"Sauerbraten" the national dish of Germany
One of Germany’s national dishes, this authentic Sauerbraten is marinated, cooked until tender, and served with a wonderfully rich and flavorful sweet-tangy gravy! Serve it with homemade Rotkohl and potatoes, Knödel or Spätzle and you’re all set for a memorable feast.
Growing up in southern Germany until my mid-20’s, Sauerbraten was a dish I always looked forward to. Both my German mother and my Oma would make it served with Rotkohl, Knödle and potatoes, sometimes Spätzle, and it was a memorable feast every time. It was also a dish we loved to order at restaurants. Wherever we went it was made a little differently, but always delicious.
Sauerbraten recipes vary by region, each adding their own touches. Some regions use just vinegar, some just wine and others use a combination of both, which is the most common. There is always the addition of a sweet ingredient to balance the acidity and sourness of the sauce and some regions do this by adding ginger snap cookies, raisins, sugar, honey or sugar beet syrup (or often a combination of them) to achieve that balance. The addition of ginger snaps also serves to thicken the gravy.
The origin of Sauerbraten has been ascribed to Julius Caesar who is documented as having sent beef marinated in wine all the way from Rome to the new Roman colony of Cologne. Saint Albert the Great of Cologne was later credited with having popularized the recipe in the 13th century. Originally the dish was most commonly made with horse and there are a few restaurants that still serve it, but today it’s primarily made with beef. Sometimes it’s also made with venison or lamb.
This quintessential German dish is found on the menus of many German restaurants both in and outside of Germany. It has been one of Germany’s most popular dishes for generations and as such has become one of its official national dishes.