In that long thread on time-consuming cooking projects, I was asked about the recipes for the sauerbraten dinner I talked about - here's how I make it; it isn't so much a recipe as a method.
I like to use a whole eye of the round because it makes neat slices; top round is good too, or any good pot roast cut. Take off all the visible fat and silver skin.
Four or five days before you want to serve it, put the beef into a marinade of equal parts water, red wine, and cider vinegar, enough to cover. Add a cup of chopped onion, several carrots roughly chopped, a couple of cloves of garlic minced. Now add half a box of prunes, a teaspoon of cracked peppercorns, a teaspoon of whole cloves, a teaspoon of whole allspice, a couple of slices of ginger, a bay leaf. My great aunt used to add raisins and currants but I don't like them; she also didn't use wine. Marinate in the refrigerator, turning it from time to time. The big ziplock bags are great for this because you don't need to use as much marinade and keeps it in close contact with the meat.
The day of the meal, take the meat out of the marinade and pat it dry. Strain the marinade, rubbing the prune pulp through the sieve. Brown the meat all over in a little lard or olive oil, then add the marinade and cook like a standard pot roast or braise.
When done, strain the cooking liquid and make a light gravy by using crushed gingersnaps to thicken it. Slice the meat and serve with the gravy over egg noodles. Aunt Tillie used to make her own earlier in the week, but any good egg noodle tastes fine with it. Green beans are good with it, as are peas.
On the side I like red cabbage sauteed with onion and bacon, then braised with a little cider vinegar and a little sugar with it. Again no recipe; for a small head of cabbage I use two large onions, five or six slices of thick cut bacon, and maybe half a cup of vinegar and a tablespoon of sugar.
Instead of egg noodles, I cook spaetzle earlier in the day, then shock it in ice water. Drain well and toss with lots of butter. Put in casserole. When the roast comes out of the oven, sprinkle the spaetzle with buttered bread crumbs and put in the oven to heat while the meat rests. I do the red cabbage ahead of time, refrigerate, and reheat along wiht the spaetzle. All of the ahead-of-time prep makes this menu an excellent one for entertaining. I use the old JOC recipe for the sauerbraten, and marinate 7-10 days.
I agree it's a great recipe for entertaining, but some of my friends have turned up their noses because the sweet spices with the beef freaked them out. So I choose my audience carefully! And like Aunt Tillie, I save wrapped portions for friends and relatives who love it but aren't at dinner. In my family, people either long for it all year or can't stand it.
I do omit the head cheese which she served as an appetizer.
Sorry, I saw this too late to answer in a timely way, but since the meal is kind of heavy and sweet, I like a tart dessert. At the big sauerbraten dinner party Aunt Tillie threw for about 200 every year, she served raspberry whip - literally heavy cream whipped stiff with sweetened raspberry pulp folded in! The meal must have been 5000 calories. I like a lemon pudding cake or a lemon tart, maybe lemon trifle.
Thanks, that sweetened whip sounds good, gonna have to rememeber that when the berries come in! I actually did a combo. I made a sachertorte and lemon sandwiched cookies. I knew the cookies were good since I had made them before so if the cake failed, I had back up! They were the hit, they are a delicious lemon shortbread/butter cookie with lemon filling sandwiched in between and then a glaze with a sugar zest on top! The cake was good, but the chocolate glaze did not set correctly, it tasted good overall, but much too sticky...thanks again for the resoponse!