Okay, this one was a spur of the moment choice. I was thumbing through recipes and got hooked on the idea of a “steak roll” or “beef roll”, and this one came up. I looked at it and said “why not?” and here we are.
There are two odd parts about this dish. The first part is the name itself. “Roulade” comes from the French word rouler, meaning “to roll”, and a roulade is the name given to a dish consisting of rolled meat or pastry. It just seems strange that this supposedly German dish goes by a French name. The other odd thing is that at the center of the meat roll is a pickle – or more correctly, a pickled cucumber (yes, there’s a difference – go look it up). You don’t often think about having anything pickled in the middle of a savory dish like this, but I can tell you it provides an interesting contrast that works.
There is more prep work than usual for this dish, and combined with the assembly step makes this a little more difficult than most of the recipes I post here. Be sure to allow plenty of time before your planned serving time to prepare everything.
Adapted from Where Is My Spoon
German Beef Roulades
A savory meat roll of German origin with a surprise in the middle - pickled cucumber!
Adapted from Where Is My Spoon
Using a cutting board or butcher block, lay out each piece of meat and tenderize/flatten using a meat tenderizer until very thin (1/8 inch or so). Finished pieces should be 4-5 inches wide and 8-10 inches long.
Peel onions and cut in half, then slice thinly into half-circle pieces. Melt butter in a skillet over medium-high heat, then add onions and cook until they are a deep golden color and begin to caramelize. Set aside to cool.
To assemble each roulade, lay one piece of meat on a cutting board. Brush 1/4 of the mustard evenly over the meat. Lay 2 strips of bacon on top of the mustard, covering most of the meat. Divide the caramelized onions into four even amounts and place 1/4 of them on top of the bacon, spreading evenly. Place a pickled cucumber at one end of the meat. Fold the edges up slightly to keep the filling from spilling out the sides, then roll the meat up starting with the cucumber end. Use a toothpick to hold the roll closed. Sprinkle salt and pepper over the outside of the roll.
Heat oil in a large skillet or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Brown the outside of the roulades, then remove and set aside.
In the same skillet or Dutch oven used to brown the roulades, add the chopped onions and carrots. Cook until the onions turn a golden brown color.
Add tomato paste and sugar to the skillet, stirring and cooking for 2 minutes. Add flour and continue cooking another 2 minutes or until the flour has turned slightly golden.
Add the red wine in small amounts, stirring after each addition and allowing it to reduce. After the last of the wine has been added, add the beef broth and water and bring the mixture to a boil.
Add the roulades back into the pan along with the garlic and sprigs of thyme. Reduce heat to a low simmer, cover, and cook for 1 hour. Remove cover and continue cooking another 15 minutes, allowing the sauce to reduce.
Remove the roulades from the pan and set aside, keeping them warm. Using a slotted spoon, remove as much of the onions and carrots as possible and discard. Increase the heat to medium-high to let the sauce reduce more and start to thicken.
When the sauce has reached the desired consistency, check taste and add salt and pepper if needed. Return the roulades to the pan to reheat, then serve immediately.
Serving Size 1 roulade
- Amount Per Serving
- Calories 754kcal
- % Daily Value *
- Total Fat 38g59%
- Saturated Fat 13g65%
- Cholesterol 192mg64%
- Sodium 2192mg92%
- Potassium 1314mg38%
- Total Carbohydrate 15g5%
- Dietary Fiber 3g12%
- Sugars 6g
- Protein 72g144%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily value may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
- Any cut of beef could be used provided it is thinly sliced and of sufficient size (4-5 inches wide and 8-10 inches long when flattened/tenderized). In Europe and some parts of the U.S. a special cut of beef called a "rouladen" is often sold for this purpose. The meat used in the recipe photo is round steak sliced thin for use in Milanesa (a South American variation of a breaded beef cutlet or Wiener Schnitzel).
- Baby dill pickles can be substituted if baby pickled cucumbers or cornichons are not available.
- Depending on size, two pickles may be needed to cover the width of the roulade.
- The onions and carrots could be left in the sauce, but should be blended (using an immersion or regular blender) to make the sauce smooth.
- English mustard can be substituted for the spicy brown mustard to add an extra kick.
- A cornstarch slurry of 1 tablespoon cornstarch mixed with 1 tablespoon water can be added to thicken the sauce.