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Sour Beef Salad ( Saures Reindfleisch)

March 22, 2014


Last fall, we went on a motorcycle road trip across Italy. Italy is beautiful, and a road trip is the best way to really experience the country. North eastern Italy is endowed with the best of nature, every corner surprises you with breathtaking view of lush orchards, expansive lakes and imposing mountains. We were riding south towards Bergamo, when we decided to stop for dinner, quite randomly taking the exit for the town of Kastell Bell, in Sud Tyrol. The first place we saw as we entered town was a farmhouse,Hofschank Angerguter Keller. A Hofschank is a farmhouse that serves South Tyrolean fare with ingredients grown on the farm. Now, I am not a big meat eater, especially beef, but will try all food, usually preferring vegetarian. When I asked our waitress, what she would recommend she said, the sour beef salad is a Sud Tyrolean staple that one has to try. So I said, why not! When the plate arrived, it looked a bit like Beef Carpaccio, except the beef was cooked. Very thin slices of beef were the bed on which were onions and cherry tomatoes, dressed in tangy vinaigrette. It was the. Most sublime plate of beef I’ve ever eaten, and for someone who usually doesn’t finish a full plate of meat, I got pretty close on this one. The meat melted like butter in my mouth and the vinaigrette added a perfect tang.

I’ve been trying to recreate that plate since I got back and the last one was quite close. It’s a simple enough recipe with German and Austrian origins. Here’s my version

What you need
– Lean Beef Chuck – 2 pounds
– Onion- 1/2
– Leek – 1
– Carrots – 2
– Celery – 2 stalks
– Peppercorns- a few
– Bay leaf – 1
– Water – enough to cover the beef
– Salt
– Green Chillies – 2

Salad vegetables
– Onion – 1
– cherry tomatoes – 1/2 a cup

– Pumpkin seed oil or olive oil – 4 Tblsps ( pumpkin seed oil has a wonderful nutty, buttery flavor)
– White wine vinegar- 1 Tblsp
– Salt and pepper to taste

How it’s done
– Wash the beef chuck and place in a Dutch oven with enough water to cover the meat
– Cut the onion in half with peel and char on a cast iron skillet. Add to the beef and water
– Cut the rest of the vegetables and add to the pot along with the peppercorns and the bay leaf as well as enough salt
– Bring the pot a boil, skimming any residue from the meat. Once boiling, simmer for 3 hours.
– Take the beef out of the broth and cool. It will be easier to slice when completely cooled and refrigerated. I refrigerated overnight.
– The broth is delicious and can be used for soups and other gravy based dishes. The veggies can be eaten or discarded.
– When you’re ready to assemble the salad, slice then onions into thin strips and cut the tomatoes into half. I also added son Persian cucumbers, but it’s not necessary
– Combine the dressing ingredients and emulsify. Mix some with the onions and tomatoes.
– Slice the beef as thin as possible. If you have a mandolin, that will work perfectly ( I don’t. So my slices were not super thin)
– Place the slices fanned around the plate, pour the dressing evenly over the slices and let marinate for at least 30 minutes. Top with veggies and serve.

The simmering in the vegetable filled stock let the beef soaks in the essence of all the vegetables and spices, making the meat soft and delicious. The pumpkin seed dressing enhances the flavors and elevates this simple dish.

  1. shyameds permalink

    You went on a motorcycle trip across Italy? How utterly fab! How long did you go for? I’m so envious – a road trip in Italy is in my top 10 things to do!

    • Hi Shyam, we were on the road for 10 days- started in Milan, went south to Siena, spent a few days there and checked out the surrounding Wine country and Florence. Worked our way north via Cinque Terre to Lake Como, went across to Zug, where we stayed a few days and toured Zurich and Lucerne. We then made our way east via Liechtenstein and Austria, then South to Bergamo via the imposing Dolomites. Kastellbell was on our way to Bergamo in north eastern Italy. It was a fantabulous experience- the best way to experience Italy….you have to do it!!!

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