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Polish Recipes Newsletter

Polish Beef Roll-ups Recipe (Zrazy)

Our list of top Polish Recipes would not be complete without Polish Beef Rolls, also known as "Zrazy," especially since this dish has been served in Poland since the 17th century. Today you can find Beef Rolls, or Zrazy, in one form or another all over Central and Eastern Europe. There are various stuffings and recipes, and all are equally good. In Germany they are called Rouladen and most Germans will serve them pan fried with a gravy on top.  These is a stewed recipe, so pan frying is optional if you want the extra step to seal the meat roll.  
The key to making beef roll ups delicious is to use very thin slices of good beef. Unlike pork, it is not easy to "pound" them into long, wide pieces (8 to 10 in). Beef is rather tough, so save yourself the hassle and buy thinly sliced beef from your local butcher to start. He may even pound it for you to make it extra thin.  Either way, buy the thinnest sliced beef you can get. If you do end up pounding them yourself, just be careful to pound it evenly so you have no holes and it is just enough beef to enhance the mushrooms and onions inside.
They are typically served with Buckwheat Kasha, but you can serve with Pierogi or roasted potatoes and vegetables (we served with red cabbage and Polish salad). 

Stewed Polish Beef Rolls Recipe (Zrazy)

Polish Beef Roll upsThis recipe makes a dish for 6+ people:

  • 3 lbs of boneless top round steak, thinly sliced
  • 3 yellow onions, chopped
  • 2-3 tbsp olive oil
  • 2.5 cups mushrooms, cleaned and chopped finely (wild is best)
  • 3 tbsp chopped fresh dill
  • 2 tbsp sour cream (optional)
  • 2 tbsp fine dry bread crumbs
  • 4-5 large garlic cloves
  • 2 tbsp Dijon mustard (optional)
  • 8+ slices of hickory smoked bacon
  • 2-3 Dill pickles cut length-wise
  • Salt and Pepper
  • 1 can tomato paste
  • 1 head of chopped parsley
  • 1 bell pepper
  • 1 container of chicken or beef broth 
  • 1 tbsp Paprika
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tbsp cornstarch


1.  Prepare Stuffing.  Place chopped onions in large pan on medium heat with 2 tbsp olive oil. COVER. Mix occasionally until the onions start to brown. Add mushrooms and cook until soft.  When done, take HALF the mixture and place in a bowl and let cool.  Add fresh dill, breadcrumbs, garlic, 1 tbsp sour cream (optional), and mix well. Some add an egg here too. It should form a paste (if runny, add more breadcrumbs).

2.  Prepare MEAT. Using a mallet, pound the steak to the thickness of your little finger.   Each steak should be 4 to 5 inches in length.  You can cut them in half if they are too long. 

4.  Prepare Rolls. Lay a piece of meat over cooking string (white cotton thread). Spread mustard over the meat (optional, but sure adds flavor), then add a piece of bacon, a piece of sliced pickle, and a little of mushroom mixture (1 tbsp).  Season with salt and pepper.  Tuck the edges in and tie with your thread.  (TIP: we found that tripling the length of the thread and wrapping it around the roll several times helped, but we made extra large rolls with lots of stuffing). Trim any excess string. Set aside.  (The best is to add each roll to a pan with butter and deglazed wine and fry to seal the rolls on all sides).

5.  Make Sauce.  In the large, deep pan that you made the onion mixture, add one can of tomato paste, chicken/beef broth, chopped parsley, paprika, balsamic vinegar, salt, and pepper.  Simmer until bell peppers are soft.  

6.  ADD Rolls to Sauce Pan And Simmer.  Place the rolls in the pan (fried or raw) and make sure they are covered in sauce.  Simmer covered for about 1 hour until the meat is very tender, turning the rolls a few times.

7.  Serve.  Remove rolls from pan and take off strings.  Whisk together 1-2 tbsp cornstarch and water to create a paste and add to sauce, stir to thicken into a gravy.  Pour on top of each roll, sprinkle any left over dill, and serve with a side of pierogi or buckwheat kasha.  (Photo on top we served with roasted potatoes, red cabbage, and celery root salad).


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