It was in Cologne in 1963 that I finally solved the riddle of preparing sauerbraten. What I could not achieve until then was the golden glow that shimmers over the deep brown gravy; browning flour in the conventional einbrenne (roux) never yielded that result. But a generous chef demonstrated the secret: the addition of sugar to the einbrenne. It gilds the gravy even as its sweetness balances the sour lemon note and the zing of pickling spices. —Mimi Sheraton, author of The German Cookbook (Random House, 1965)
What You Will Need
- 1 (5-lb.) beef eye of round
- 2 cups red wine
- 1 1⁄2 cups red wine vinegar
- 3 large onions, thinly sliced
- 1 large carrot, thinly sliced
- 1 bouquet garni (1 tbsp. pickling spices, 14 whole cloves, 8 whole black peppercorns, 3 bay leaves, 3 sprigs thyme, 2 sprigs parsley, wrapped in cheesecloth, tied with kitchen twine)
- 4 tbsp. unsalted butter
- 4 slices bacon, finely chopped
- 3 tbsp. flour
- 2 tbsp. sugar
- 1⁄2 cup golden raisins
- 6 gingersnaps, crumbled
- Juice of 1/2 lemon
- 2 tbsp. chopped parsley
- Kosher salt, to taste
- Season beef liberally with salt in large bowl. Bring wine, vinegar, 1 onion, carrot, bouquet garni, and 4 cups water to a boil in a 4-qt. saucepan; pour over beef. Cover and refrigerate, turning once or twice a day, for 5 days. Remove beef from marinade; pour marinade through a fine strainer into a bowl, and dry beef thoroughly. (Reserve 5 cups of the marinade and the bouquet garni.) Heat 2 tbsp. butter and bacon in an 8-qt. Dutch oven over medium-high heat; cook until bacon renders its fat, about 10 minutes. Transfer bacon to a plate; set aside. Add beef; cook, turning, until browned all over, about 25 minutes. Transfer to a plate; set aside.
- Heat oven to 325°. Add remaining onions to pot; cook, stirring, until caramelized, about 18 minutes. Return beef to pot with reserved marinade and sachet; boil. Cover; bake until beef is very tender, about 2 1⁄2 hours. Transfer beef to a platter; pour sauce through a fine strainer into a bowl.
- Return pot to medium-high heat; add remaining butter. Add flour and sugar; cook, whisking constantly, until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Add sauce, raisins, gingersnaps, and juice; return beef to sauce. Bring to a simmer, cover pot, and cook until slightly reduced, about 10 minutes. Thinly slice beef; arrange on a platter. Spoon sauce over top; sprinkle with bacon and parsley.