Lüchow’s Sauerbraten

"Lüchow’s was a grand German restaurant and New York City landmark on East 14th Street. Sadly, it closed in 1982 after one hundred years. I grew up hearing my grandmothers and parents talk of the place as a special destination, and was lucky enough to have dined there a couple of times in the years just before it closed. I’m also lucky to have found a copy of “Lüchow’s German Cookbook” (1952) from which I take this recipe for their signature dish. (With one exception, I have transcribed the recipe precisely: the original calls for kidney fat; I have substituted vegetable oil.)"
photo by Belgophile photo by Belgophile
photo by Belgophile
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  • Wipe steak with damp cloth, season with salt and pepper. Place in earthen, glass, or enamelware bowl. Combine onions, carrot, celery, cloves, peppercorns, vinegar, and bar leaves and 2-1/2 pints water, or enough to cover meat. Cover and put in refrigerator 4 days.
  • On fifth day remove from refrigerator, drain meat, sauté in vegetable oil and 1 tablespoon butter in enamelware, glass or earthenware utensil, until seared on all sides. Add marinade liquid and bring to boil, then lower heat and let simmer about 3 hours.
  • Melt remaining 5 tablespoons butter in a pan. Stir flour smoothly into it. Add sugar, blend, and let brown to nice dark color. Add to simmering meat mixture. Cover and continue cooking until meat is tender, about 1 hour longer.
  • Remove meat to a warmed serving platter. Stir crushed gingersnaps into the pot juices and cook until thickened. Pour this special sauerbraten gravy over meat. Serves 6 or more.
  • Serve with Potato or Bread Dumplings. A fine full-bodied red wine is a fitting complement to this well-known dish. A favorite with our guests is Pommard Burgundy.

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  1. Thanks Belgophile. This is just about the same as my Mother's sauerbraten, which was a great favorite. The two main differences are she didn't use gingersnaps, which are surely wonderful, but she added a goodly amount of raisins which simmered along with the braten. Sad to see Luchow's go.


My most cherished cookbook is Ruth Van Waerebeek's Everybody Eats Well in Belgium. It has been my inspiration for most of our family's special occasions and holiday meals and it was through exploring this book that cooking and entertaining became such a pleasurable hobby for me. The book is out of print, but I contacted Ruth to express my appreciation and ask her permission to include her recipes here. In her words: "My main concern when I wrote this book, was exactly that, that people around the globe would be able to taste these wonderful Belgian flavors! So, I don't have any objection that you post the recipes on the web."
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