Sauerbraten and Potato Latkes…”Or so the German’s would have us believe”

“…or so the Germans would have us believe” – Norm Macdonald, Saturday Night Live: Weekend Update.

That phrase has always “tickled me funny bone.”  When you insert those eight simple words into a conversation, you either get that confused look and “Yeah. Umm, what?”  (Millennials or Gen Y) or someone might say “Oh yeah, I remember that…but who said it? Seinfeld? Richard Lewis?” (Baby Boomers/Generation X)

Buried deep in my wife Tonya’s lineage, struggling to culinarily  burst forth, is the German side of her gene pool.  The result of this internal battle manifests itself in a hearty favorite dish of MEAT and potatoes known as:  Sauerbraten and Potato Latkes!  Now get this everybody, if you aren’t aware, Sauerbraten is roast BEEF that is marinated for 3 days, yes 3 days, and during the cooking process and when done, can be covered with a sauce made from…Gingersnap Cookies!


Tonya first started experimenting with this dish in the 1990’s and we also ordered the Sauerbraten at one of Chicago’s most famous German restaurants, The Bergoff Restaurant.  Imagine hoisting a stein of good German brew as you salute your tablemates and pretend you speak German while feasting on their fantastic offerings.


  • Servings: 6-8
  • Difficulty: moderate
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1 cup waterimg_5166

1 1/2 cups red wine vinegar

1/2 cup dry red wine

2 onions, sliced

2 carrots, sliced

2 bay leaves

3 whole garlic cloves

1/8 tsp ground allspice

1 tbsp salt

1 tbsp black peppercorns

4 pound rump roast

2 tbsp vegetable oil

1/3 cup all purpose flour

2/3 cup finely crushed gingersnap cookies

Combine water, red wine vinegar, red wine, bay leaves, onions, carrots, allspice, garlic cloves, peppercorns and salt in large non-metal bowl.  Place roast in marinade, cover and refrigerate for 3 days.  Turn once daily.

Remove roast from marinade (keep marinade) and wipe dry.  In large heavy pot or Dutch oven, brown the roast on all sides, sprinkling the flour as you turn it. Add the marinade back to the pot with the roast, cover, reduce heat to low and simmer 3-4 hours, until meat is tender and easily pulls apart.

Remove roast from pot, strain marinade and discard vegetables and whole spices. Return marinade to pot, bring to slow boil while sprinkling in the crushed gingersnap cookies.  Slice meat, add back to pot and simmer 5 minutes.  Serve.


Potato Latkes

  • Servings: 10-12
  • Difficulty: easy
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4 large raw potatoes, peeled and grated

1/2 cup onion, grated

1 large egg

3 tbsp flour

salt and pepper

vegetable oil for cooking

Whisk all ingredients except for potatoes in bowl.  Stir in potatoes.  Form mixture into patties, making sure to squeeze liquid from mixture, and fry in skillet until golden brown.

Serve hot with a dab of sour cream

We had the Sauerbraten and latkes with baked apples and salad.  Some recipes call for the Sauerbraten to be served with Spaetzle, an egg noodle common in German dishes.  Either way, it’s a hearty dish even more delicious on a cold night with a cold beer.

My buddy Ray swears by Bitburger beer, a popular German brew that is a great accompaniment to the Sauerbraten.  It’s not craft, its not dark, it’s a pilsner. The company has been around since 1817 so they may know a thing or two about brewing…Or So the Germans would has us believe…