Roll yer own

September 6, 2013

M'mm h'mmm. This. Roll on.

M’mm h’mmm. This. Roll on.

What? Who, me? I never said roll WHAT.

What we’re rolling here, is beef. And sausage. And a really good dill pickle. And it’s going to wind up as something wonderful.

A few weeks ago, I went to Steinhauskeller in Hot Springs. New German restaurant, opened in the former home of a pretty abysmal German restaurant, and is having to overcome its predecessor’s reputation.

Undeservedly. Because, well, this place lays its predecessor in the shade, I tell you. It is astonishingly wonderful food, about which I have waxed wonderful before. And I went back a few nights ago. And it was still excellent.

But that first trip, I had rouladen. First time I’d ever had rouladen. It was pretty marvelous. And I vowed I would attempt to recreate that marvelous dish in my own kitchen.

Actually, to be technically correct, I believe I had a roulade. Because I only had one. Actually, half of one. And I think rouladen is what you have when you have more than one, though I’m damned if I see how anyone could get through more than one of these babies, which is a full 12 ounces, cooked. Lots o’meat.

In any event, my Memphis Guinea Pig had come up to visit. (I’m only an hour away now, so he can do that easily enough.) I decided it was a good time to try rouladen. I had bratwurst from JV Farms, and I had grass-fed organic round steak from Nine Oaks (the local and worthy successor to Mountain Pastures). And I had a rough idea of how rouladen ought to be made.

Hell, I’m an adventurer. A rough idea is good.

I took the brats, and the steak, and some good Claussen dill spears. I paired a spear with a brat, and I took a piece of steak, which had been pre-tenderized, but which I had abused to some degree with a meat mallet in order to make it spread out a bit and cover more territory/brat. I put ’em together and rolled ’em up.

I don’t think the rouladen I had at Steinhauskeller had bacon around ’em, but hey, it’s bacon, right? Plus, the pieces of round steak were a tad bit skimpy for the plump brats and the fat pickle spears, so it’s good to have the bacon to rope ’em all together, yes? Yes. And, hey, bacon. Who needs a reason?

So, I wrapped those babies up, secured ’em with toothpicks, and plunked ’em in a skillet to brown. When they were brown all over, I dumped most of a bottle of red wine atop them, and added caraway seed, allspice berries, a couple of cloves and some peppercorns. Would’ve added juniper berries but I didn’t have any (where did those little bahstids GO, anyway?). Popped a lid on top and let it simmer merrily away for, oh, an hour or so. Turned the meat once during that.

Full disclosure: I had a major sinus attack and didn’t feel up to eating dinner. But I did do quality control taste testing of the rouladen. They were pretty damn wonderful. We (OK, he) had green beans, red  cabbage that was up to my usual standards of excellence, and I think that was it. I’d thought about making latkes, but sinuses intervened.

Memphis Guinea Pig allowed it was marvelous. My small taste, albeit sinus hell, indicated it was. It is, at the very least, you ‘n y’mama ‘n ’em getting on a roll to get your beef on.


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