My mom made us these epic German meat roll-ups, called rouladen, for holidays and special occasions when we were growing up. After I moved away, whenever I’d come home, she’d ask what I’d like her to cook for me, and my answer was always the same: ROULADEN. Poor Mutti probably got a li’l sick of making them—one year, she branched out and cooked us an interesting Mexican-inspired Christmas feast. It was “creative,” and the whole family was very “appreciative” . . . but we all politely asked her if, next year, she wouldn’t mind going back to rouladen. The older I get, the more I crave the comfort of the classic dishes of my childhood.

I love to eat this with spaetzle, a German, noodle-like dumpling. You can buy it from the store, find a recipe online, or call my mom and ask for her recipe.


  • 12 slices bacon

  • Six 4-to 6-ounce pieces top round, or one 1½-to 2-pound flank steak (see Note)

    Foodheim: A Culinary Adventure Foodheim: A Culinary Adventure Eric Wareheim with Emily Timberlake
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

  • 6 tablespoons Dijon mustard

  • ¾ cup diced yellow onion

  • ¾ cup diced dill pickles

  • 6 hard-boiled eggs, shelled

  • 3 tablespoons neutral oil, plus more as needed

Mega Sauce

  • 2 carrots, diced

  • 1 celeriac, diced

  • 1 leek, diced

  • 1 yellow onion, diced

  • Kosher salt

  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste

  • 1½ cups dry red wine

  • 1½ cups beef broth

  • 1 tablespoon sour cream

  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper


  1. Preheat your oven to 400°F. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Line a plate with a double layer of paper towels. Cut twelve 1-foot- long pieces of butcher’s twine (or, alternatively, gather about 30 toothpicks) and set aside.

  2. Lay the bacon on the prepared baking sheet in a single layer—the pieces can be close together but shouldn’t overlap. Bake until the bacon is golden brown and crispy, about 20 minutes. Transfer to the prepared plate to drain.

  3. Turn the oven temperature to 325°F.

  4. While the bacon is cooking, place a piece of plastic wrap or parchment paper on your work surface, then place a piece of meat on top, cover with another piece of plastic or parchment, and, using a mallet or rolling pin, pound to an even ¼ inch thickness. Generously season both sides of each piece of meat with salt and pepper.

  5. Making sure to leave a little ¼-inch perimeter of the meat bare (this will make trussing easier), spread 1 tablespoon of the mustard on one side of each piece of meat, then sprinkle 2 tablespoons of the onion and 2 tablespoons of the pickles over the tops. Lay two pieces of the bacon, lengthwise, on top of each, breaking it into pieces as needed to make it fit. Place a hard-boiled egg at one of the narrower edges of each piece of beef. (This will be where you start rolling.)

  6. Fold the long edges of the meat over the egg to start to enclose it. Then, roll lengthwise over the egg to form a beef spiral with the egg at its center. Secure the rouladen by tying each with two pieces of the butcher’s twine (or threading the edges with several toothpicks).

  7. In a large sauté pan over medium-high heat, warm the 3 tablespoons oil. Working in batches so as not to crowd the pan (if you jam them in too tightly, they’ll steam rather than brown), deeply brown the rouladen on all sides. Transfer the browned rouladen to a plate and set aside.

  8. To make the sauce: Add a splash more oil to the sauté pan if needed, then add the carrots, celeriac, leek, and onion and sauté over medium-high heat until they’ve browned, about 10 minutes. Season with salt, then add the tomato paste and cook for 2 minutes. Add a glug of the wine and deglaze the pan, making sure to scrape up all the delicious browned bits stuck to the bottom. Add the remaining wine and the beef broth and bring to a simmer, then cook until the vegetables are tender and the liquid has reduced, about 10 minutes.

  9. Transfer the rouladen to a Dutch oven or a 9 by 13-inch roasting pan, then pour the sauce and vegetables over the top. (If needed, add up to 1 cup water so that the liquid comes halfway up the rouladen.) Cover the pan with a lid or aluminum foil and transfer to the oven.

  10. Bake the rouladen for about 2 hours, checking every 30 minutes or so and spooning more sauce over the top. Flip the rouladen halfway through baking. (If the sauce is reducing too fast, lower the heat a touch and add more beef broth and water.)

  11. Transfer the rouladen to a serving plate, then strain the vegetables out of the sauce by pouring it through a sieve into a bowl, pressing to extract all the delicious juices from the veg. Stir in the sour cream and season with salt and pepper.

  12. Pour the sauce over the rouladen and serve immediately.

Note: If you’re using flank steak, you’ll need to ask your butcher to butterfly it lengthwise into two thin, flat pieces. Then you can cut those pieces into three even rectangles to yield six pieces.

Reprinted with permission from Foodheim: A Culinary Adventure by Eric Wareheim with Emily Timberlake copyright © 2021 Photographs copyright © 2021 by Julia Stotz. Art copyright © 2021 by Duke Aber. Published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Penguin Random House.

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