Eat like a German - German Recipe:
Rheinischer Sauerbraten mit Rosinen (Rhineland-style Sauerbraten with Raisin Gravy)

Rheinischer Sauerbraten mit Rosinen (Rhineland-style Sauerbraten with Raisin Gravy)
[ source: Flickr]

Serves: 4 - 6 persons

Prep time:
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Sauerbraten is one of the best known German dishes and several regions boast local versions including: Bavaria, Rhineland, Saarland, Silesia, and Swabia. This one is a special Rhineland-style Sauerbraten with Raison Gravy. Doesn't this sound tasty?

Sauerbraten (German: sauer, sour + Braten, roast meat) is a German pot roast, usually of beef (but other meats such as venison, lamb, mutton, pork, and horse are sometimes used), marinated before cooking in a mixture of vinegar, water, spices and seasonings.

Sauerbraten is traditionally served with red cabbage, potato dumplings (Kartoffelklöße), Spätzle, boiled potatoes, or noodles. While many German-style restaurants in America pair potato pancakes with sauerbraten, this is common only in a small part of Germany.

Sauerbraten has been described as one of the national dishes of Germany. Sauerbraten is one of the best known German dishes and several regions boast local versions including: Bavaria, Rhineland, Saarland, Silesia, and Swabia. Regional variations of sauerbraten differ in the ingredients of their marinade, gravy, and traditional accompaniments.


A solid cut from the bottom round or rump is marinated for three or four days, or as many as 10, before cooking.

Red wine vinegar, wine, and/or water typically forms the basis of the marinade, which also includes earthy aromatic spices such as peppercorns, juniper berries, cloves, nutmeg, and bay leaves and less commonly coriander, mustard seed, laurel leaves, cinnamon, mace, ginger, and thyme. The marinade may also include vegetables such as onions, celery, and carrots. The acidic marinade helps tenderize the (typically tougher cut of) meat before it cooks. Buttermilk is also used as a marinade in certain regional varieties.

It is frequently advised to marinate the meat in an earthenware, glass, plastic, or enamel container rather than one made of metal, so the acidic marinade does not react with the vessel during the extended marinating process.

After the meat is removed from the marinade and dried, it is first browned in oil or lard and then braised with the strained marinade in a covered dish in a medium oven or on the stovetop. After simmering for four hours or more, depending on the size of the roast, the marinade will continue to flavor the roast, and as the meat cooks, its juices will also be released resulting in a very tender roast.

After the roast is cooked, the marinade is strained and returned to a saucepan where it is thickened (often with crushed gingerbread, lebkuchen, or gingersnaps, flour, sour cream, brown sugar, and/or roux), which brings both body and flavor to the sauce. Before it closed its doors in 1982, Luchow's famous German restaurant in New York City used crushed gingersnap cookies to season and thicken the gravy of its sauerbraten, one of the favored dishes. This style was made popular in the U.S. after the publication of Luchow's German Cookbook: The Story and the Favorite Dishes of America's Most Famous German Restaurant by Jan Mitchell in 1952. In the popular Rhineland version (Rheinischen Sauerbraten), sugar and raisins are added to the gravy in order to give the dish some countering sweetness.

Venison or other game are often prepared as sauerbraten as the spices and vinegar take away the wild taste of the meat.


Sauerbraten was originally made with horse meat but today it is almost always made with beef. The town of Eschweiler, Germany has a long horse butcher tradition, and sauerbraten is one of its culinary specialities.

Several sources believe sauerbraten was invented by Charlemagne in the ninth century AD as a means of using leftover roasted meat.Saint Albertus Magnus, also known as Saint Albert the Great and Albert of Cologne, is also credited with popularizing the dish in the thirteenth century. Julius Caesar has been assigned a role in the inspiration for sauerbraten as he purportedly sent amphoras filled with beef marinated in wine over the Alps to the newly founded Roman colony of Cologne. According to this legend, this inspired the residents of Cologne to imitate the Roman import. While quite common, these claims are largely unsubstantiated.

[ source: Wikipedia ]



  • 4 cups dry red wine (preferably German)
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 1/2 tblsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 sm. yellow onion, peeled & finely chopped
  • 10 peppercorns
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 4 whole cloves


  • 1 (3lb) boneless top round roast with a thin outer layer of fat
  • 2 tblsp minced parsley
  • 1 teasp salt
  • 1/2 teasp freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 tblsp all-purpose flour
  • 3 tblsp unsalted butter or margarine
  • 2 med. carrots, peeled & thinly sliced
  • 2 lrg yellow onions, peeled & coarsely chopped
  • 1 tblsp tomato paste
  • 1 tblsp sugar
  • 2 tblsp sweet sherry
  • 1/2 cup medium-dry red wine (preferably German)
  • 1 cup seedless raisins
  • 1-2 tblsp red currant jelly or orange marmelade (if needed to mellow tartness of gravy)

Makes 4 to 6 servings.


For the marinade: Bring all ingerdients to a fairly rapid boil in an uncovered medium-sized heavy saucepan over moderate heat and cook 5 minutes.

For the Sauerbraten: Place the beef in a large, heatproof, non-metallic bowl. Pour in the hot marinade and cool to room temperature. Add the parsley, turn the beef in the marinade, cover, and marinate in refrigerator for 4 days, turning the beef in marinate every 8 hours.

On the 5th day, remove the beef from marinate and pat dry. Strain marinate, reserving both liquid and solids. Rub the beef with half the salt and pepper, then dredge with the flour.

Melt 2 tablespoons of the butter in a medium-sized heavy kettle or dutch oven over moderate heat, add the beef, and brown well on all sides; this will take 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer the beef to a plate, pour off and discard all drippings, then add the remaining 1 tablespoon butter to the pot and melt over moderate heat. Add the carrots, onions, and reserved marinade solids and saute, stirring often, for 5 minutes. Return the beef to the pot, add 2 cups of the reserved marinade and the tomato paste and bring to a boil over high heat. Adjust heat so marinade bubbles gently, cover pot with foil then set lid in place and simmer the Sauerbraten 3 1/2 to 4 hours, turning occasionally, until tender. Carefully replace the foil and lid each time you turn the meat.

As soon as the Sauerbraten is tender, remove it to a large warmed plate and cover loosely with foil to keep warm. Skim as much fat as possible from the sauce, then strain it, discarding the solids. Return sauce to pot, add remaining reserved marinade along with the sugar, sherry, red wine, and raisins and boil, uncovered, over high heat for 5 to 7 minutes, until reduced by half and of good gravy consistency. Taste, and if the gravy is too sour, stir in 1 to 2 tablespoons of the jelly. Season gravy with salt and pepper.

To serve: Slice the Sauerbraten across the grain about 1/4" thick, arrange on a large heated platter and smother with gravy. Pass any extra gravy separately.

This german recipe has been written and shared by Uschi Engel. If you would also like to share a tasty german recipe, simply send us an email or post it on Facebook. We will review it and if accepted publish your here here in this Eat like a German recipe collection.

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