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What is Zrazy?

By G. Wiesen
Updated May 17, 2024
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Zrazy is an Eastern European dish that consists of a thin piece of meat, usually beef steak, wrapped around a filling and then cooked. Once properly assembled and rolled, the meat is usually fried in a small amount of butter and oil until golden brown, and then placed in a casserole dish and braised in an oven until fully cooked. The braising liquids are then typically used to make a sauce served over the dish, sometimes with sour cream. Zrazy can be prepared with many different ingredients to create the filling, including various vegetables and starches.

While a number of different countries claim to have created this dish, including Poland and the Ukraine, zrazy is basically a beef roulade. A roulade typically refers to any dish that consists of a piece of meat, pounded thin, and wrapped around a filling before cooking. Zrazy begins with a cut of meat — beef steak is the traditional choice for this cut, though minced or ground meat can also be used and formed around the filling. This variation on the dish can be prepared and served, though the roulade form is traditional.

Once the beef steak is chosen, it is pounded thin and cut into several pieces that will be used to make individual servings of zrazy. The filling is then prepared, including anything from lightly browned mushrooms, onions, and breadcrumbs mixed together, to thin slices of ham, pickles, and green onions. The thin cuts of beef are seasoned with salt and pepper on both sides, then one side is spread with Dijon mustard, and the filling is divided between the different pieces of meat.

These thin cutlets of beef are then rolled up with the filling in the middle, and the sides are tucked in to create the final zrazy, in a manner similar to making cabbage rolls. The roulades are then bound with butcher’s twine or pierced with toothpicks to hold their shape and cooked until golden brown on all sides in a small amount of butter and oil. These are then removed from the pan and placed in a casserole. The pan is deglazed with broth or stock, which is then brought to a boil and poured over the roulades.

The casserole is covered and placed in a hot oven to cook for about 45 minutes. Once removed, the zrazy are taken from the casserole and put aside, the twine cut or toothpicks removed. Fat in the remaining liquid is skimmed off, and the liquids in the casserole are then heated and cooked down to create a sauce. Sour cream is often added to this sauce, or added on top of the servings, and the sauce is poured over the individual roulades for serving.

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