A turn but no swirl

Beef roulade with pickled beetroot and buckwheat groats

I’m in Poland. Yay. Bea, are you listening?

Two dishes this afternoon. The first was Roulade de Boeuf au Betterave Acidulée et Gruau de Sarrasin. That’s beef roulade with pickled beetroot, turned kohlrabi and buckwheat groats. Buckwheat what? Groats are the hulled seeds of the buckwheat plant. Buckwheat is a central ingredient of Eastern European cuisine and has more protein than rice, wheat, millet or corn. It’s also high in amino acids. They were cooked in cold water and brought up to temperature, low and slow, stirring occasionally. With a bit of seasoning they were scrummy.

The beetroot was cut Gaufrette on the mandolin to create lattice crisps. These were pickled in a warm infusion of white wine vinegar, cloves, horseradish, salt and sugar. The kohlrabi was turned into curved wedges and cooked in salted water. The leaves were blanched.

When I heard roulade I thought of Swiss roll. You know, with that swirl effect. That’s what I expected to see with this beef roulade, especially after tenderising and much bashing to make the top rump nice and thin and big. Alas no. It was rolled to a perfect circle. I think the roulade would look way more funky with a swirl. Anyway, the meat was seasoned with salt and English mustard powder, and stuffed with ciselé onion sweated in olive oil and finely diced cornichons and capers. Rolled, wrapped in rashers of dry cure bacon, and tied with butcher’s twine.

Holding tension in the first knot stage with left-over-right-and-under-over-right-and-under

Here’s a tip about tying knots. If you’re using a granny knot or something similar that starts with the string going left-over-right-and-under you know that somehow you have to maintain the tension in that first stage while you do the second stage that completes the knot. That’s such a pain in the arse, right? So. Add an extra twist to that first stage—left-over-right-and-under-over-right-and-under. Hope the photo helps. Pull tight and it should hold. You could even walk away and come back to finish the knot.

The roulade was fried joint-down to sear shut. Browned on all sides. A final trim to tidy up the ends then back in the pan with the trimmings and veal stock. Cartouche on top. Lid. Oven 160C. 4 minutes. Turnover. Another 4 minutes. Done. While resting, the liquor was degreased, passed and reduced by half. Skim, skim. Liquor boiling, a loose paste of cornflour and cold water was added over some furious whisking action. Gloop. The sauce was let down with sour cream to achieve the desired consistency. So in the end I got a turned veg but no swirl in my roulade. Quite delicious though.

Of course during any trip to Poland one simply must indulge in pierogi. Luuuuurv pierogi. The second dish was Pierogi à la Choucroute et Crème Aigre. Stuffed with sauerkraut and sour cream. Yurm.

Dough time. Water was heated to 60C and a little oil added. This was mixed with sieved flour and salt. Stirred with fork. Chop chop with a scraper basically incorporated the wet and dry ingredients without handling. Then the dough was kneaded for about 30 seconds until uniform, rolled flat, wrapped in cling and rested in the fridge to half hour. Boom.

Meanwhile, the filling. Sauerkraut was rinsed to reduce the acidity and finely chopped along with onion. The onion was sweated in oil without taking on colour. Sauerkraut added, then sour cream. Blipped for 15 minutes then cooled.

Back to the dough. Nothing much to say here really—like making ravioli. Cut out circles. Plonk some filling in the middle. Wet, fold, stick, crimp. Be sure to get all the air out before the final seal. The curvature of your thumb makes it the perfect tool. Fried in foaming butter, on a baking sheet in the pan to help manage the heat. Sprinkled with chives and crispy pancetta and a few dollops of sour cream.

Pierogi stuffed with fermented cabbage and sour cream

I mentioned before that one way to maintain beurre noisette and prevent the butter solids burning is to add droplets of water. This is similar to the Chinese splashing water in the wok. Another way to control the temperature is to add more cold butter. Obvious when you think about it. Duh. Of course, water is cheaper than butter. And the water simply evaporates without degrading the butteriness.