Oktoberfest fare: Beer braised German rouladen with spiced sour cream recipe

Oktoberfest is upon us, which means it's an excuse to drink copious amounts of beer, eat soft pretzels as big as our heads — and anything that ends in “wurst” — and wear funny looking shorts with suspenders. Definitely my kind of party.

Today, Oktoberfest is celebrated around the world by people of German and non-German descent alike in dozens of countries around the world. In fact Blumenau, Brazil, lays claim to the largest Oktoberfest festival outside of Germany, with over one million people indulging in 18 days of non-stop revelry.

Traditional German food just begs to be accompanied by good beer. As if by design, the flavors of German cuisine — sausages, sauerkraut, caraway, and mustard — complement their Weissbiers and lagers perfectly.

A traditional German rouladen (meaning “to roll”) is stuffed with mustard, pickles and bacon and slowly braised in wine and beef stock. The following is my take on the classic recipe. I omitted the bacon (gasp!) because I personally don’t care for rubbery, flaccid bacon strips in my beef roll, and replaced it with some red cabbage and radishes for a nicer texture. These stuffed flank steak roll-ups are then braised in beer and beef stock, served over buttery egg noodles and topped with a caraway and horseradish spiced sour cream. They're so tasty, they’ll surely have you jumping out of your lederhosen.

Beer Braised Beef Rouladen with Spiced Sour Cream

Difficulty level: 2/5

Yield: approx. 5 portions

2 pounds flank steak sliced against the grain into thin pieces, about 6? long x 3? wide

1 cup whole grain mustard

1 cup onion, sliced thin

6 dill pickles, sliced into quarters lengthwise

1 cup red cabbage, sliced thin

1/2 cup radishes, sliced thin

1 cup flour

4 cups beef stock or broth

2- 12 ounce bottles of beer, room temperature (preferably a German beer)

2 tablespoons olive oil

4 tablespoons cornstarch mixed with 1/2 cup water

4 cups wide egg noodles, cooked (1 lb uncooked)

4 tablespoons (1/2stick) unsalted butter

Salt and pepper

Parsley, choped, for garnish

1. For each slice of beef, slather one side with mustard and top with some cabbage, radish and onions. Add a pickle slice or two, roll up and secure it with a wooden skewer. Season each rouladen with salt and pepper and lightly dredge in flour.

2. In a large deep skillet or large sauce pot on medium-high heat, add 2 tablespoons olive oil and sear beef rouladens on all sides until nicely browned. You may have to do this in two batches, depending on the size of your pot. Add enough stock and beer to cover all rouladens and reduce heat to medium. Simmer, covered, for about 1 hour until meat is tender.

3. Reserving the stock, place rouladens on a cookie sheet and cover with foil to keep warm. Bring the beef stock to a boil and add the cornstarch/water mixture. It should become viscous enough to coat the back of a spoon. Reduce heat and whisk in the butter a little at a time. Taste and adjust seasonings. Add cooked egg noodles and stir well until all noodles are coated.

Caraway Horseradish Sour Cream

2 cups sour cream

2 tablespoons fresh horseradish

2 teaspoons caraway seed, ground

Salt and pepper to taste

1. Combine all ingredients and mix well. Chill until ready to use.

Assembly:

Ladle sauced noodles into a large bowl or platter. Remove skewers from rouladen. Place rouladens over sauced noodles and top each with caraway horseradish sour cream. Garnish with chopped parsley and serve family style.

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