Beef in Pepper Sauce

4 Wilbrett jm pfeffer einzúmachenn
Ain frisch wilbret seúd jn zwaý tail wasser vnnd jn wein/ vnnd wan es gesotten jst, so schneids zú stúcken vnnd legs jn ain pfeffer, lasß nún ain weil darin sieden, machs als so, nim rúckin brott, schneit die herten rinden darúon vnnd schneit das brot zú stúcken aines fingers tick/ vnnd so brait, als der laib an jm selber jst, bren das ob dem feúr, das es anfacht ann baiden orten schwartz wirt, thú das von stúnd an jn ain kalt wasser, lasß nit lang darin ligen, thú es darnach jn ain kessel/ gúsß die brie daran, darin das willbret gesotten jst, seichs dúrch ain túch, hack zwiffel vnnd speck gar klain, lasß vnnderainander schwaisen, thú nit zú wenig jnn den pfeffer,
gewirtz jn woll, lasß jn einsieden, thú ain essich daran, so hast ain gúten pfeffer.
Das Kuchbuch der Sabina Welserin’

4 Wild game marinated in peppersauce
Boil fresh game in two parts water and one part wine, and when it is done, then cut it into pieces and lay it in a peppersauce. Let it simmer a while therein. Make [the sauce] so: Take rye bread, cut off the hard crust and cut the bread into pieces, as thick as a finger and as long as the loaf of bread is. Brown it over the fire, until it begins to blacken on both sides. Put it right away into cold water. Do not allow it to remain long therein. After that put it into a kettle, pour into it the broth in which the game was boiled, strain it through a cloth, finely chop onions and bacon, let it cook together, do not put too little in the peppersauce, season it well, let it simmer and put vinegar into it, then you have a good peppersauce.

The text of the original recipe can be found here.

The translation is by Valoise Armstrong, and can be found here.

Pepper sauce was a popular accompaniment to meats, especially when it was only available in smaller portions (Bach, 2016, 137). However, while many recipe collections specify to serve meat in a pepper sauce, there is rarely a recipe for the sauce. For an example, check recipe 7 from the Cookbook of the Archive of the Teutonic Order, available online here. It was probably one of those preparations everyone knew how to make. Even Sabina Welserin’s recipe doesn’t actually specify pepper.

Ingredients

500g beef (see notes) 4 slices toasted rye bread 30mL vinegar
1L water 1 onion 2 tsp ground black pepper
500mL red wine 4 rashers bacon salt to taste

Method

  1. Cut the beef into bitesize chunks, and remove any excess fat.
  2. Put the beef, water and red wine into a pot. Bring to the boil, then reduce to a simmer. Cook for several hours until the beef is tender.
  3. When the time comes to make the sauce, remove the crusts from the slices of toast and cut it into thin fingers.
  4. Finely dice the onion and chop the bacon into strips.
  5. Dip the fingers of toast into cold water, then add to a pan with the onion, bacon and pepper.
  6. Strain the extra cooking liquid from the beef, until there is just enough liquid left in the beef to keep it moist. Add the strained stock to the sauce pot.
  7. Stir the sauce well to combine. The toast will break down into mush. Bring the sauce to the boil, and cook for around ten minutes.
  8. Strain the sauce, then pour it over the beef and add the vinegar. Cook the beef in the sauce until the sauce has reduced to the desired consistency, then add salt to taste.

Notes

  • This dish works well with cuts that have a lot of connective tissue, such as chuck, shin or cheek; the longer you cook them the better they get. You can use other cuts, but they will not require as much cooking.
  • It may seem odd to dip the toast fingers into water before making the sauce with them. However, if you add the dry toast to the sauce, it will immediately soak up all the flavour of the pepper. If it’s wet, it will crumble and thicken the sauce, without removing any of the flavour.

Beef in pepper sauce

Further Reading

Click on the links below to buy direct from The Book Depository.
Bach, Volker (2016). The Kitchen, Food and Cooking in Reformation Germany.

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One comment on “Beef in Pepper Sauce

  1. What a fascinating recipe. I love checking out food history. You had to really know about cooking in those days before you got the recipe.

    Like

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