The word Roulade originates from the French word "rouler" meaning "to roll". Typically , a roulade is a European dish consisting of a slice of meat rolled around a filling, such as cheese, vegetables, or other meats. A roulade, like a braised dish, is often browned then covered with wine or stock and cooked. Such a roulade is commonly secured with a toothpick, metal skewer or kitchen string. The roulade is then sliced into rounds and served. Of this common form, there are several notable dishes:
- Braciole, Italian roulade consisting of beef, pork or chicken usually filled with Parmesan cheese, bread crumbs and eggs
- Rouladen, German and Hungarian beef roulade filled with onions, bacon and pickles.
- Španělské ptáčky (Spanish birds) are roulade in the Czech cuisine The recipe is practically identical with German Rouladen, perhaps omitting wine and adding a wedge of hard boiled egg and/or frankfurter to the filling. Unlike the large roulade, sliced before serving, the "birds" are typically 10 cm long, served whole with a side dish of rice or Czech style bread dumplings.
- In Hungary the dish is known as Szüz tekercsek (so called Virgin rouladen), filled with minced meat.
- In Poland the dish is called "zrazy".
The second most common form of roulade consists of a souffle-type mixture baked in a flat pan rolled around a filling. Appropriate to the meaning of the word however, a roulade may refer to any such "rolled" dish, such as sushi, and is not limited strictly to the European dishes.
Roulades can be sweet as well as savoury. The second most common form of roulade consists of sponge cake or cake baked in a flat pan rolled around a filling. Cake rolled around jelly, chocolate buttercream, nuts or other fillings, is an example of a sweet roulade like the cake Bejgli or the Swiss roll.