Sweet and Sour Beef, German-Style: Sauerbraten with Braised Red Cabbage and Buttered Noodles

Well, I’m leaving Germany, and as what happens when I leave the actual country, my heart hurts a little bit. I just love it that much.  However, I suppose the timing is ideal since the temps outside are going to ramp up this week, which means I’ll be eating more ice cream than regular food.  It’s true story, and I’d hate for all that delicious, but hearty German fare to go to waste.

For my last meal in Germany, I made Sauerbraten.  The origin of Sauerbraten can actually be traced back 2000 years to the Romans, when meat was preserved in red wine to be transported.  Every region has it’s own twist, but this dish can be found all over Germany and most likely is a staple at any German restaurant in the U.S.  It’s sweet, sour, hearty and delicious.

The recipe I used today comes from Bobby Flay. I actually did end up making this a pretty quick meal because I only bought a 1 pound piece of roast. Yes, this is possible to find if you just ask your butcher to cut one for you. I’m putting the recipe in amounts enough to serve 3-4, but if you end up using less or more meat, just use the rule of 20 minutes per pound.  This is served alongside some braised red cabbage and buttered egg noodles.  This seems laborious, but I did it one night after work, so with a smaller roast, it is possible as a weeknight meal.


1 ½ TB canola oil

1 (2 to 4 pound) boned and rolled beef rump roast

1 medium-size yellow onion, peeled and coarsely chopped

1 stalk celery, coarsely chopped

½ large carrot, peeled and sliced thin

1 ½ cloves garlic, crushed

½ cup white wine vinegar

¼ cup white wine

2 cups cold water (or broth)

3 whole cloves

4 black peppercorns

1 bay leaves

4 sprigs parsley

3 sprigs fresh thyme

Salt and freshly ground pepper

1 ½ TB unsalted butter

1 ½ TB flour

6-8 gingersnaps, finely crushed

1 TB honey


1 ½ TB unsalted butter

½ large yellow onion, peeled, halved and thinly sliced

1 ½ pounds red cabbage, cored and shredded

¼ cup reserved cooking liquid from sauerbraten

¼ cup white wine

Salt and freshly ground pepper


1 1/2 pounds egg noodles

4 tablespoons unsalted butter

1/4 cup finely chopped flat-leaf parsley

Salt and freshly ground pepper


1. Heat the oil in a large Dutch oven. Season the beef with salt and pepper, and cook until golden brown on all sides, about 15 minutes.

2.  Add onions, celery, carrot, garlic, white wine vinegar, white wine water, cloves, peppercorns, bay leaves, parsley, thyme and salt and pepper, to taste. Cover, and simmer 1 1/2 hours, turn meat, re-cover, and simmer 1 to 1 1/2 hours longer until tender. Transfer to a large platter and keep warm.

3.  Strain cooking liquid into a bowl, remove 1/2 cup to be used for the braised cabbage and set aside. Heat butter in a heavy medium saucepan over medium heat, whisk in flour and cook until golden brown, about 2 minutes. Whisk in cooking liquid, reduce heat to low, and cook, stirring, until thickened and season with salt and pepper to taste.

4.  Mix in gingersnaps and honey, to taste. Carve meat at the table (not too thin or slices will crumble) and serve with plenty of gravy. Or carve in the kitchen, arrange slices slightly overlapping on a platter, and pour some of the gravy down the center; pass the rest. Serve with braised cabbage and buttered noodles.


1. Heat butter in a large saute pan over medium heat. Add onion and cook until soft.

2.   Add the cabbage, cooking liquid and wine and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Cover and cook until the cabbage is wilted, about 15 to 20 minutes.


1. Cook the noodles in a large pot of boiling salted water until al dente. Drain well, return to the pan, toss with the butter and parsley, and season with salt and pepper, to taste.

sauerbratenSo…a few disclaimers.  1) I forgot to add the gingersnaps before I took this picture. Don’t forget- it makes a big difference.  2) I did not follow the 20-minutes-per-pound rule, and my beef came out a bit dry. Don’t do that. Pay attention. Tomato was over and I got distracted. I will blame her.

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