Sour Beef & Dumplings from scratch
I grew up in Baltimore and this was always a much desired meal. A restaurant called Silver Spring Mining Co. makes good Sour Beef, too. I use my family's recipe and it turns out great. Sometimes you have to add more ginger snaps, but the more you prepare it, the better you get. Sometimes you feel like throwing the dumplings, but hang in there; it's well worth it. Here is the recipe - ENJOY and happy new year!
Sour Beef and Dumplings (Sauerbraten)
Ginger Snap Gravy:
Take 24 ginger snaps early in day and cover with 1-1/4 cups of water - let soak 'til soft - needs stirring off and on to get it fairly smooth.
Early in the day, do this: Make croutons out of 2 slices of bread cut in small squares and browned - help dumplings float.
1. Wash off potatoes (9 fairly medium, not little) and cover with water - boil in salted water until tender (1 hour? or less).
2. Peel off skins while hot - put in large mixing bowl and mash - add nothing, just turn over a few times off and on and let get "cold". Turn over every 1/2 hour or so by stirring.
3. Take now after meat is finished, as this is the last thing before meal is ready, and make dumplings.
Now into your cold mashed potatoes, add salt, 3 whole eggs, stir and add a bit more salt (it should be squishy).
Now add 3 cups plain flour and mix in good - it's hard to mix and should be fairly solid.
Have a wide pot boiling. Take big handful (hands dusted with flour before each dumpling is made, with crouton in middle), and drop into boiling water (not to boiling tho, but gently moving). When all are in, lift off bottom so they float and move in the boiling water. Boil 20 minutes - take out one and cut - if dry textured inside, it's finished.
Cut and fry dumpling next day (do not put in gravy to store - keep separate).
If dumplings are bit undone - don't worry - just slice and fry golden brown right off - maybe next time will be better.
DO NOT put salt in potatoes 'til time to make dumplings - it will make potatoes watery.
Bottom Round Roast (can cut up in big serving chunks (say 6 pieces).
1. Take meat, wash off, and put in fairly big pot - preferably not aluminum.
2. Cover with 1 cup of white vinegar to every 3 cups of plain water (say 6 cups water needs 2 cups vinegar) - (also put in about 3 big fat onions). Either take onions out when tender, or put in 1/2 hour later, as they finish before meat most times and will fall apart.
3. Put in salt (medium amount, say 2 teaspoons) - then sugar (approx. 2 tablespoons, more can be added) - then about 1 big tablespoonful of McCormick's "Pickling Spices" all wrapped up in piece of cheese cloth and tied tight (you use tea strainer).
4. Boil for at least 1-1/2 hours until meat is tender, but not falling apart. Watch closely as vinegar foams up fast and boils over and makes one awfully sticky mess. When it starts to boil, turn down and boil gently (not as slow as simmer tho), with lid at slant, never covered tight.
Want sweeter, add more sugar and bit salt, too. Take spices out before adding ginger snaps. Want more sour, add tiny bit vinegar. Take out meat and onions - add mushy ginger snaps and stir until smooth and fairly thick - put NO LID ON AFTER THIS (just put meat and onions back in or it will get watery). Make early and warm up if you want it later.