Sunday, October 7, 2012

German Sauerbraten Roast

Updated September 2020

In Germany, this beef roast is a very popular dish, and it quickly became one of our favorites! Since the beef marinates several days in your refrigerator, once it's ready to cook, it's very easy to place in the slow cooker and serve any day of the week.

What is Sauerbraten? Sauerbraten (German: "sour roast" from sauer for "sour" or "pickled" and Braten for "roast meat") is a German pot roast that can be prepared with a variety of meats—most often beef, but also from venison, lamb, mutton, pork, and traditionally, horse. Before cooking, the cut of meat is marinated for several days (recipes vary from three to ten days) in a mixture of vinegar and wine, water, herbs, spices, and seasonings. Since usually tougher cuts of meat (like rump roast, or bottom round of beef) are used for Sauerbraten, the longer marinating of the meat acts to tenderize it, resulting in a finished dish that is tender, soft, and juicy. The ingredients of the marinade vary based on regional styles and traditions throughout Germany.

Sauerbraten is regarded as one of the national dishes of Germany. It is one of the best-known German dishes, and is frequently found on the menus of German-style restaurants outside Germany. Several regional variations on the dish include those from Franconia, Thuringia, Rhineland, Saarland, Silesia, and Swabia. In a few parts of Germany potato pancakes (either Kartoffelpuffer or Reibekuchen) are served with sauerbraten; many German-style restaurants in the US do this.

Sauerbraten is traditionally served with traditional German side dishes, such as Rotkohl (red cabbage), Knödel or Kartoffelklöße (potato dumplings), Spätzle (an egg and flour noodle), and boiled potatoes. (source: Wikipedia)

My family loves this roast, and it's one we enjoy many times during the year, and, as you can see, there are many ways to serve it. 

4-pound lean beef roast (rump or eye of round work best)
For the marinade mix together in saucepan:
2 cups red wine vinegar
2 cups red wine
2 cups water
1 large onion, sliced
2 bay leaves
6 whole cloves
10 peppercorns (or ¼ cup pickling spice)

Add to slow cooker when ready to cook:
2 cups beef stock or bone broth


Heat marinating mixture to a simmer, then turn off heat. Pour mixture over meat in a large bowl, and allow it to cool. Cover bowl tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 3-5 days, turning roast once daily. Remove meat from marinade and drain fully. Strain and reserve the marinade. 

Place sliced onions from the marinade on the bottom of a slow cooker sprayed with cooking spray. Place the roast on top of the onions and cover with 1 cup of the reserved marinating liquid and 2 cups beef stock or beef bone broth.  Cover and cook on low 8-10 hours. Remove from slow cooker and place on a platter; cover with foil and allow to rest 15-20 minutes. 

Meanwhile, to make the gravy, melt 4-6 tbls. butter in a saucepan, stir in 1/2 cup flour (or more) to make a roux, then slowly add 1-2 cups of the liquid the roast cooked in, whisking briskly to blend. Heat to boiling over med-high heat, stirring often, until desired thickness. *optional - add 1-2 tsp. ground ginger to gravy and 1/2 cup sour cream).

Serve gravy over sliced roast. Sauerbraten is traditionally served with Spatzle, Potato Dumplings, or mashed potatoes and German Red Cabbage (Rote Kohl). I have also served it over egg noodles.

Make this with a Pork Shoulder Roast: to make this with a Pork Shoulder Roast, reduce the cooking time to 6 hours in a slow cooker on low (pork will shred some) or 4 hours if you want it to slice. Reduce the amount of red wine vinegar to 1 1/2 cups and follow the remainder of recipe above.


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