That’s how I roll

One of the meals in rotation when I was growing up (alongside hot dogs, bratwurst, Polish sausage, ring bologna, and a red sausage-mystery meat) was something we called “Swiss steak.” Is that a real dish that was popular in the 80s, or was it just us? I don’t remember much about the particulars, except that it involved round steak, canned mushrooms, and onion soup mix… and I hated it. I cried and sulked and did whatever 8-year-olds do when their mom puts something they think is disgusting down on the dinner table. The upshot was that at some point my mom asked around and found a new recipe using round steak, which we called “rolled steak.” It involved pickles and mustard and bacon. It received the 8-year-old stamp of approval. With bacon in it, how could it not?

After I became a vegetarian and went off to college, I ascribed rolled steak to a Schoberg family culinary oddity, like peanut-butter-and-Miracle-Whip sandwiches (which sound gross but are a delicious tangy-salty medley, really!) Until about a year ago, when Craig and I went to the German restaurant near our house, and I spotted rouladen on the menu, which — who knew? –was a fancy name for rolled steak. Since I’m back to my carnivorous ways, I had to order it, and was tickled (a word I do not use lightly) to discover it was just like Mom used to make. Though with a better cut of beef, I’m sure.

We got some cube steak from our meat CSA last fall, which has been languishing in the freezer ever since. In googling around what the heck to do with it, I read a mention of rouladen. And so, our Sunday night dinner, courtesy of Mom, House of Gerhard, and the interwebs.


I had never cooked with cube steak before. The one pound package had four slices (they’re usually top round or top sirloin) that had been tenderized. I wasn’t quite sure if I needed to do anything more with them so I rolled them out with an empty beer bottle that just so happened to be on the kitchen table. Not sure how it would have gotten there….


Then it was as easy as putting on some chopped onion, bacon, and pickle (you are supposed to use a pickle spear, but all I had was relish…. a pickle spear would have been less messy though), squirting with mustard, and then rolling each up like a jelly roll and tying with twine to secure.


I browned the meaty bundles on the stovetop, poured in some wine, and popped them in the oven.


Now you’re going to laugh at the finished product. I know it looks like something far less palatable, but I swear it tasted amazing. Amazing enough that even though I thought Craig and I would each only have one bundle and we could have the others as leftovers during the work week, we gobbled down the entire batch.



 Anyone else cook any childhood favorites recently?


(inspired by the taste space)

1+ lb cube steak (mine was four slices, about 1 1/4 lb)
onion, chopped
dill pickle spears (I used relish, but would advise using spears next time)
bacon – 1 piece per slice of cube steak
2 tbsp oil
1/3 cup red wine

1. Unroll cube steak on a large surface. For each slice of meat, add 1 bacon slice, pickles, and onions, and squirt with mustard.

2. For each piece of steak, roll tightly like a jelly roll, and tie twine around to hold together.

3. Heat oil over medium-high heat in large saute pan. Brown each bundle on each side. Add wine, cover, and braise in oven at 300F for about 50 minutes.

4. Remove twine, and pour wine/drippings over the top.


3 thoughts on “That’s how I roll

    • Ha, I ate a lot of mustard and pickle sandwiches when I was veggie, but somehow it wasn’t quite the same!

  1. That brings back memories! I don’t remember squirting mustard on it though. I think we’ll have to make these again!

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