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Sauerbraten From a Former Chef

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Sauerbraten by Linda Little

Sauerbraten by Linda Little


A slightly Americanized version of Sauerbraten, this roast has a couple of secrets for greatness. The recipe was told to me by Linda Little, a former restaurant owner. She cooks this roast yearly in October for extended friends and family.

Sauerbraten serves 6 - 8

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Prep Time: 50 minutes

Cook Time: 7 hours

Total Time: 7 hours, 50 minutes


  • 1 lemon
  • 1 quart of buttermilk
  • 3 or more pounds of beef roast, either shoulder or rump
  • 2 onions
  • 2-4 carrots
  • 2-4 sticks of celery or 1 cup chopped celeriac
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tsp. whole allspice
  • 1 tsp. whole peppercorns
  • 1 tsp. whole juniper berries
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 - 2 bottles (750 ml) cheap red wine
  • 1/2 c. gingerbread cookie crumbs (about 4 cookies, crushed)
  • 1/3 c. catsup
  • 1/3 c. raisins


Linda's recipe started like this, "Take 10 pounds of beef shoulder and..." I scaled it back for everyday consumption, but feel free to make large amounts for a buffet or social function because it just gets better on a grand scale.

Juice lemon and mix it with the buttermilk.

Poke holes in beef with a fork to help the marinade penetrate.

Place beef in a plastic or glass container and cover with the buttermilk mixture. Cover and refrigerate for 48 hours or so, turning once a day.

Discard the now pinkish marinade and wash off the beef.

Place it in a pot and add the quartered onions, chopped carrots and celery and the spices and salt. Pour the wine over the meat until almost covering.

Cover and simmer for 4-6 hours. (Linda likes to cook her big pieces overnight, but that's not necessary for the small pieces.)

When the meat is fork-tender, remove it from the pot. Cut it into serving pieces and place it in an oven-safe dish.

Pour the red wine broth through a sieve and collect the broth. Discard the solids.

Place at least 3 cups of broth in a pan and bring it to a boil. Add the crushed gingerbread cookies, the catchup and the raisins. Taste and adjust seasonings by adding vinegar, salt or sugar as necessary.

Cook for a few minutes and then pour over the meat to coat.

Cover the meat with foil and place in a 300°F oven for at least an hour. If the meat looks like it is drying out, baste it with the sauce.

Serve the meat with red cabbage and mashed potatoes, potato dumplings or Himmel und Erde. Guten Appetit!

  • Notes: I used "HeavenScent" Windmill cookies, which are whole wheat flour and no sucrose.
  • The success of this meal is not time-sensitive. This makes it perfect for a buffet or chronically late guests.
  • I think you could substitute tomato paste, vinegar and a sweetener for the catchup, which was never very good in Germany, anyway.
  • You may make a roux and add the broth to it to thicken the sauce, but I found that the gingersnaps thickened the sauce just fine after baking.
  • Any leftover broth can be used in lentil soup. Linda puts catchup in lentil soup as well and swears by it.

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