My parents were born and raised in Southern Germany, and this is very close to the way my mother makes Sauerbraten. She adds juniper berries, removed after meat has marinated, and you MUST marinate the meat for at least 3 days, and it's better if you marinate for 4 or 5 days. She does not add tomato wedges either. After removing the bay leaves, cloves, and juniper berries, she thickens the gravy, then strains it through a fine sieve, mashing the onions through the sieve to add body to the gravy (I think she uses 2 or 3 onions, too). Her Sauerbraten is the best I've ever had, and I've never met its match (I haven't been able to completely re-create it either). The purpose of the marinade is to make a tough cut of meat tender and palatable. Other recipes suggest adding gingersnaps, raisins, or sugar, sweeteners being a common thing for Northern Germans, but I've never cared for that version of Sauerbraten. The recipe is great as is, but try my suggested additions/changes and see if you like it better the way my German mother makes Sauerbraten!
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My parents were born and raised in Southern Germany, and this is very close to the way my...