Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Rouladen: A Traditional German Dish

While I was in Germany, I learned several of the dishes that were native to the country. This is generally difficult with any modern culture, as they tend to absorb cooking skills or recipes from other countries. But there is one recipe that is distinctly German: Rouladen.

This meat dish really means "rolled", or rolled meat. The versions that I have had reflect regional differences, as in the Rhineland they roll just bacon and mustard, in the Pfalz they roll bacon, mustard and pickles, and in Bayern they roll in a bread stuffing. The meat is then slow-roasted. The smell is exquisite, the taste even more so. If you are looking for a good Crock-pot dish, this simple dish will knock your socks off.

The meat can be thinly sliced, but should be no more than a half-inch thick. Anything thicker will be difficult to roll. Ideal meat to use would be a Pot Roast, as it is not highly valued for flavor as steak, and there for less expensive. Also, your local butcher or megamart meat department should be able to slice it for you.

Bacon can be of your choosing. I prefer the fatty bacon in order to give the proper flavor. But I have used turkey bacon, and it works well enough. In fact, there is less liquid with turkey bacon, so if you don't like the liquid cleanup afterwards, that may be a good low fat alternative. The basic concept is that bacon, or some other fatty food, is rolled into the meat. This keeps the meat moist when it roasts. This is why bacon is used, or a bread stuffing with plenty of butter.

If you choose to use a pickle, I would highly recommend either buying German Pickles from a German food store, or using bread and butter pickles. You don't want to use Dill, because it will drown out the flavor, and you don't want to use sweet for the same reason. Something mildly sour is fine.

If you choose to use a stuffing, you can use any that you wish. I made a beef stuffing with beef broth, but as you are already using bacon, a pork stuffing would be fine. If desired, you can also add some minced celery, onion, and even garlic if you so desire.

For mustard, I highly recommend either getting a sharp German mustard, or a good deli mustard with whole mustard seeds. You can use the generic yellow mustard, but the flavor isn't as strong.

Finally, roll the meat together with the stuffing in the middle. Initially I used to put toothpicks in, but have found since that the rolls will seal themselves. Slow roast them for at least 5 hours. That raises the internal temperature high enough to be sure all nasty bugs are dead.

Once done serve with either potatoes, potato dumplings, or spaezel and Jaegersosse gravy, or sauerkraut. Which, of course, depends again on the region you are emulating. Jaegersosse is a brown gravy with mushrooms, and very common in the Rhineland - Pfalz area, or the Black Forest. Sauerkraut is common all over Germany, but is prepared differently. For the Rhineland-Pfalz area up to Hessen, they use wine grapes to sweeten it. In Bayern (Bravaria), on the other hand, they add gound meat to give it a more savory flavor. To each their own, but I prefer the sweet.

All together, if prepared correctly, the Rouladen can be eaten without any condiments. The flavor is almost perfect, not needing any salt or pepper. It's great for a cool fall day, or a cold winter dinner.


Vila1 said...

That sounds like a really tasty dish. However, you didn't provide the recipie or any of the "how to's" for preparing the cooking the dish.

Can you provide the recipie you use to make the Rouladen?



gummyBEAR_ said...

Ya, the dish is really good at home we have it all the time. The recipe is ..


4 sirloin tip steaks - thin
8 slices bacon
8 slices dill pickles (sliced lengthwise)
1 onion, diced
German mustard or brown mustard
1/4 cup vegetable oil
3 cups beef broth
1/4 cup tomato paste
1/4 cup half and half
1/4 cup evaporated skim milk


Pound the steaks with a meat tenderizer/mallot until about 1/8" thick. Season the steaks with salt and pepper. Spread mustard thickly on one side on each steak. Place two slices of bacon and two pickle slices on each steak. Divide the onion evenly onto each steak. Starting from the narrowest end of each steak, roll tightly (jelly roll style) and secure with string.

Heat oil in a heavy saucepan. Brown the meat rolls well on all sides. Add about 1 cup of water to the saucepan, cover and simmer for 1 1/2 hours. Add more water if needed. Remove the meat from the pan. Add the beef broth to the liquid the meat was cooked in. Keep boiling until liquid is reduced by one third of its original size. Whisk in tomato paste, half and half, and evaporated skim milk, careful to not let it boil (to avoid curdling). Season with salt and pepper. Return the meat to the pan and warm through.

got the recipe from : http://recipesbycindy.homestead.com/Rouladen.html =] enjoy ( its the same recipe we use at home)

Llani said...

Thanks, great recipe, just as the Rouladen are supposed to be made. I grew up in Bonn (Rheinland) and we always used pickles, the sour ones, Essiggurken. Here in Chicago I found them at Dominick's and they are cheaper than in the German store. They sell the Gundelsheim brand, you have to search a bit though among all the different varieties of the regular dill pickles they sell.

In Germany the Rouladen are cut from the shoulder but what a great idea to use a potroast.