Sauerbraten: German marinated beef pot roast
Water — 2 cups
Red wine vinegar — 1 cup
Red wine — 1 cup
Peppercorns — 1 tablespoon
Juniper berries — 8
Whole cloves — 4
Bay leaves – 2
Beef rump or round — 3 to 4 pounds
Salt and pepper — to season
Oil — 3 tablespoons
Onion, thinly sliced — 1
Carrot, cut into thin rounds — 2
Celery, thinly chopped — 1 stalk
Sugar — 2 tablespoons or to taste
Raisins, soaked in warm water and drained (optional) — 1/4 cup
Place all of the marinade ingredients into a large pot and bring to a boil.
Boil for 5 minutes then remove from heat and cool to room temperature.
Place the beef in a large, non-reactive container large enough to contain it and the marinade.
Pour the marinade over the beef. There should be enough liquid to cover the roast by about two-thirds. If not, add an equal mixture of wine and vinegar until it does.
Set the roast and its marinade in the refrigerator and marinade for at least two and up to five days. Turn the beef once or twice daily.
Remove the roast from the marinade and pat dry.
Season with salt and pepper.
Heat the oil in a large pot over medium-high flame.
Brown the roast well on all sides.
Remove the roast and set aside.
Add the onion, carrot and celery to the pot and saute until the onion is cooked through and translucent, about 3 to 4 minutes.
Return the roast to the pot and pour in the marinade.
Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low.
Cover the pot tightly and simmer for 3 to 4 hours, or until the roast is fork tender.
Remove the roast and set it aside to rest while you make the sauce.
Strain the sauce through a fine-meshed sieve.
Discard the solids and return the liquid to the pot.
Bring to a simmer over medium-low heat.
Stir in the raisins, season to taste with sugar, salt and pepper and simmer for 5 minutes.
Slice the roast thinly and serve with its sauce and a side of blaukraut or apple compote and potato dumplings or spaetzle.
Meats: Most sauerbraten is made with beef these days, but the recipe works equally well with lamb, pork or venison. Originally, sauerbraten was often made with horse meat.
Marinade Variations: Add chopped onion, celery and carrots to the marinade if you like. Substitute cider or white wine vinegar for the red wine vinegar. Additional spices you can add include nutmeg, ginger, thyme and coriander.
Sauce Variations: Many recipes call for thickening and enriching the sauce. The most famous thickener is crumbled gingersnaps or lebkuchen. Stir in about 1/4 to 1/3 cup just before you add the raisins. Other thickeners include roux, cornstarch slurry or a healthy dollop of sour cream.