a day to allow the marinade to penetrate the roast completely.  Do this for 3, 4 or even as long as 5 days.

Remove the meat to a plate and blot it dry with paper towels. Sprinkle the roast with salt and pepper on all sides.  Place the vegetables into a bowl and pour the remaining marinade through a mesh sieve to remove the Juniper berries and other seasonings.  You will only use half of the marinade for the roast, discard other half or marinade

Heat a large pot over high heat and add canola oil.  Brown the roast in the oil on all sides, 2-3 minutes on each side until it has a nice crust develop.  Pour the reserved liquid over the roast to douse the roast and return the vegetables to the roast.  Bring to a boil and reduce heat.  Cover the pot with a lid and and simmer for 90 minutes or more depending on the size of the roast.  My roast was closer to 5 lbs than 3, so I found it was not finished after 90 minutes and because I had used my pressure cooker pot, I removed some of the liquid to a bowl and continued using the pressure cooker for 60 minutes so it would speed the cooking process.  I am unsure now if my cut of meat was the right type.  In hind sight I should have used my enameled cast iron pot and had it roast in the oven for 2 hours at 400F.

When the meat is done, remove it to a cutting board, remove any strings that may have been tied on by the butcher and slice the meat into thin slices.  Place the meat into a baking dish and keep warm in an preheated oven (300 F).  Return the liquid to the pot.  Use an immersion blender to blend the vegetables into the sauce.  Taste the sauce for flavor and add seasonings if you desire.  I found mine to  be nicely flavored.  I had a lot of liquid after blending the sauce.  I poured about half of it to a smaller skillet to make the gravy.  I made a slurry with the 3 Tbsp of water and 2 Tbsp of cornstarch in a small bowl and added the cornstarch mixture to the gravy in the skillet and brought it to a boil and cooked until thickened.  Serve the gravy over spätzle and slices of Sauerbraten.

Printable Recipe -also included are the recipes for spätzle and red cabbage


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Rahmschnitzel (German cream cutlets)

Here is another classically German/Austrian recipe that is great with the Semmelknödel (posted under the Ethnic-German category).  It is a recipe for veal cutlets that are serves with a rich creamy mushroom gravy.  This is one of my favorite recipes.  The one downside is of course that veal is hard to come by sometimes.  Work with your butcher and have it ordered if you desire, but in a pinch you could even use pork. I consistently find Veal at the Baron’s Market that is nearby.  Well stocked grocery stores may also carry it from time to time though.  Or if you have a good relationship with your butcher he may be able to order some for you.

Becky’s German Rahmschnitzel


  • 2 lbs Veal Scallopini cutlets
  • 1 cup Lemon Juice
  • dash Salt
  • dash Pepper
  • Flour, as needed
  • 4 Tbsp Butter
  • 4 Tbsp Oil
  • 8 ounces Mushrooms, Sliced
  • 1/2 cup Heavy Whipping Cream


  1. In a dish, marinate the cutlets in the lemon juice for 1 hour, turning them every 20 minutes or so.  Remove cutlets, pat dry, pound the cutlets with the smooth side of a meat mallet, until they are thin.  Season with salt and pepper, dredge the cutlets in flour on both sides.
  2. In a heavy stainless skillet (don’t use a non stick you want some of the breading to stick to the pan for the gravy), heat butter and oil over medium -high heat until foam subsides.  Cook cutlets for 1-2 minutes each side.  Lower heat to medium and cook 5-6 minutes longer on each side.  Arrange them on a platter and set them in a 300° F oven to keep warm.  Pour off all but a film of fat in skillet, add the mushrooms to the skillet and cook them for 3-4 minutes.  Pour in the heavy cream and bring to a boil, using a whisk to loosen any browned bits from the pan.  Cook briskly until cream thickens.  Pour over cutlets and serve with Semmelknödel or Noodles along with a nice fresh green salad or sweet and sour red cabbage.

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Marillenknödel – Apricot Dumplings

Here is another very German/Austrian meal.  We would sometimes have this for dinner, but more frequently as a dessert.  A lovely cream cheese dough is wrapped around an apricot (or plum -Zwetschken) and then it is boiled in water and rolled in toasted breadcrumbs and sprinkled with sugar.  A word of caution if you are going to eat these after you make them (that usually happens around my house) They are quite hot on the center and depending on how juicy your fruit was to start with it does tend to squirt hot juice from the fruit and can scald – so please be careful! How do you eat it? with a fork.  It is a great summer dessert.  Also beware the pit! This recipe is also from my mom.

There are several different dough variations used.  This one is close to the Topfenteig (Topfen also called Quark in Germany) is similar to cream cheese, but not exactly, I have had to take some liberties with the  ingredients.  Other doughs that are often made are Brandteig (similar to the dough you would use making cream puffs) and Kartoffelteig (potato dough).  Our family most frequently made the Topfen (cheese) dough.

