Sauerbraten – Traditional German Dinner

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There was a German restaurant the hubby and I used to go to in New Jersey and we would both always order the sauerbraten. Before the wait staff would accept the order they always asked if we knew what it was and if we had ever had it before. They were concerned that we wouldn’t like it when it came out. We always assured them that we adored sauerbraten.  It is traditionally served with pickled red cabbage and spaetzle. It is not the prettiest dish in the world but it is one of the most flavorful. I am revisiting this recipe because I have a hankering for this delicious German dish. Be warned though, this is not a dish you decide to make the same day. To truly get the best sauerbraten it needs to marinate for three days.

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Serves 6 – 8

  • 3 – 4 lb pot roast
  • 1 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 TBS granulated sugar
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 10 peppercorns
  • 12 whole cloves
  • 1 medium carrot, sliced
  • 1 medium onion, sliced
  • 1/3 cup fat, such as Crisco or Canola oil
  • 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 6 – 8 gingersnaps

I would note that using a good and spicy gingersnap is important. You don’t want one that is too sweet. You want a real bright ginger flavor.

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  • Place the roast in a large, non reactive pot or crock.
  • Combine the vinegar, water sugar, salt and bay leaves, pepercorns and cloves in a saucepan.
  • Heat to boiling and then reduce the heat to a slow simmer. Simmer for 5 minutes.
  • Allow the marinade to cool completely and then pour it over the beef.
  • Arrange the sliced carrots and onions over the beef.
  • Cover and refrigerate.
  • Turn the meat every 24 hours for three days.

sauerbraten in marinade
To cook the Sauerbraten:

  • Remove the beef rom the liquid and blot dry with paper towels.
  • Melt the fat in a Dutch oven over medium heat. (I used canola oil – about 1/4 cup).
  • When the oil is hot, add the meat and brown it slowly on all sides.

cooking the sauerbraten

  • Strain the marinating liquid removing the spices, carrots and onions and add it to the pot with the meat.
  • Bring the liquid to a boil and then reduce to a simmer.
  • Cook for 3 – 4 hours or until the beef is very tender.
  • Mix the 1/4 cup flour with 1/3 cup water an stir into the juices around the beef. Stir and cook for about 15 to 20 minutes.
  • Remove the beef to a platter for cutting.
  • Crush the gingersnaps and add them to the gravy. Cook until blended. There will still be some pieces that don’t fully dissolve. This is fine. 

Sauerbraten with Pickled Red Cabbage and Spaetzle

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How Was the Sauerbraten?

The beef is so delightfully tender after marinating and cooking. It practically falls apart. It has a wonderful tart/sour flavor that is enhanced by the gingery gravy. The pickled red cabbage I made was a combination of three recipes I found and it was delicious; still a bit crunchy and with a touch of orange in the flavor. The spaetzle were delicious. 

This is a recipe that feeds us for several nights and then freezes beautifully for later. 

Check out the recipes for spaetzle and pickled red cabbage



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