Beef roulade, traditionally German

Traditional meals are not always in ‘culinary fashion’ but let me tell you this: Cooked with devotion and fresh ingredients they are delicious! Like the traditional German dish we call ‘Rouladen’ – rolled beef meat, stuffed with pickles, onion and bacon, served with potato mash.

Hand-made roulades are a little piece of art. I would not have guessed that rolling 3 kg of meat could make me sweat (that was for 10 guests, not to forget). It is not really difficult although you need a skillful hand and a little patience to wrap the thread around the meat roll. Once you have the meat in the oven, you can relax for an hour. Important to remember for the side dish: Roulades are typically served with mashed potato and hand-mashed potatoes cannot be beaten. That being sad, try to find a strong arm in your house who can mash the potatoes (we had over 2 kg/4 lb in that bowl which was quite impressive).

This meal is a good alternative to the beloved Sunday roast.

Rouladen in the making_the filling

Rouladen in the making_the meat

Rouladen in the making_the preparation

Rouladen in the making_the raw result

Rouladen in the making_finaleIngredients:


sliced beef Keule  (1 slice per person=1 roll per person, 1 slice equals about 300g)

bacon (1 slice per roll)

long pickles (sweet mustard pickles)

red beet (optional)

1 onion


oil or butter for the pan

Mashed potatoes (serves 5)

1.2 kg potatoes

1/2 celery head

30-50 g butter

1-1.5 cups whole milk

salt, nutmeg


1) Put the beef slice on a flat and clean surface. Sprinkle with pepper and salt. Then spread a layer of mustard on the meat. In one end, align 1-2 pickle slices, 1-2 onion slices and some red beet (it’s hard to find red beet in stripes, I used pickled cubes). Roll together firmly from one side to the other. Tie together with a cord or thread (regular sewing thread will do but you can find kitchen thread in most supermarkets). Repeat multiple times until you are out of meat :)

In case you are wondering where to get the meat from. I had it cut by the butcher and suggest to ask at the meat counter at your grocery store. The meat should be lean and red in color with no lard on the ends, similar to filet.

2) Heat up 2 spoons of butter or oil in a large pan and then sear the meat rolls aka Rouladen from both sides. Add a sliced onion to the pan if you like. This process shouldn’t take longer than 2-3 min. Completely cover with water and let simmer at low heat for a minimum of 1.5 hours. Frequently check the water level, if it decreases too much, add more water.

In case you end up with 3 kg of meat like me to feed 10 hungry stomachs, I suggest to first sear the meat in a pan and then to cook it in a lasagne pan covered with water in the oven for 1.5 hours. If you use the oven, a temperature of around 180 degrees Celsius (350 degrees Fahrenheit) is good.

3) About 30 min before the meat is ready, start preparing the potatoes and the celery root. Peel them, cut them into mouth big pieces and boil them in salted water for about 15-20 min until they are soft enough to be mashed.

Before you start mashing the potatoes and celery, add the butter, milk, salt, pepper and ground nutmeg. Carefully mash with a spatula and try to avoid using a blender. In home-made potato mash, little potatoes and celery pieces are actually quite tasty. Preparing the mash by hand will also prevent it from becoming a sticky mass.

Tip: If you have vegetarian guests coming over you can easily create a veggie roulade by rolling the pickles, onion and red beet into a piece of puff pastry.

P.S. I apologize that today you won´t find a picture of how we arranged the meal on the plate. We were all so hungry and it was so delicious that the thought of a photo came to my mind only after I was done with eating! And of course, we had no left overs ;)


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