One of the slowest of slow foods, Germany’s unofficial national dish—Sauerbraten—is made with a lot of love … and even more patience. The tenderness of the meat comes from several days of marinating and several hours of braising. Yet despite its iconic status, there is no definitive recipe for the pot roast, as each region of the country has its own twist on the dish. Grand Circle’s Corporate Executive Chef Christian Seegatz prefers a sweeter version of the “sour” pot roast, adding gingerbread and raisins to the traditional sauce. With the flavors of aromatic spices and earthy juniper berries, this is not your mother’s pot roast (unless your mother happens to be German).
In earlier days, cooks would leave a tough cut of meat in the cupboard to soak in the acidic marinade for a week. Here, Christian offers up his own take on a traditional Sauerbraten. Travelers on Grand Circle’s Romance of the Rhine & Mosel and Essence of the Elbe: Hamburg to Prague River Cruises may enjoy Chef Seegatz’s Sauerbraten for themselves aboard their river ship.
4 lb. top round roast
4 cups red wine
1/3 cup red wine vinegar
1 medium onion, chopped
1 large carrot, chopped
1 cup diced celery
2 bay leaves
1 tsp. peppercorn
6 juniper berries
1 Tbs. vegetable oil
1 cup beef stock
1/3 cup sugar
¾ cup old-fashioned gingersnaps or gingerbread, finely crushed
½ cup raisins
To prepare the marinade, combine red wine, vinegar, vegetables, bay leaves, peppercorn, and berries in a large sauce pan. Cover and bring to a boil, then simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from heat.
- Rub vegetable oil on beef and sear edges (cook each side approximately 2 minutes in a large pan).
- When the marinade mixture has cooled, marinate beef for 2-3 days in a plastic or glass container (do not use metal). If beef is not completely covered by marinade, flip once a day.
- Preheat oven to 325˚F. Combine sugar and beef stock, and add to a deep roasting pan, along with beef and 3 cups of marinade. Braise until tender—approximately 4 hours.
- Remove beef from pan and keep warm.
- Strain liquid from roasting pan and transfer to sauce pan. Place over medium-high heat, whisk in gingersnaps, and heat until sauce thickens. Strain to remove lumps, and then add raisins.
- Slice beef and serve with sauce.
Enjoy this traditional German dish—and others like it—on our Romance of the Rhine & Mosel and Essence of the Elbe: Hamburg to Prague River Cruise vacations.