Roll Your Own… Beef, That Is!
Rouladen (Wikipedia definition here) is probably my favorite thing I have made in the pressure cooker thus far. Having never had rouladen before I made it myself, I wasn’t sure about the authenticity of it, but the S.O., who was born in Germany, gave it her seal of approval by calling it “really good rouladen”. In fact, I felt a sense of relief when she walked in from work and saw the finished product on the plate and said “You made rouladen!” Just the fact that it was recognizable as what I intended it to be was a good sign.
In doing rouladen research on the interwebs, I noticed that rouladen is one of those things that if you look at 100 different recipes, every one of them will be different, and every one of them will claim that it is the only true and properly authentic way to do it, much like chili in the U.S.
Rejecting the many versions on the internet, once again I was inspired by a TV show, this time it was Diners, Drive-ins and Dives, in an episode where host Guy Fieri visited the Chicago Brauhaus. This was what inspired me to try my hand at rouladen anyway, so I just developed the recipe based on what I saw on the show. When I saw the cook at the restaurant rolling up beef stuffed with bacon, mustard, pickle and onion I thought to myself “Wow! It’s nature’s perfect food!” and I knew right then and there that I had to give it a try. Of course, the version on the show was not prepared using the pressure cooker, but like most things I make, I had to adapt it to my favorite cooking method.
Unfortunately, I lost most of the step-by-step photos that I took during the preparation process when I had to perform an emergency reformatting of my memory card on my camera in the middle of everything, so I just ended up with a few photos of the end of the whole thing.
Next time I prepare this, I will again take photos and add them into this post.
Probably the most difficult part of preparing rouladen is finding the best cut of meat. I have tried it with top round and I have tried it with flank steak, and I have found that the shape of the flank steak lends itself well to this dish. One tricky part is to slice the flank steak through the center so that you end up with two thin flanks steaks. If you have a good butcher that can do this for you, then take advantage of it.
Pressure Cooker Beef Rouladen (Rindsrouladen)
1-1/2-2 pounds flank steak
Hungarian Paprika (I like to use the hot variety, but the regular will work as well)
Whole grain mustard (I’ve used Dijon in a pinch, but I prefer the grainy type)
4 strips thick cut bacon
1 medium onion, sliced as thinly as possible
4 pickle spears ( the pickles found in the refrigerated section of your market work the best, because they maintain their crispness better when cooking).
For the gravy:
1 medium onion, chopped
2 Stalks celery, sliced
2 small carrots, chopped
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1/2 cup red wine
1 tablespoon worcestershire sauce
2 bay leaves
1-1/2 cup beef broth
salt and pepper to taste
2 tablespoons flour
Cut the flank steak into 4 pieces. First cut in half, then cut each of these pieces through the center, so that you are left with 4 thin pieces of steak
Pound with the flat side of a meat tenderizer until steak is of uniform thickness, ideally around 1/4 inch thick
Sprinkle each piece of steak liberally with salt, pepper and paprika
Starting at the end closest to you, spread some of the mustard, going about half way to the far end (going all the way to the other end will be a lot messier when you roll it. I found this out from experience).
Next, it’s time to baconize these puppies. I like to cut each strip of bacon in half, then lay side by side on the steak, so that there is more bacon per bite.
Put a layer of the thinly sliced onions over this, again going about half way to the other end.
Place a pickle spear ( I usually take a large pickle and cut into four spears, but this time I could only find smaller-sized pickles, so I just cut them in half) near the edge of the steak closest to you.
Now, for the rolling. I always use kitchen twine, but you can use toothpicks or skewers, I just find the twine to be easier. I usually cut eight pieces of twine before I start rolling, to make it easier.
Starting at the pickle end, roll the meat over the filling jelly roll style.
Secure each one with two pieces of twine (unless you are using toothpicks or skewers, then use those, but I guess I didn’t really have to tell you that.)
Using a little vegetable oil over medium-high heat in the pressure cooker pan, brown the rouladen on all sides, then remove to a plate.
Add the onions, carrots and celery to the pot. Flank steak is pretty lean, so you probably won’t need to drain any of the oil. Saute for a few minutes until the onions become translucent and the carrots and celery just start to soften. Add the garlic and saute for another minute or so.
Add the red wine to deglaze the pan being sure to scrape up any yummy bits from the bottom.
Add the worcestershire and dump in the broth
Add the bay leaves
Add salt and pepper to taste
When mixture starts to simmer, add the rouladen back to the pan.
Cover the pressure cooker and let come to full pressure, then reduce heat to maintain pressure and set timer for 15 minutes.
Pour a glass of the red wine that you were using for the gravy and relax for 15 minutes.
When the timer sounds, take pan off heat and let pressure release naturally.
While waiting for the pressure to come down, mix two tablespoons of flour with enough water to form a thin paste.
When pressure is down, again remove the rouladen to a plate.
Bring juices to a simmer over medium heat. I have tried this several ways, you can strain the vegetables from the juices, you can use an immersion blender to puree the vegetables into the juices, or you can just leave the vegetables as is, which is my favorite way to do it.
Stir in the flour mixture and simmer for five minutes or so, until the mixture thickens.
Put the rouladen on plates, I usually count two of them as one serving, albeit a quite generous serving, but with enough side dishes, this could easily serve four.
Cut the twine with kitchen shears and remove. Top the meat rolls with gravy, and enjoy! I top with some chopped parsley if I happen to have some on hand.
I usually serve this with red cabbage and steamed buttered potatoes.
Give it a try and let me know how you like it!