Sauerbraten is a traditional German pot roast that can be made with any number of different meats with, ahem, horse being traditional.
Meet my horse, Rusty:
Yeah, not gonna happen.
Germans LOVE pork but most versions I’ve had, have been made with beef. If you have any venison, lamb or even mutton on hand, have at it. At it’s most basic, sauerbraten (“sour roast”) is a tougher cut of meat marinated for a lengthy time in wine, vinegar and spices so that by the time it’s cooked, it’s as succulent and tender as filet mignon. Back in the day, not a lot of people had access to the best cuts of meat. They also didn’t have refrigeration, so pickling your meat was a good way to make it keep longer as well as tenderizing it. It’s also made with refined sugar which is a big no-no in the Paleo world. A sweet substitute is–you guessed it–honey. I would suggest using raw, organic, non-GMO honey. Some regional variations call for using crushed gingersnaps when making the gravy, but adding a small bit of ginger root to the spice bag will add a nice touch of ginger, and arrowroot powder is a good substitute thickener for the gravy.
Another difference between my sauerbraten and the one my mom used to make is a slow cooker. I’d love to spend the entire weekend nesting and cooking, but I rarely have two and a half hours to sit around waiting for meat to roast in the oven, so the slow cooker has been my salvation. I also make a large roast because sauerbraten is time-consuming to prepare (it’s traditionally a centerpiece of holiday meals) and I’d rather make a lot of it and freeze it than go through the time and preparation more frequently.
So here is Part I of my recipe for Rheinishcer Sauerbraten, a popular regional variation from the Rhineland:
MARINATING/BRINING THE ROAST
- 4-5 pound beef roast, rump or bottom round, or chuck
- 3 cups water or beef broth (I prefer beef broth, but didn’t have any on hand)
- 1.5 cups red wine vinegar or red wine (I prefer red wine because, wine)
- 1.5 cups apple cider vinegar
- 2 medium onions, thinly sliced
- 2 carrots, thinly sliced
- 3 bay leaves
- 10 cloves
- 10 black peppercorns
- 1 t mustard seeds
- 1 tsp allspice
- 1 one-inch piece of ginger, peeled
- sea salt
- ground pepper
- Rub the roast with sea salt and ground pepper. Set aside.
- Place the rest of the ingredients in a medium to large pot over a medium-high flame.
- Cover and bring to a boil.
- After the mixture has been vigorously boiling for about a minute, remove from heat and allow to cool at room temperature for a least 30 minutes.
- Place the roast in a 1.5 gallon plastic Ziploc bag, carefully empty the contents of the pot into the bag, carefully squeeze out as much air as you can, and seal the bag.
- Place in the refrigerator (preferably in a shallow pan to catch any possible leaks).
- Let sit for 3-5 days, flipping the bag once daily so that the entire roast marinates thoroughly.
WARNING: Open some windows when heating the vinegar-based brine. It’s pretty pungent if you’re not used to it. It will dissipate pretty quickly once you’ve turned off the heat.
UP NEXT: Slow cooking or roasting, and makin’ the gravy!