German Rouladen – A Warm Dish On A Cold Night

Rouladen before it is rolled up

Rouladen or more precisely Rinderrouladen is a German dish made with thin beef, onions, pickles and mustard. There are many variations, but Rinderroulade uses these combination of ingredients.

I was in the mood for something from my German heritage so I settled on rouladen. At first I thought about sauerbraten, but then I thought it takes 3 days and my wife isn’t partial to vinegar.

I started with a recipe from and made some changes. I substituted dill relish for chopped pickles and I added real-bacon bits from a jar to my cooked bacon. Since my wife’s stomach is more English-delicate than my German-hearty, I added the Dijon mustard to sour cream to cut the acidity.

1 1/2 lbs beef flank steak
4 teaspoons heavy German mustard or Dijon mustard, will do
6 slices bacon, diced
3/4 cup chopped onion
1/3 cup chopped dill pickles
1/4 cup flour
1 (13 3/4 ounce) can beef broth

Potato dumplings

I started with cooking the bacon and onions on medium heat. I chopped 1/4 white onion into fairly large pieces and mixed it with 6 green onions chopped into medium pieces. While that was cooking I pounded 4 flank steaks to about 1/4 inch thickness. The mistake here was cooking the onions at the same time as the bacon. I should have cooked the bacon to almost done and then added the onions. Another mistake was green onions. I should have only used 1 whole white onion.

After the steak was thinned, I mixed the mustard with about 8 ounces of sour cream. (The sour cream was left over from another great meal I made the night before – .) I spread the mustard mixture over the meat, added the bacon and onions, then topped with relish. Then I rolled it up – starting from the thin side – and tied the roll with string.

I brazed the rolls in the bacon fat and set them in to a 6×9 glass dish. Into the bacon-steak-onion-pickle-mustard-broth flavored pan I added flour and 15 ounces of beef broth. I stirred this mixed until it was fairly creamy and then spooned it over the rolls. I added whole mushrooms just for something extra. (Steak and mushrooms always go good together.)

Rouladen is ready

When the rolls were about 30 minutes from done I started the potato dumplings (Kartoffelklöße or Kartoffelkloesse). I bought a box mix of potato balls so it was easy to make. I did put the optional crouton in the center of each ball just to be traditional.

The last thing to make was red cabbage. Actually, I bought a can of it from the store too. It was next to the potato dumplings and it’s so mush easier to make.

From start to finish it took me at about 4 hours to make this dish, but in the end it was worth it. I made a warm dish on a cold winter’s night worthy of any German restaurant.