Old-Fashioned Sauerbraten

With cold weather upon us, it’s time for some hearty main dishes that can stoke those internal fires. This German version of pot roast will warm your insides, guaranteed.

We really like this recipe! I make it for Grandpa Holzmann when he comes to visit. In fact, we have several friends who ask for this whenever they come to stay with us. It makes a great company meal. You can use a cheaper cut of beef, and most of the work is done ahead of time so you can enjoy your guests. The hardest part is finding room in the refrigerator to marinate the meat for several days.

I’ve been trying to come up with a version without the gingersnaps, since I shouldn’t have the sugar in them. So far, my alternatives just don’t taste quite as good.

This was originally published in the Spices of the World Cookbook by the McCormick spice company. If their intent is to get you to purchase more of their products, they are more than successful with this recipe. As usual, I’ve messed around with some of the quantities, especially with the herbs.

Old-Fashioned Sauerbraten

1 4-lb. beef roast (bottom round, chuck, etc.)
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
2 C water
2 C cider or red wine vinegar
1/2 C dry red wine
1 onion, sliced
3 bay leaves
12 peppercorns
6 cloves
2 Tbsp. celery leaves
1 tsp. thyme leaves
1/2 tsp. mustard seed
1 large carrot, sliced
1/4 C sugar or substitute (must withstand cooking)
Flour for dredging
2 Tbsp. oil
18 gingersnaps, crushed

Place beef in large, sturdy zip-lock or bowl with salt, pepper, water, vinegar, wine, onions, bay leaves, peppercorns, cloves, celery leaves, thyme, mustard seed, carrot and sugar.

Marinate three days in refrigerator, turning several times.

When ready to cook, remove meat from marinade, dry and dust with flour. Brown on all sides in large pot in hot oil. (You can skip the browning, but it does add flavor, and the finished roast looks nicer.) Add marinade. Cover and simmer slowly 3 hours or until tender (8 to 10 hours in the crock pot works too).

Lift meat onto hot platter and slice. Keep warm in oven. Strain marinade/stock. Add gingersnaps and cook, stirring, until thickened. (I like to pick out the carrots and onions and return them to the broth, then run it all through a blender along with the gingersnaps until it is totally smooth, then cook it to thicken.) Pour part of the gravy over the sliced meat and serve the rest on the side.

We traditionally serve sauerbraten with potato pancakes, applesauce, and a vegetable such as sour red cabbage, Brussels sprouts, or peas.

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