To make these mouthwatering German Rouladen fill a thinly sliced steak with mustard, bacon, onion, and pickles. Braise in a red wine sauce until they are perfectly tender and irresistibly delicious.
Growing up in Germany, Beef Rouladen ('Rinderrouladen' in German) was always on my family's dinner rotation. It's one of the ultimate German comfort foods.
Although when I say dinner, I'm referring to the midday meal. Germans typically eat their hot meal at lunchtime!
BEEF TOP ROUND - You'll need about two pounds. Ask the butcher to slice beef to about ¼ inch thickness if possible. Otherwise, you will have to do this yourself at home.
BACON - I recommend using high-quality bacon. While I often recommend thick-cut bacon, a standard cut works better for this recipe.
DILL PICKLES and ONIONS - Next to the bacon, you will use sliced pickles and onions for the filling. Make sure to cut both the onion and the dill pickles thinly.
MUSTARD - Use whichever mustard you like best. I've used yellow, dijon, and even whole grain mustard.
FOR THE GRAVY
CLARIFIED BUTTER/OLIVE OIL - If you have clarified butter on hand, this is a great recipe for using it. But if you don't, an easy substitute is olive oil, and if possible, I recommend using extra virgin olive oil.
VEGGIES - Use equal amounts of diced carrots and celery.
LIQUIDS - We'll use a 2-to-1 wine to beef broth ratio for this recipe. I recommend using a dry red wine variety. To add a hint of acidity are also going to use a little bit of pickle juice.
RELATED RECIPE USING PICKLE JUICE:
Creamy Cold German Potato Salad
CONDIMENTS - Add a bay leaf and a little bit of tomato paste for more depth of flavor.
CORNSTARCH - Use this to thicken the gravy.
How To Make German Rouladen
- MEAT PREP - Tenderize the meat.
- FILLING - Spread the mustard over and fill with bacon, onion, and pickles. Shape the stuffed slice of beef into a roll. Secure each roll with toothpicks (or butcher's twine).
- BROWN - Brown rouladen rolls on each side over medium-high heat. Once browned, remove rouladen and set aside.
- GRAVY - Add onions, celery, and carrots to the pan and sauté over medium heat until tender. Stir in tomato paste and add wine, beef broth, pickle juice, and bay leaf. Bring to a quick boil.
- BRAISE - Reduce the heat to a simmer and add rouladen back in. Braise over low heat for 90 minutes.
- GRAVY - Remove rouladen and pour the sauce through a sieve to remove the vegetables. Return the sauce to the pan and thicken with cornstarch.
Store Rouladen in the fridge for 2-3 days in an airtight container.
Recipe Success Tips
- Time-saving hack - Look for a container of pre-sliced carrots and celery. It's already peeled, pre-sliced, and perfect if you want to save time.
- Talk to your butcher. The sliced beef I used in the photo shoot was on the thicker side. Ask your butcher to cut the beef as thin as possible.
- Don't overstuff the rolls. It's going to make rolling easier.
- Toothpicks vs. Butcher's Twine. No real difference in the outcome. I prefer wooden toothpicks because it's a little quicker.
- You can also make Rouladen in a slow cooker. Sear the rouladen in a skillet as described in step 5. Once browned, transfer the rolls into the slow cooker and add the liquids and veggies. Set on low for 8 hours (or high for 4 hours). Transfer the liquids into a skillet (remove the veggies) and thicken the sauce with cornstarch.
- Don't own a meat tenderizer? A rolling pin or a heavy cast iron pan work, too. Basically, any flat, heavy object will do.
More German Dishes
- Zwiebelkuchen (Onion Pie)
- Jägerschnitzel (Pork Schnitzel With A Creamy Mushroom Sauce)
- Reibekuchen (Potato Pancakes)
- Speckknödel (Bread and Bacon Dumplings)
- Kaiserschmarrn (Shredded Pancake)
- Krautfleckerl (German version of Haluski)
Making The Rolls
- Cover meat with cling film and pound beef slices with the flat side of a meat tenderizer.
- Spread mustard over the beef slices and top with bacon, sliced onion, and pickles. Fold sides (if possible) and shape the stuffed slice of beef into a roll. Take rolls and secure with a toothpicks (or butcher's twine).
- Brown rouladen on each side over medium-high heat in a large skillet with vegetable oil (or clarified butter). Once browned remove rouladen from the skillet and set aside.
- Add chopped onion, celery, and carrots to the pan and sauté over medium-high heat for 2-3 minutes. Stir in tomato paste and add wine, beef broth, pickle juice, and bay leaf. Bring to a quick boil. If you have any leftover pickle slices add them to the mix.
- Reduce the heat to a simmer and returned browned rouladen to the skillet. Braise over low heat for 90 minutes.
- Remove rouladen and pour the sauce through a sieve to remove the vegetables.
Making The Gravy
- Return the sauce to the pan and thicken with cornstarch. Season with salt and pepper. Add braised rouladen back into the skillet. Serve and enjoy.