German Beef Rouladen

Beef roulade on ladle, stew pot with sauce in the background

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Ratings (22)
  • Total: 2 hrs 30 mins
  • Prep: 30 mins
  • Cook: 2 hrs
  • Yield: 4 to 6 roulades (8 servings)
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
235 Calories
2g Fat
40g Carbs
11g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4 to 6 roulades (8 servings)
Amount per serving
Calories 235
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 2g 2%
Saturated Fat 1g 4%
Cholesterol 4mg 1%
Sodium 365mg 16%
Total Carbohydrate 40g 14%
Dietary Fiber 4g 13%
Protein 11g
Calcium 34mg 3%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

German rouladen is made with thin slices of beef. Browned, then braised, this delicacy makes use of inexpensive cuts of beef and transforms them into a favorite German meal. The sauce can be very simple (beef broth) or more complex with vegetables and cream. This recipe uses a little red wine for flavor, but you can make the dish without the wine.

Rouladen is often rolled around a pickle, mustard, onion and bacon mixture, in which case it is called  rindsrouladen.

The adjectives hausfrauenart (literally, "wife's method") and hausmannskost (literally, "husband's repast or meal") added to the name of a dish means it's a simple concoction served at home, often made without written recipes.

If you're not quite at the hausfrau level, don't worry, we've got you covered with a rouladen recipe.

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds beef brisket (or rump, sliced thinly)
  • 1 to 2 gherkins (sour pickles, or 1 dill pickle)
  • 1 onion
  • 2 slices bacon 
  • 2 tablespoons mustard
  • 1/2 tablespoon clarified butter 
  • 1/2 tablespoon oil 
  • 1 carrot (diced)
  • 1 to 2 ribs celery (diced)
  • 1/2 cup dry red wine 
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (more or less to taste)
  • Black pepper (to taste)

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. Slice the beef about 1/4-inch thick across the large surface (horizontally). This can be done with a slicing machine, by the butcher, or by hand with a very sharp knife. This works best when the meat is partially frozen. You should be able to get 4 to 6 slices from the meat. Lay beef out flat.

  3. Cut pickle lengthwise into strips and dice the onion and bacon very finely and set aside.

  4. Spread each beef slice with mustard; fill one end with 2 slices of pickle, 1 to 2 tablespoons of onion, and some diced bacon.

  5. Roll up from the filled end and tie with string (tie like you are wrapping a present or use a modified blanket stitch), or use turkey lacers (in Germany they are called rouladennadel) to keep the rolls tightly closed.

  6. Melt the butter and oil in a saucepan or Dutch oven and brown the outside of the roulades in it. Remove the roulades to a plate.

  7. Add the diced carrot and celery, which is known as a suppengrün or mirepoix, to the same pan the rolls were braised in. Sauté for a few minutes, until soft.

  8. Place the beef rolls back on top of the vegetables, add the red wine and a little water, to make about 1/2-inch of liquid in the pan.

  9. Add the bay leaf, 1/2 teaspoon of salt (depends on how salty the bacon is), and some grinds of pepper.

  10. Cover and braise over low heat for 2 hours, or until beef is tender.

  11. Remove beef roulades and keep warm.

  12. Purée sauce and thicken (optional) with a little cream, sour cream, or Wondra flour (known as sossenbinder in Germany). Season to taste with more salt and pepper as needed.

  13. Place roulades back in the sauce until serving time.

  14. Serve with boiled potatoes (dampfkartoffeln or parsley potatoes) or spaetzle noodles and red cabbage.

  15. Enjoy!