How to make sauerbraten

Classic Sauerbraten

Sauerbraten Dinner

Sauerbraten is not a dish that you throw together on the spur of the moment. The first time I had sauerbraten was at my sister Cindy’s home. I was instantly in love with it. The flavors were so complex. I could not get enough of that wonderful gravy.

The secret to sauerbraten is the long marinading process. A beef roast marinades in a mix of vinegar, wine, veggies and spices for 3-5 days. In that time, the meat becomes very tender and it picks up all those flavors. It’s almost like pickling the meat.

When ready to cook, the meat is dredged in flour, browned, then simmered in water until tender. All those ingredients in the marinade flavor the cooking water, creating a broth. The broth is tart. To offset the sourness of the vinegar, a gravy is made with the broth that contains cookies. Yes, cookies. Gingersnaps, to be exact.

It sounds odd, but it really is wonderful. The ginger, cinnamon and cloves in the cookies add such a wonderful flavor to the gravy. I made my own gingersnaps, but you can use store bought. I posted the recipe for gingersnaps earlier in the week.

Sauerbraten

Marinade:

1 c. red wine vinegar

½ c. cider vinegar

½ c. red wine

1 large onion, sliced

2 carrots, peeled and sliced

top from 1 bunch celery

few sprigs of fresh parsley or 1 T. dried

1 bay leaf

4 whole cloves

3 whole allspice

½ t. whole peppercorns

1 t. salt

4- 6 lb.  lean boneless chuck roast – I actually used a bottom round roast

additional flour for dredging

⅓ c. oil

2 c. warm water

¼ c. flour

I T. sugar

1 c. crushed gingersnaps – or a few more

water

salt and pepper to taste

Combine marinade ingredients in a large glass or ceramic bowl. Add meat and cover.  Refrigerate 3-5 days. Tum meat at least once a day. Remove meat from marinade and pat dry. Discard marinade. Dredge in flour. Heat oil in Dutch oven and brown meat in pan. Add warm water and simmer, covered, for 1- 2 hours or until fork tender. Start testing meat  for doneness after the first hour. Remove meat to platter and keep warm while sauce is being prepared.

For sauce, strain the pan juices and discard solids. Skim off any fat. Return the juices to the Dutch oven and keep hot. In small bowl combine the ¼ c. flour, sugar, and gingersnaps. Stir in cold water until smooth paste is formed. Whisk this paste into the  hot liquid in the pan and simmer, stirring until thickened. If it’s not thick enough, make a little more paste with flour and water. Serve meat sliced thin, with sauce on the side, and hot cooked noodles, potatoes, potato dumplings, or spaetzle.

Serves 8 – 12.