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Sauerbraten (German Beef Pot Roast)

Serves 4 to 6

Sauerbraten is a German beef roast that is marinated for several days in a typical sweet and sour mixture, thus the name, which means 'sour roast'. The roast is browned and slowly simmered in the marinade until very tender. Gingersnap cookie crumbs are added to the cooking liquids at the end, which thickens the sauce while adding a unique flavor. Traditionally, sauerbraten is accompanied by braised red cabbage and spaetzle, both of which are in the similar and related recipes. However, dumplings, boiled potatoes or simple buttered noodles are often served. Plan ahead, because the meat must marinate for two or three days.


Place the roast in a large sealable plastic bag. Add the onions and celery leaves, being certain to get some on both sides of the meat. In a medium bowl, mix together the wine, vinegar, salt, pepper, sugar, mustard seeds, nutmeg, cloves, peppercorns, parsley and bay leaves. Pour into the bag and seal tightly. Place the bag in a baking dish and refrigerate for 2 or 3 days, turning the bag over every 12 hours to marinate both sides.

Remove the meat from the marinade, reserving the marinade. Pat the meat with a paper towel to remove excess moisture. Season with salt and pepper. Heat a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the bacon grease and heat. Add the meat and brown on all sides. Add the reserved marinade and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until the meat is very tender, about 2-1/2 to 3 hours. Remove the meat from the pot and keep warm. Skim any excess fat from the broth and strain. Whisk in the gingersnap crumbs. Bring to a boil and cook, stirring, until desired thickness. Taste for seasoning. Serve the sauce over the sliced meat and spaetzle or other side dish.