Because sometimes you feel German
November 9, 2015
And when you do, and it’s chilly outside and you’ve turned on the heat for the first time all fall, you make rouladen. And while you’re about it, you make German potato salad and braised red cabbage with cream, because cool weather makes you feel like German food, and you cook crowder peas for good measure, because you know good and well your son won’t eat the red cabbage and you don’t want to starve the poor boy.
Not that I think he was in danger.
It was a standard Sunday, in that Amazing Grandchild 2 had spent the night, and I got up early to get a start on dinner so his mama and daddy could eat with us when we got home from church and we could watch football while he napped. I hadn’t made rouladen since last winter, and I was somewhat in the mood. Plus, SonInLaw2 loves them; he calls them “those pickle things.”
I thawed out two packages of tenderized round steaks and a package of brats the day before. Pounded the steaks a bit thinner, and stretched them out on a cutting board; put a brat and a Claussen’s dill pickle spear on each, rolled it up, and secured it with a couple of strips of bacon, toothpicked together. Those got browned in a skillet, and then braised in a combo of red wine and beef broth, seasoned with caraway, juniper berries and allspice, along with black pepper. That, in turn, went into the oven, covered, for a slow braise.
Meanwhile, I peeled, diced and boiled potatoes; diced up several strips of bacon; made a dressing of bacon grease, sauteed onion, caraway seed, Dijon mustard (of which I did not use enough) and vinegar over medium heat, then thinned it with a bit of the potato water. The hot potatoes got tossed with that dressing, covered in foil, and set aside.
I quartered the small head of red cabbage, sliced it thin, and sauteed it in bacon fat. (This is a bacon-heavy meal, y’all. You’ll put a pound of bacon in it.) Added some chicken stock, some wine vinegar (it wanted cider, but I was out). Added some caraway to that, too, and covered it to let it simmer until the cabbage was good and tender. Cooked the peas (yes, with bacon fat, because that’s how you cook peas, doggone it). Turned everything off and left for church.
When I got back, all I had to do was warm the peas and the cabbage, slide the potatoes in oven with the rouladen and turn that back on to warm everything, and add some heavy cream to the cabbage and let it simmer a bit. Twenty minutes, and Sunday dinner was ready.
And it was good. It’s not a universal favorite — Child A doesn’t like the seasoning in the brats, so she doesn’t like the rouladen. SIL2 found a piece of onion in the potatoes and had to set them aside (I had pureed the dressing with a stick blender, but apparently I missed that chunk of onion, and while he’s fine with onion flavor, he can’t handle onion itself.) But both Children A and C ate the cabbage, which sort of surprised me. Child A allowed that it tasted something like a reuben on a plate.
A word about these brats. They are brats from JV farms down in Bismarck, and therefore have been in my freezer for a year, because that’s how long it’s been since I’ve been down there and bought any of their pork products. Those people make simply marvelous brats, and all their other sausage products as well. I miss them. Badly. As the rouladen depend in large part on the seasonings present in the bratwurst and the pickle spear, it behooves you to acquire the best you can of both products. Of course, excellent beef helps as well.
So you ‘n y’mama ‘n ’em go ahead and get on a roll and fix you some rouladen and German potato salad and red cabbage now that it’s weather for it. It’ll warm your heart and stick to your ribs.