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San Diego Cooks: German Rouladen

Susan McBeth grew up, the daughter of an Air Force father and a German mother. For her, living on a base, there was nothing like her mother’s cooking,

Susan McBeth

McBeth with her mother in Ronsberg, Germany. Ronsberg, where Mcbeth's mother was raised, is a small town in the Bavarian Alps. September 2004

“When I moved to the US from Germany at the age of 7, I didn't think anything unusual about our (mostly German) meal choices at home,” she explains. “At least, not until I got a little older and friends started sharing stories about their favorite meals. When I would tell friends that my hands-down favorite was Rouladen with Spaetzel, nobody ever understood what I was talking about.”

McBeth, who is a member of the One Book, One San Diego advisory committee and founder of Adventures By the Book, describes the dish. “It’s basically thin strips of beef rolled up with bits of pickles, onions, bacon and mustard. Then browned, and simmered for several hours and served with gravy and homemade noodles.”

By the time McBeth married and had children of her own, she’d passed the love of Rouladen on to them. “The kids always loved Grandma's homemade Rouladen and would request for her to make it every chance they got.”

For years they enjoyed dining on Rouladen during the holidays. “It became our Christmas tradition until my family all turned vegan and the Rouladen was sadly removed from our family diet. Now, the only time I get to enjoy it is when I proudly serve it once a year around Oktoberfest, with friends in our dinner club group. My mom is sadly gone, but her recipe lives on.”

German Rouladen

6 Beef round tip steaks, sliced extra thin

1 8oz jar, German Deli Mustard

Salt and pepper, to taste

2-3 Medium onions, minced

9 Slices of cooked bacon, cut into bits

3 Large German dill pickles, diced

3 Cups of beef bouillon

1/4 to 1/2 Cup, flour

Trim extra fat from beef and pound both sides to even out thinness. Salt and pepper each piece of meat on one side. Spread each piece of beef with a generous, even coating of mustard. Add onion bits, bacon bits and diced pickles evenly to each piece of meat. Roll meat slightly from thin to thick end. Tie Rouladens with a strong string to keep ingredients from falling out. Brown Rouladens in hot oil, along with any extra ingredients that may have fallen out of the rolled meat. Once the Rouladens are browned nicely on all sides, add the beef bouilion and let simmer for about 2 hours. Before serving, thicken gravy a little using sifted flour. Serve over Spaetzel (noodles).

Spaetzel (To prepare, you will need a spaetzel hubel, which is much like a pasta maker and can be found online or in kitchen stores)

4 Cups flour

1 Tbsp. salt

4 Eggs gently beaten

1-2 Cups of warm water

Beat first three ingredients together by hand (not a mixer). Add warm water slowly until dough is fairly stiff and sticky. While holding the Spaetzel hubel over a pot of boiling water, run dough through the hubel into the boiling water. Dough will drop to the bottom of the pot. When it is cooked, it will rise to the top a few minutes later. With a slotted spoon, spoon out the batches of Spaetzel into a colander. Serve with Rouladen and gravy.

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