This is my German mother's original recipe for Sauerbraten. We have this every year at Christmas. The key to this Sauerbraten recipe is to allow the roast to marinate for the full 3 days.
Combine all marinade ingredients, except the roast itself, in 2-3 quart saucepan. Bring to boil over high heat. Remove from heat and allow to cool to room temperature.
Place the beef in a deep, non-reactive (glass or ceramic) bowl or pot just large enough to hold it. Pour marinade over beef. The marinade should be at least halfway up the sides of the roast. If necessary add more wine. Cover tightly with foil or plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2-3 days, turning the meat in the marinade at least twice each day.
Remove meat from marinade and pat completely dry with paper towels. Strain the marinade through a fine sieve and reserve the liquid. Discard spices and onions.
In heavy, 5-quart dutch oven, heat the butter until bubbling stops. Add the meat and brown on all sides, turning frequently, so that it browns evenly without burning. Transfer to platter and set aside.
For roasting, add the onions, carrots, and celery to the same pan you cooked the meat in. Cook over moderate heat until soft and light brown (5-8 minutes). Sprinkle 2 Tablespoons of flour over the vegetables and cook, stirring constantly, 2-3 minutes longer or until the flour begins to color. Pour in 2 cups of the reserved marinade and 1/2 cup of water and bring to boil over high heat. Return the meat to the pot, cover tightly, and simmer over low heat for 2 hours, or until the meat shows no resistance when pierced with the tip of a sharp knife. Alternatively, bake in 350 degree oven for 2 hours.
Transfer the roast to a heated platter and cover with foil to keep warm while sauce is made.
Pour the liquid left in the pot into a large measuring cup and skim fat from surface. You will need at least 2 1/2 cups for the sauce. If additional liquid is needed, add some of the reserved marinade.
Combine the liquid and the gingersnap crumbs in a saucepan and cook over moderate heat, stirring frequently for approx. 10 minutes, allowing the cookie crumbs to dissolve completely and thicken the sauce to the desired consistency. Depending upon the amount of liquid, you may need to add additional cookie crumbs.
Strain the sauce through a fine sieve, pressing down hard with wooden spoon to force as much of the vegetables and crumbs through as possible. Return the sauce to the pan, adjust seasoning and allow to simmer over low heat until ready to serve.
Slice the roast, pour some sauce over slices on platter and pass remaining sauce separately.
Traditionally, sauerbraten is served with dumplings, boiled potatoes, spaetzle, and red cabbage. This classic, but easy, recipe requires advance planning and time (3 days!), but it has a flavor and aroma that is incredible.
Don't hesitate to adjust the amount of gingersnap cookies to give the sauce your preferred consistency. The flavorful gingersnap cookies are used as the thickener, not flour, so you don't run the risk of having a pasty sauce.
This recipe was provided by Alexander R from Adel