Beef Rouladen

I had been getting as much hiking in as possible before the snow started. And, I hadn’t really wanted to do much cooking after getting home. I would hike and then cook something quick and easy at home like a salad. Then, I splurged and grilled a steak one night. It reminded me of how much I like meat and so I am dedicating this recipe to myself and all you other carnivores out there.

Try Smitty’s roux recipe.

This is a dish we used to have in Vermont quite a bit when I was working at the small Austrian Inn. Chef Dietmar would grind his own veal stuffing, but you can use ground beef and save yourself the extra work and cash. The rouladen is braised, which means it gets seared in a heavy pan, and then liquid is added and it gets finished in the oven.

If you happen to have a cast-iron skillet, that is the perfect pan for this. Also, just so you know, this is quite often called a roulade, but since Chef Dietmar always called it rouladen, that’s good enough for me.

The rouladen is different than most beef dishes you will normally see because of the fairly unique ingredients. Like the name implies, it is a piece of beef that is seasoned and rolled up with a stuffing. Unlike most stuffings, however, this one consists of pickle, carrot and celery sticks along with strips of bacon. You roll it up the same way you would roll up a jelly roll, so you don’t want the filling to cover the entire piece of meat you are going to roll up or it won’t seal all the way.

There also is a simple pan sauce to make once the meat has finished cooking to top it off. So the next time you are thinking you want to try something different, try this German/Austrian dish and enjoy.

Beef Rouladen
2 lbs. beef, cut into 4 to 6, ¾-inch thick cutlets pounded thin
1 lb. ground beef
1 yellow onion, diced small to medium
4-6 thin carrot sticks, almost as long as the cutlets, lightly blanched
4-6 thin celery sticks, almost as long as the cutlets, lightly blanched
4-6 dill pickle sticks, almost as long as the cutlets, slightly thicker than the veggies (use the outer crisp section of the pickle and not the center)
4-6 bacon strips, as long as the cutlets, cut in half lengthwise (use one half of the bacon strip for each rouladen) as long as the cutlets
2 T Dijon
Pinch of marjoram
Pinch of thyme
Pinch of garlic powder
Salt & pepper
3 bay leaves
2 C water or beef broth
2 T butter

Lay out the cutlets and season with salt and pepper, marjoram and thyme. Spread the mustard over them until about 1 inch on one side. Lightly sauté half the onion and add it to the ground beef. Season with a little salt and pepper.

Spread the ground beef over the cutlets, again leaving about 1 inch from one side uncovered. Lay one each of the carrots, celery, pickles and bacon down the cutlet just a little closer to the side covered with the stuffing. Roll the cutlets toward the side that has no filling on it. Tie them with butcher’s twine.

Get the skillet hot; sear the meat all the way around in half the butter. Add the liquid and bay leaves and cover with foil. Place in the oven for about an hour or until cooked through and tender. Remove the rouladen from the pan and pour the liquid into a bowl. Brown the rest of the onions in the rest of the butter and add the liquid back to the pan. Let reduce and season as needed.

This should be a fairly thin sauce; you don’t need to thicken it but if you want it thicker, you can make a little brown roux.