Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Braciole.... Beef Roll?

Here is a classic Italian dish, sometimes flank steak is used but I also use pork loin (a whole or half one which you begin opening by cutting into the top about 1/2 inch and then cutting sideways, keeping the 1/2 inch thickness until you have a flank steak looking piece of meat, remember you will roll this up), plus you have an unlimited amount of fillings you can use too, be creative:
You will need:
1/2 cup dried bread crumbs (add dry oregano, parsley, salt and pepper, etc. to flavor them)
1 garlic clove, minced
2/3 cup grated Pecorino Romano, parmessan or Cotija cheese
1/3 cup grated provolone or melting cheese (Chihuahua, Manchego)
2 tbls chopped fresh Italian parsley leaves, big ones
4 tbls olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 (1 1/2-pound) flank steak
1 cup dry white wine or pork loin (whole)
3 1/4 cups Tomato Sauce, recipe follows, or store-bought marinara sauce
Stir the first 5 ingredients in a medium bowl to blend. You can optionally add: capers, olives, chili flakes, green beans, peas, carrots, etc. Stir in 2 tbls of the oil. Season mixture with salt and pepper and set aside. Lay the meat flat. Put the bread crumb mix evenly over the steak to cover the top. Starting at 1 short end, roll up the meat as for a jelly roll to enclose the filling completely. Tie the steak roll to secure. Sprinkle the braciole with salt and pepper. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F/180 C. Heat 2 tbls oil in a heavy large ovenproof skillet over medium heat. Add the braciole and sear until browned on all sides, about 8 minutes. Add the wine to the pan and bring to a boil. Stir in the marinara sauce. Cover partially with foil and bake until the meat is almost tender, turning the braciole and basting with the sauce every 30 minutes. After 1 hour, uncover and continue baking until the meat is tender, about 30 minutes longer. The total cooking time should be about 1 1/2 hours but you should check it Remove the braciole from the sauce. Let meat rest. Using a large sharp knife, cut the braciole crosswise and diagonally into 1/2-inch-thick slices. Transfer the slices to plates. Spoon the sauce over and serve.
Simple Marinara Sauce: 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil 1 small onion, chopped 6-8 (or more) cloves garlic, thru garlic press 1 stalk celery, chopped 1 carrot, chopped 2 K or 2-(32-ounce) cans crushed tomatoes with liquid, for fresh tomatoes, chop and use 1-2 cups chicken stock 6-8 basil leaves 1 tbls dried oregano, crush with your fingers 4 dried bay leaves Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper 1/4 cup sugar (to level tomato acidity) 1 cup red wine (the heavier the better) Large casserole pot, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic and saute until soft and translucent, about 2 minutes. Add celery and carrot and season with salt and pepper. Saute until all the vegetables are soft, about 5 minutes. Add tomatoes, basil, and bay leaves, spices and wine and reduce the heat to low. Cover the pot and simmer for 1/2 hour and taste. You can add sugar now if you need it. Simmer more until thick. Check. Remove bay leaves and taste for seasoning. Always taste, the only way to insure good results. This sauce is a good all-around sauce that can be used for pasta, pizza, calzones, meat, fish, meatballs, you name it. Fantastic on Osso Bucco (I'll post that recipe later....)

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