The name is German but it has very French origins.
In France there has long been a tradition for pot-au-feu, a stew made with various meats and veggies depending on the region or occasion. Most of the time it’s made with beef and to serve it the meat and veggies are separated from the broth. This liquid is the bouillon and is served first, with the meat and veggies served after. If there are any leftovers one way to use them up is this Alsatian dish called fleischnacka.
If this word sounds German that’s because this dish hails from the region that borders on Germany. “Fleisch” means meat and “nacka” means snails in German. This unique name refers to how the meat filling is rolled inside of an egg pastry. The result resembles the spiral of a snail’s shell.
While you can use leftovers for this recipe as per tradition, to ensure you can make this recipe anytime (whether you’ve got leftover pot roast in the fridge or not) we’re starting with ground beef. A little garlic and some carrot add to the flavor, but you can add onions or celery if you like.
After sautéing then you have to grind the mixture into a purée. Once it’s in a spreadable state you can use it to fill the pastry.
The dough is a very simple one that resembles pastsa more than pastry dough. For these fleischnacka I do wish I had rolled my dough a little bit thinner, so take a lesson for me: roll it as thinly as you can. The dough will puff up in cooking and take up more space in each “snail” than you might initially suspect.
I made these rolls individually, but there is another method where you roll the dough out into a large rectangle then spread the filling on it. Then roll up starting with the long side and then cut into slices. Either method is perfectly fine, just so long as the roll is there.
These little rolls are first cooked on the stovetop, then finished cooking in some beef broth in the oven. The resulting au jus you can use to pour over the fleischnacka when serving.
The taste and texture is akin to beef and dumplings, another great comfort food. Serve with some salad or steamed veggies for a tasty meal that’s very satisfying.
Fleischnacka (French Beef Rolls)
Makes 16 rolls
45m prep time
40m cook time
For the dough:
- 3 cups all-purpose or 00 flour
- 2 eggs
- 1 egg yolk
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
For filling and preparation:
- 1 lb ground beef
- 4 oz mushrooms, chopped
- 1 carrot, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- salt and pepper to taste
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 2-4 cups beef stock
- Combine pasta ingredients in food processor and pulse until ball forms that’s uniform in color, about 1-2 minutes. Cover and refrigerate for 15 minutes.
- While dough is chilling heat large skillet over medium. Add beef, mushrooms, carrots, garlic, onion powder, salt and pepper. Cook until beef is browned and vegetables have softened, about 8 minutes. Stir in tomato paste and cook for 1-2 minutes.
- Remove beef mixture from pan and allow to cool. Once cooled pulse filling ingredients in food processor until extremely fine in texture.
- Knead dough for 1-2 minutes. Roll out dough to 1/8” thickness. Cut into strips 1 1/2” wide and 8“ long. Spread meat mixture over one side of each dough piece. Roll into a swirl. Repeat for remaining dough and filling.
- Preheat oven to 400˚F. In stock pot heat oil over medium heat. Gently place each roll into hot oil, making sure they don’t touch each other. Cook for 3-4 minutes on each side.
- Pour 2 cups beef stock into pan. Bake uncovered for 20-25 minutes, adding more stock halfway through cooking if pan dries out in oven.
- Serve immediately and pour any extra sauce over rolls.
Recipe adapted from Mab Made Food.