Sauerbraten is today one of the most well-known German dishes, which is not surprising, since it is also one of the oldest and most long lived as well. It is commonly believed that its origins lay either in the 9th century with the Franks as a way of using leftover meat from feasts, or from the 1st century with the Roman colonization of Cologne as a way of preserving meat for the long trek to the Alps.
500 ml (2 cups) water
1 cup red wine
1 cup cider vinegar
1 lemon, sliced
½ large onion, diced
1 clove garlic, diced
10 whole cloves
2 bay leaves
2 tablespoons white sugar
2 tablespoons salt
1 tablespoon juniper berries, crushed
1 teaspoon whole peppercorns
1.8 kg (4 lbs) boneless beef chuck roast
2 cups chopped onions
2 cups chopped carrots
1 cup diced celery
Add together water, red wine, cider vinegar, lemon, 1 cup chopped onion, garlic, cloves, bay leaves, white sugar, salt, juniper berries, and peppercorns in saucepan.
Put on stove and heat on medium until sugar is dissolved, which should take about 5 minutes.
Allow marinade to cool completely and pour into resealable plastic bag, then add beef roast, squeeze out excess air, seal bag, and place in refrigerator. Marinate in refrigerator 2 to 3 days, turning roast twice day.
When marination is complete, place onions, carrots, and celery in slow cooker. Remove roast from marinade and place atop vegetables, them strain marinade and pour 2 ½ cups over roast; reserve remaining marinade.
Cover and cook roast on low for 8 hours. When roast is done, transfer to cutting board and cover with aluminum foil. Strain cooking liquid into large bowl and return vegetables to slow cooker to rest.
Heat about 3 cups cooking liquid and gingersnaps in saucepan over medium-high heat, adding reserved marinade as needed, until gravy is thickened, about 10 minutes.
Slice roast and serve with vegetables and gravy.