In Germany Christmas is celebrated for several days. The 24th is "Heiliger Abend" (holy night) and that's when we exchange Christmas gifts. The 25th is the first Christmas day and the 26th is the second Christmas day. Growing up we always had a very nice lunch together on the 24th, complete with first course and dessert. We have kind of combined our American and German traditions, and a big part is a nice, festive meal on the 24th.
This year our meal will consist of: Sauerbraten (meat soaked in a vinegar brine), Kloesse (potato dumplings), salad and red cabbage.
To have the meat ready, it needs to be put into the brine 3-8 days prior to cooking it. That's what I did today.
Als ich klein war gab es bei uns am 24 Dezember immer ein leckeres Mittagessen. Meistens mit Suppe als Vorspeise und irgendeinen Nachtisch. Diese Tradition haben wir beibehalten und dieses Jahr gibt es am Heiligen Abend Sauerbraten, Kloesse, Salat und Blaukraut. Den Sauerbraten habe ich heute eingelegt. Das Rezept ist aus dem bayrischen Kochbuch und ich habe es schon oefters hergenommen.Sauerbraten
3/4 liter water, about 3 cups
1/8 - 1/4 liter vinegar, about 1 cup
1 onion cut into large chunks
some peppercorns, 3 bay leaves, 2 whole cloves, 4 - 6 juniper berries
1 carrot, 1 parsnip and 2 celery stalks cut into large chunks
In the summer I would bring the brine to a boil, let cool and then pour over the meat. In the winter this is not necessary, just make sure the brine covers the meat.
Place in fridge for 3 - 8 days.
Remove meat from brine, dry and salt a little. Brown the meat on all sides over medium high heat and then transfer to roasting pan. Add about 1/4 of an apple to the roasting pan, as well as 1-2 cut up onions, cut up carrots, parsnips and celery. You can also add a chunk of bread rind. Roast at 425 for about 1 1/2 to 2 hours. A large piece of meat might take longer. During the roasting time, baste the meat with some of the (heated and strained ) brine. You might need about 1/2 liter. Once the roast is done, make gravy out of the drippings.