Rouladen is the German version of the French roulade, which is a roll made with thinly-sliced meat. The German version is interesting in that it probably came from Germans using items they had on hand most of the time – mustard, pickles, onion, and pork – to make something that’s unique in its own right. What’s even better is that these characteristics also make it easy to throw together this delicious meal with items you probably already have in your kitchen.
There’s no denying the French influence on this dish, with its use of a wine and broth braise (although Germans sometimes use beer instead) and mirepoix vegetables to add flavor. It’s commonly thought that Rouladen was originally made with strips of pork, although beef has become the most popular meat for this dish over the past century.
2 lbs top round or flank steak, thinly sliced into four long strips (1/4″ thick)
1 white onion, chopped
2 medium pickles, chopped
4 slices bacon, chopped
1/2 cup spicy brown mustard
1/4 tsp each salt and pepper
2 tbsp butter or ghee
1 carrot, peeled and chopped
1 celery stalk, chopped
1 sprig fresh thyme (or 1/2 tsp dried)
1/2 cup each chicken and beef broths
1/4 cup red wine
1 tbsp tomato paste
When buying the meat for this dish, your local butcher may be able to slice it for you upon request. If you are slicing it yourself you may want to partially freeze it to make it easier to slice. You can also pound the meat to make it thinner or to a more even thickness.
Lightly season it with salt and pepper on both sides. Many recipes call for sliced pickles and onions, but I found that chopping them makes the steaks a lot easier to roll. Chop up half the onion, pickles and bacon, then combine them to make the filling.
Spoon some mustard onto one side of the steaks, then add some chopped onion, pickle, and bacon. Roll the steak and secure with either cooking twine or toothpicks. Don’t worry if you have leftover filling – we can use it in a second.
In a dutch oven, heat the butter or ghee on med/high heat for a minute, then add the rolled steaks. Sear until browned, turning every couple of minutes. Remove the steaks and set aside.
As the steaks are browning (or before) chop up a carrot, celery stalk, and the other half of the onion, then combine them with whatever filling you have left over.
Add the chopped veggies and thyme to the dutch oven and sauté on medium heat for about five minutes, until the vegetables start to soften.
Return the steaks to the dutch oven and add the wine and broths. Bring to a simmer then cover and reduce heat to low. Simmer for two hours, turning the steaks over halfway through.
After two hours, remove the steaks and place them on a cutting board. Strain the sauce and discard the vegetables (they’ll be mushy at this point), returning the strained sauce to the dutch oven. Stir in the tomato paste and reduce the sauce on med/high heat, until you have about 1/2 cup of liquid left, about five minutes.
Slice the steaks, then pour the sauce over the meat and serve. This dish is commonly accompanied with potatoes, roasted winter vegetables, cabbage, and red wine.