I never thought I would find myself craving to cook up some good old German beef rouladen. As a native born Texan, I rarely even ate a bite of steak while living there. I know I know… what kind of Texan am I?! Not a very good one my Texas friends would say. When people here in Germany first find out that I am from Texas they ask, “where is your gun and your horse and your cowboy boots and your Texas accent!” Like I said, I am not a very proper Texan. I blame my foreign parents. But Germany has slowly brought out a bit more of the meat eater in me. They eat a LOT of meat here. A traditional German breakfast, lunch, and dinner all involve meat. So where as previously, I would never have ordered meat in a restaurant I have changed my ways and often order it here. And thank goodness for that or I would have missed out on discovering how delicious beef rouladen are.
The inspiration for making this dish first came about after eating beef rouladen in one of my favorite restaurants here in Germany, Gut Moschenhof. It is the very first place I ever stayed in Germany. The property has a restaurant, hotel, and riding school all in one. I had never seen something like this before, but here in Germany it is not so unusual. I have many fond memories attached to this restaurant. It was also where I ate on the first night I moved to Germany. Most recently my best friend was over for a quick stop through and we ate here for dinner. I was really looking forward to having their Flammkuchen, which was previously my favorite place to get Flammkuchen from before discovering Belgischer Hof here in Cologne. But the chef had changed the menu, so that meant no Falmmkuchen and time to branch out and try something new. It was a horribly cold, grey, and rainy winter evening, so beef rouladen sounded like the perfect warm winter comfort food fitting to the weather. And o was it ever!
Pictures from a lovely dinner in the summer at Gut Moschenhof
Several weeks later (and again a cold, grey, rainy winter day), I was still dreaming of this meal and decided we have to try to recreate those succulent, flavorful beef rouladen. We spent a lovely, relaxed Saturday evening preparing this dish. It is not the quickest dinner to prepare, but most definitely worth the wait. And the wait will feel like forever as mouth watering smells waft out of the kitchen. But be patient. I promise it is worth it. The end result did not disappoint. It turned out just as good (if not better) as I remembered. I think one key was the Le Creuset pot that I used. It produced a kind of crust in the end on the bottom of the pot that was simply sensational. The flavor of this caramelized crusty goodness was to die f0r. I had never tasted anything like it. I could have licked the pot clean and was short from doing so!
German Beef Rouladen Recipe
2 thin beef slices (about 8″ long and 4″ wide)
salt and pepper
2-3 tbsp flour
2 tbsp mustard
2 slices bacon
1/3 cup dill pickles, chopped
1 carrot, finely chopped
1 onion, finely chopped
1 stalk celery, finely chopped
1 bay leaf
3 tbsp tomato paste
1 bottle of red wine (I used a French wine)
Combine chopped pickles, carrot, and onion in a bowl. Season the meat with salt and pepper on both sides. Then spread mustard across one side and add a slice of bacon. Then spread some of the pickle mixture evenly across meat. Then tightly roll the meat up, being sure to fold in the sides, and secure with toothpicks or string. Lightly flour the rouladen. Heat some oil in pot and then brown rouladen on all sides. Once meat is nicely seared, add the remaining pickle/onion/carrot mixture and fill the pot with red wine until the rouladen are half way covered. Add bay leaf and tomato paste and if you want some beef broth for flavor. Let the rouladen then cook at a simmer for about 1.5 hours or until the meat is tender. Once cooked, you can remove the rouladen and blend the remaining sauce in the pan with a hand mixer or simply serve as is over the rouladen. A side of red cabbage (Rotkohl) tastes best with German beef rouladen. Here is the red cabbage recipe I based myself off of.