Images: Click Here

Marillenknödel – Verna H. (Apricot Dumplings)

  • 8 ounces cream cheese
  • 1  large Egg
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 6 Tbsp flour
  • 1/4 lb Butter — or margarine
  • plain dry bread crumbs (3/4 cup more or less)
  • granulated sugar, to taste
  • 8 medium Apricots (or plumbs)

Mix creamed cheese, egg, salt.  Gradually add flour.  Flour hands, take a piece of dough, pat it flat and wrap the fruit in it.  Drop in boiling, slightly salted water for about 10 minutes.  Fruit balls will float so use a large pot.
In the meantime, brown breadcrumbs in margarine.  When dumplings are done, roll them in the browned breadcrumbs and sprinkle with sugar and serve.

Dumplings using plums as center are called “Zwetschkenknoedel”

Printable Recipe


Black Forest Cherry Cake

There are cakes that turn your head when you see them.  I think this one falls into that category.

My mother would make this cake for special occasions.  One such occasion was my leaving from NY to England for a semester of school.  It was the dead of winter and NY  had become paralyzed by a blizzard.  Flights were delayed for hours.  I met up with another friend who was flying to the same place and my parents and one of my aunts met us at the airport as well.  We had quite the party there in the airport eating Black Forest Cherry Cake in the terminal — my parents said that there were quite a few jealous looks.  This recipe is from my mom.  Enjoy.

Black Forest Cherry Cake (Authentic)

Serves 8-10          Verna H.
Crust: (bottom cookie-like crust upon which the cake is built)

  • 3/4 cups flour
  • 2 Tbps. Cocoa
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • Sift well then add:
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp of vanilla
  • 1/3 cup butter (or mix of butter and margarine)

Pat mixture into 10-inch “spring form” lined cake pan and poke holes in it with a fork.  Bake for 15 minutes at 400°F.
Sponge Cake (for layers):

  • 4 egg yolks (beat until light yellow)  Set the egg whites aside for later
  • 2 Tbsp warm water
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp almond flavoring
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon

Mix ingredients well

  • 4 egg whites (beat until stiff)
  • 1/3 cup sugar (beat into mixture gradually)
  • Pour the egg white mixture over the egg yolk mixture

Sift following ingredients:

  • 2/3 cup flour
  • 1/3 cup corn starch
  • 2 Tbsp. cocoa
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder

Pour over the above mixture and fold under.
Pour batter into a paper lines spring form.  Bake at 375° F for 25-30 minute and let cool.  Slice the cooled cake to make two layers.
Filling and Frosting:
Mix a bit of kirsch or rum flavoring with tart cherry pie filling.  Beat 2 1/2 cups of whipping cream together with 1/2 cup powdered sugar.  Dissolve 1 Tbps. of Knox gelatin in 2 Tbps of water.  Bring to a boil.  Add gelatin to half of the whipping cream for the outer cake frosting.
Spread 1/2 of cherry filling on the bottom crust.
Add a layer of whipped cream on top of the cherry filling.  Place sponge cake layers on top of this and add more filling and whipped cream.  Use the whipped cream mixed with gelatin to frost the cake.  Sprinkle flakes of grated chocolate bar over the frosting.  Place cherries around the outer top for decoration.  Enjoy!

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Wolfgang’s Beef Goulash

Hi my name is Becky, and I am a Food Network junkie!  This week, I’ve been posting some of my German recipes.  I made this one several times and this is a good authentic recipe from Wolfgang Puck who owns a chain of restaurants and is of Austrian heritage.  The spaetzle are very good as well – but if you would like to try something different, make the  Semmelknödel from one of my previous posts.  Put them  in the bowl and then top it with the Beef Goulash. Sprinkle with fresh parsley and you are good to go.  A salad with a vinaigrette dressing would round out the meal nicely.


Food Network Puck’s Goulash

Wolfgang’s Beef Goulash
Serves 6

Show: Wolfgang Puck Episode: Wolfgang Puck’s Austria: A Journey Home

  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 cups onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon caraway seeds, toasted and ground
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons sweet paprika
  • 1 teaspoon spicy paprika
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh marjoram leaves
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 2 1/2 pounds beef shank, cut into 2-inch cubes
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • Spaetzle, recipe follows

In a large saute pan, heat the olive oil and saute the onions and sugar until caramelized. Add the garlic and caraway seed. Cook for 1 minute. Add the sweet and sharp paprika, marjoram, thyme, and bay leaf. Saute another minute, until fragrant. Add the tomato paste. Deglaze with the vinegar and the stock and add the pieces of beef, salt, and pepper. Bring to a boil, then lower to a simmer and cook until very tender, about 2 1/2  to 3 hours, stirring occasionally.
Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper. Serve with Spaetzle on the side.

