Sauerbraten is indigenous to every region in Germany, but, as with most traditional home-style dishes, regional differences abound and no two recipes are alike. At its most basic, sauerbraten is pot roast marinated in spiced vinegar and served with a pungent sweet-and-sour gravy. The gravy, made from the braising liquid, is the real defining characteristic of a good sauerbraten, and most German cooks believe that it should titillate the nostrils and practically bring tears to the eyes. Many cooks, myself included, add crumbled gingersnaps to the gravy to thicken it and to contribute a spicy-sweet note. Others crumble up honey cake, or lebkuchen. I've also heard of some who add raisins to the gravy. The best version I've tasted so far comes from a German friend of a friend. She swears by the use of sour cream to finish the gravy, and I'd have to agree. The rich tang strikes just the right balance with all the other flavors. null Sauerbraten is traditionally served with potato dumplings or boiled potatoes and red cabbage. I'd also recommend potato pancakes for a little crunch, or buttered egg noodles. null The pungent flavor of sauerbraten relies on a 2-to-3 day marinade. Be sure to allow time (and space in your refrigerator) for this.
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