DW's Scene in Berlin columnist Jefferson Chase has sampled nearly all of Berlin's home-cooking hot spots, but maintains that his own kitchen can keep up with the best. He shares his version of a German favorite.
This is not the traditional Schäufele one would get in Franconia or Baden. Schäufele (literally "little shovel") is traditionally a pork shoulder roast, but I use beef shoulder because it takes on more of the flavor of the jus, and I love the way beef roasts melt in your mouth if you get them right.
The key is to find a good butcher and make sure the cut of meat you buy is well marbled. Roasts should never been too lean; if they are, they'll turn out dry as dirt. You'll also need a bit of time for this, as you'll see. This recipe is just the thing for a lazy or rainy Sunday.
1 kg beef shoulder or similar well marbled cut of beef
400 grams La Ratte potatoes
200 grams thickly chopped carrots
100 grams thickly chopped stalk celery
200 grams thickly chopped onions
200 grams button mushrooms
4 cloves garlic, crushed
500 ml dark beer
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 cube beef bouillon
2 tablespoons quince jelly or jam
Rub the beef shoulder with freshly ground salt, pepper and Provencal herbs and then brown thoroughly on all sides, using a cast-iron pot. Add dark beer (I use ones from Bohemia in the Czech Republic, but Guinness is also good), tomato paste, garlic, and beef bouillon and let boil for one minute.
Add vegetables and put the covered pot in an oven pre-warmed to 80 degrees Celsius. (The recipe also works with a frying pan and then a Dutch oven or a covered casserole dish - the main thing is that the seal is tight.) Cook for four hours. The extremely long cooking time at low heat is what will make the meat fall apart in tender strands.
Remove the meat from the pot, wrap in tin foil and allowed to settle for 15 minutes. Remove the vegetables and keep warm. Thicken the beer sauce using the quince jelly. (Any fruit jelly is okay as long as it's not the mass-produced kind full of extra sugar.) Salt and pepper to taste, drizzle over the meat and vegetables, and serve.
Feel free to experiment and enjoy. This recipe serves four.
Read Jefferson Chase's Scene in Berlin column: Vegetarians beware, Berlin turns carnivorous in the winter