German Rhineland Sauerbraten – Local Beef Specialty

Learn today how to make the German Rhineland Sauerbraten. Some preparation time is needed because you need somewhat unusual ingredients for this dish:

1. Apple Butter or Applekraut (Apfelkraut):
It is a highly concentrated form of apple sauce produced by long, slow cooking of apples with cider or water to a point where the sugar in the apples caramelizes, turning the apple butter a deep brown. The concentration of sugar gives apple butter a much longer shelf life as a preserve than apple sauce. It is a Rhineland food specialty. In the USA the German product is not available but the one from Manischewitz is the closest. It contains only 2 ingredients.

2. Aachener Printen:
This is a famous German Christmas cookie from the German city of Aachen, for this recipe you would use the so called “Kräuterprinten” – a specially spiced ginger bread Find more info and the Aachener Printen Recipe here – The Printen are important for this recipe as they will be used for the gravy.

Find the Aachener Printen Here
gingerbread cookies

Ingredients German Rhineland Sauerbraten

1 kg roast beef (cut from the rump or the bottom round)
2 med size onions
1 tbsp black pepper corns
2 tbsp mustard seeds
1 tbsp salt and 1 tbsp sugar
5 bay leaves
7 cloves

Vegetable for the Soup: 1 carrot, celery leaves or, 1 leek, some parsley, 1/4 small celery root
700 ml red wine vinegar and 700 ml water
1 cup raisins
3 tbsp apple butter (Apfelkraut)
3 tbsp red currant jam
4 Lebkuchen or Aachener Kräuterprinten (spiced gingerbread cookies, see below)
pepper, salt to taste
1-2 tbsp clarified butter, lard or cooking oil

Cooking Instructions German Rhineland Sauerbraten

Make the Marinade 
– Use a big pot and add vinegar, water, cloves, mustard seeds, pepper corns, and sliced onions.
– Chop the soup vegetable coarsely and add it as well.
– Bring to a boil, let boil for 5 min.
– Let cool off.

– Wash the beef briefly, and pat dry with kitchen paper.
– Place it in a glass or ceramic bowl (not a metallic bowl) together with the marinade, cover with foil and let sit for at lest 3 days. The meat should be completely covered with liquid. Keep it in the fridge.
– Turn the meat after 1.5 days.
– After 3 days remove the meat, pat it dry, sieve the liquid and keep it for the gravy (important!). You can discard vegetable.

Roast the Beef
– In a big pan heat clarified butter on high heat and brown the meat briefly from all sides. Pour half of the marinade over the meat, this makes a great gravy.
– Chop the gingerbread cookies, combine  with red currant jam, apple butter and raisins, then place around the meat.
– Let the meat simmer on low temperature for at least 2 hours, covered with a lid (exact cooking time depends on the meat). It’s done when the meat is very tender and soft.
– Should the gravy be too thin you can add heavy cream, or mix 1 tbsp corn starch with cold water and add to the gravy (thickens the gravy). But usually the gravy has the right thickness.
– Place the Sauerbraten on a warm plate and slice it.

Serve with red cabbage, potato dumplings, mashed potatoes or Spätzle.

Additional Info
Some recipes require that the meat is in the marinade for 3 weeks. If you marinade it for 3 weeks the cooking time will be less.
If you cannot get the Aachener Printen you can also use gingerbread Lebkuchen but it might be a different taste.
Instead of water and vinegar use 0.75 l red wine and 0.5 l raspberry vinegar.
Bonne Maman has the best red currant jelly and you can find it in many US super markets. It has to be jelly. Don’t use jam.

Source Photo Flickr User julie corsi

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