As I type this, we are 45 days away from opening day of Kentucky's archery deer season. Like a lot of you this time of year, we are in a rush to empty the freezer of last year's venison.
By now, most of the prime steaks, backstraps and inside loins are long gone, distant memories of good meals past. What most of us have left are a few roasts, some mystery cuts that somehow didn't get labeled, or like me today, a pack of backstraps from 2013 that somehow managed to tuck itself between a duck and a deer head that are both destined for a taxidermist at some point in the future.
This old world German recipe is a great way to use up just about any cut of venison. Between pounding the cuts into a flat sheet and a long slow braise, even the toughest piece of meat can be made fork tender.
The word roulade means to roll and rouladen is just that, a roll of meat stuffed with something and cooked by braising. This recipe uses the traditional German style stuffing ingredients of dill pickles, onion slivers, brown mustard and bacon, but carrots, mushrooms, potatoes, and root vegetables are also popular. As for the bacon, use two slices per roll and partially cook them before adding them to the venison, a couple of minutes in the microwave or a few minutes in a skillet are sufficient, you just want to begin the cooking process and start to render some of the fat from the meat.
2 pounds total of venison roast or roasts
1 small onion, sliced
½ cup all-purpose flour
2 slices of bacon per roll, partially cooked
1 can (14 ounces) beef broth
½ cup red wine or beer
Salt and pepper
1 tablespoon of corn starch mixed into ½ cup water, if necessary to thicken gravy.
Begin by using a sharp knife to butterfly whatever roast you have as flat as you can make it.
Smear brown mustard over the top of the meat and season well with salt and pepper. Along the near end of the roast, layer on dill pickles, onion slivers, and two slices of bacon.
Heat three tablespoons of oil over medium-high heat in a skillet or pan with a tight-fitting lid. Place the venison rolls into the hot oil and brown, flipping occasionally to cover all sides.
Once the rouladen is finished, remove them from the pan. If the gravy isn't thick enough, simply turn the heat back up to medium-high. Mix one tablespoon of corn starch into ½ cup of water and stir the mixture into the gravy. Bring the gravy to a boil and stir until it is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.
To serve, slice the rolls into medallions and serve over mashed potatoes, roasted root vegetables or German potato dumplings. Liberally spoon the gravy over everything.