Traditional German Beef Rouladen

We’d be remiss here at the Great Lakes Pickling Company, if we didn’t take the opportunity here in this first week of November, to share with you one of our VERY favorite recipes that you can use to show off nearly anyone of your pickle pouch treasures.

Traditional German Beef Rouladen combines SO many things that make it a terrific fall and winter recipe.

If you’ve been looking for a dinner entrée recipe that showcases just the right amount of pickle goodness while combining it with other family favorite ingredients, this may JUST be the recipe you’ve been looking for.

Tender, braised-beef, bacon, grazed onions, a touch of mustard and a delicious pickle spear, make this dish combination that’s so unique, yet so familiar.

Think of it as a braised version of your favorite hamburger topped with caramelized onion, bacon, and a pickle chip.

All that’s missing is the bun!

And the low and slow braising method of these roulades, makes for a delicious gravy as all these ingredients meld together in a rich, beef broth.

The results are definitely worth the wait.

If this all sounds like a dish made in German heaven, let’s get you started with a few tips to make your very first batch a success.

It starts with the beef.

Braising is a cooking method which traditionally uses the less tender cuts of meat. This is NOT a recipe for Beef Tenderloin or even Rib-eye.

It also requires a piece of meat which can be sliced no more than a quarter inch thin, into panels that are approximately 3 to 4 inches wide, and 6 to 7 inches long.

That makes top round an excellent choice because, just by its nature, it’s about that size.

Typically, the serving size is 2 roulades, each end up approximately 1 ½” in diameter and about 4” long after braising. As such, to feed a typical family of 4, you’ll need to make 8 roulades requiring 8 slices of beef top round.

Beef top round isn’t a tough piece of meat to cut through, but to cut it an even thickness at that size is something best left to a butcher, or, look for it cut that way at your favorite grocery store that has a good meat displays.

The next few ingredients that need some tips are:

  • Bacon (Not the thick sliced kind, but smoked and not too fatty)
  • Mustard (If you can find German mustard you get bonus points but any coarsely ground whole grain mustard will do just fine)
  • Onions (Actually, we prefer white onions, which are a bit sweeter)
  • Pickles (Of course Great Lakes Pickling Pouch Pickles but we especially like the Garlic Dill flavor, our second choice would be our Bloody Mary pickles)
  • Beef Broth (Bouillon cubes and water are fine but we generally recommend a low-sodium beef broth.)
  • Oil for searing (Choose a neutral vegetable / canola oil)

That said, let’s get started!

Traditional German Beef Rouladens

Makes 8 Roulades or 4 Servings

To make the Roulades

2 cups                      White Onion, Cut into Thick Slivers

2 tablespoons         Vegetable or Canola Oil (for sauteing)

8 slices                     Beef Top Round

To Taste                   Salt & Pepper

¼ cup                       Coarse Ground Yellow Mustard

8 slices                     Thinly Sliced Smoked Bacon

8 spears                    Great Lakes Pickling Pouch Garlic Dill

  1. Begin by sauteing the onions in the vegetable oil on medium heat, until golden brown being careful NOT to burn them. Allow them to cool.
  2. Lay out the panels of beef in a portrait orientation then spread the surface of each panel with the mustard. Use additional if needed.
  3. Place a bacon strip horizontally (left to right), 1” up from the bottom edge of the panel.
  4. Sprinkle the cooked onion slices over each panel, dividing them evenly.
  5. Place a pickle spear directly on top of the bacon strip, then fold both the left, and right-hand side of the strip over and on top of the spear.
  6. Season the surface with salt and pepper.
  7. Starting from the bottom edge, fold the first inch of the panel over the bacon wrapped pickle spear and then, continue to roll the “roulade” toward the opposite end tightly.
  8. Secure the end with 1 or 2 toothpicks carefully so that they don’t unravel while searing and cooking.
  9. Once all roulades are rolled and secured, sear them in a non-stick skillet or fry-pan in a small amount of vegetable or canola oil until well browned on each side and place them in an oven-proof casserole dish.
  10. Reserve whatever oil and browned particles remain in the fry pan and add an additional tablespoon of oil if needed to sauté the following until softened:

1 clove             Garlic, Chopped

½ cup               White Onion, Chopped

1 Medium         Carrot, Chopped

1 Stalk              Celery, Chopped

  1. Sprinkle these vegetables over the roulades in your casserole dish, then add the following:

1 cup                Red Wine

2 cups              Beef Broth (Low-sodium preferred)

¼ to 1/3 Cup    Tomato Sauce (or Pasta Sauce of choice)

1                       Bay leaf (Just for the heck of it)

  1. Cover the casserole dish with a lid or foil and place in a heated 275 F oven and cook slowly for 2 hours. After 2 hours, uncover, turn the casserole, turn the roulades over, cover, and cook and additional 2 hours
  2. After the 4 hours have passed, carefully remove the roulades on to a serving dish and then strain all of the resulting broth into an adequately sized sauce pan.
  3. Mix together approximately ¼ cup of cornstarch into 2 to 3 tablespoons of COLD water, or enough water to JUST make a slurry.
  4. Bring the broth to a simmer and drizzle in just enough of the cornstarch slurry to thicken the broth into a medium body sauce.
  5. Adjust the seasoning of the sauce with salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Remove the toothpicks from your finished roulades and serve, topped with sauce.

Traditional Beef Rouladen is often served with Braised Red Cabbage, Boiled or Roasted Potatoes, Spätzle or Bread Dumplings and is a recipe that can be made ahead and re-heated later.

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