Sauerbraten Made With Homemade Brown Sugar

If you’re looking for authentic German pot roast look no further. My late Aunt Erna’s sauerbraten is an heirloom recipe that’s been passed down from her parents.  I wish a could trace sauerbraten further down their family tree but conversation was always a limited since English is their second language. In case you’ve never heard of sauerbraten it’s a beef roast braised in a sweet, tangy, sauce.  Mix a few spices into some plain white vinegar and out comes pure culinary magic.  Add an extra dose of homemade by making your own brown sugar for the recipe.  Directions for how to make brown sugar can be found below.

My aunt died a few years ago from cancer, and both of her parents are still alive today.  I could go on about the pain Aunt Erna’s premature departure left,  but I’ll spare you and myself some tears.  Instead, let’s eat the best German food I’ve ever had.

 The recipe is as simple and sweet as my childhood memories of my visits to her house. Aunt Erna’s recipes are absolute proof that you don’t need fancy and superfluous recipes to make food truly memorable. She once made pancakes from a box, and pears from a can; it was one of the best dinners I can remember having as a child. I was in such a trance while eating the sugar soaked pears I accidentally scooped them directly into my mouth from the serving bowl.  I still wonder if anyone saw me at the dinner table.
Sauerbraten is best served alongside potato pancakes and pickled red cabbage. If you want the full German experience throw on some polka music and don’t forget the beer.
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serves 4
  • 2 tbsp canola oil
  • 2-3 lb chuck roast
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 3-4 carrots
  • 1 c white vinegar
  • 3/4 c brown sugar*
  • 1/2 salt
  • 1/4 nutmeg
  • 7 ginger snaps
  1. Place a large pot over medium high heat.
  2. Dry beef with paper towels and season with s+p.
  3. Brown the meat in the hot oil.
  4. Add onions and carrots.
  5. Cook over medium heat until they start to slightly brown and soften, 5-10 minutes.
  6. Add vinegar, brown sugar, salt, and nutmeg.
  7. Lower the heat to bring the ingredients to a slow simmer.
  8. Cook 3.5 hours.
  9. Remove meat and vegetables.
  10. Add gingersnaps to the sauce.
  11. Strain the cookies out of the sauce with a fine mesh sieve.
  12. Return all of the ingredients to the pot and serve.*

*This dish is best when it’s left on the stove and reheated at dinnertime.  The sauce thickens to a syrupy gravy, and it’s just divine.

 How to Make Brown Sugar

Sauerbraten calls for 3/4 of a cup so I made just enough for the this recipe. Instead of buying brown sugar I keep a bottle of molasses on hand to mix with white sugar, because that’s all brown sugar is, sugar and molasses.  I mixed in 1/4 cup of molasses with 3/4 of a cup of white sugar.  The key is to smoosh the ingredients together.  You can also use a food processor.  I prefer using a machine, but mine broke over Christmas and I haven’t replaced it yet.

how to make brown sugar  how to make brown sugar

how to make brown sugarI’ve read countless pot roast recipes and nothing compares to this. It’s all about the secret ingredient, and now you’re in the gingersnap circle of trust, congrats.  Write this recipe on an index card and keep it for your kids.   This pot roast recipe ties as one of my winter favorites next to this epic recipe.  Feel free to use your slow cooker for sauerbraten. You can put all of the ingredients in and turn it to high for 4-5 hours.  Make sure you brown the meat first or you’ll lose that layer of flavor and texture. This is the main reason I avoid my slowcooker for most meat dishes.  I can’t bear to wash two pots.

Just a reminder from Captain Obvious… We’re approximately 2 months away from spring food!  It’s my absolute favorite time to cook. When the garden starts to provide us with fresh produce and fun herbs, food gets a lot quicker to make and prettier to look at.  Plant chives for the prettiest edible purple flowers.  We saved some from last year that’s currently in my freezer right now.  Pin how to preserve your herbs before the spring flowers disappear. Even if you grow a few chive plants in a pot it’s well worth it.

Thanks for stopping in.  See you next time friend.

linked to Create It Thursday, Fluster Buster, Pin Junkie

Lovely comments

  1. says

    OMGoodess! Your pictures make everything look so good. I’m going to start making my own brown sugar too. I’m the new weekly cohost for the Let’s Get Real Blog Hop and would love for you to come and linkup at 5PM EST tomorrow.

  2. says

    Holy moly, that looks amazing! Gorgeous pictures. And am so trying your brown sugar tip! Pinning this one now (for once I finish this darn Whole30 and can eat sugar again.)

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