Kosher style sauerbraten

I have been tasked with eliminating the traife from my grandmother’s sauerbraten recipe. The recipe is similar to the one Mimi Sheraton published in her German Cookbook. There are a couple of items I’m wrestling with:

  • Browning the meat in butter and diced bacon: I’m considering beef bacon as a substitute, but I’m worried it’s not fatty enough. What about schmaltz? Could that be a good substitute? Should I use that instead of or with the beef bacon? Same question for pareve margarine. I’m also considering using diced kosher salami in place of the bacon, but I’m worried the spices might be too weird.

  • Adding sour cream to the gravy: It’s optional in the Sheraton recipe, but it’s the way my grandmother made it and the way I like it. It makes the gravy fuller and richer. Kosher sour cream (presumably sold on the same shelf as No Fat Half and Half) is an option, but I’m not sure it would be the same. Sheraton suggests browning a marrow bone with the vegetables to make a richer gravy, I’m wondering if doing that would compensate.

Any advice from those experienced in these kinds of tweaks would be greatly appreciated.

M @ r k


One product that you can use is a smoked, Kosher turkey leg. This works especially well for braised items like Collard Greens. It is a very lean product, so it’s not going to render out like bacon. However if you braise it you will get some of that smokey aspect. Just brown the beef in olive oil or whatever you might use, but then use the turkey later to add some smoke and depth. If you want to get a little crazy, get a kosher beef marrow bone and roast that. The fat that renders out is insanely rich and beefy.

I have never heard of a pareve Kosher sour cream. Gross thought. I hate all of the fake dairy. I have used pareve soymilk in some applications, but if the goal is richness then the surprising ingredient to use sparingly is, gulp, coconut milk. Too much and it is going to taste like a curry, but a little bit will both lighten the color and brings surprising richness. I think you might also need some vinegar too though to simulate the natural acidity of the sour cream and to keep things in balance.

EDIT: I didn’t even see your reference to the marrow bone as I typed mine above. Go for it. Marrow fat is insane.

Good luck. I have to deal with these puzzles all the time. Pretty challenging.

Thanks much Eric. The sour cream is there for texture as well as richness of flavor, so rather than go with something with an artificially created texture (that I could get by using corn starch anyway - which I won’t) I’m probably just going to omit the “dairy” part altogether. The marrow bone sounds like the way to go, and the turkey leg sounds like a great idea as well.

Thanks again!

M @ r k

I love sauerbraten and have never used bacon, butter or sour cream when making it. I wouldn’t dream of making the gravy without gingersnaps though.

Where is martin zwick on this topic?? I havent used sour cream with sauerbraten but it gets my mind thinking about what it lends to the final outcome!

I am coming…

Of course you can use sour cream, but it not traditionell. The famous Rheinischer Sauerbraten uses sugar beet syrup at the end for thicken the sauce. Or also german Lebkuchen ginger break cake is used for thicken the sauce.

And most importantly horse meat is used… YES, believe me. Of course in these days mostly made with beef.

Also very important to put the meat in a marinade of red wine&vinegar&spices for days better 1 week.

More: Sauerbraten - Wikipedia

Guten Appetit,

P.S. raisins is also used, of course optional.

My grandmother was second generation German and she used sour cream. According to Mimi Sheraton, it depends on where you’re from:

“A tablespoonful tomato puree or sour cream can be stirred in and heated through 4 or 5 minutes before serving time. The latter is used more in Bavaria than along the Rhine.”

But then her family was from Hesse, so I’m not sure how that all ties together.

She also did use gingersnaps. And, yes, she marinated for about a week. Never mentioned horse meat though…

YES, these recipes differ from region to region. My recipe is from the region around Cologne.