The crazy weather this year requires a comforting dish to wash away the winter blahs. Sauerbraten, a German-style pot roast, is just the thing. The beef is marinated for two days before cooking, which helps to tenderize this tougher cut of meat. Make sure to marinate the meat in a glass or enamel container or a large plastic zip-top bag to avoid any reactions between the container and the acidic marinade.
Most sauerbraten recipes include both vinegar and wine in the marinade. Once the roast has slowly braised in the liquid and is removed to cool, the sauce is thickened and flavored with crushed gingersnaps, giving the gravy an unusual savory but slightly sweet taste.
I tasted sauerbraten for the first time when I was in college. The memory of that meal lingered, and over the years I tried to replicate the dish, with more surprises than I could have imagined. Many failed attempts only strengthened my determination. Finally, talks with colleagues and butchers led me to change the cut of meat and lower the cooking temperature. Those changes resulted in the following recipe, which replicates that memorable meal.
Most of the time required to prepare this German specialty is either in marinating or braising, which makes it a good dish to make when you are home for a relaxed afternoon. You’ll need to start three days ahead, owing to the marinating time. You can make this up completely two days before you are serving it, if you prefer. I like to serve this with simple pasta and roasted vegetables. Mashed potatoes are also a comforting side dish.