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German Pot Roast (Sauerbraten)

Sauerbraten is a German pot roast that can be prepared with a variety of meats – most often beef, but also from venison, lamb, mutton or pork.  The meat is marinated before cooking in a mixture of vinegar, sugar, and seasonings.  This recipe calls for a Dutch Oven, which is a covered earthenware or cast-iron container for cooking casseroles.

2 kg beef eye of round
500 ml red wine
375 ml red wine vinegar
3 large onions, thinly sliced
1 large carrot, thinly sliced
1 bouquet garni (1 tbsp. pickling spices, 14 whole cloves, 8 whole black peppercorns, 10 juniper berries, 3 bay leaves, 3 sprigs thyme, 2 sprigs parsley, wrapped in cheesecloth, tied with kitchen twine)
30 g butter
100 g bacon, finely chopped
30 g butter
45 ml cake flour
30 ml sugar
125 ml golden raisins
6 ginger biscuits, crumbled
15 ml lemon juice
Salt to taste

30 ml parsley, finely chopped
  1. Season the beef liberally with salt in large bowl.
  2. Bring the wine, vinegar, 1 of the onions, carrot, bouquet garni, and 4 cups water to a boil in a 4 liter saucepan.
  3. Place the beef in a dish of a suitable size and pour the marinade over the beef. Cover and refrigerate, turning once or twice a day, for 5 days.
  4. Remove the beef from the marinade and dry the beef thoroughly.
  5. Pour the marinade through a fine strainer into a bowl. Reserve 5 cups of the marinade as well as the bouquet garni.
  6. Heat 30 grams of the butter in a 8 liter Dutch Oven and fry the bacon until it renders its fat, about 10 minutes.
  7. Transfer the bacon to a plate and set aside.
  8. Add the beef to the oven and cook until browned all over, about 25 minutes. Transfer the beef to a plate and set it aside.
  9. Pre-heat oven to 160 ° C.
  10. Add the remaining onions to the Dutch Oven and cook while stirring until caramelized – about 18 minutes.
  11. Return the beef to the Dutch Oven with the reserved marinade and bouquet garni and bring to a boil.
  12. Cover the Dutch Oven with a lid and place it in the oven.
  13. Roast until the beef is very tender – about 2 12 hours.
  14. Transfer the beef to a platter and set it aside.
  15. Discard the bouquet garni.
  16. Pour the sauce through a fine strainer into a bowl.
  17. To make the sauce, return the Dutch Oven to medium-high heat and add the 2nd quantity of butter.
  18. Use a little of the liquid and make a paste with the cake flour before adding it to the sauce.
  19. Add the flour paste and sugar and cook, whisking constantly, until lightly browned, about 5 minutes.
  20. Add the raisins, ginger biscuits, lemon juice and beef to the pot.
  21. Bring to a simmer, cover the Dutch Oven with a lid, and cook until slightly reduced, about 10 minutes.
  22. Adjust the seasoning if necessary.
  23. Transfer the beef to a cutting board and let it rest for 15 minutes.
  24. Slice the meat thinly and arrange the beef and the sauce on a serving platter.
  25. Sprinkle with bacon and parsley and serve.
8 to 10 servings.


Leftover Sauerbraten can be combined with mustard and sauerkraut and used as a filling for sandwiches.

Recipe adapted from original recipe featured on