Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Crock Pot Sauerbraten

Sauerbraten is a German-style pot roast usually served with buttered noodles, Spaetzel, potato dumplings or potato pancakes. Its known to be one of Germany's national dishes. Therefore, this dish is an ode to my mom who lived and worked in Germany for a few years before I was born. I came across this recipe from food.com and immediately thought of her.

In those years she lived in Germany, she learned to love the language and the culture. Ever since I was a child, my mom would boast about her life there. I was always in awe when she would tell her tales of Germany. How she and her friends would just take a bus ride to Switzerland or Holland for the weekend. How she ate this food and that food. After completing her contract, she went home and married my dad. And the rest was history. But you could tell how much she missed Germany. That's not to say that she would rather be there than here. It just goes to show how much of an impression it left my mom.

She hadn't been back to Germany until our family trip to Europe in 2000. During our trip to Germany, we visited my Godmother, who she used to work with at the hospital where they were both nurses. They took us to the old hospital they used to work at, which became a Mental ward. We had lunch at the cafeteria where I had my first taste of Sauerbraten. With German cuisine, I learned that they tend to blend sweet and sour in their dishes, which is exactly how Sauerbraten is. Sweet and sour. This German-style pot roast came out quite tasty. The meat was so tender with a sweet and sour gravy. It was a different type of cuisine than what we were accustomed to, but we gladly welcomed the change in taste.

1 1/4 cups water
1 cup cider vinegar
1 onion, coarsely chopped
1 lemon, cut into 8 wedges
2 bay leaves
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. whole peppercorn
1/2 tsp. whole cloves
1 (4 - 4 1/2 lb) lean top round roast
1/4 cup brown sugar
12 gingersnaps, crushed
1/4 cup water
1 Tbsp. all purpose flour

1) In a large saucepan, combine the first 8 ingredients and bring to a boil. Cool completely.

2) Place beef in a 9 x 13" baking sheet or freezer bag. Pour cooled marinade over beef and seal. Refrigerate for up to 3 days, turning twice daily.

3) Remove meat and place in a slow cooker pan. Strain marinade and pour over beef. Cook on low for 6-7 hours or until beef starts to fall apart around the edges.

4) Remove beef to a platter and slice 1/4" thick and set aside.

5) Strain liquid and return to the crock pot. Turn on high. Add brown sugar and gingersnaps, stirring until dissolved. Mix flour into 1/4 cup of water. Stir flour mixture into the broth and heat for 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Return beef to the gravy. Cover and cook on high until gravy thickens, about 30 minutes. Serve with buttered noodles or spaetzel.

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