With the holiday season fast approaching, I tend to recall family traditions from holidays past. In this spirit, I am going to share with you a family recipe that my mom learned from her mom. My mom was born in Germany in the mid 50’s and imigrated to the US when she was a baby.

(Mom’s passport pic)

I can remember my mom telling me that she would make this recipe for her family when she was 12. I couldn’t imagine making this when I was 12. At that age I could barely make toast.

The recipe is for rouladens. When I was growing up my mom would make this on special occasions, and it was a favorite of mine. I was brave and invited my parents over to share my preparation of this dish. The final verdict among my family was that it was not as good as mom’s, but there were hardly any left overs so it was pretty good. Even Jonathan enjoyed it — but his favorite is anything with mashed potatoes. Ben actually liked my version better. He’s not a fan of canned mushroom soup, an ingredient in the original.

A brief search of the web brings up a few recipes that are similar, with the basic ingredients being onions, bacon, pickles and mustard rolled up in a thin steak.

Do you have a dish your family prepares traditionally around the holidays?

Below is my version, a combination of my mom’s and a few recipes from the web:

Sarah’s Rouladens

  • 2 lbs. thin sliced New York Strip Steak
  • bacon (at least 3/4 lb.), chopped
  • onions
  • olive oil
  • dill pickle spears
  • mushrooms
  • beef broth
  • mustard
  • thyme
  • salt
  • pepper

Fry bacon and and onions in olive oil. Drain and set aside.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Pound beef thin and season with salt and pepper. Combine bacon / onion mixture with mushrooms and thyme. Put a dill pickle spear in the middle of each steak and pile on mixture. Roll up each rouladen around pickle mixture and seal with a toothpick.

In the same pan you used to fry the bacon, sear the rouladens on all sides until nicely browned.

Place rouldens in a roasting pan and add a couple cups of beef broth. Cover with tin foil and cook at 375 degrees for one hour.

Serve with mashed potatoes, using the broth in the pan as gravy.

Here is my mom’s original recipe (she doesn’t use measurements):


  • Flip steaks
  • mustard of your choice
  • bacon
  • onions
  • dill pickles
  • mushrooms
  • golden mushroom soup
  • salt, pepper and garlic powder to taste.

Chop bacon, onions, dill pickles & mushrooms — separate into small bowls

Sprinkle salt, pepper and garlic powder on both sides of flip steaks, pound lightly on both sides.

Spread each steak on one side with mustard; in the center of each flip steak add some bacon, onions, mushrooms and dill pickles.

Make a packet of each steak, wrapping the flip steak around the ingredients, wrap string around it to seal the contents (I just use cotton sewing thread) don’t tie the string.

In a good size frying pan add some olive oil and brown all sides of the meat packets.

When all sides are browned remove the packets, take the string off and place seam side down in a baking dish. This ensures that the contents stay inside the packets.

Add the rest of the bacon, onions, pickles and mushrooms to the frying pan and sauté until the onions are translucent.

Add the golden mushroom soup with out water and simmer for about 5 minutes.

Pour the entire mixture over the meat packets in the pan and bake in the oven at 375 degrees for about one hour.

Serve with mashed potatoes and use the golden mushroom stuff as a gravy.