Another favorite German dish of our family is sauerbraten. Translated it means "sour roast" and that is exactly what it is. A big 'ol hunk of beef soured in a marinade for up to three days. The "gravy" is fantastic (no gingersnaps in this recipe.) This meal takes some forethought for prep time and a few more steps to make but certainly worth the effort!
2 cups water
1 cup cider vinegar
1 cup red wine vinegar
1 med onion, chopped
1 large carrot, chopped
1 Tablespoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
2 bay leaves
6 whole cloves
1 teaspoon mustard seeds*
3 ½ - 4 pounds boneless chuck roast
1 Tablespoon vegetable oil
4-5 carrots – sliced or quartered
Medium onion, chopped
A small tomato or 1/4 cup ketchup
1/3 cup sugar
Packet brown gravy mix
To make the marinade, combine water, cider & red vinegars, onion, carrot, salt, pepper, bay leaves, cloves and mustard seeds. Cover and bring to boil; boil for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside. If using ground mustard add it now.Pat the roast dry with a paper towel. Rub with vegetable oil; salt on all sides. Heat a large sauté pan over high heat; add the meat and brown on all sides. (2-3 min per side)
Place meat in a non-reactive container. (Use stainless or Tupperware. You can also use glass---NO aluminum!) Pour marinade that has cooled to the point where you can stick your finger in it and not be burned, over the meat. Cover and refrigerate for 3 days. (Mom usually marinades between 2 1/2-3 days) If the meat is not completely submerged in the liquid, turn it over once or twice a day.
In large pot add a bit of oil. Add 4-5 sliced or quartered carrots and the chopped medium onion. Cook/brown until onions begin to get translucent.
Add the meat and the marinade; stir in the 1/3 cup sugar. Add a small tomato or ketchup. Mom usually just gives it a good squirt!) Cover and bring to a boil. Turn heat down and simmer until the meat is tender. This may be 2-3 hours.
Remove meat and cut into serving size pieces. While meat is out of the pan, combine the brown gravy mix with a little water and stir until dissolved; add to the pan. Make a slurry of cornstarch mixed with a little water to thicken the sauce to use as gravy. Don’t make the gravy too thick. Place the meat pieces back into the pan and cook a bit longer. You can add some more sugar as needed but it is meant to be a little on the sour side with some bite!
Serve with spaetzle.
*Can use about ¾ teaspoon ground mustard, but do not add it until the pan has been removed from the heat.