It’s been grey and drizzly for days…a perfect time for comfort food.


We made Sauerbraten for the Edible Alien Theatre’s Faeries: Autumn Feast many years ago, it was ideal for a chilly fall eve.  This (artfully) fuzzy frame is captured from a video shot in dim lighting from the Faeries Feast.  Note the visitor in the front, investigating the dinner fare.

Check out this LINK to a slideshow of the evening (all in artfully blurry video frames) with music by Joajoby from Madagascar, a group we brought to Live on Winnebago for the headliner show one of those years.  Faeries, ogres, Rod Serling, mysterious horse guide, Spoon Tree, foods, Faerie Primer, the King and Queen, and more…




Marinating a roast for three or four days can do amazing things.  This may not be an every day kind of meal because of the time needed to marinate, but other than having to remember this step in advance it isn’t much more work than a pot roast.  Start a new tasty holiday tradition by going Bavarian.

Many of the recipes called for “Sauerbraten Spice” which I do not have, but I found a list of ingredients so just went with that.  Basically you haul out nearly every non-green-herb spice in the cabinet and give it a few shakes into the marinade.  I’ve also heard Pickling Spice can be substituted as it has similar makeup.





You may be wondering why these are not photos of the sauerbraten I made for the post.

That little phrase in the recipe about cooking in a ‘non-reactive pan’ is important.  I did marinate in a glass pan, but without thinking I transferred the marinated roast into a cast iron Dutch oven for the roasting.  Duh.  I know what happens when acids like vinegar are cooked in cast iron but I was distracted…and that’s what happened.  The roast came out blackish blue and the gravy made from the juice was a horrid dark grey blue.  Highly appetizing, yes?  Fortunately it gets dark early these days, we ate by warm candlelight, and the fact that the gravy was blue was almost unnoticeable.


So instead of making it again to give you perfect photos I’m telling you this story of what NOT to do, and you can use your imagination for the rest.  Besides, even at its best meat is not terribly photogenic and these images from our show are much more fun.  Here I am serving up the sauerbraten with the Faerie King and Queen seated in the background on their handmade copper thrones inside magical home of Pepperfield.




Guten Appetit!






Prep Time: 10 minutes for marinade, 20 minutes to finish off after roasting

Cook Time: 3 days to marinate, 3 hours to roast

Place in a non-reactive (glass, ceramic, enamel) medium-shallow pan:

4 pound Roast:  Beef Rump, Brisket, Chuck or other less-than-tender cuts.  Lamb and Venison work well too.

Prepare the Marinade:

1 cup Wine (in northern Germany it would be white, in southern it would be red)

1 cup Cider Vinegar 2 cups Water 1 Onion, diced 1-2 Tablespoons Juniper Berries, crushed, or Gin

1 Tablespoon Coriander Seeds, crushed

2-3 Bay Leaves 1 teaspoon Sea Salt

I did what cooks do and just sprinkled these spices in…measurements are approximate:

2 teaspoons Dill Seed

1 teaspoon Mustard, ground

1 teaspoon Cinnamon

1 1/2 teaspoons Ginger

1 teaspoon Allspice

1/2 teaspoon Nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon Cardamom

1/2 teaspoon Cloves

1/2 teaspoon Black Pepper, ground

1/4 teaspoon Crushed Chiles

Mix together, pour the marinade over the roast.

Cover and refrigerate for 3 days.  Flip the roast twice each day.  


After three days remove the roast from the marinade and pat dry. 

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees if you’re using the oven and not the stovetop for the long cook.

Heat in a pan on the stove:

1 Tablespoon Oil or Lard

Sear the roast on all sides.  Add to the pan:

1 Onion, long sliced

Some of the strained marinade

Transfer everything to a a non-reactive (glass, ceramic, enamel, stainless) roasting pan, cover the roast, and cook either in a medium oven or at medium low heat on the stovetop for approximately three hours.

Remove the roast from the pan and leave the marinade for the gravy. 


The strained marinating liquid


1 Tablespoon Rice Flour

1/2-2/3 cup Gingersnap Cookies, crushed with a rolling pin or mortar and pestle.

Whisk over low heat until medium thick.  

Taste and adjust.   



We were visited by Faeries of many varieties, even ones that had trouble flying.


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