Well, it’s definitely autumn in Colorado. In the course of two weeks, we have gone from 90-degree temperatures to the low to mid 60’s. I have broken out the long pants and sweatshirts and even turned the heat on this morning. It makes me a little sad but it’s all good. Early autumn in Colorado is stunning with all the beautiful colors. Too bad, there is snow in the forecast for next week. I sure hope the trees down in Denver can turn colors. Let’s keep our fingers crossed!
I first had Sauerbraten (German Pot Roast) on a trip to St. Anton, Austria. On my trip, I only ate traditional foods to the region and this was one thing that I tried out! The sweet and sour flavors were something that I never expected but something that I really enjoyed. I knew that I wanted to make it at home sometime and for some reason, it was this week. Lucky me!
Anyway, after doing some research, I realized that there was a lot to making this recipe. It involves a few days (for marinating) and a lot of ingredients that most of us don’t have in our pantries. So, I used my kitchen instincts and made up, what I believe, to be a darn close representation of what I had in Austria. This recipe is fairly simple so read on.
Sauerbraten is translated to “sour roast”. Sauer is “sour or pickled” and braten means “roast meat”. The finished dish has a heavenly sweet and sour flavor as the gravy that you make has a sweet component that balances out acidity from the vinegar marinade. I know it sounds odd, but it’s delicious! It’s traditionally served with braised purple cabbage, carrots, potatoes or spaetzle. I made mashed potatoes and carrots for my feast.
Sauerbraten is a dish that you need to plan on. In fact, you will need to marinate it for 2-3 days. Some recipes call for up to 10 days, but that would be way to tangy for me. I marinated mine for about 2 1/2 days which seems to be a perfect balance. I started mine on Friday morning and made it for Sunday supper. Once the marinating is done and it’s cooked in the oven, you have to make the gravy. This is very important as it’s the component the gives it the sweet and sour deliciousness! Yeah, I know, it’s not “figure” friendly, but we all need a good stick to your ribs meal every now and then! Heck! It’s Octoberfest season! You can do it. Just make sure you have a cold beer handy..
One of my favorite hikes to take when I have friends in town is St. Mary’s Glacier. Yep! Colorado has glaciers and this one happens to be an hour away from Denver. It’s an easy hike and a great introduction to the Rocky Mountains. The views are stunning, the lake is beautiful and it’s really cool to get up close and personal to a glacier. One thing that is great about this hike is that you can do it year round. (In the winter you will need snowshoes). This was the first time that I did this hike in the fall though. Wow! Check out all the colors. It was a spectacular day as the clouds just enhanced the plethora of stunning colors! I can’t get enough of early autumn days. I’m sure that you would agree!
Sauerbraten (German Pot Roast)
For the Sauerbraten marinade
- 2 1/2-3 pound chuck roast (pot roast) you can substitute a bottom round as well
- 1 cup sliced onions
- 4 carrots, cut into thirds
- 2 cups apple cider vinegar
- 2 cups water
- 3 tablespoons pickling spice
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 tablespoon black peppercorns
- 1/3 cup brown sugar
- salt and pepper
For the gravy
- reserved cooking liquid
- 20 ginger snap cookies
- salt and pepper
For the Marinade/Meat Marinating
- In a medium-sized saucepan over medium-high heat, add the vinegar, water, onions, pickling spice, bay leaves and, peppercorns. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low and cook for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool completely.
- Liberally coat the roast with salt and pepper. Place the meat and the carrots in a zip-tight bag or in a non-metal dish that is large enough to hold the meat and marinade. Pour the marinade over the top and either close the bag or cover with plastic wrap.
- Place in the refrigerator for 2-3 days turning 1-2 times per day to ensure even marination.
For Cooking the Roast
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
- Remove the meat from the marinade. Pat dry as well as you can and set aside. DO NOT THROW OUT THE LIQUID.
- In a large dutch oven coated with vegetable oil over medium heat. Brown the meat on all sides. About 2-3 minutes per side.
- Pour in the marinade and the sugar to the pan. Cover and place in the oven.
- Cook for approximately 3-4 hours (depending on how big your roast is) or until your roast is fork tender. Remove from oven.
To make the Gravy
- Remove the meat from the pot and cover to keep warm. Strain the liquid from the pan reserving the vegetables and putting them on the plate with the meat.
- Pour the marinade into a saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and whisk in the gingersnaps. Whisking constantly until the gravy thickens. Adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper and a little brown sugar if necessary.
- Remove from heat and pour the gravy through a strainer to remove any leftover solids.
- Serve the beef with the gravy and your favorite potatoes.