  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1 egg
  • 1 3/4 cups milk
  • 1 pound (about 3 cups) all purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1/2 cup peanut oil
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 2 ounces unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon fresh minced parsley

In a small bowl, beat together the egg yolks, egg and milk. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, nutmeg, salt, and pepper. Add the egg mixture to the flour mixture and mix with hand until well blended. Do not overmix at this stage. Cover the bowl and refrigerate. Allow the batter to rest for at least 1 hour.
Bring salted water to a boil. Place a perforated hotel pan on top of the pot. Place the batter on the pan and force through the holes to form spaetzle. Cook for 4 to 5 minutes, or until al dente. Transfer cooked spaetzle to a bowl of ice water to shock. When cool to the touch, drain well. Stir in half the oil. (At this point you can cover and refrigerate up to 2 days).
Over high heat, place a large saute pan until it gets very hot. Add the remaining 1/4 cup of oil and the boiled spaetzle. Saute until golden. Season, to taste, with salt and pepper. Finish with butter and sprinkle with parsley.

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German Red Cabbage

German Red Cabbage is sometimes also known as Sweet and Sour Red Cabbage.  It is a classic German dish that has bacon and sometimes apples in it.

I found this recipe in a Betty Crocker cookbook of all things but made a few changes to the original.  I cook it longer so the cabbage wilts completely and the vinegar cooks into the cabbage giving it a nice tangy taste with the sweet of the brown sugar.  Yum!  Enjoy.

Sweet and Sour Cabbage – Betty Crocker
Serves 6

  • 5 cups red cabbage, or  1  1/2 packages prepared
  • 4 slices Bacon — diced
  • 1/4 cup brown Sugar, packed
  • 2 Tbsp. Flour
  • 1/2 cup Water
  • 1/4 cup white Vinegar
  • 1 tsp. Salt
  • 1/8 tsp. Pepper
  • 1 small Onion, diced

Prepare and cook 5 cups shredded cabbage; (to cook cabbage: heat 1 inch water with ½ tsp salt, 1 cup water, 2 Tbsp. vinegar and lemon juice) to boiling.  Add cabbage.  Cover and heat to boiling; reduce heat; boil stirring once, until crisp-tender 10-15 minutes).  I cook it another 30-40 minutes making sure the water does not all evaporate and adding more as needed, stirring from time to time so it does not stick to the bottom of the pan)

In a separate pan, cook bacon, stirring occasionally until crisp;drain on paper towels; drain fat, reserving 1 Tbsp.  Stir in brown sugar, flour into fat.  Stir in water, salt, pepper, and onion. (I cook the onions before as I do not like the taste of raw onions) Cook stirring frequently, until mixture thickens, about 5 minutes.
Stir bacon and sauce mixture into hot cabbage in sauce pan.  Heat through.  Garnish with additional crisply cooked diced bacon if desired.

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German Beef Rouladen

I promised some German/Austrian recipes to a friend.  So here they are.  I may not have pictures for these yet, but as I do I will make every effort to add them.

My parents served as missionaries in Austria for over 30 years and I was in fact born in Austria during that time.  They have since retired in New Jersey where my father’s family is from, but one Christmas my parents gave me a Fissler Pressure cooker that they brought with them from Austria on a visit.  This recipe is from the booklet (which was in German). I translated it and if you have a pressure cooker, follow the recommendations on your pressure cooker, but you could also make these in a crock pot or in the oven.

Beef Rouladen – Fissler Pressure Cooker Cookbooklet
Serves 4


  • 4 slices Beef Steak — thin cut
  • 1 Tbsp.  sharp Mustard
  • Salt — to taste
  • Pepper, to taste
  • 4 slices Bacon
  • 2 large Pickles, Dill — sliced
  • 1 large Onion   — sliced
  • 1 Tbsp. Oil
  • 1 cup Water — boiling hot
  • 2-3  Peppercorns
  • 1/2 Bay Leaf
  • 2  Tbsp. Creme Fraiche

Spread the beef slices with mustard and salt and pepper to taste. Place bacon slices on top of steak and allow pickle slices to drip almost dry and slice them and the onions into sliverlike strips.
Divide the bacon, pickle and onion among the beef steaks.  Roll up the steaks and secure with toothpicks or skewers.
Get the pressure cooker heated over medium high heat.  Add oil and brown the rouladen.  Add water, peppercorns, and bay leaf to the pressure cooker.  Close the pressure cooker and heat until pressure valve closes itself and the second pressure ring on the Fissler is visible.(high pressure)  Keep at second level pressure for 20 minutes,( reducing the heat enough to keep the pressure from increasing above that).
Remove pot from stove-top.  Decrease pressure in pot by pouring water over lid.  Remove the rouladen, cover in foil and keep warm in a 300°F oven.  Remove bay leaf from pressure cooker and any film.  Add crème fraiche and additional salt and pepper if desired.
Serving suggestion:  Great with rice, red cabbage, potatoes with parsley, mixed salad.

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