German Rouladen melts in your mouth by the time it has simmered in its juices for an hour or two. This is a typical Sunday dinner or holiday recipe. Rouladen is a traditional German recipe which literally translates to ‘roll ups’.
I came to realize a number of years into my marriage into a German heritage family that most of my family holiday entertaining recipes were German. I am not particularly sure why except that when you were entertaining my traditional German father-in-law, traditional German cooking was generally a much safer bet!
I guess also the more English childhood recipes from my Mom – think ham and scalloped potatoes- though delicious were not as intriguing as a new type of cuisine. Regardless of the reason I am happy to have this recipe in my repertoire!
Because the Kitchener Waterloo area has a strong German background I can go to the meat market and buy rouladen cutlets. The are escalopes of beef usually about 10″ long by 4-6″ wide and about 1/4 ” thick. If you have to ask your butcher to cut them for you ask for inside or top round cut to the above specifications.
For the mustard slather I just trickle a zig zag line the length of the rouladen from the squirt jar. Then I smooth it all over the face of the meat. All that to say… I am guessing at the 6 Tbsps below!
The ‘roll ups’ are typically slathered with mustard, topped with onion and bacon and rolled around a dill pickle slice. I sometimes use whole baby dill pickles if they are approximately the width of my rouladen. If I only have large dills then I would halve them lengthwise.
My mother-in-law had a good trick – she always used 2 toothpicks per roll up whether she needed two or not. That way she knew if she removed 2 from each rouladen she had them all. This is more important than you might think! I always double check the number of toothpicks I have removed at the end…and I have had to go back for a missing one more than once!
This recipe makes a lot of broth that you thicken to gravy consistency. I like to serve it with red cabbage on the side and lots of mashed or roasted potatoes to take advantage of all that gravy!
- 12 rouladen slices (or inside round cut 1/4" thick about 10" X 6")
- salt and pepper for seasoning
- 6 Tbsps yellow mustard
- 2 medium onions finely diced
- 10 strips bacon finely minced
- 6 dill pickles halved lengthwise to make 12 spears
- 2 Tbsps vegetable oil
- 3 cups beef broth
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 1/2 tsps dried thyme
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 2 Tbsps each cornstarch and water
- 24 toothpicks
- Lay the rouladen out flat on a work surface. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to season.
- Drizzle mustard the length of the meat and smear it all over the face of the meat with a knife.
- Mix onion and bacon in a small bowl. Sprinkle onion and bacon over the surface of the rouladen leaving about a 1/4 " from the outside edges.
- Place a dill pickle spear across the widest end of the rouladen. Starting at the pickle end, roll the meat lengthwise into a roll. Secure with 2 toothpicks.
- Repeat with remaining rouladen.
- Heat vegetable oil in a large skillet, large enough to eventually hold all 12 rouladen. Brown the rouladen a couple of minutes on each side. You may have to do this in batches. Remove browned rouladen and repeat in batches until they are all browned.
- Return all rouladen back to the skillet. Pour enough broth into the skillet to come half way up the rouladen. Add the herbs and spices.
- Bring to a simmer, cover and simmer about 90 minutes. Check half way through to see if you need to add more broth to keep the level halfway up the rouladen.
- When rouladen is cooked remove the rolls and keep warm. Remove the toothpicks from each rouladen.
- Strain and reserve the broth. Discard the solids and return the broth to the skillet. Add water to the cornstarch to dissolve it. Add to the broth and bring to a boil. Stir until it reaches the thickness you want. Depending on how much broth you have you may have to add another Tbsp of cornstarch dissolved in water to get a nicy gravy consistency.
- Serve on a platter with gravy on the side.