Harrison Happenings: King Frederic the Great and the not-so-humble potato

A recipe for rouladen, or roulades, courtesy of Ruth Altendorf

You might wonder how the King of Prussia, Frederic the Great, made it in our future cookbook.

The answer is simple — he was a food connoisseur!

King Frederic, who grew up fluently bilingual, had a passion for all things French; the language, the philosophy, the ladies and, of course, the French cuisine.

As a result, he introduced not only many French words to his people, but also French dishes, such as the famous roulades. King Frederic, however, did much more for the food industry than this.  Recognizing early-on the value of the humble potato, he ordered by decree, that the Prussian farmers plant potatoes on a large scale. As a result, potatoes became a staple and important food not only in Prussia, but all over Germany as well.

King Frederic would have been 300 years old last January and, in celebration, people from the countryside came to his favourite palace “Sanssaisi” near Potsdam, to put not only flowers but also potatoes on his grave!

Since two of our choir members hail from Prussia, some of us decided to have a dinner “fit for a king” in his and their honour. And, of course, it had to be roulades.

There are many recipes for this dish around and they all vary just a bit, but sometimes “a bit” makes all the difference. By combined efforts, however, we decided that the following receipe was the winner.  The quantities are enough for four roulades. It is a good idea, however, to double the amount and freeze half of it for another time.

Roulades – French

Rouladen – German

(And lo and behold, I  recently saw them introduced as “Rollos” on a local menu! What will the french think of this?)

 

Ingredients:

4 slices of beef approximately 15 – 25 mm thick

4 strips of bacon, cut into small pieces

1 med. onion, thinly sliced

4 tsp. hot mustard

2 med. sized dill pickles, thinly sliced

Salt and pepper to taste

3 Tbsp vegetable oil for browning the roulades

Some wine to add to the gravy

Method:

Flatten each piece of meat, tenderize with metal malet if required. You can also ask your butcher to do this for you. Spread the mustard evenly over each piece.

Add equal portions of pickles, bacon, onions on each piece and add salt and pepper to taste.

Carefully roll up each piece and secure the rolls with tooth picks or, alternatively with butcher twine.

Heat your fry-pan with the oil and brown the roulades evenly.

After browning add water to cover the roulades and let them slowly simmer until the meat is tender and done.

Remove the roulades, add some red wine and a tablespoon of tomato paste, blend in 3 tbsp. flour and cook the gravy over medium heat until thickened and bubbly.

Return the roulades to the pan to reheat.  Remove the toothpicks and serve.

This dish is traditionally eaten with mashed potatoes and vegetables of your choice.

Bon Appetit!

 

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Related Story: Read Ruth Altendorf’s previous column