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A Beef Rollups Recipe - Rinderrouladen

The origin of the word "roulade" might be French but Rinderrouladen served in a red wine sauce, slices of beef rolled up with a special filling that in English are often called Rolled Beef or Beef Rollups, are a classic and favorite German meal and used to appear only on Sundays, or special occasions.

Now they are a traditional dinner choice, served throughout Germany at any time of the week or year but especially during the autumn and winter months.

This is a family German Beef Rolls recipe, Hausfrauenart - home cooking, and is great to make a day ahead. Not only as it makes life easier for entertaining or for "meals in a rush", but because the seasonings have a chance to blend making a subtle difference to the flavor.

For this beef recipe the beef top round or flank steak slices should be about 3/8 inch thick. Because the larger the pieces are the easier it is to roll them up, each Roulade should be at least 6 inches by 4 inches, while to make sure that no holes appear in the meat the floured slices should be pounded carefully on a floured board until each has a thickness of around 1/8 to 1/4 inch. Two smaller pieces can also be "seamed" together by pounding.

Rinderrouladen - A German "Beef Rolls" Recipe


The Beef Rolls

6 slices beef top round or flank steak
6 strips thinly sliced lean bacon
1 red or white onion, sliced thinly and the slices separated into rings - if a very large onion cut the rings in half
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh parsley
2 tbsp. butter which gives additional flavor or vegetable oil if you prefer
Mustard - German, Dijon or strong but not sweet mustard
Salt and black pepper to taste, freshly ground if possible
(For those who like pickle, which is very popular in many German regions, slice two German pickles lengthwise into quarters ... this gives eight pieces so two can be a snack)

The Sauce

1 finely chopped white onion
1 finely chopped celery stalk
1 large finely chopped carrot
1/2 liter, just over 2 cups, vegetable broth
250 ml, just over 1 cup, dry red wine
1 to 2 tablespoons mustard (German mustard, Dijon mustard or a strong not sweet mustard)
2 Bay leaves
1 teaspoon black peppercorns
Cornflour or all purpose flour
Sour Cream optional


The Rinderrouladen

Season beef slices with salt and freshly ground pepper. Spread mustard thinly on one side of each slice.

Lightly fry bacon and onion slices, until cooked through but not browned, add finely chopped parsley stir through so it leaves a slight coating on the mixture and cook for additional minute.

If using dill pickle lie one piece on a slice of mustard covered beef at one end, then add one piece bacon, onion slices and parsley. Without pickle just place the bacon, onion slices and parsley at the end of the mustard seasoned beef.

Roll up the beef slices tightly, first folding the sides over the mixture and rolling up along the length as you would a burrito, then secure the roll with skewers, wooden cocktail sticks which have been pre-soaked in water so they don't stick, or cooking string.

Heat butter or oil in pan and, making sure they are not crowded so close together that they touch one another or cannot move, brown rouladen on all sides. If necessary more butter or vegetable oil can be added.

Remove Rouladen from pan and place into final cooking pan or dish


Using pan in which Beef Rolls were cooked, add more butter or oil if necessary and lightly fry chopped onions, celery and carrots until soft but not browned

Add the vegetable broth, red wine, bay leaves and peppercorns and stir well, being sure to scrape up any remnants left behind from cooking of the beef rolls.

Add mustard, stir through and continue to stir on medium heat bringing to just below boiling point

Lower heat and simmer for 20 minutes

Remove from heat, allow to cool, remove bay leaves and put sauce through sieve

Add sieved sauce to beef rolls in dish or pan, making sure that they are covered, and cook either on stove top over medium heat until tender when pierced with wooden cocktail stick or fork, about two hours, or in oven at 350 degrees F for two hours or until done.

Allow to cool, remove skewers, cocktail sticks or cooking string and place in refrigerator, leave rolled beef marinating in sauce overnight if possible.


Reheat beef rolls gently in the liquid, either in oven or on stove top using medium heat.

When heated thoroughly and ready to serve place beef rolls on warmed plate or dish.

Depending on how thick you would like the sauce, take a tablespoon, or more, of cornstarch or all purpose flour and mix this to a paste with spoonful of cold water. Add to the hot sauce and stirring continually over a medium heat bring to the boil, simmer for three to four minutes while continuing to stir as it thickens.

Additional seasoning and sour cream to taste can be added at this stage if wished, and the sauce brought back to temperature.

Pour sauce into dish and serve with your rouladen.

In Germany Rinderrouladen are typically served with Rotkraut and Kartoffelknoedel, red cabbage and potato dumplings, but they go just as well with Spaetzle, or any noodles, mashed potato or a favorite vegetable.

German cuisine is still very much a regional one, with different specialties as well as different interpretations of the same meal, so those slices of dill pickle added to the sliced beef really add to the enjoyment in some areas..........but are never seen in others. Germany doesn't really have a national cuisine but a variety of regional ones - and those differences make for good food.

Guten Appetit!.....And enjoy your Rinderrouladen

Illustrations courtesy de.Wikipedia and Kochbar.de
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For anyone interested in real German cooking, 'Spoonfuls of Germany: Culinary Delights of the German Regions in 170 Recipes' gives an in-depth, and fascinating, look at the diversity of German regional cuisine, stretching from the shores of the North and Baltic Seas to the Alps.

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