Nope. It's called Rouladen. And it's delicious. One of those wonderful stews that takes what appears to be a contrary list of ingredients and somehow, with a little time, manages to become something wonderful. My Austrian grandmother used to make it. She was one of those cooks who made everything without a recipe, so a couple decades ago my aunt stood over her, night after night, for months, at the stove, writing down everything she did. The recipe I'm giving you is the one from my grandmother's “cookbook”-- a binder of Xeroxed pages that every household in the family has squirreled away in their kitchen. The only difference is I’ve added a little chicken broth instead of the traditional Depression era water.

I made a huge vat of it over Christmas for a family dinner—enough for 12 hungry adults because I wanted leftovers -- and the eight of us, with eight different dietary preferences, nearly licked the platter clean. Even my sister, who isn't much for beef, chowed down. It’s that good. Some cooks make it rolled (hence the name, "rouladen") with sour kraut and bacon inside, but I don't like it that way. I make the unrolled version with just the pickles. (Which, I admit, I don't actually eat. I end up with a pile on my plate. But the sauce! Yum!)

So, here it is. Roulanden.

1-1/2 lbs beef round or London broil cut in ¼ inch thick strips. Most butchers will cut it for you. If you’re in a neighborhood where there are German residents, they'll know what rouladen is. If not, tell them you're making brigole (sp?), the Italian stew.
1 regular old yellow onion cut in strips or diced. Whatever. About a half cup.
Dijon mustard
Dill pickles—not kosher or anything fancy. Just your cheap, supermarket brand dills.
No salt added chicken broth. Or low salt if you can’t find the former. Or a mixture of beef and chicken broth. Do not add all beef broth or it will taste as if it came from a can. Ick.
Token amounts of vegetable oil, pepper, flour.

What to do: Pat the meat dry with paper towels, brush with Dijon mustard on one side and sprinkle on a little black pepper. Brown meat on both sides in a little vegetable oil. Remove. Brown onions. Deglaze pan (scrape up brown bits) with a couple cups of broth.

At this stage, you can either dump everything into casserole and throw into a 325 oven. Or put the beef back in the pan, plop on a lid and leave simmering on low on the stove top. After 45 minutes or so, slice the pickles in quarters—3 or 4 pickles depending on size—you should have a good handful or two. Add to sauce. Continue cooking for another30-45 minutes or until beef is tender.
Serve with rice or dumplings. Green beans and carrots go well with this. The recipe can easily be doubled, tripled or quadrupled (As I did recently. I browned up a beef bone and threw it in for flavoring. Hey, it was a dinner party. You go the extra mile.)


--Liz Jasper.

Liz Jasper is the author of the 2008 EPPIE Award nominated cozy vampire mystery, UNDERDEAD.


  1. Misc. Muse // January 27, 2008 at 3:39 PM  

    As my daughter says- Interestinggggg.
    Our German family likes cabbage rolls. I could eat them all day. Pickles go in tuna. LOL

  2. Beth Trissel // January 27, 2008 at 8:20 PM  

    I agree. Pickles do go in tuna but this recipe sounds really good.

  3. Liz Jasper // January 27, 2008 at 10:28 PM  

    Think of it this way. If I posted a recipe for tuna with pickles, your first respose would be "ick!"

    Give it a try. I'm telling ya. It's delicious. I have a cousin who can't cook but manages to make this when it's her turn to host Christmas--and everyone loves it. All 40 of us chow down.
    Just make sure you really brown the meat so you get lots of brown bits for the sauce. : )

  4. Nightingale // January 28, 2008 at 4:02 PM  

    Printed the recipe. I'm always looking for good recipes cause I'm not a very good cook!

    I really like the cover of Underdead.

  5. Eilis Flynn // January 28, 2008 at 4:45 PM  

    Ah, a good German dish! The Hub has a similar dish that's nummy -- I can't have it often (I have recurring gout, and you're not supposed to have beef), but the sour can be sublime!