Wow. Hearty. German hearty. Something's got to get you through that central European winter. Here's a big roast for your holidays, perfect fare for a chilly night. Make boiled or mashed potatoes to go alongside. And pour more of that big red wine. Or beer. Yeah, lots of beer.
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Okay, the recipe:
- 1 cup hearty, big, dry red wine
- 3/4 cup red wine vinegar
- 1 small onion, thinly sliced
- 1 medium carrot, thinly sliced
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 tablespoon juniper berries
- 1 tablespoon black peppercorns
- 1 1/2 teaspoons caraway seeds
- 1 teaspoon salt
- One 2 1/2- to 3-pound beef bottom round roast
- 4 ounces thin-cut bacon, chopped
- 1 1/2 cups frozen pearl onions (do not thaw)
- 6 pitted prunes, quartered
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 teaspoon dried sage
- 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
- 1/2 teaspoon ground dried ginger
- 2 cups beef broth
1. Start by mixing the red wine, red wine vinegar, onion, carrot, bay leaves, juniper berries, peppercorns, 1 teaspoon caraway seeds, and the salt in a large saucepan. Bring to a simmer over high heat, stirring occasionally. Set aside off the heat to cool to room temperature, about 45 minutes.
2. Pour the red wine mixture into a large plastic bag you can zip closed. Add the beef, turn a bit to coat, and seal the bag closed. Store in a big bowl in the refrigerator for 4 (yes, four) days, turning the bag occasionally to make sure the meat takes a turn against all the aromatics.
3. Heat the oven to 325F, positioning the rack in the middle of the oven or as close as it can get to the middle while still fitting in your big Dutch or French oven. Remove the meat from the marinade. Strain the marinade through a sieve and into a big bowl. Discard the solids, reserving the liquid.
4. Set a Dutch or large French oven over medium heat. Add the bacon and cook, stirring occasionally until crunchy, about 3 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the bacon bits to a bowl.
5. Blot the beef bottom round dry on paper towels. Add it to the pot and brown well on both sides, turning at least once, about 8 minutes. Transfer the meat to the bowl with the bacon.
6. Add the pearl onions to the pot; cook, stirring often, until lightly browned, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the prunes, thyme, sage, allspice, ginger, and the remaining 1/2 teaspoon caraway seeds to the pot. Stir well for about a minute. Pour in 1/2 cup of the reserved marinade liquid; bring to a simmer, scraping up any browned bits on the bottom of the pot. Pour in the broth, then add the beef, the bacon, and any juices in their bowl, nestling the meat into the sauce. Bring to a full simmer.
7. Cover the pot and slide it into the oven. Bake until the meat is fork-tender, about 3 hours. Transfer the roast to a large carving board and let stand at room temperature for 10 minutes before carving and chunking up to serve with the vegetables and pan sauce.
Note: You can thicken the sauce, if desired. Set the Dutch or French oven over medium-high heat and bring the sauce to a full simmer. Add 3 to 4 finely crumbled gingersnap cookies, stirring until moderately thickened. Serve at once.