Really Sauer Sauerbraten



My family comes from good German stock, so Sauerbraten was something my mother made on a regular basis.  She made it in her mother’s old cast iron Dutch oven.  My brother and I would turn up our noses, and would douse it in ketchup so we could get it down.

I finally decided to embrace my German roots and try out this recipe.  I served it with German style potato salad.  I have posted the recipe before, but will share it again.  This Sauerbraten recipe is unusual as it is made in the crockpot.  It also calls for a long marinade time.

As always, my tips and notes will be in red.

First, the Sauerbraten recipe:

For the Marinade:
2 cups water
1 cup dry red wine
1 cup red wine vinegar
2 medium carrots, peeled and chopped  did not include
2 medium celery stalks, chopped  did not include
1 medium onion, halved and sliced
2 cloves garlic, smashed
1 tablespoon whole black peppercorns
1 tablespoon juniper berries (not something you would normally find.  I used gin which is made from juniper berries.  You could probably order them if you really want to be authentic)
1 tablespoon mustard seeds
2 bay leaves
1 (3- to-4 pound) beef chuck roast or bottom round roast  I used a 2.8 lb chuck roast

To marinate the beef:

Pour all ingredients into a large (2 gallon) zip lock bag which is placed inside a large bowl. Whisk ingredients together and place roast inside.  Zip closed, and marinate in refrigerator for one to two days, turning occasionally.  I only marinated the meat for one day and I believe this was more than enough.  I don’t think it would have been edible had I done it for two.

Cooking the beef:

After marinating, remove bag from refrigerator about 30 minutes before ready to cook.  Place roast and marinade in crockpot.  Turn on high for one hour.  Turn to low and cook for five or six hours more, until roast is fork tender, but not falling apart.  You want to be able to slice it.  Remove from crock pot and prepare gravy.

A note here about the gravy:  The marinade was so sour I could not use the entire two cups called for in the recipe. This is why you need to taste as you go.  There is no balance here between sour and sweet.  I used 1/4 cup of the marinade, then made up the difference with chicken broth.  I did not have beef broth on hand or I would have used it.  Tradition calls for gingersnap gravy to provide some sweetness.  No amount of sugar ( tried adding about six teaspoons to no avail)  would have fixed this gravy without my cutting it with broth.

To make the gravy:

Melt 2 tablespoons dairy free spread in a medium saucepan.  Stir in 2 tablespoons gluten free flour of choice (do not use baking mix).  Stir until flour is incorparated into fat (about 1 minute).  Slowly add broth a little at a time, whisking constantly, until desired thickness.

German style potato salad


  • 4 large waxy-style potatoes (about 1kg)  I only used one pound of yukon gold
  • 2 tbsp salt, plus 2 tsp
  • 3 strips streaky bacon (about 55g), minced
  • 1/2 medium Spanish onion, chopped
  • 1 tbsp gluten free flour
  • 175ml chicken stock, homemade or reduced salt ready-made stock
  • 80ml white wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp Dijon mustard, plus 1 tsp
  • 1.5 tsp sugar
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 20g chopped flat-leaf parsley leaves – omitted


Boil the potatoes with the skins on until tender.  Drain.  Peel potatoes under cold running water.  You do not want to make them cold.  This will keep you from burning your hands.  Place potatoes back in cooking pot, and mash until chunky.  This is the easiest method.  Do not overmash.

While potatoes are cooking, cook the bacon in a medium size pan until fat is rendered and it starts to crisp.  Add the onions and cook until translucent.  Sprinkle the flour over the bacon and onions and cook until flour is absorbed into fat.  You may need a bit of extra oil.

Measure chicken broth and add vinegar, mustard and sugar and whisk together.  Don’t worry if mustard does not get incorporated.  Add to pan and whisk until it thickens slightly.  Pour vinegar mixture over warm potatoes and toss to coat.  Potatoes will absorb the dressing.  Turn potatoes out onto serving platter and serve warm.

If you try out these recipes, please share your results!


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