I had been trying to put together an "open house" on the 29th. Multiple friends & acquaintances had told me they had never been to the Vancouver Alpen Club before, so I thought I'd try putting together a "German Dinner Experience" there.
It's all a bit short notice now, so I'm investigating putting on an event on February 21st (yes, that's the day before my birthday). The cost is a bit high ($50 / person), so I'm asking people to fill out a short survey to see what the interest is.
Please order a "save me a seat" ticket at Eventbrite if you're interested in having a German dinner experience.
I have watched my mom prepare rouladen many times, and I'm sure I've even helped in the past. But, this is the first time I made them on my own (aside from Rachael's thread wrapping help).
Rouladen as I know it is made from beef. You can usually ask the butcher for rouladen cuts, and many butchers will already have it pre-cut (especially the Freybe Outlet Store on Hastings just off Victoria Drive). You don't pound it flat or anything - it comes cut as thin as you need it to be.
The quantities I mention here are for 16 rouladen. You want to figure about 2 per person and/or to have lots of leftovers, because they are delicious. Aside from the 16 strips of beef for the rouladen, you'll also need:
Mince the bacon and cook it over medium heat (or stick it in the oven) until it's nice and crispy. You'll want to drain the fat / juices as you go (save them!) to make sure it gets crispy. Mince the onions and saute them (perhaps with some of that delicious bacon juice) on low until translucent / tender. Mince the pickles. Once the bacon & onions are done, drain the fat / pat them to soak up some of the fat and let them cool. Once everything is no longer piping hot you can mix all of these things together.
Lay out the rouladen on a counter / workspace and spread with mustard. Do a twist of cracked pepper and salt over each piece of meat as well. Spoon on 2 Tbsp or soon onto one end of the piece of meat. Roll up the meat and secure it. If you're using thread, it's easiest if you do all the rolls, and then have someone help you wrap and tie each bundle.
Remember the bacon juice you saved? Put it in a pan and heat. Brown the rouladen on each side, doing them in batches until they are all browned. Place them in a dutch oven or casserole dish, sprinkling a little flour on them as you layer them in.
Deglaze the pan with water (or beer or wine) and pour over the dish of rouladen. Stir in a Tbsp or so of mustard for a bit more "tang" to the sauce as well as any leftover minced bacon / onion / pickle bits. Add water / liquor as needed so that the rouladen are mostly submerged. Cover and cook at 350°F for 45 minutes or so.
I made this for Lauren's birthday party. We ended up serving it as a "meatatizer" - it was lukewarm and we prepped it by cutting all the thread off and cutting it into slices. The cross section of the rolled meat with the stuffing looks nice on a plate.
Traditionally, you'd have this with potatoes or spätzle, plus some sort of highly cooked vegetable like red cabbage or perhaps some sauerkraut.
I posted this originally on Urban Vancouver, way back in December 2004. I thought I'd move a copy here to make sure I could keep a copy.
About a year ago, I put together a collaborative map of places to buy great ingredients in Vancouver over on Foodists.ca. Here's the map:
View Foodists Vancouver map of key foody locales in a larger map
My parents are both originally from Germany. I grew up speaking German, and we originally lived just off "Robson Strasse" as it was then known because of all the Germans that lived there.
Even today, living in Vancouver, most Europeans don't need to change their diet (i.e. lots of good bread, cheese, meat, sausages, chocolate, saurkraut, etc.) if you know where to shop.
And that's where this post really starts. Read on for the tour of shops to fill your Euro-diet needs (and just really good stores/food in general)
First up, the hidden treasures of European Specialty Importers. They're on 220 Prior Street, which is just off Main by the Georgia Viaduct. If you're coming over the viaduct from downtown, take the offramp as if you're going to Main. Instead of turning on Main, cross it (you're on Prior) and it's the warehouse directly on your right, with a big sign with their name. If it looks like you're pulling up at a loading dock, you're at the right place.
What's there? Well, pretty much any canned or packaged European food -- coffee, tea, saurkraut, mustard (in a tube!), dumplings, etc., etc. There is a small selection of meats and cheeses as well, but we've got another spot for that. Oh yes...did I mention the chocolate? There is an entire cold room (under video surveillance) filled with chocolate (cue Simpson's reference here).
Next stop, Andy's Bakery. A very small store front at 935 Commercial (at Venables) conceals the best "landbrot" (big, multi-pound loaves of German rye) in the city. Nice buns, and a really good dark multi-grain as well. No foamy insubstantial Wonderbread here! If you need a lot of bread, you can call ahead to order.
You may have seen the name Freybe before -- they produce a lot of commercially packaged meat stuff. But, they also happen to have a factory outlet store at 716 East Hastings Street. It is sometimes so busy on Saturdays that they have to lock the doors and only let people in as others leave. Cold cuts, sausages, and fresh meat. Have you ever had meat salad? They have it, and it's delicious.
OK, the car is getting pretty full at this point, but there are still a few bits and pieces we need. Famous Foods is at 1595 Kingsway at King Edward. They bill themselves as "The Original Bulk Food Store", but they have so much more. The "bulk" stuff is nicely packaged dry goods, from great spices to pastas, beans, flour, oats, etc. etc. They have a good selection of meat, seafood, cheese, and even vegetables. The last category is natural products -- environmentally friendly cleaning and hygiene products. Yes, the variety is incredible, and the prices are great, too.
Now I'm going to throw in a couple of bonus links, both on the drive -- Santa Barbara, a store a bit like Famous Foods. Expect to spend as much as 20 minutes waiting at the deli counter for service, but it's worth it. The other one is Norman's Fruits and Vegetables. The owners have produce from local farms in the valley, and you can get masses of produce for really cheap -- e.g. $2 for a 5lb box of roma tomatoes.
What are your favourite food shops in Vancouver? Anyone have pointers for shopping for Chinese, Indian, Thai, or other cuisine/ethnicity ingredients?
The key part of German potato salad for me is the lack of mayonnaise and eggs. I make this up from scratch whenever I make it, but my version always includes two essential ingredients: Dijon mustard as part of the vinaigrette (I like the flavour and tang that it adds) and finely chopped dill pickles (a satisfying crunch and burst of vinegary / salty goodness).
I also usually put in bacon / guanciale / schinken speck, but this time around, knew that there were going to be a number of vegetarians present and skipped the meat products. Hence, I (*gasp*!) accidentally made a vegan potato salad - which I didn't even realize until someone asked what was in it, and it dawned on me that yes, it was indeed a vegan potato salad :P
The full recipe is on Foodista: