Sharing a Labor of Love: Oma’s Rouladen

Some of my favorite memories of my Oma (that’s grandmother in German) are in the kitchen. She patiently (or sometimes not so patiently) taught me how to make several traditional German family favorites. I was her oldest grandchild born to her oldest son so I was chosen to carry on these traditions. I wasn’t so sure as a young girl but now I know I was the lucky one that got to spend many a weekend learning to prepare  potato salads, crumb cake, kohlrouladen, potato pancakes, and rouladen. There were no written recipes, she just knew how to do it by feel, and taught me the same way. I admit this was difficult, but it was when I was cooking with her that I really learned that cooking was more than following a recipe, it was about making something for someone, a gift to be enjoyed by family and friends, a way to show someone you love them.

I now have a love for cooking, it is a way for me to relax, a hobby that takes my mind off the ordinary and mundane. It is a way for me to give back to the people I care about. I don’t always include my children in the actual process of cooking, it is my time, but when ever I make one of my Oma’s recipes I get nostalgic and without even thinking invite my son into the kitchen with me. It is like there is something more than food with these recipes, it is a bond that must be passed on. This week when Rouladen was on the menu he joined me at my side and I realized that even though we don’t have this dish that often he already knew exactly how to make it. We didn’t even get out measuring cups, but he just looked at the ingredients we had prepared and said we are going to need more pickles and  he went straight to work chopping up some more. I smiled and knew my job was done, he is now the chosen one, I hope someday he thinks he’s lucky.

Oma’s Beef Rouladen

1 1/2 lbs of thinly sliced bottom round steak

1/4 c dijon mustard

approx 6 strips of raw bacon cut in half

1 c chopped dill pickles (use the refrigerated kind)

1 c chopped red onion

2 T butter

2 T flour

2 1/2 c  stock or water

1/4 t pepper

Place the steaks between two pieces of plastic wrap and pound with a meat mallet until thin but not falling apart. Spread a thin layer of mustard on the steak, place 1/2 a strip of bacon on each piece of meat. Add about 1 1/2 t of chopped pickles, and 1 1/2 t chopped onion to the top of each steak. Roll meat into a bundle and secure with a small wooden skewer or a couple of toothpicks,making sure the onions and pickles will not come out.

Preheat an electric frying pan and melt the butter over med high heat. Add the rouladen and brown on both sides.

Add 1 cup chicken or beef stock or water, reduce heat to low and simmer for one hour. Remove the rouladen from pan.

Add 1 1/2 c water or stock mixed with 2 T flour to the pan, bring to a boil and then reduce heat, cook until gravy is slightly thickened, about 4 minutes.

Serve with boiled potatoes and cabbage or collard greens if you are a southerner like me.

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Hoppy IPA Day! Celebrate with Beer and Bacon Meatloaf and Onion Ale Mustard Gravy

It’s my new favorite holiday, IPA day, a day to celebrate my favorite style of beer, India Pale Ale. It’s not for everyone, it is somewhat bitter from the hops and can be strong, but it is also crisp, refreshing, and full of flavor. Think Sierra Nevada Pale Ale on steroids, and then you get where I am coming from. IPA’s are a favorite style of beer enthusiasts, and can be found at most independent breweries and craft beer bars. One of my local favorites is Cigar City’s Jai Alai IPA. I used this beer in my celebratory dinner of meatloaf and gravy, but feel free to use your own local IPA, or better yet taste taste several until you find your favorite.

Beer Bacon Meatloaf

2 lbs ground meat (my favorite 1/3 pork, 2/3 beef)

1/2 c plus 2T IPA style beer (choose your poison, mine was Cigar City Jai Alai)

1 t minced garlic

1T Worcestershire sauce

4T ketchup

2 t Dijon mustard

1 egg

1t salt

1/4 t pepper

1 1/4 c panko bread crumbs

1 t honey

4 slices of bacon cut in half

Preheat over to 350, In a large bowl combine, ground meat, 1/2 beer, garlic, Worcestershire, 2T ketchup, egg, salt, pepper and panko. Form into a loaf and place in a baking dish. In a small bowl add 2T ketchup, 2T beer, and 1T honey mix and spoon over meatloaf.

Place raw bacon over top of meatloaf

Bake in oven for 45 minutes

Onion Ale Mustard Gravy

4 T butter

2 sweet yellow onions sliced

1T worcestershire sauce

2 t mustard

1/4 c flour

1/4 c IPA beer

1 1/4 c water

3 T brown sugar

add 3 T butter to a large skillet, add onions and cook over medium heat for 20 minutes, then add mustard, Worcestershire, and flour, cook for 3 minutes on med/low. Add beer cook for 1 minute, then add water and cook over medium until gravy has thickened about 5 minutes, add 3T brown sugar and 1 T butter, whisk until incorporated and butter has melted, season with salt and pepper, serve over meatloaf and mashed potatoes.

 

Also try

Beer Cheese Dip