Bavarian Cooking – Part II – Beef Olives

Rinderrouladen, or beef olives, are another one of my absolute favorites and we normally have them once every few weeks. For a good fill, you should have two beef olives per person plus side dishes. As sides, red cabbage works very well, and so do potatoes or rice. The recipe is for the beef olives only, not for any sides. It is for four olives or two persons.

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Buy four very thinly cut beaten strips of beef loin (ideally from an ox), that are about 6 to 8 times longer than they are wide (tell the butcher it’s for beef olives, and he’ll know what to do), about 200 to 300g in total. You’ll also need Dijon or Bavarian hot (‘scharf’) mustard, 50 to 80g heavily smoked streaky bacon in 10 to 15 thin, long strips, 2 medium-sized onions (white) curly-leaf parsley, 1 or 2 medium-sized carrots, 4 or 5 large pickled gherkins, 1 parsnip, 0.5 to 1 tablespoon of flour, finely ground black pepper and caraway, 200ml of reasonably ok red wine (don’t go for vinegary cheap stuff or sweet Lambrusco), half a cube of Knorr beef stock (or similar amount of other stock). DO NOT USE ANY ADDITIONAL SALT, if the stock is already salted.

   

Prepare the filling in four equal sized portions. Cut the carrots and onions into small cubes, about 0.33cm side length, and the gherkins into long thin slices each about 0.33cm thick over the whole length and width of the gherkin, so that each strip is as long and wide as the gherkin was at that location.

 

Put the four strips of beef on a work surface and apply a generous amount of mustard evenly onto that side that faces you. Cover them with one layer of bacon and one layer of gherkin strips, roll each strip into an olive and then use either four metal or wooden sticks that go all the way through each of the olives or bits of string to ensure that the olive won’t open up during cooking.

Heat a pan with a small amount of sunflower oil, just to cover the bottom of the pan evenly after heating and turning the pan around, then fry the onions for about 5 to 10 minutes, add the chopped carrots for another two minutes, then add the wine. Heat to boiling point, then simmer for another 5 minutes, before putting everything into a separate bowl.

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Add another bit of sunflower oil, then pan-fry the rolls evenly on all sides (except for the short ends), as far as possible (considering you might be using metal sticks). This will take about 10 to 12 minutes. Then prepare 200 to 400ml of beef stock and add plenty of pepper and finely ground caraway and pour the beef stock over the olives into the pan. Depending on the amount of sauce you’d like to end up with and the size of the dish, add all of the wine with the chopped onions and carrots, and possibly add some more water, so that the olives are covered up to one third of their height in liquid, before the liquid starts evaporating and thickens. Add the parsley (in whole, no need to chop it up) and the parsnip, the latter should be peeled and cut into a few pieces. Heat to boiling point, then simmer at lower temperature for another 30 to 40 minutes. Add more liquid if and when needed.

Take 100ml of the liquid (without vegetable bits) and stir the flour into it to thicken it. Release back into the pan. Serve hot.

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