German Beef Roulades are one of these dishes, that awake childhood memories, because they are the kind of food German grandma’s used to serve on Sundays. Well, in my case, my mother and my father also master them with perfection. But they are definitely not something I had in my repertoire as a student, or actually, until very lately. Now I live abroad since over 10 years, and once in a while there are these cravings for “food from home”. The challenge with Beef Roulades is, that the right kind of meat is hard to get – when no German butcher, who knows how to cut the large slices out of the beef shank, is around. I once tried to explain it once to my good and trusted Danish butcher, but the result were HUGE roulades, because the meat was cut way too thick.
So when I visited my Grandma in Kulmbach in southern Germany last time, I went (as always) meat shopping at one of the best German butcher’s I have seen. I left the shop with no less than 5 kg of meat and plenty of good German cold cuts on top. As always, I bought the famous “Kulmbacher Bratwürste” (the best sausages ever), but this time also a couple of kilo of beef for Goulash and… 6 nice, large thin slices of beef for roulades. And the nice lady in the shop was so kind to also offer me some beef bones – perfect to create a good sauce.
Back at home, I decided to prepare the Beef Roulades the traditional way: with a filling of mustard, bacon slices and onions, and serve them with a good gravy and potato dumplings. The very traditional way also involves pickled cucumber… but it’s not my thing, so I left them out. There are numerous other ways you can stuff your roulades, with plums, other vegetables or “mediterranean style” like the mediterranean beef olives with feta cheese and red pepper Katja posted last summer.
I can already know promise that another recipe of beef roulades will follow soon – with a twist, as learned during the cooking class I recently joined with my mother and sisters at the German Michelin Star chef Hans Haas: we made the roulades from beef jaws, and the result were great and tender roulades.
I served the roulades to friends of ours, a Danish/ Italian couple… Sometimes the traditional German dishes are a bit polarizing. But not this time – all plates were empty and the guests happy.
- 6 large, thin slices of beef (ca 180g each, cut from the shank, less than 5mm thick)
- 2 large onions
- 12 slices of bacon
- 6 tbsp of mustard
- kitchen strings to tie the roulades up
- beef bones and/ or small pieces of meat leftover from cleaning the beef roulades
- 3 onions
- 3 carrots
- 200g celery
- 3 tbsp rapeseed oil
- 1 tbsp tomato concentrate
- ½ bottle red wine (e.g. Côte du Rhone)
- 200ml beef stock
- 250ml water
- 2 laurel leaves
- salt pepper
- 2 tbsp starch powder
- Pre-heat the oven to 160°C.
- Spread the roulades out and flatten them further with a tenderizer, if needed. Season well with salt and freshly ground pepper before spreading one 1 tbsp of mustard on each of them. Put 2 slices of bacon on each of the roulades, leaving some space on each side. Cut the onions in fine rings and distribute evenly over the bacon slices, except a couple of centimeters on the top.
- Now fold the sides over the bacon/ onion filling and roll the roulades firmly, starting from the bottom. Tie each roulade up tightly using the kitchen string. Alternatively, you can use toothpicks.
- Heat the oil in a large, oven-proof, roaster and when hot, fry the roulades from all sides until they are brown. Take them out, cut the kitchen string off and put on a plate on the side.
- Add the bones and meat pieces to the hot roaster. Add the onions, carrots and celery (all cut into medium-sized cubes), as well as the tomato concentrate and roast it all at high heat. Deglaze with a shot of red wine, scrub the roast residues from the bottom of the pot with a wooden spatula (these residues give flavor and color to the sauce) and reduce until the vegetables almost burn. Deglaze again. Repeat 3-4 times, then add the remaining red wine, the beef stock, the water and the laurel leaves and bring the sauce to boil.
- Put the beef roulades back into the pot (ensure they are covered by sauce, otherwise add some more beef stock. Put in the oven at 160°C and let simmer for ca. 2h. Turn the roulades from time to time.
- Take the roulades out of the sauce and keep them warm in the oven at ca. 80°C.
- Sift the sauce through, then bring to boil in the roaster and reduce so that ca. ⅔ are left. Season to taste with salt and pepper, then mix the starch with a little bit of water and add it to the sauce while stirring well. Put the roulades back into the roaster and turn them in the sauce.
- Sever the beef roulades with a generous portion of sauce on pre-heated plates, Potato Dumplings or boiled potatoes on the side. Enjoy!