Recipe: Sauerbraten

Sauerbraten is regarded as one of the national dishes of Germany and is one of my favorite fall recipes. It is a German Pot Roast recipe that translates to sour or pickle the beef before cooking. You need to plan ahead so you have time to marinate the beef, 4 days is best but 3 will work fine to. After cooking the sauce is thickened with ginger bread or ginger snap cookies.
Delicious! Healthy Living has such a wonderful bulk section that is perfect for sourcing fresh whole spices as needed in this recipe.
I like to serve it with German potato dumplings or mashed potatoes!


1 teaspoon black peppercorns
8 juniper berries
10 allspice berries
3 bay leaves
8 whole cloves
½ teaspoon coarse salt
1 ½ cups red wine vinegar
1 ½ cups dry red wine
1 large yellow onion, sliced
1 (4 to 5-pound) boneless beef chuck roast

Aromatics and Braising liquid:
Coarse salt
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 tablespoon oil
Reserved marinade
6 store bought gingersnap cookies, broken into coarse crumbs (⅓ to ½ cup crumbs)
1 tablespoon sugar
1 cup sour cream or heavy cream

For the marinade (3-4 days in advance): Place the peppercorns, juniper and allspice into a mortar. Crush with the pestle. Transfer the crushed spices to a small saucepan. Add the bay leaves, cloves, salt, vinegar, wine, and onion slices and bring to a boil. Transfer the marinade to a large bowl and let cool to room temperature.
As soon as the marinade is cool, add the beef. Cover, refrigerate and marinate for 3 to 4 days, turning the meat once or twice a day.

Heat the oven to 325 degrees.
Browning the meat: With tongs, lift the meat out of the marinade, scraping any onion slices or spices that stick to the meat back into the marinade, and transfer it to a plate. Reserve the marinade. Pat the meat thoroughly dry all over. Heat the butter and oil in a large Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the meat to the pot and brown well on all sides. Transfer the meat back to the plate. Deglaze the pan with the reserved marinade, scraping any browned bits to loosen. Bring the marinade to a simmer and add the meat. Set the lid firmly in place, and transfer to the lower third of the oven.

The braise: Braise the meat at a gentle simmer for 1 ½ hours. Check after about the first 10 minutes to see that the liquid is not simmering too energetically; if it is, lower the oven by 10 to 15 degrees. After 1 ½ hours, turn the meat over, using the tongs, and metal spatula, and continue braising gently for another 1 ½ hours, or until fork tender.

The finish: Transfer the meat to a cutting board and cover loosely with foil to keep warm. Strain the cooking juices into a saucepan and let sit for a minute. Gently tilt the pan and skim off the fat with a large spoon. Whisk in the gingersnap crumbs and sugar, place the pan over medium-high heat, and bring to a boil. Gently boil the sauce for 5 minutes, whisking often, to reduce and thicken it slightly. Lower the heat to low and whisk in the sour cream until smooth. Heat through, but do not let the sauce boil, or the sour cream will curdle. Taste the sauce for salt.
Serving: Pour any accumulated juices into the sauce. Carve the beef into thick slices. If the slices crumble, which they sometimes will, just cut into irregular pieces and arrange on a platter. Spoon the sauce over the beef and serve.

By Healthy Living Taste Maker Courtney Contos, of Chef Contos Kitchen and Store
65 Falls Rd., Shelburne, VT 05482
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