They’re very rich tasting, rouladen. Fatty and salty to an extreme, with pickle and mustard cutting through from their rolled up centers to create an addictively nostalgic flavor profile. The are a food that requires some construction but at the same time, they are surprisingly easy to make- and perfect for low carb dieters and budget home dinners.
Variations can be found from France to the Czech Republic, but the variation here is of a particularly German nature. A strong comfort food that nourishes and satiates while feeling luxurious, Rouladen are nothing if not iconic in German cuisine.
Traditionally rouladen are served drenched in a gravy derived from their cooking juices, with some added wine- and accompanied by sides like spätzle or potatoes.
I am trying to diminish my consumption of grain and simple carbohydrates these days, and as much as I love gravy, I don’t really need it right now.
The solution? Demiglace. Often, Rather than using potato starch or flour to thicken juices into gravy, I will remove the main course, and cook the sauce down into a thick, condensed drizzle,thus substituting a demiglace for a gravy. There’s less to pour over everything, sure, but the flavor is so much more intense, and the nutrient profile is more in keeping with my current dietary goals.
There are a some dishes that I think more important than others. More special. More in keeping with an overall gastronomic language of care and homeyness and tradition. Recipes I think everyone should master and pull out for special occasions; Frikadellar, Dublin coddle, pierogi, borscht, shchi, rotkohl, pebbernødder, roasted chicken with root vegetables, pancakes, golubtsi…and rouladen.
1 jar of flat pickle slices
A good german or french mustard, high quality dijon is best
As many thinly sliced pieces of bacon as you intend to have of rouladen
1 yellow onion sliced paper thin.
As many thinly sliced, long pieces of top round as you intend to have rouladen
1 tablespoon of butter, tallow or lard
You will also need Toothpicks
Lay out one piece of beef. Smear it with mustard.
Lightly sprinkle sliced onion on the mustard.
Cover with bacon.
Lay a flat pickle slice over it all, and starting from the narrowest side of the beef, tightly roll the rouladen up and secure the edge with toothpicks.
This should only have taken about half of your onion, if that. Over medium high heat, in a lidded skillet, melt whatever fat you’re using, be it butter or tallow or lard, and cook the onions in it until they begin to brown.
Lay your rouladen in The pan over the top of the onions, and cover the pan. Brown one side this way and then flip them.
The pan should be filling with juices. Keep the rouladen covered and let them cook on medium low this way for 20-30 minutes. Turn them once more during this time.
When they are cooked and the pan is full of juices, remove them to a plate and cook the juices down over high until they take on an almost syrupy consistency.
Put the rouladen in a fresh skillet and sear the toothpick side quickly, before plating them, removing the toothpicks, and drizzling them with your demiglace.
Serve with mashed root vegetables, roasted winter veggies, or eat them carnivore style with no accompaniment.
(You may notice I do not mention salt at all. Pickles and bacon are so salty that they make any additional sodium unnecessary and potentially unpleasant for this recipe.)