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I ate this for the first time at a local German restaurant a few years ago. I’ve made it myself several times since then. The recipe I was using online ceased to exist, so I switched to this one from Kimberly Killebrew. I think I like it better anyway. Thinking about making this the first couple times seems a rather daunting prospect, but it’s much easier to do than you would think. I believe you could use wild game instead of beef steak, as long as the piece was sliced thin enough. You’re going to need toothpicks, lots of toothpicks. This is easily a gluten-free dinner if you use a corn-starch thickener instead of flour and serve it over something like polenta or potatoes.

When I last made this, I only made 4 beef rolls (instead of 8), but the full complement of gravy. That’s to say just make the number of rolls for the number of people you’re serving. After you’ve done this a time or two, you’ll understand what I’m getting at. And the rouladen are SO tender, you don’t even need a knife!

  • Rouladen Ingredients
  • 8 slices beef steak (like round steak), about 4×6″ size, pounded thin
  • Spicy brown mustard or Dijon mustard
  • Salt and pepper
  • 8 slices bacon
  • 8 slices dill pickle
  • Sliced onion
  • Gravy Ingredients
  • 1 Tbsp. butter
  • 1 Tbsp. oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 large carrot, diced
  • 1 large celery stalk, diced
  • 1 cup red wine
  • 2 cups beef broth
  • 1 Tbsp. tomato paste
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. ground pepper
  • Cornstarch or flour to make a slurry
  • Cream, optional

Spread each piece of meat with mustard and then sprinkle with salt and pepper. At the smallest end of the meat, lay a slice of bacon, pickle, and onion. Roll the meat up from that smallest end to the largest end. Secure with several toothpicks.

Heat the butter and oil in an oven-proof skillet or Dutch oven and sear the meat rolls on all sides. Remove to a plate. In that same skillet, saute the onions until they are translucent. You may need more butter or oil. Stir in the garlic and saute another thirty seconds or so. Add the carrots and celery and saute another five minutes.

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Pour red wine into the skillet with the vegetables, bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 2-3 minutes. Stir in the beef broth, tomato paste, bay leaf, sugar, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil. Remove from heat.

Nestle the meat rolls in the liquid, cover the skillet, and place into the preheated 325 degree F oven for about 90 minutes. Remove the rouladen from the sauce to a plate.

Thicken the gravy by making a slurry of cornstarch (see note below) and water (or broth) OR a slurry of flour and water (or broth). Either way works just fine. Many cooks will either strain out the vegetables or puree them to make a smooth sauce. I don’t care about that, so I don’t bother with it. Vegetable lumps it is! You can stir in cream if you want a creamier gravy.

Once your gravy is done to your liking, pluck the toothpicks from the rouladen. They should stay in place without the picks. Return the rouladen to the gravy, turning so that they’re coated on all sides and heat through.

You can serve with spaetzle, polenta, mashed potatoes, or just use your imagination. This is easily a gluten-free dish.

Note: A slurry is taking a cold liquid and stirring in either corn starch or flour until smooth, then slowly pouring the concoction into a thin gravy and stirring over heat until the gravy thickens. A two-to-one ratio of corn starch to cold water (or broth) is a good way to start. I never measure it anymore, just make sure the corn starch dissolves, then start pouring the mix into the gravy. If it gets too thick, then I add more broth to the gravy. If it doesn’t thicken enough, I add more slurry to the gravy. I do the same with flour.

You can make this dish without using an oven, all on the stovetop. I haven’t tried it, but it would work just fine.

I don’t own a meat mallet so I do the best I can with the edge of a saucer to pound the meat without putting holes in it. Again, once you’ve done this a few times you’ll see how it works any which way, it’s not at all fussy. The flavors here are really rich.