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.
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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.