The word roulade comes from the French word rouler ‘to roll’ and is used to describe a dish cooked or served in the form of a roll. Beef roulade or olives are usually made out of very thin feather blade steaks, or topside steaks which every good butcher should be able to prepare for you.
This German kitchen classic is really quite splendid. The beef simmers slowly for at least two hours until it is very tender and the flavours from the filling, together with the vegetables, produce a wonderful sauce.
- Dry the beef roulade with kitchen paper and season with a little salt and pepper. Spread each beef slice with a thin layer of mustard and fill with an onion quarter, 2 gherkin quarters and a teaspoon of diced bacon. Starting at the narrow end, roll each roulade and bind with cooking string or fix with wooden cocktail sticks.
- Heat the clarified butter in a large pot and quickly fry the beef roulades removing them from the pot as soon as they have a good brown colour.
- Reduce the heat to medium and sauté the onion, carrot and the remaining bacon gently until the onion is soft but not brown. Add the tomato paste, turn up the heat and and allow it to caramelise slightly.
- Add the beef stock and using an hand blender, purée the sauce. Bring to the boil, reduce the heat to low, add the beef olives when the sauce is simmering. continue to simmer gently for 2 hours.
- Season the sauce to taste with salt & freshly ground pepper and keep on a low simmer until you are ready to serve.
- Serve with fresh greens, carrots and boiled or mashed potatoes.
Thickening sauces: I prefer, where possible, not to bind my sauces with thickening agents such as flour or starch. So my sauces are usually either a jus or a coulis. I realise however that that might not appeal to everyone so please feel free to thicken the sauce with some corn starch or a roux.