Beef Olives / Rouladen Recipe

 Beef olives
Beef olives have nothing to do with olives that you pick from a tree, but it is thought that the name comes more from its shape than anything else. In some countries one uses the German word rouladen or roulades, and in others olives. Whatever you call them, they are deeelicious and Tante Inge’s recipe is to die for!

 The family
In summer we visited Joerg’s deevine family in northern Germany and we were treated to Tante Inge’s Beef Rouladen. Her mother, Tante Soffie, made them for us in the past and we divided the last one using a scale just to be sure we each got our fair share. That’s how good they are! The trick to this dish is the long cooking time. Don’t cut it down as otherwise your olives may be tough which would be a real pity.
 The family!
In Germany we can buy beef sliced especially for olives. What you are looking for is beef sliced about 1cm thick. You don’t want it paper thin as you want it to keep its shape, but not too thick that you can’t roll it up. You can use any cut of beef you like – cheap cuts will just take longer to become soft, but will be as tasty. German beef for olives has no fat on it.

Tante Inge uses a dark beer in her sauce, but you could just add extra beef broth if you don’t drink alcohol. Or red wine if you do drink alcohol and have no beer at hand.

Serves 4-8
8 big slices topside, silverside or beef top round steak, approx. 1kg
Salt and pepper
8-16 slices of bacon
3 big onions, peeled, halved and sliced
Oil for browning
Mirepoix: 1 carrot, 2 onions, 1 leek, 1 celery, 1 parsley root (opt), peeled and diced
2 tbsp tomato paste
500ml beef stock
330ml bottle / can dark beer (Vitamalz in Germany), see note above
500ml beef stock, if necessary / desired, see below

1. Spread the mustard on the beef slices, sprinkle with salt and pepper and put 1 or 2 slices of bacon on each piece. Divide the onion between the pieces and roll up tightly. Use kitchen garn, toothpicks or small metal skewers to secure them. Put in the fridge covered overnight.
2. Remove from fridge and brown the olives in oil. Remove and set aside. Add the mirepoix vegetables to the pan and saute for a few minutes. Add the tomato paste for a minute or two, then return the olives to the pan and pour over the beef stock and beer or wine.
3. Bring to a boil covered, then simmer for at least 2 ½ hours. You could also put it in the oven at 180C for the same length of time if you prefer. Check every once in a while that there is enough liquid in the pan and add more stock if necessary.
4. After 2 ½ hours check that the meat is tender. It should be by now, but if not leave it another ½ hour. Remove the olives from the pan and puree the vegetables in the sauce. If the sauce is too thick at this point, add stock until you have the desired consistency. Season to taste and enjoy!!

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