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Enjoy the bliss when dinner guests rave about this meal, but never save the best only for guests. These are easier to make than you'd think, and after an hour and a half oven time you have a gorgeous dinner!

This is one of my oldest recipes - my handwriting on an index card. No idea where it came from. It's actually titled "Veal Birds" - but a few things must be said about that.

What is a "veal bird"? You can Google that and come up with over half a million results. Lots of variations, but mainly the fillings include combos like mushrooms, onions and bread crumbs; currants and bacon; chopped ham and seasonings. Not what you see pictured here. Turns out that what I have known as "veal birds" is more like "rouladen" - sort of. Officially the German dish uses beef, stuffed with bacon and a pickle. No idea where the addition of the egg, in my recipe, came in. 

In any case, I decided to rename these "rouladen", and thus avoid the possible controversy linked to "veal". It is not difficult to find sites railing against the mere idea of veal, though recent articles from Ontario and Britain are urging people to become updated on old issues. I am in no way defending objectionable practices that were used to achieve pale, milk fed veal. Truth is - I never bought it, in part for budgetary reasons. When I have bought veal it has been the darker, grain-fed and more affordable type from an Italian butcher - Italians seem to use veal a lot. Bottom line is that you could make this recipe with beef, pork or even chicken.

It may seem odd, but the recipe is for one rouladen. Depending on how many slices of veal / meat you buy, ramp up the other ingredients. With sufficient accompaniments - one rouladen per person should be enough. If serving family style, make sure people know that. Are you old enough to recall the "Dinner Party" episode of the Mary Tyler Moor show? There are six portions of veal Prince Orloff for six guests, and Mr. Grant takes more than his share!! :-) Need accompaniments ideas? I often serve these with "nokedli" (see my recipe) - the Hungarian version of German spaetzle; or tagliatelle; Israeli couscous; roast or boiled potatoes.

Getting Ready:

  • buy meat and appropriate portions of other ingredients
  • cut dill pickles lengthwise into halves or quarters, depending on size (can do day ahead)
  • hard boil eggs (see my tips for the perfect technique) (can do day ahead)
  • sausage meat (removed from casing)
  • bacon
  • mustard
  • rounded, cocktail type toothpicks (or kitchen twine)
  • note that there will be about 45 minutes prep time for this, and 1 hour 20 minutes cook time
  • preheat oven to 375 F

1 slice boneless veal
salt and pepper
1/2 tsp yellow mustard
1 ounce sausage meat
1/2 strip of bacon
1/4 - 1/2 dill pickle
1/4 hard-boiled egg

Flatten the slice of meat. (This will be more or less necessary depending upon the kind of meat you buy.) Season with salt and pepper.

Spread the slice with 1/2 teaspoon mustard (see Notes re variations).  Place the remaining ingredients near the larger end of the slice of meat - 1 half strip of bacon; 1 ounce sausage meat; 1/4 - 1/2 a dill pickle; 1/4 hard-boiled egg.

Start rolling from the larger end to the smaller. Secure with rounded, sturdy toothpicks - or as noted below, use kitchen twine. (You could do all of this hours before, or the day before - keeping the rolls chilled until the next step. )

Tip / Caution: Keep in mind that those toothpicks need to be removed before serving!! I have noticed that after the long oven bake time, the toothpicks soften a bit. A guest could easily cut through a toothpick. A mouthful of meat could potentially include a toothpick-bit with disastrous consequences. Adopt a rule, such as 3 toothpicks per roll and then be sure you remove 3 toothpicks from each! Alternatively, secure the rolls in 2-3 places with kitchen twine - that may even be better.


The next step works for 4 rouladen. Increase amounts a bit if making more than four.

Flour

2-3 TB of unsalted butter

1/2 cup finely chopped onion

1 TB flour

1 cup beef stock

salt, pepper

 

Coat each roll in flour. In a medium fry pan, brown the rouladens in the melted butter, taking care to not burn the rouladens or the butter. The rouladens are going to bake in the oven for some time, so your goal is simply to get some nice colour on them. After they have been browned, transfer them to a bake pan that fits the number you have made - with a wee bit of room left for the sauce that will be poured over.

Add 1/2 cup of chopped onion to the pan juices and saut√© until translucent. Add a bit more butter if needed. (If you have more than 4 rouladen you might increase the onion to 3/4 or 1 cup.) Add 1 TB flour, stirring to incorporate, and then stir in one cup of beef stock to make a sauce. No need to "cook it down" - that will happne in the oven. Season the sauce to taste with salt and pepper.

Pour the sauce over the rouladen. Cover with foil and bake for at 375 F for 1 hour and 20 minutes.

Remove ALL toothpicks (or kitchen twine) before serving!


Notes and Tips...

  • Sausage - the type you use can be a variable. I use a mild Italian sausage, home made by my local Italian butcher.
  • Mustard - I use yellow mustard, but this too can be a variable. For example, there are so many versions of Kozlik mustard that could be great in this!
  • For KB Recipe Attribution Practices please click here.

<== Questions or Comments about this recipe? Visit the Recipe Q. C. page - looking forward to hearing from you!

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