Beef roulade is a European beef dish consisting of a thin piece of beef rolled around various fillings. It should not be confused with rouladen, a German version of the dish. In French, the term roulade means roll. The dish is usually browned and then baked or braised in stock, wine, or other liquids. Beef roulade has many variations across Europe including braciola in Italy, rouladen in Germany, and paupiette in France. It is commonly prepared as one large roll and then sliced; however, individual servings can be made as well.
A variety of ingredients can be used to fill a beef roulade. Common items include bacon, mustard, and vegetables. Vegetables with harder textures should be cooked prior to being placed in the roulade; otherwise they will not properly roll with the meat. To keep the filling from spilling out of the dish, it is held together with baker’s twine, toothpicks, or skewers. Different countries might have regional fillings and individuals might choose to experiment with different fillings to see which ones they prefer.
The first step in preparing beef roulade is to pound a piece of steak until it is very thin, but still intact. This allows the beef to cook evenly all the way through the roll. Filling is then added to the beef, after which it is rolled and secured. Overfilling the roll should be avoided as it might cook unevenly or break apart once rolled. Individual roulades are prepared in much the same way, except they are created in much smaller sizes.
Browning beef roulade is important for the overall flavor and appearance of the dish. This step gives the dish an appealing color and a crisp outside texture, sealing in juices to keep the interior moist and flavorful. Generally, the dish is browned in a pan with butter or oil. The purpose of this step is not to cook the meat through, but to just brown the outside. Browning is not a necessary step and can be skipped if an individual chooses.
Another important component of the dish is the sauce. Most individuals prefer to eat the dish with an accompanying sauce to give it a bit more moisture and flavor. A variety of sauces might be made, including simple brown gravy, a wine-based sauce, or one made from the braising liquid. When a smooth sauce is desired, individuals should strain the sauce through a sieve before serving.