Rhineland-Style Sauerbraten with Raisin Gravy
- 4 cups dry red wine (preferably German)
- 1 cup water
- 2 1/2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 small yellow onion, peeled and finely chopped
- 10 peppercorns
- 2 medium-size whole bay leaves
- 4 whole cloves
- 1 (3-pound) boneless top round roast with a thin outer layer of fat
- 2 tablespoons minced parsley
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter or margarine
- 2 medium-size carrots, peeled and thinly sliced
- 2 large yellow onions, peeled and coarsely chopped
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 2 tablespoons sweet sherry
- 1/2 cup medium-dry red wine (preferably German)
- 1 cup seedless raisins
- 1 to 2 tablespoons red currant jelly or orange marmalade (if needed to mellow the tartness of the gravy)
For the marinade: Bring all ingredients to a fairly rapid boil in an uncovered medium-size heavy saucepan over moderate heat and cook 5 minutes.
For the sauerbraten: Place the beef in a large, heatproof, nonmetallic bowl. Pour in the hot marinade and cool to room temperature. Add the parsley, turn the beef in the marinade, cover, and marinate in the refrigerator for 4 days, turning the beef in the marinade every 8 hours.
Melt 2 tablespoons of the butter in a medium-size heavy kettle over moderate heat, add the beef and brown well on all sides; this will take 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer the beef to a plate, pour off and discard all casserole drippings, then add the remaining 1 tablespoon butter to the casserole and melt over moderate heat. Add the carrots, onions, and reserved marinade solids and saute, stirring often, for 5 minutes. Return the beef to the casserole, add 2 cups of the reserved marinade and the tomato paste, and bring to a boil over high heat. Adjust the heat so the marinade bubbles gently, cover the kettle with a round of foil, set the lid in place, then simmer the sauerbraten 3 1/2 to 4 hours, turning occasionally, until tender. Carefully replace the foil and kettle lid each time you turn the meat.
As soon as the sauerbraten is tender, remove it to a large plate and cover loosely with foil to keep warm. Skim as much fat as possible from the marinade, then strain it, discarding the solids. Return the marinade to the casserole, add the remaining reserved marinade along with the sugar, sherry, red wine, and raisins and boil, uncovered, over high heat for 5 to 7 minutes, until reduced by half and of good gravy consistency. Taste, and if the gravy is too sour, smooth in 1 to 2 tablespoons of the jelly. Season the gravy with the remaining salt and pepper.
To serve: Slice the sauerbraten across the grain and about 1/4-inch thick, arrange on a large heated platter, overlapping the slices slightly, and smother with the gravy. Pass any extra gravy separately.