Sunday, August 30, 2009

Danke Schoen Sauerbraten

Yep, that about sums up tonight's dinner: Danke schoen! (That's "thank you" in German in case you didn't know)
Thank you to Trapper's Grill in Hermann, MO for initially giving me the idea to make sauerbraten. You see, a mere 2 months ago, I had never even heard of sauerbraten...then my husband and I took a little trip out to Hermann, MO for our second anniversary and happened upon this restaurant, and sauerbraten. I remember I had one of the nightly specials: tortellini with shrimp and some sort of German sausage. It was fantastic! Then I had a taste of the dinner Tom was ooo'ing and ah'ing over...and instantly fell in love! I knew I had to at least make an attempt to copy this treat my husband enjoyed so much.

Sauerbraten in plain English is German pot roast. Let me tell you I have never tasted, or cooked, pot roast like this! All in all, it wasn't that hard to do, just took a lot of time. From the marinating to the actual cooking process, to making the gravy that accompanies the melt-in-your-mouth pot roast, it all just took time.

I can't decide what is the most important part of making sauerbraten. I think if you changed or skimped on any of the steps, it just wouldn't be the same. My next danke schoen goes out to Christie Hurd of Edible Antics who provided the delicious recipe I used to make my sauerbraten.

First came the marinating...soooo glad we got those Cardinal's tickets last week. Not only did they give us a much-needed evening off from working on our new deck, it allowed the sauerbraten to marinate for the proper amount of time. You see, we are again starting with a fairly tough cut of meat, bottom round roast or rump roast. This means we need to find ways to make it tender. Slow, long cooking definitely helps....and thanks to the Germans, marinating in red wine vinegar does too! Christie recommended 3 days but 3 days meant I had to cook on Thursday, which was a day off from cooking last week, so I did a little more research and found that many recipes recommended 5, 6, or even 10 days marinating. Now I don't know about 10 days....that seems a bit excessive to me. I went with 5 1/2. :) Here's the recipe for the marinade along with a pic of the roast hangin out for a soak. Be sure you turn your roast every couple of days (at least once) to expose all of the meat to the marinade. Oh yes, and Christie recommends a 3.25 lb roast.

1 T. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
4 whole cloves
8 peppercorns
2 bay leaves (discard these before you make the gravy at the very end...NOT edible!)
2 medium onions, sliced (I forgot the onions and remembering my pledge not to make a million trips to the store, I improvised and used onion flake, generously)
1 medium carrot, sliced
1/2 c. celery, chopped
1 c. red wine vinegar
4 cups cold water

Combine all marinade ingredients in a bowl and stir well. Pour over roast in a shallow dish (I used a 9 x 13 glass casserole dish) and cover tightly with foil. Again, don't forget to turn the meat after a couple days!

When your roast has marinated for several days, you're ready to cook! About 3 1/2 hours before you want to eat, remove meat from marinade and pat dry with paper towels, reserving marinade. Then brown the roast in a large pot that has a lid (you don't need the lid yet but you will soon!) with 3 Tbls. olive oil. When you have browned both sides well, remove meat and set aside. To drippings in the pot add 1/4 c. flour and 1 Tbls. sugar. Use a whisk to create a roux, or paste, with the drippings. Now you are ready to pour the marinade into the pot and, using that whisk again, incorporate the roux into the marinade. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low, add the roast, cover and cook for 3 hours. I turned my roast at the half-way point. At 3 hours, the roast should be fork tender...if it's not quite there yet, let it go a little longer. Mine was more than ready at this point!
At this point, remove your meat from the pot and let rest for a moment. Now's the time to finish off the gravy! Skim out the bay leaves and as much fat off the top as you can. Now increase the heat to bring it to a boil. Add 10 crushed gingersnap cookies, yes, that's right, cookies! Continue simmering and stirring until cookies are dissolved, about 10 minutes. The gravy will also begin to thicken at this time.
While this is happening, go ahead and slice your meat, about 1/2 inch slices will do. Mine was so tender in some areas that it simply fell apart! When the gravy is ready, pour some over the top of the sliced meat and reserve the rest in a gravy boat to serve at the table.
Mashed potatoes were an obvious partner for this meal. A little extra gravy over the top really did the trick! Lucky for us, there are LOTS of leftovers! (You know how I like the leftovers!) :) We will be enjoying sauerbraten again later this week...and perhaps for lunch one day too!
Be on the lookout for this week's meal plan tomorrow...I've definitely learned my lesson from last week's plan!


  1. There was a sauerbraten recipe featured in the new issue of the Food Network Magazine (make a regular read, if it isn't already). I showed the FI, and he was practically drooling. Looks like I'll be making this once there is a chill in the air. Wait, there already is. Okay, when the real Fall actually arrives, I'll be making it! Looks like it turned out great!

  2. Impressive! My grandmother was German and never even tried to make sauerbraten. You've inspired me and I'll think I'll try it one night this fall. Maybe with potato pancakes with applesauce and sour cream!
    Patti Hoffman

  3. Looks great! Thanks for including the pictures - no matter how well someone describes a food in text, the pictures are always what ends up captivating me and gives me an actual idea of what my food should look like if I attempt to replicate it (of course, I should take my own advice and start taking more pictures while I'm out at restaurants)!