My favourite meal from overseas – Rinderrouladen

Zyl has just returned from a short-program at The University of Mannheim, Germany.  Here, he shares with us his favourite German meal, plus the recipe!  YUMM-O!

Rinderrouladen, a classic German dish; the name literally means ‘rolled beef’.  Rinderrouladen is a traditional dish, which today is considered more of a holiday meal, or for special occasions.  Beef is the most popular of all Rouladen, although it can also be made with chicken, pork, venison, or any other meat that takes your fancy.  The dish consists of thinly sliced beef spread with mustard, and sprinkled with chopped gherkin, diced onions, and speck (a salt cured, smoky ham with a lot of fat).  It’s then broiled in stock, and, traditionally, served with pickled red cabbage and potato dumplings.  A side salad can be added if one wishes to preserve the façade of ‘healthy eating’ ;).

I first encountered this dish in 2008, when I was in Germany for the first time on exchange.  I wanted to make something quintessentially German, and my host family obliged.  We set about making it as a family, and ended up with sticky fingers and full bellies.  We cooked it a couple of times while I was there, and when I came home I cooked it for my family.  Apart from my step-father, who has always been a bit reluctant to try new things, everyone really enjoyed it.  I cooked it again while I was in Germany this time around, in 2013, and it still doesn’t fail to satisfy an appetite.

Here is the way that I have been taught to make the meal (for four):


  • 4 large, thin beef steaks (schnitzel meat is about the right proportion)
  • 6 Gherkins, chopped
  • 2 Onions, diced
  • 200g Speck, diced (smoky bacon will do if speck is too hard to find)
  • Hot mustard
  • String, for tying the meat
  • 500ml Vegetable stock


  1. To begin, place your meat out on a board and spread a good layer of mustard over it.
  2. Next, sprinkle equal portions of the speck, onion and gherkin onto the mustard, making sure to cover only the bottom third of the meat.  Season with pepper and salt.
  3. Roll the meat, beginning from the end with the onions, etc.  Tie it so that it will not fall apart while cooking.
  4. In a heavy set, medium deep pan, sear the meat on all sides until it is a nice brown colour.
  5. Add the stock, and cover the dish with a clear lid.  Lower the heat until the liquid is at a nice simmer.
  6. Cook the meat for 30 mins.  At this point the liquid should be like nice gravy.
  7. Serve hot, with potato dumplings and pickled red cabbage (both can be made… Or bought at your local supermarket).


Substituting half of the liquid from the stock with red wine makes for extra rich gravy.  You can also try adding some vegetables in with the meat during the simmering phase for extra flavour and food.  Vegetables you could try would be pumpkin, sweet potato, capsicum mushroom, onions, celery, etc.

So there you have it, a traditional German meal that anyone (except vegetarians) can enjoy.  If you’re having Germans over to stay, why not splash out and impress them with your new-found culinary knowledge?

Rinderrouladen! Source:, via Google images









Sounds delicious!  I might make this for dinner tonight!  What’s YOUR favourite meal from overseas?  Don’t worry vegetarians, we’ll post a recipe for you here soon!