Rouladen is a classic German dish. Made from thinly cut and pounded beef filled with onion, pickles, bacon, and mustard, this filling meat dish includes a thick gravy that serves well with bread or potato dumplings, spaetzle, or potatoes.
Prep Time 35minutes
Cook Time 1hour55minutes
Total Time 2hours30minutes
Author Recipes From Europe
4thin slices of beef, approximately 9x5 inches or slightly bigger (ideally top round cut, but flank steak or outside round cutlets also work)
4baby dill pickles
1small yellow onion
toothpicks or cooking twine
a pinch of sugar
salt and pepper
Peel the onion, then chop it into small cubes. Also, cut the baby dill pickles into small cubes.
Peel the carrot and cut it into slices. Wash the celery and leek (make sure to wash it well - leek can be quite dirty), then cut those into slices/rings as well. Set the vegetables aside for now.
Wash the meat and trim the excess fat (if applicable). Place one piece of meat between two pieces of cling film, then pound it thin using the smooth side of a meat hammer.
Remove the cling film. Salt and pepper on both sides of the meat, then evenly spread one of the sides with mustard (approximately 1 tablespoon per roulade). Add one slice of bacon as well as some of the cut-up onion and pickles. Be sure to place the onion and pickles in the middle of the beef with room at the edges - you'll need this space for rolling/tucking the beef.
Now roll up the piece of meat and try tucking in the edges. Secure the roll of meat either with toothpicks (we like using a whole toothpick in the middle and a half toothpick for each end) or cooking twine (you can tie the beef roll as you would ribbon in four directions on a present). Set the roulade aside on a plate and repeat the steps with the other pieces of meat.
Preheat your oven to 310 degrees Fahrenheit.
Once you have rolled all the pieces of meat, heat oil in a pan/pot with high sides. Alternatively, you can also use a Dutch oven or similar that you can put in the oven. Add the rouladen and sear the meat on high heat on all sides (so make sure to rotate them!). Once all the sides are browned, remove the meat from the pan.
Turn down the heat to medium and add the vegetables to the pan. Sauté them for around 5 minutes, then add the tomato paste and the sugar. Give everything a stir.
Now add 1/2 cup of red wine to the pot and wait until it reduces. Then add the other 1/2 cup and wait for it to reduce and thicken again.
Add the beef broth to the pan/pot and bring everything to a simmer. Then pour the contents of the pan into a roasting pan for the oven or leave them in the pan/pot if it is oven safe.
Place the meat on top of the evenly spread out sauce and vegetables and put the roasting pan with the lid off into the oven. After 30 minutes, take the pan out of the oven, flip the rouladen and place them back in the oven. Bake them for another 30 minutes, flip them again, and put the lid on at the 1-hour mark. This way, they get a nice dark color. If you don't want them to be that dark, place them into the oven with the lid on from the beginning - but still flip them every 30 minutes.
Test if the meat is tender after 90 minutes. If it is, remove the pan from the oven. If not, put it back in to continue cooking the beef.
Once the meat is tender, remove the rouladen from the roasting pan and set them aside.
Pour the sauce through a sifter to capture the cooked vegetables.
To thicken the sauce, you have two options. Either blend approximately 1/2 of the cooked vegetables with some of the liquid from the sauce drippings. Then add it back to the strained liquid and bring this mixture to a simmer on the stove in a pot. Add salt and pepper to taste. Alternatively - if you don't want to use any vegetables to thicken the sauce - thicken the sauce with approximately 1-2 tablespoons of cornstarch dissolved in a little bit of cold water and discard the cooked vegetables or eat them on the side.
We usually calculate one roulade per person if the meat is on the bigger side and there are different side dishes. If the meat is smaller and/or you are cooking this dish for people with large appetites, it's best to calculate two rouladen per person.
Use a wine that you would also drink. If you use one with poor quality, you'll taste it. At the same time, there's no need to use a very expensive wine either.
Be careful when you pound the meat - you want to get it thin but don't want to break through the grains and create holes in the piece of beef.
Make sure to remove the toothpicks or cooking twine from the meat before eating it.
You can prepare the rouladen the day before. Some people (Lisa's mom include) like doing this since it gives the flavors in the rouladen time to mingle. Just place them in the fridge overnight and then gently reheat them the next day.