Monday, January 27, 2014

Fun with rouladen

I’ve posted more than a few times about our traditional German sauerbraten dinners.  (Mmmmmm, my mouth is watering just thinking about it!)

Yesterday, though, I decided to delve into uncharted cooking territory and attempt another dish that my mom made often (far more often than she made sauerbraten) during my childhood: rouladen.  Rouladen usually consist of bacon, onions, carrots, mustard and pickles, wrapped in thinly sliced beef which is then cooked.

When rouladen are all cooked and ready to be devoured, they look something like this:

You’ll notice that I stole this photo from Google images – specifically from “What a Dish.” (Thanks, “What a Dish”!)  You know why I had to resort to stealing photos from Google images?  Because we (“we” being all the kids plus SOs, along with Eva, the now-24-year-old ex-exchange student from Germany for whom I was an AFS liaison back in 2006, and who is currently student teaching at a local high school) were so busy having a good time and visiting that I simply forgot to take photos of our celebration and finished meal!  (Yes, I AM out of blogging practice, but I am doing my best to post more often this year.)

So I don’t have photos of everyone hanging out in the kitchen drinking good German beer or of us making the other dishes that we served with the rouladen… 

(Well, that’s not entirely true.  I do have this one photo of Tom making the spaetzle while Peter kept him company:)


…but I DO have photos of the process of making rouladen.  If you have a realio-trulio German along to help you, it’s even more fun!

Here’s the cast of characters:


Most importantly, you’ll need about two slices of thinly sliced top round per person, each piece about 3” x 7” x 1/4.”  Our butcher sliced these for us and they were gorgeous!

You’ll also need salt and pepper, German sweet mustard, bacon, onions (you can simply sauté them; I totally annihilated caramelized them), baby carrots or thin carrot slices, German pickles (“die Riesen” are unlike any American pickle, sort of a cross between sweet and dill.  These were given to us by my dear friend Christel, also aus Germany!) and, for the gravy, beef broth, corn starch, and some sour cream.

Here’s the fun (read: messy) part:

For each roulade, season the meat with salt and pepper, then spread some (that’s an official culinary term; it means “as much as you want) mustard onto the flat meat.


Next, lay a piece of uncooked bacon lengthwise smack-dab in the middle of the meat, like so:


Now spoon some onions at the end closest to you:


Add a small carrot or a thin carrot stick:


And lastly, add a thin strip of pickle. 

What?  You want a photo of the pickle added?  Hmmmm.  I don’t have one!  You know why?  Because either I totally forgot to add the pickle to this piece of meat or I totally forgot to take a photo when I did add the pickle!  Fortunately I have a photo of when I added the pickle but totally forgot to add the bacon!


Hey, just have fun with it!  Yes, that’s my excuse.

Speaking of fun, this is the fun part.  Start rolling!


If you’re lucky, you’ll have a friend from Germany to help you.  This is just how Eva and I roll.  (Sorry…)


In order to secure each roulade, you’ll need either toothpicks (which we used), string (which my mother used), or some of these things (thank you Google images!):

Reminder to self: get some rouladen clips when we go to Europe in May (yes, I will blog that trip – I promise!).

This must be when I started my second beer because I pretty much stopped taking pictures at this point.

Once all twenty of our rouladen were rolled, we cooked them on high heat in our large electric frying pan, turning the heat way up to braise them and then down again to cook them until all pink in the meat was gone. 

At that point, we transferred them to the crock pot…


…leaving the drippings in the frying pan.

We then made a roux from the drippings, slowly adding beef broth and a little corn starch until it was gravy consistency, and then we poured gravy that over the rouladen.

And then we just let those little guys cook on low heat for a few hours while we made the kasespaetzle – which I took next to no photos of… but here’s one from our sauerbraten dinner.  (Same idea, except that yesterday we made about a fifth of that amount!)


About 15 minutes before you plan to serve the rouladen, add about 1/2 to 3/4 cup of sour cream to the crock pot.  To make it easier, I removed all the rouladen, stirred the sour cream into the gravy, and then replaced the rouladen.

I wish I had taken photos of our plates filled with this deliciousness and of the whole “Mishpocheh” (look it up… in a Yiddish dictionary) enjoying each other’s company, but I am so out of blogging practice that I totally forgot! 

Which gives us reason to do this whole thing again sometime soon!

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1 comment:

Margaret said...

I'm not a huge meat fan, but the rouladen looks delicious. Thinly sliced meat I can handle--as long as I don't have to chew too much. I love reading about the German dishes that you cook. I don't do enough with my Italian heritage, although I do make a decent spaghetti. :)

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