Rouladen, a fancy french-derived name for a very popular, down-to-earth and common German comfort food - stuffed beef rolls. These take some time to make, but the tender beef and tangy taste is definitely worth it! This is a typical home style German Sunday Meal, and it is a good dish for company, especially since it can be made ahead.

I dont have a fun or interesting story about Rouladen but I can entertain with a nonsense rhyme about red cabbage, or blue cabbage as it is often called in Germany - Blaukraut bleibt Blaukraut und Brautkleid bleibt Brautkleid - which means blue cabbage remains blue cabbage and wedding dress remains wedding dress - much easier to say in English. Whoever can say that in German wins a prize! (Its hard!) 


For the Stuffed Beef Rolls

  • cotton kitchen twine
  • 4-6 large thin-cut slices of top or bottom round
  • 4-6 slices of bacon (or more if the slices are small)
  • mustard
  • 4-6 kosher style dill pickles cut into thin slices
  • salt and fresh pepper
  • 1-2 tbsp clarified butter or vegetable oil for frying
  • 1/4 celery root, chopped medium
  • 2 -3 stalks of celery, chopped medium
  • 1 carrot, chopped medium
  • 1 onion, chopped coarse
  • salt and pepper

For the Red Cabbage

  • 1 red cabbage (about 2 pounds)
  • 1 onion, finely minced
  • 1/2 tart apple cut into thin wedges
  • 2 tbsp clarified butter or vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup vegetable or beef stock
  • 3-6 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 tsp ground cloves
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 2-4 tsp red currant jelly
  • salt and fresh pepper

Start to make the Rouladen by pounding each slice of beef with the smooth side of a meat cleaver. Pound thin but be careful not to create holes in the meat. Then spread mustard over the entire slice of meat, place a slice of bacon in the center as well as several slices of pickle. Season with salt and pepper and then roll the Roulade up tightly and secure the roll with two pieces of kitchen twine. Proceed in the same manner to make the remaining Rouladen. 

Melt the butter or heat the vegetable oil in a large frying pan that has a lid, over medium high heat. Work in batches to sear the Rouladen on all sides, browning them well. 


Place all of the Rouladen back into the frying pan, add the vegetables and just enough water to cover the Rouladen half way. Cover and bring to a simmer over medium low heat, tucking the vegetables into the liquid as soon as everything has started to wilt and soften a little. Braise for about 2 1/2 hours. Turn the Rouladen every 30 minutes or so and check the liquid. You may have to add a little more water or remove some broth (don't toss it out!), the Rouladen should always be submerged in liquid about half way. 

Remove the Rouladen from the frying pan when they are finished, they should feel soft when squeezed. Strain the broth through a fine mesh sieve to catch the solids. I usually do not thicken my sauce with flour or cornstarch, but that is a matter of preference. To give the sauce a little more body I either simmer to reduce it or I puree part of the cooked vegetables in a blender and whisk the puree back into the sauce, or both. 

download and print Rouladen recipe

While the Rouladen are braising, prepare the red cabbage. Remove the outer leaves, quarter and cut out the tough stem and white core. Shred or cut the cabbage very finely. Melt the butter or heat the oil in a large stock pot over medium heat. Sauté the onions until translucent, then add the cabbage and let it wilt for several minutes, stirring often. Add the stock and 3 tbsp of the vinegar, the brown sugar, the bay leaf and the ground cloves and simmer for 30 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, current jelly and more vinegar to taste. Simmer for an additional 30 minutes, adding the apple in the final 10 to 15 minutes of cooking time. Add more liquid if the cabbage appears too dry.  

Serve the Rouladen with the cabbage and boiled, baked, pan fried or mashed potatoes. 


download and print cabbage recipe