Switching flank steaks for top round steaks.
November 27, 2013 12:47 PM   Subscribe

How do I cook this roulade given the following changes?

I made this roulade and it came out delicious, so I was going to recreate them for Thanksgiving tomorrow. However, my friend bought 1.90lb of top round steaks cut into 12 pieces instead of one piece of 1 3/4lb flank steak the recipe calls for. Being an amateur home cook, I don't know how to readjust the recipe to accommodate this change. I've never cooked top round steaks either.

We're having 9 people over, so I was thinking of making each person their own roulade with 3 extra leftovers. Since the roulade will be much smaller, how does this affect the cooking time? How does switching flank steak for top round steak affect cooking time and taste? Is there anything I'm overlooking? Thank you.
posted by squirtle to Food & Drink (6 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Roulade is my favorite ever dish of all time. I ate it all the time growing up. I had never heard of doing one large one in the oven. I grew up with roulade cooked as individual portions in a pot with tons of glorious gravy.

The recipe I know:
Lay out your thin sliced beef. Pepper and paprika it on both sides. Put a slice of bacon, a chunk of (sweet vidalia) onion, and half a pickle (baby dill, iirc) at one end. Roll up. Secure with string or wooden toothpicks.

Brown in a deep pot, turning periodically until most surfaces are browned. Add enough water to cover. Toss in peppercorns. Cook for 30 minutes to two hours. Add water as needed. The longer it cooks, the more tender it is. There is no right or wrong answer on that detail. Then thicken the gravy just before serving with a flour and water mixture.

I don't see any reason you can't do the same using the fillings you want from the recipe linked, just portion it out appropriately to make little roles instead of one big one. An uncle of mine made roulade when I visited using alternate fillings because one family member couldn't eat pickles or didn't like them. I thought it was fantastic.

Best of luck.
posted by Michele in California at 1:09 PM on November 27, 2013 [1 favorite]

Your problem is that top round is a cut of beef that is quite lean and tends to dry out when cook with dry heat methods (as in your recipe). The bacon will help somewhat, but you will still likely end up with a tougher, less moist roulade than you would with flank steak. It would still be OK, assuming you cook for a shorter time (use a thermometer and take them out once they reach the desired temperature), but it will not be as tender. I would use some judgement based on how much fat you see in the round steak.

Ideally, you would switch to a recipe that uses moist heat and braise the roulades for longer. You could adapt the same recipe with some liquid (wine, stock, etc.), but it will change the flavour and texture of the filling and beef. Cook for a couple or few hours around 275-300F.
posted by ssg at 1:26 PM on November 27, 2013 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thank you Michele and ssg. I'm open to trying a new recipe, but I'd like exact measurements being as I'm an amateur and not too confident.
posted by squirtle at 1:31 PM on November 27, 2013

Best answer: This is pretty close to the recipe I grew up with, but with more specifics:

I would put either one or one half slice of bacon per meat roll, depending on how much bacon your original recipe used. Either will taste fine. I would divide the pesto into twelve portions and spread on each individual piece of meat. Then brown, cover with water, etc.

Different recipes online use different cuts of beef. A lot of German recipes use part pork plus part beef (or part pork plus part horse). If you fry and cover with water to make gravy, dryness will not be an issue. Roulade is a pretty forgiving recipe. The bacon helps provide the fat. I always used wooden toothpicks. I never learned to use string, though my mother did it sometimes. If I was struggling, I just used extra toothpicks.

Choose a deep pot that will snugly fit them together on the bottom. It is okay if it is a little too small. The meat rolls will shrink a bit as you brown them. But you don't want to go too large because then you need excess water and the gravy will be too thin. You can taste the gravy partway through the cooking time and add one or two beef boullion cubes if it is too tasteless, but don't wait too long. This doesn't work well if added at the end.

I did not learn to cook with specific times, etc. I learned to brown it, smell it, taste the gravy, adjust as you go. Every piece of beef (and egg, veggie, etc) will vary some and homemade bread recipes are impacted by local humidity, etc. That's why cooking is an art, not a science.
posted by Michele in California at 1:56 PM on November 27, 2013

I would consider pounding the meat - round steak is a tougher cut than flank - use the back of a knife or a rolling pin or a tenderizing hammer - whatever you've got - to break down the fibers a big. That will also give you a little more surface area for your filling if the individual pieces are as small as I assume.
posted by leslies at 2:21 PM on November 27, 2013 [1 favorite]

As a German expat living in the US, I've found that Top Round is actually the perfect cut for Rindsrouladen (ironically, much better than the cuts I used to get back home!). However, I slice it against the grain (you don't specify how your pieces are sliced). I can imagine that they might come out tough if sliced along the grain. I also make them in the Slow Cooker and find that the results are consistently mouthwatering.
On the pounded steak slices, I put mustard, pepper&salt, chopped onion and pickle, and finally, a cooked egg. I wrap it up, tie with string, and roll in flour. I brown them for a few minutes in bacon drippings, then deglaze the pan with red wine, maybe some stock. I add a few spoonfuls of tomato paste and throw them in the slowcooker for 6-8 hours. The sauce gets reduced a bit at the end and I add some ...ok a lot...of cream. Oh I'm hungry!
posted by The Toad at 5:55 PM on November 27, 2013

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