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Spike Gjerde
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Sour Beef with Crouton Dumplings & Ginger Cookies

Spike Gjerde, Woodberry Kitchen / March 2011

For 120 servings (requires advance preparation)

Ginger cookie crumbs:
• 3 5/6 cups all-purpose flour
• 2 2/3 tsps. baking soda
• 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
• 1 tsp. ground ginger
• 2/3 tsp. salt
• 4/5 cup molasses
• 2 sm. eggs
• 1 2/3 cups brown sugar
• 18 Tbsps. unsalted butter, at room temperature
• 4 tsps. fresh ginger, grated

  1. Heat oven to 350°F.

  2. Place flour, baking soda, cinnamon, ground ginger, and salt in a bowl; mix well; reserve.

  3. Whisk molasses and eggs in a bowl; reserve.

  4. Place sugar and butter in the bowl of electric mixer fitted with paddle attachment; beat until light and fluffy; with the motor running, gradually add molasses; mix well; reduce speed to low; gradually add flour mixture; increase speed to medium; mix until just combined; add fresh ginger; mix well.

  5. Spread out evenly onto baking sheet lined with parchment paper; bake until firm; remove from oven; cool; crumble; place in airtight container; cover; reserve.

Sour beef:
• 1 gal. plus 3/4 cup red wine vinegar
• 1 gal. plus 3/4 cup apple cider vinegar
• 2 gal. plus 1 3/4 cups water
• 2 3/4 cups granulated sugar
• 2/3 cup black peppercorns
• 1/2 cup salt
• 5 Tbsps. mustard seeds
• 5 5/6 Tbsps. allspice
• 3 1/2 Tbsps. juniper berries
• 3 5/6 Tbsps. cloves
• 1/4 oz. bay leaves
• 75 lbs. beef shank and heel, divided into 9 oz. portions
• beef stock

  1. Bring all ingredients except beef and stock to a boil in large pot; cook until sugar and salt have dissolved; remove from heat; cool; chill in refrigerator.

  2. Remove brine from refrigerator; add beef; cover with parchment paper round; top with plates to weight beef to keep it submerged in liquid; let stand at room temperature 24 hours.

  3. Heat oven to 280°F.

  4. Remove meat from brine; pat dry; reserve 1/4 of brine, discarding remainder; heat braising pan over high heat; add meat; sear until brown on both sides (1 to 2 minutes for each side); add reserved brine and enough stock to cover meat; cover with a lid; cook until meat is tender and cooked through; remove from oven; cool.

  5. Remove meat from liquid; reserve; strain liquid through fine chinois into clean pot; bring to a boil; reduce heat to medium-high; simmer, skimming scum from surface as needed; whisk in reserved cookie crumbs until sauce has slightly thickened; simmer 20 minutes; remove from heat; strain through fine chinois into clean pot; reserve (keep warm).

Assembly:
• 14-oz. dry-aged beef fat, cut into small dice
• 1 loaf sandwich bread, crusts trimmed and torn into 1/2" pieces
• 3 1/3 tsps. salt, plus more for seasoning
• black pepper, freshly ground
• 4 lbs. potatoes, peeled, boiled, and passed through a ricer
• 6 2/5 cups all-purpose flour
• 5 lg. eggs
• buttered carrots (for serving)
• roasted shallots, finely chopped (for serving)
• parsley, finely chopped (for garnishing)

  1. Place fat in large pot set over medium heat, cooking in batches to avoid overcrowding the pot; cook until brown; remove from heat; place on platter; cool; mince; reserve; reserve rendered fat in separate pot.

  2. Place bread in reserved rendered fat in a skillet set over medium-high heat; season; toss to coat; cook until brown; remove from heat; reserve (keep warm).

  3. Place potatoes, flour, reserved minced fat, eggs, and remaining 3 1/3 tsps. salt in large bowl; mix well; shape into 1 3/4 oz. balls; press a crouton into the center of each ball; press closed to seal; reserve.

  4. Bring a pot of lightly salted water to a boil; add dumplings in batches; bring to a boil; cook 10 minutes; remove with slotted spoon; place on serving platter; reserve (keep warm).

  5. To serve, add dumplings and reserved meat to warm sauce; cook until everything is heated through; divide among serving bowls; place carrots and shallots to one side; garnish with parsley.

What to drink: German bock