Cooking Rouladen with mother-in-law. the true German cooking

This is the first time I am spending Christmas in Germany, with my husband’s family, would love to see some traditional German celebration during Christmas or New Year. We arrived this morning, it is still a working day here in Germany, but my in-laws finished work early, and my mother-in-law was making Rouladen for dinner. Of course I would love to learn the authentic German way of making Rouladen, especially the recipe from the mother.

As I mentioned in my blog about how to make Rouladen, you need certain part of beef but that was a bit difficult to get in Hong Kong. Of course here in Germany will not be a problem. The difference of what mutter is doing, she is using finely chopped onion and bacon instead of what I was using are onion slice and the whole piece of bacon. I was using pickled cucumber but mutter was using the whole piece of pickled gherkin. Then, wrap the beef and tie it up with cotton.

My husband was telling me, the sauce that his mother was doing for the Rouladen is super, so that is the most important part that I have to learn. First of all, heat up the saucepan with lard, and then fry the Rouladen and add some chopped onion and bacon in-between. Fry the Rouladen until both side turn brown, add some hot water when it starts to dry up, in order to keep a good amount of sauce. Cover with lid and let it simmer for one hour, keep adding hot water in-between when the sauce starts to dry up. The sauce mutter made is so much more simple than the one I learned on youtube, for sure I am going to try next time back home. I guess the lard does make a difference for the taste.

When it’s done, remove the Rouladen from the pan. Use the sieve to get the chopped onion and bacon out from the sauce, and then blend it with the blender until it’s smooth enough to go through the sieve. Add flour to thicken the sauce if it’s too thin. Place all the Rouladen back in the pan with the sauce when the sauce is ready, usually this is served with Kartoffeklöße and red cabbage, but we were having that with salad last night.

Trying to make traditional Sunday German Dinner to make my hubby feels like home – Rouladen with Kartoffeklöße

It’s Sunday again! My routine to cook Sunday dinner, but I just made a big dinner the night before for friends’ gathering, thinking what to cook again…… My husband was trying to help, and he was suggesting to make this Rouladen, which I have no clue what is he talking about. So he found me some online recipe on youtube, so I can watch and learn how to make it. He was also craving for this German potato dumplings, which usually serve with the Rouladen. I also have no idea how to make, but let’s learn it on youtube.

After checking out few videos about the Rouladen and the Kartoffeklöße, I think it’s not too difficult to make it, let’s try it out! Rouladen is a dish that the German used to do as a Sunday family dinner dish, and I guess most of the mother know how to do it. It is beef roll with something inside, the part of beef should be the thin slice of the round part and I can already see that as a problem to get that part of the beef in thin slice. There are few meat places here in the neighbourhood, let’s try to see if I can find this specific part of the beef. After running around to few stores, I could not find the beef that I was looking for, as I expected. The best that I could get was the sirloin thin slices, which is a bit small for this dish, and fat in-between is also not helping and make rolling the beef a bit difficult. Anyway, I ended up with doubling two slices to make one piece, it is not perfect but still fine.

To make the Rouladen, lay the slice of beef out flat and season them with salt and pepper. Don’t over seasoning them, as the other ingredients are also with flavour. Then put a thin layer of mustard on the beef, the best would be German mustard to make it more authentic. Now start to put all the ingredients on it, one piece of bacon, strips of onion and  a slice of pickled cucumber, then roll them up and use a toothpick to close it. After you get all the rolling done, searing them in a hot pan to seal in the juice. To be honest, the beef I got is so thin and I think this is not really necessary for my thin slice sirloin. When the beef are all brown, remove them from the pan. Now we start to work on the stock, fry some garlic, onion, carrot and celery in the pan, when they turn brown, put some tomato puree in, and then add some red wine, let it simmer for few minutes. Add a good amount of beef stock and bring it to boil, then place all Rouladen into the stock, and they should be around 2/3 covering with stock. Place the pan inside the oven under 175C to cook for 1 to 1.5 hours. You can also just boil it with a lower heat as an option.

For the Kartoffeklöße, potato dumplings, first of all, to cook the peeled potatoes in hot water for 20 to 30 minutes until they all turned soft and smash them into mashed potatoes. Add two eggs, flour, ground nutmeg, salt and pepper, and mix them well with the mashed potatoes, add more flour until it is not sticky any more. Separate them and make them into ball shape, and boil them in hot water for around 15 to 20 minutes.

Traditionally, this dish is served with red cabbage, and a lot of sauce. To make the sauce, remove the Rouladen from the pan, and bring the stock to boil until it thicken up. If you think there is not enough sauce, maybe you can add more beef stock . Press the sauce through the sieve to get even the taste from the vegetable. This is my first trial and it is tough to cook something that I’ve never had, as you just cannot imagine how exactly that should taste. My husband told me the Rouladen actually taste very good, but I guess it will be better if I can find the right part of meat to wrap. On the other hand, he said the Kartoffeklöße taste good but totally not the German kind. I need to eat an authentic one to see how to make them right next time, room to improve!

 

 

Grilled Pork Knuckle with Dark Beer

My husband is a German, and I always get asked if I cook German meal for him? As people reckon pork knuckle is one of the well-known dish in Germany, people would love to try the pork knuckle that I cook to see how authentic is it. To be honest, I’ve never cook pork knuckle and I’ve never seen my in-laws cooking pork knuckle back in Germany neither. My husband is not a big fan of pork knuckle and neither am I. He said this dish is more from Munich and the south area, it is not that popular at the region where he is from. Anyway, let’s try it out, as I always want to try and see.

So I’ve looked into few recipes online, one from the German which is super simple, just with salt and pepper and some garlic paste, and here you go. I think I would like to go for something a bit more complicated, then I was kind of following this recipe with the dark beer, which sounds more German to me at least….. 😉

The first challenge I am encountering is, could not find pork knuckle at the two meat shops nearby! That’s so weird to me, as I think pork knuckle is a popular dish, maybe it’s not. I finally found it at Park’n Shop, but those are frozen from Canada with Chinese package, and look so Chinese to me. They look more for soup or Chinese way of cooking, I am a bit skeptical. It seems no other options than taking those, it’s a take it or leave it situation, unless I think of something else to cook, or go somewhere else to search for pork knuckles. I decided to get those, and let’s see.

To cook this dish, is going to take 3 hours, so please plan ahead and see when do you want to have dinner and work back the start cooking time. And defrost also take some time, or you use the oven to help you to do so. Let’s start preparing! Get a big tray, and chop 3 onions in the tray as the base, season the pork knuckles with salt and pepper, and some mixed spices, just pick those that you like. Then, put the garlic paste all over the pork knuckles, and finally add some fennel seeds on top. Pour half bottle of Erdinger dark beer in the tray, then put it in the oven under 220C for 30 minutes. Then, prepare your potatoes and green apple, chop them in big chuck and place at the bottom. Pour more beer in and place the tray in the oven under 160C for 1 hour, don’t forget to pour the beer on top of the pork knuckle from time to time, that will help the skin to be crunchy. Add more beer and cook for another hour under 160C, then keep adding more beer, switch the oven back to 220C and roast it for the last 30 minutes.

After 3 hours in the oven, take them out and remove the pork knuckles and potatoes from the tray, and cook the reminding until it becomes thicken and use it as the gravy. You can serve the pork knuckles with some sauerkraut, to make it like a real German dish. But I serve it with some green salad, which is not bad at all. I still feel it is too rich and I am still not sure if I like pork knuckle much, same for my husband. Well, at least I did try, and the result is not bad.