The best complement to this traditional German pot-roast dish is Perfect Mashed Potatoes.


  • 1 four- to five-pound top or bottom round of beef

  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

  • 4 tablespoons canola oil

  • 4 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped

  • 2 large onions, thinly sliced

  • 2 bay leaves

  • 4 tablespoons tomato paste

  • ¼ cup ketchup

  • 1 cup red-wine vinegar

  • 2 cups red wine, such as burgundy

  • ¼ cup sour cream


  1. Season beef well with salt and pepper. Tie meat tightly every 2 inches with kitchen twine, and once from end to end, to help keep meat intact. Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a large, heavy casserole over medium heat. Brown meat evenly on all sides, including the ends. Transfer to a plate, and set aside.

  2. Reduce heat to medium low, add remaining 2 tablespoons oil, garlic, and onions. Cook, stirring often, until softened, 5 to 7 minutes. Add bay leaves, tomato paste, ketchup, red-wine vinegar, and red wine. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Return beef to pot, and add 2 cups water. (The liquid should come halfway up the side of the beef.) Cover with a tight-fitting lid. Reduce heat to simmer. Cook for 1 hour, turn beef, and continue to cook until fork-tender, another 1 1/2 hours.

  3. Remove pot from heat. Let cool slightly, and transfer beef to a cutting board with a well. Remove twine, and let beef rest for 15 minutes. Skim the fat from the surface of the sauce in the casserole. Taste the sauce, and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper. Stir in sour cream. Slice meat across the grain into 1/4-inch slices. Place meat back into sauce. Transfer to a large serving platter; ladle over sauce. Serve immediately.

Cook's Notes

You can refrigerate the sauerbraten, covered, for up to two days. (In fact, the flavors develop nicely when the dish is made ahead of time.)

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