Sauerbraten is a meat dish in which the meat is marinated for several days before cooking. Sauerbraten is a real classic in Germany and is prepared in many regions in this country in slightly different variations.
Germany Has Many Different Traditional Sauerbraten Recipes Depending On The Region
Old fashioned Sauerbraten is probably the sauerbraten recipe you know from your Oma. If you are not stemming from the Rhineland area than this classic, simple sauerbraten recipe or the Bavarian sauerbraten recipe is probably what you are looking for. Click here for the Classic Sauerbraten recipe.
The recipe in this post features one of the most traditional and iconic sauerbraten recipes of Germany: Rhenish Sauerbraten. Stunningly rich flavors of the meat and the luxurious gravy make this dish extremely satisfying!
If you are looking for the authentic sauerbraten recipe that is most referred to THE original recipe for Sauerbraten then you need to try the Rhenish sauerbraten recipe that I feature in this post.
How Is This Version of Sauerbraten Called in German?
The dish is called “Rheinischer Sauerbraten”.
What Does Sauerbraten Mean?
“Sauer” is the German word for sour or tart and “Braten” is the word for roast. Literally translated sauerbraten means sour roast.
How to Pronounce “Rheinischer Sauerbraten”?
Listen to this audio file to hear how to say “Rheinischer Sauerbraten” in German.
Sauerbraten Marinade Ingredients & Substitutes
Ginger snaps, even very popular in recipes all over the internet are not an ingredient of authentic German Recipes.
Printen – Kräuterprinten
Printen are a special kind of spiced German gingerbread from Aachen also called Aachener Printen. They are usually eaten at Christmas and come in many variations. Usually the uncoated brown Printen are used for the sauerbraten. Kräuterprinten are herb infused Printen.
Sauce cakes or sauce gingerbread are only slightly sweetened, simple gingerbread, which are used to refine and bind dark sauces, i.e. of sauerbraten and game dishes. They can also be used for red cabbage and other hearty dishes.
Honigkuchen is German aromatic honey cake. It is easy to bake and can be enjoyed all year round but is usually enjoyed during the time leading up to Christmas in Germany.
Real pumpernickel is a dense rye bread. The so called pumpernickel that you can find in U.S. supermarkets is mostly soft bread which is not what you are looking for to use in a sauerbraten recipe. You can find real pumpernickel in most German and Russian grocery stores.
Zuckerrübensirup (Sugar Beet Syrup) & Honey
Sugar beet syrup or honey is used to balance the acidity of the wine and vinegar.
Use red wine vinegar or raspberry vinegar for the recipe. Alternatively you can use red balsamic vinegar too.
Best is to use a red wine that you like to drink too. I usually recommend a dry wine.
Best Cut of Beef to Use for Sauerbraten
Best is to use a finely marbeled chuck roast, beef shoulder or beef bottom round.
How to make Authentic German Sauerbraten Video Tutorial
What Long to Marinate Sauerbraten?
You can find recipes with a marinating time of only 2 to 3 days. But for my personal preference this is too short and I usually marinate my sauerbraten at least for 5 days, but prefer 7 to 10 days. Some people marinate the sauerbraten even for 2 to 3 weeks. The longer the roast marinates, the more intense will be the color and taste and the shorter will be the cooking time.
Can Sauerbraten be Frozen?
Sauerbraten can be frozen easily. You can freeze the whole roast or the already slices roast in the gravy.
Traditional German Sauerbraten Recipe Rhenish Style
- 5-pounds beef roast
- 1/3 small head celery root
- 4 medium sized carrots
- 2 large onions
- 1 tbsp. garlic paste or two garlic gloves
- 4 cloves
- 5 bay leaves
- 7 whole all-spice
- 10 whole juniper berries
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1 tsp. coarse black pepper
- 1 tsp. sugar
- 4 cups red wine
- 2 cups red wine vinegar
- 2 tbsp. clarified butter or lard (alternatively 1 tbsp. butter plus 1 tbsp. vegetable oil)
- 2 tbsp. butter
- 2 tbsp. flour
- 2 cups beef broth
- 4 tbsp. honey or beet root syrup
- 100 g pumpernickel bread (alternatively honey cake or Saucenlebkuchen)
- 4 tbsp. raisins (optional)
- Clean, peel and roughly cut vegetables.
- Add red wine to a small pot, add vinegar, spices, and vegetables.
- Bring marinade mixture to a boil and set aside to cool.
- Rinse meat under cold water, tap dry, and place it into a large bowl or container.
- Pour the cooled down marinade over the meat, cover and place into the fridge for at least 4 to 7 days.
- Alternatively, you can place the meat with the marinade into a food saver bag.
- After the marinating time, remove meat from the container. Strain vegetables but make sure to keep liquid and set both aside.
- Melt clarified butter or lard in a large pan.
- In the meantime, pat meat dry, then place it into the pot and brown meat on all sides on medium-high heat.
- When meat is browned on all sides remove from the pot and set aside.
- Add vegetable to the pot and fry on high for a couple of minutes.
- Add marinade liquid to the pot, season with salt and pepper.
- Crumble the pumpernickel bread into the pot.
- Add broth and honey, and mix everything well, and then place meat back into the pot.
- Cover with a lid, bring to a light simmer and cook until meat is soft.
- In the meantime, cover raisins with hot water.
- Remove the meat from the pot.
- Strain vegetables in a colander over a bowl to save liquid.
- With a spoon, mash about half of the vegetables through the colander holes.
- Melt butter in the pot, add flour and brown.
- Deglaze with the marinade liquid and bring to a light simmer.
- Strain raisins and add the raisins to the pot.
- Slice meat into thin slices and place back to the sauce.
- Keep sauce on very low heat until you are ready to serve.
- Serve with spätzle or dumplings and a vegetable side dish.
The cooking time depends on the cut of the meat and the timeframe for how long you marinated the meat. Just cook it until it is fork tender.
How Many Calories Does Sauerbraten Have?
A portion of sauerbraten with gravy has around calories. See the table above for more information.
What to Serve With Sauerbraten?
Traditionally Rhenish sauerbraten is served with potato dumplings and a side of apple sauce.
But spaetzle or bread dumplings are also a classic side dish. If you like a faster variation serve with noodles, rice or boiled potatoes which are not the classic sides but still very tasty.
Additionally serve with a vegetable side dish. Red cabbage or carrots & peas with buttery bread crumbs are a perfect companion and an all-time favorites.