Delicious Beef Rouladen is rolls of tender, braised beef wrapped around bacon and match-sticked carrots, onions and pickles, smothered in delicious gravy. It is traditional German comfort food perfect for a cozy meal on a cold, gray day!
I’m so excited to add this simple Rouladen recipe to compliation of my favorite International foods. I can thank my Dad (who lived in Germany as a young adult), and some good German friends of ours from growing up, for my love of good German food!
In Germany, Rouladen are often served as Sunday dinner, the way the Brits do a post roast. Both the mustard and the slower, longer cook time with moist heat (braising) make for fall-apart tenderness in the meat. Getting the right meat cut to the right thickness 1/8″-1/4″ and dimensions 8-10″ long and 4-5″ wide is important so it’s best to have your butcher do it for you. Particularly in Pennsylvania and other parts of the Northeast and Midwest traditionally settled by Germans, this dish is popular and butchers know exactly what you need.
As a point of interest, “roulade” is actually French for something that is rolled up and this dish is also popular in neighboring areas that share a culinary history, particularly Poland and Hungary. If you like this kind of cooking you should definitely check out our Porkolt (Hungarian Stew) recipe.
Ingredients for German Rouladen:
- 2-3 lb. Round Roast (sliced length-wise to an 1/8″ thickness)
- Bacon, if desired.
- 1 onion (thinly sliced).
- 2 carrots (match sticked).
- 2 dill pickles (match sticked).
- Mustard: German style if available, or Dijon.
- Salt and Pepper.
How to make German Rouladen:
Lay out each slice of beef, pound lightly with a meat tenderizer (optional), schmear generously with mustard and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Add fillings: Place a slice of bacon (optional) on each slice of beef and distribute the match-sticked veggies (pickles, carrots and onions).
Roll up tightly and secure with a toothpick or two.
Brown the rouladen on each side in a hot Dutch oven. Add a little water or broth and simmer for 2 hours.
Make gravy from the juices. Remove Rouladen and bring juices to a boil. Thicken with cornstarch dissolved in 1 tablespoon of water.
Serve covered in gravy. Reserve some gravy for the Spaetzle or potatoes.
Alternate Slow Cooker method:
To have dinner almost ready when you get home and for rouladen that are particularly tender, place the browned rouladen in the slow cooker on low and allow to cook while you are at work!
Make Ahead and Freezing Instructions:
To Make Ahead:
Raw rouladen can be made ahead of time and stored in the fridge for the next day. Cooked rouladen can be stored in the fridge for several days. Ideally, leave out for half an hour to an hour prior to reheating at 250 degrees for 25 minutes, covered.
Rouladen can be frozen raw or cooked. Freeze on a cookie sheet or in a roasting pan, then transfer to a freezer bag or other freezer-friendly container and freeze for up to 3 months. When ready to use, thaw in the fridge overnight.
What to serve with Rouladen:
Treat your family to an authentic German meal by serving Beef rouladen with Spaetzle and Red Cabbage (Rotkohl)! Germans also serve Rouladen with peeled, halved, boiled yellow potatoes, mashed potatoes or rice. All are exquisite when drenched in the from scratch beef gravy that is a side product of the recipe.
- 2-3 lbs Round Roast* (have butcher slice thinly- length wise @ ⅛ “ thick)
- 8-12 slices bacon , optional
- 1 onion very thinly sliced
- 2 carrots very thinly sliced, julienne
- 2 whole dill pickles thinly sliced,
- 1/2 cup German mustard* or dijon
- Salt and Pepper
- 2 Tablespoons butter or oil , or a combination
- 1 cup water or beef broth
- Cut the onion, carrot and pickle in match-stick style pieces.
- Lay out the thin slices of meat and each spread generously with mustard and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
- Place bacon on top (if using) and then pickle, carrot and onion along the meat. Roll up tightly and secure with toothpicks.
- Heat a large dutch oven or pot over medium-high heat. Add butter or oil. Add cook, turning occasionally, until browned on all sides.
- Add 1 cup water or beef broth to the pot and scape up any browned bits from the pan. Cover pot and simmer on low for 2 hours.
- Remove Rouladen to a plate and bring juices in the pot to a boil. Thicken with cornstarch dissolved in 1 Tablespoon of water. Taste gravy and add additional salt, pepper, or beef bouillon granules, if desired.
- Remove toothpicks from the Rouladen and serve with gravy spooned on top.
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