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Faschierter Braten – Austrian Meatloaf

Faschierter Braten is a traditional Austrian dish, often served with mashed potatoes, caramelised onion rings and sometimes served alongside a salad. It is a tasteful, satiable and inexpensive meal of beef mince and pork mince. Depending on the kind of preparation, the Braten also has other names: Netzbraten when the ground meat mass is wrapped and roasted in a pork net; Falscher Hase when it is formed like the shape of a hare’s back or Stephaniebraten when the roast is additionally filled with a hard boiled egg, pickles, and sausages. The ingredients in the Braten can vary, so numerous nontraditional variations exist. The original recipe can be enriched , for instance, by adding different spices or vegetables to the meat-dough or by mixing the meat with rice in order to reduce the fat content of this dish.

But not only in Austria, almost all over Europe similar versions of this popular delicious and solid fare can be found. The Germans use the term Frikadelle for rissoles, which are formed of the same meat-dough as the Faschierter Braten. In Austria, these rissoles are known as Faschierte Laibchen. The Hungarians like it a bit spicier and add paprika to the meat mass. They form a sausage link and call it Cevapcici. The probably most popular version of rissoles accompanies the hamburger. Again, many interesting and tasteful versions exist in different burgers all over the world.

The easy preparation process of this hearty dish even allows poor cooks to have a try. For one thing, while the Braten is stewing in the oven, there is enough time to prepare the side dishes and to set the table. For another thing, neither lots of cookware, nor extraordinary spices are needed for this enjoyable dish.

Faschierter Braten - Minced Pork Meatloaf with Soured Cream
This very traditional Austrian dish is probably the moistest meatloaf we’ve ever tasted. It’s deeply savoury and really easy to make.
Ingredients
  • 1 tablespoon sunflower oil
  • 1 large onion, finely diced
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 500 g pork mince, or a mixture of beef and pork mince
  • 175 g fresh white breadcrumbs
  • 1 tablespoon dried marjoram or 2 tablespoons fresh marjoram leaves, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon caraway seeds
  • 1 teaspoon flaked sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
  • 2 medium eggs, beaten
  • 500 ml beef stock (preferably fresh stock)
  • 150 ml soured cream
  • a few sprigs of fresh marjoram, to garnish (optional)
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 190°C.
  2. Heat the oil in a large frying pan and gently fry the onion for 5 minutes or until softened, stirring occasionally. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute more, stirring constantly.
  3. Tip the onion and garlic into a large bowl and add the mince, 150 g of the breadcrumbs, the marjoram, caraway seeds, salt and pepper. Mix everything well with clean hands, then add the beaten eggs and mix again. Form the mixture into a rough ball.
  4. Place the ball in the centre of a sturdy roasting tin and shape it into a long loaf, about 4 cm in high. Sprinkle the reserved breadcrumbs on top and pat them lightly into the outside of the loaf. Pour 300 ml of the beef stock around the base of the meatloaf.
  5. Bake in the centre of the oven for 20 minutes, then pour the remaining stock into the tin and return to the oven for 10 minutes until cooked through. Transfer the meatloaf carefully to a warmed serving platter and cover loosely with foil.
  6. Place the roasting tin over a medium heat and simmer for a few minutes until the juices are well reduced – you should have about 100 ml of liquid in the tin. Stir in the soured cream and warm through gently, stirring constantly, then season to taste with salt and pepper.
  7. Strain the sauce through a sieve into a small jug.
  8. Garnish the meatloaf with some fresh marjoram sprigs, if you have some, and serve with the hot sauce.
If there is some Braten left, it can either be warmed over again or enjoyed as a cold snack. A typical Austrian version of such a cold snack is the so-called Brettl-Jause. For this, different types of cheese, fresh or pickled vegetables like tomatoes, pickles, onions, cucumber or capsicum, and meat are arranged on a plate. Of course, the ingredients may vary slightly according to personal preferences. Primarily, the Brettl-Jause, whose name derives from the wooden plate (Brett) on which it is served, is offered in rural taverns or ski lodges all over Austria.

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