What is Rouladen?

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  • Written By: C. K. Lanz
  • Edited By: Jacob Harkins
  • Last Modified Date: 25 September 2019
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The German dish known as rouladen, rinderroulade or beef olive consists of a piece of beef, veal or pork that has been rolled around a filling of onion, bacon, pickles and mustard and cooked. Beef is the most common rouladen meat and is usually a silverside, topside or rump steak cut. Long and thin strips of meat are coated with mustard and topped with filling and then rolled up and secured with toothpicks or thread. A rouladen is traditionally seared and then slow roasted in a marinade of broth, beer or wine over several hours before serving with gravy, red wine or beer and a side of spatzel, potatoes or red cabbage.

The typical rouladen filling includes smoked bacon, chopped pickles and onion and mustard but these ingredients can vary between German regions. Other possible filling ingredients are sausage, suet coated with breadcrumbs, parsley, raisins, pine nuts and minced meat. In addition to beef, veal is also commonly used to make rouladen although it is believed that venison or pork was used originally.


The dish is prepared by spreading hot mustard and filling on long, thin strips of meat. The meat is then rolled into a log shape and wrapped with thread or secured with toothpicks or a special clamp. During the first phase of cooking, the rouladen is seared in a pan with some vegetables until browned. Red wine, beer, or chicken or vegetable broth is then added to the pan and the dish is slowly roasted for up to two hours in an oven heated to 350 Fahrenheit (175 Celsius). Rouladen can also be cooked in a covered pan on the stove or in a slow cooker.

Once the rouladen has finished roasting, it is removed from the pan. More red wine, beer, or chicken or vegetable broth is added to whatever liquid remains in the bottom of the pan to make a gravy for the meat. The liquid is boiled and reduced until thick and the meat is returned to the pan to be coated with gravy and reheated. Heavy cream and flour can be added to the gravy to help thicken and flavor the sauce.

These beef rolls are typically served in Germany on Sundays during a family lunch or early dinner and is also reserved for festive occasions. Any thread, toothpicks or clamps used to secure the rouladen rolls must be removed prior to serving. Spatzel is the traditional side dish served with rouladen although boiled or baked potatoes or red cabbage are also common.


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Post 3

There is a German restaurant that opened close to my house about a year ago. I have been there with my husband a few times now.

I had never been to a German restaurant before and at first I was very hesitant. I tried some of the sausages but I was reluctant to go deeper into the menu not really trusting that I would get something I liked or was even willing to try. Luckily my husband is more courageous when it comes to his appetite and he ordered rouladen on a whim one night.

He spent the whole meal raving about it and finally convinced me to take a bite. Well, big surprise, I loved it. Now I order it every time we go back.

Post 2

I studied abroad in Germany for a while and the host family that I stayed with ate beef rouladen almost every Sunday I was there. I fell in love with it and now I regularly make it for my own family on Sundays.

There is just something so hearty and satisfying about a roulanden. If it is served with potatoes and a nice green vegetable it is the centerpiece to a delicious and filling meal.

Post 1

I absolutely love a good beef rouladen. But a what a lot of people don't realize is that you can make a delicious rouladen with lots of other meats as well.

I have a turkey rouladen recipe that is to die for. Most of the ingredients are the same but it incorporates a few sweet elements to play off of the subtle flavor of the meat. I have also heard of people doing chicken rouladen and pork rouladen. The idea of meat stuffed with delicious things is too tasty sounding to not experiment with.

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