Region: all over Germany, apparently French origins.
This is a true delight. Whenever the smell of freshly prepared Rouladen went through the house, I knew, today is a special day.
As so often in German cooking, Rouladen are a simple dish. Combined with sides like dumplings and cabbage they make up a true Germany classic.
The traditional German Rouladen dish uses a thin and long cut of beef or veal. Beef is the most common Rouladen meat – usually a silverside, topside, or a thin and long rump steak cut. The key is that the meat cut needs to be long and thin. The strips of meat are coated with mustard and topped with varied fillings and then rolled up and secured with a skewer or thread. Rouladen are traditionally seared and then slow roasted in a marinade made of beer or wine over several hours before serving with a gravy made from the broth, sides of spatzel, potatoes, and red cabbage, red wine or beer.
The typical Rouladen filling includes smoked bacon, chopped pickles, onions, and mustard but these ingredients can vary between German regions. In addition to beef, veal is also commonly used to make Rouladen. Venison or pork may also be used.
Serves: 4 – 6 Difficulty: Medium to difficult Preparation time: 120+ mins.
For the Rouladen:
- 8 (two per person) very thin and long Rouladen cuts of beef or veal (silverside, topside or a thin and long rump steak cut)
- 8 TS of Dijon mustard
- 16 long and thin cuts of breakfast bacon
- 2 onions in thin slices,
- 4 medium to large sweet and sour pickled gherkin cut into halves or quarters lengthwise
- Freshly ground salt and pepper
- 2 TBS Mustard seeds
- 5-8 TBS of flour
- Kitchen string or metal skewers
For the sauce:
- 1 medium to large carrot, coarsely chopped
- 200g (7 oz.) celery or parsley root, coarsely chopped
- 1 small stalk of leek cut slices
- 2 onions, quartered
- 3 cloves
- 2 TBS tomato paste
- 250ml (1.5 cups) of dry red wine
- 500ml (2.5 cups) of beef stock (alternatively instant beef bouillon)
- 1 medium bay leaf
- 5 crushed Juniper berries
- 2-4 TBS of pork lard
- 50 ml (0.25 cups) of crème
- 2 TBS of starch
- 1-2 TBS of redcurrant jam or jelly
- Freshly ground salt and pepper.
For the cabbage:
- 600g (21 oz) of Savoy Cabbage
- 100ml (1/2 cup) of crème
- 50ml (1/4 cup) of vegetable stock
- nutmeg to taste
- Freshly ground salt and pepper
- 1 TBS of clarified butter
For the dumplings:
- 300g (10.5 oz) bread crumbs (ideally French croutons)
- 250ml (or 1 cup) full fat milk
- 2 onions, very finely chopped
- 1 TBS butter
- 1 – 2 TBS of truffle oil
- 50g (1.8 oz) of dried chanterelles (or 100g (3.5 oz) of fresh chanterelles if in season)
- 3 TBS parsley, finely chopped
- 2 eggs
- 1 egg Yolk
- dash of nutmeg
- freshly ground salt and pepper
Rinse and dry meat with a paper towel. Place on a flat surface. Season with salt and pepper on both sides. Thinly spread about 1 TS of Dijon Mustard onto one side of the meat. Add just a little pinch of mustards seeds onto the mustard. Place two slices of breakfast bacon lengthwise onto the meat. Add ½ lengthwise sliced gherkin towards the end of the meat perpendicular to its long side. Place several slices of onions onto the meat starting from the gherkin to about half of the length of the meat.
Rolling the Rouladen:
Here is the most challenging bit. The rest will be easy. Slightly fold inwards the long edges of meat if needed. Begin rolling the meat tightly, starting at the end where your pickles/onions are. Form a tight roll and fix with kitchen string or a metal skewer. (I prefer a skewer, spares you from removing the string before serving)
Repeat process with all the other Rouladen.
Place 5-8 TBS of flower onto a plate and roll Rouladen in the flour.
Searing the Rouladen:
Heat up a large casserole or cooking pot and melt pork lard.
Place Rouladen in hot grease and sear on each side until brown. You may have to repeat this process if the casserole is not large enough. Don’t cramp all of the Rouladen into the pot if there is not enough room as this would eat away the heat and would not allow for a proper searing.
Once browned on each side, remove form casserole.
Cooking the Rouladen:
After all of your Rouladen have been seared, add 1 TBS of pork lard if needed and vegetables: Stir vegetables for 3 minutes. Add tomato paste and roast everything while constantly stirring for another two minutes. Pour in 250ml (1.5 cups) of dry red wine 500ml and (2.5 cups) of beef stock (alternatively: instant beef bouillon). Add 1 medium sized bay leaf and 5 crushed juniper berries and cloves. Season with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to allow for a mild simmer, return all Rouladen to the marinade and simmer for 1.5 — 2 hours, turning the Rouladen onto the other side every 30 minutes.
You have now plenty of time to prepare the rest of the meal.
Preparing the cabbage:
Remove the outer leaves of the cabbage, cut into strips, and rinse under running water. Spin dry in in a clean kitchen towel. Melt 1 TBS of clarified butter in a pan. Add Cabbage and stir fry until leaves begin to turn brown. Add 50ml (1/4 cup) of vegetable stock and let simmer on medium heat until leaves are soft. Remove from heat.
10 minutes before Rouladen are ready, add crème and vegetable stock to cabbage. Season with salt, pepper and nutmeg and let simmer for 5 -8 minutes. Keep warm until ready to serve.
Preparing the dumplings:
Soak 50g (1.8 oz) of dried chanterelles in hot water for 30 minutes or until entirely soft. Drain liquid and squeeze any excess liquid from the mushrooms. If you are using fresh chanterelles, wipe them clean with a paper towel or soft brush. Do not rinse fresh chanterelles. Chop mushrooms into very fine pieces.
Heat 250 ml (or 1 cup) milk and poor over 300 g (10.5 oz) bread crumbs (ideally French croutons) Let soak for 30 minutes.
Peel and finely chop onions. Melt butter at medium heat and glaze onions until soft. Combine bread dough, glazed onion, 2 full eggs, 1 egg yolk, and 3 TBS of finely chopped parsley, 2 eggs, 1 egg yolk, and the chanterelles. Season with salt, pepper, nutmeg, and 1 -2 TBS of truffle oil.
Knit dough well with your hands or with a hand mixer and dough hooks until you have an even and malleable dough. Should the dough be too dry add more milk and continue to mix and season as appropriate. Should the dough be too moist, add some flour or finely ground bread crumbs.
Rinse your hands with water and with wet hands form round dumplings larger that a golf ball and smaller than a tennis ball (somewhere in-between).
10 minutes before your Rouladen are ready, place dumplings into salted boiling water. Remove from heat and let soak for 15 minutes or longer until dumplings float. Remove from water and keep warm.
Back to the Rouladen:
Remove the Rouladen from the pot. Strain sauce and vegetables through a strainer. Press vegetables through the strainer using a spoon. Stir once and bring to a short boil. Remove from heat. Combine 50 ml (0.25 cups) of crème and 2 TBS of starch until you have an even mixture. Stir into sauce and bring to a boil for one minute. If sauce is too thin, add more crème/starch. Season with salt, pepper, and 1.2 TBS red currant jam/jelly.
Remove kitchen string or skewer from Rouladen and serve on a warm plate together with dumplings, cabbage, and sauce.
A dry burgundy red wine will accompany this dish well. A cold beer also always works with German cusine.
If you have never done Rouladen, these instructions may seem complex. I have discovered this video on Youtube that shows the individual steps quite well while staying close to my recommendation here. While it is in German, the steps are visualized quite clearly.