Sauerbrauten was a two part lesson. We purchased the meat shopping together on the day we made the Schäuferla. The pieces of meat looked enormous, but Jola assured me that the cooking process shrinks the meat considerably. She washed it, patted it dry, then salted and peppered it pretty heavily and set it aside. Then I watched Jola and Heinz make the brine/marinade. Heinz chopped the carrots and onions. Next, Jola combined them with good cooking vinegar (apple cider vinegar will work or something finer), and about 50 grams of the Sauerbrauten spice. She filled the rest of the pot with water and brought the whole thing to a boil for at least 20 minutes. The Sauerbrauten meat was waiting in a large bowl with a top that seals. Heinz poured the boiling marinade over it and let cool. Then they marinated it, covered, for three or four days, in a cool place, making sure to shake it at least once a day.
I came over on the third of forth day to help finish the meal but the sauce was mostly complete. Because we weren’t that busy, Jola showed me her stash of extra kitchen utensils and asked if I needed them. In one cabinet we found an unopened word game, kind of like Boggle, kind of like a crossword/scrabble. We opened it, read the directions and promptly made up our own rules. Then the three of us played our own version of it together until dinner was ready. Thinking about how to spell words auf Deutsch is sehr schwer! (Very hard) This was such sweet fun. We probably played for an hour while the sauce simmered. I can’t put into words how nice it was for them to play this silly child’s game with me so that I could practice German.
That evening we ate together and I have to say in my “vast”experience (so far I’ve had about four different Sauerbratens) Jola’s is hands down the best. Her sauce is key–not too strong, not to rich, not too sweet, Just perfectly savory.