To many of us who grew up in America’s heartland, pot roast tastes and smells of home. “Sauerbraten” is essentially a German-style pot roast. The key to this recipe is to allow the roast to marinate for a full three days. Originally developed by the Romans, there are many legends attributing it to being inspired by Julius Caesar who ordered meat to be marinated to keep it fresh for transport from Rome to the newly founded colony of Cologne. However, others believe that the Holy Roman Emperor Charlemagne created the dish around the 9th century. Ever since, this dish has been gracing the tables and menus of German homes and restaurants.

Traditional German Sauerbraten
This meat dish can be described as a tender German pot roast and can be prepared with a variety of meats, most often beef, but venison, lamb or pork can be used, all of which should be marinated in a blend of red wine, vinegar and/or water. In the Rhine Valley, raisins and sugar beet syrup are sometimes blended into the marinade. Most often enjoyed with beer (German beer of course) – it also pairs well with such wines as Burgundy, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Gewürztraminer, Pinot Noir, Reisling and Syrah.
3 lbs. beef pot roast
Salt and pepper to taste
¼ cup vegetable oil
1 lbs. mirepoix (diced carrots, celery, onions & leek)
2 oz. tomato paste
2 tbsp. flour
6 cups veal stock

2 cups dry red wine
1 oz. red wine vinegar
4 oz. mirepoix (diced carrots, celery,
onions, leek) 2 bay leaves
1 tsp. peppercorns
½ tsp. juniper berries
1 garlic clove


Combine marinade ingredients and bring to a boil for 10 minutes. Allow to cool completely.¬ Spread onto the beef and refrigerate up to 3 days. Strain and reserve the marinade, vegetables and herbs separately. Bring the strained marinade to a boil and skim o any foam. Heat the oil in a large skillet, add the meat and sear on all sides. Remove the meat and set aside. Add the mirepoix and reserved vegetables and herbs from the marinade. Let them brown lightly. Add the tomato paste. Deglaze the pan with the marinade and reduce the liquid. Add the flour and combine the mixture thoroughly. Add the veal stock and whip out any lumps. Return the meat to the pan, cover and simmer until tender. Remove the meat and reduce the sauce to desired consistency and strain. Garnish with sour cream and parsley. Serve with potato dumplings and marinated red cabbage.

Makes 8 servings.

Discover even more traditional German local delicacies with our Rhine itineraries.

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