Italian Beef Roulade Steak: Braciole

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(Original Post Date:  August 24, 2010)

Does anyone know what Braciole is?  I’ve never heard of it, nor have I had it before… until I saw it on TV and was curious enough to look it up.  It’s one of those dishes that looks really impressive and complicated, but is actually really easy to make.

You can serve this with a side of pasta or risotto, and a 1.5 pound flank steak will give you about 6-8 slices, enough for 4 people.

Braciole:

  • 1.5 pound beef flank steak
  • 3 c. spaghetti sauce
  • 1/2 onion, sliced
  • 1/2 c. white wine

Filling:

  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 T. fresh basil, chopped
  • 1 tsp. fresh rosemary, minced
  • 1 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1 T. dried parsley
  • 1/2 c. grated Parmesan/Romano cheese
  • 1 c. shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. pepper
  • 1 c. panko breadcrumbs

(Yes, I know a proper Italian recipe would never call for Japanese breadcrumbs… but I’m not Italian, and I only have Japanese breadcrumbs in the pantry…)

Hardware needed:

  • long piece of kitchen twine/cotton string

1.  Lay your flank steak on a large cutting board.  Make sure the grain is running up and down.  Take a large chefs knife, hold it horizontally, and slice your flank steak almost in half laterally.  Stop just before slicing all the way through.  (You want to butterfly the steak, and end up with one wide piece, not 2 pieces.)

2.  Unfold your flank steak so you now have a nice wide piece, with the grain of the meat up and down.

3.  Combine the eggs, herbs, cheese, and seasonings in a large bowl.

4.  Add the panko breadcrumbs and mix thoroughly.

5.  Add the mozzarella and mix.

6.  Now, season your butterflied flank steak with salt and pepper.  You can trim off any pointy edges and use them to patch other areas to make a rough rectangle.  Make sure that the grain is running the same direction in your main piece of meat and your patches.  Notice in the photo below, I trimmed off two pointy pieces off the top, and used them to patch the bottom left.  (You can click on the photo to see it enlarged if you can’t see the details).

7.  Spread your filling all over the flank steak, leaving a 2 inch border on the right side only.

8.  Starting from the left side (the side that has the filling all the way up to the edge), tightly roll the meat over the filling.

Place the roll seam side down and get your kitchen twine ready.

9.  Slide the string under the roll, and tie a knot as pictured.

10.  Take the long end of the string (the end still attached to the ball of twine) and form a loop as shown.

11.  Expand the loop, and put the bottom edge of the loop under the meat, then pull upwards on the string.

12.  Repeat this process until you have several tight loops down the course of the meat.

13.  Roll the meat onto it’s other side.  Bring the string upwards.  At this point, you can cut the string from the roll of twine, making sure it is long enough to reach around the other side.  Take the cut end of the string, and twist it over one of the center loops for stability.

14.  Now bring the string all the way up over the top, and roll the meat back onto its original side.  Tie the string to the original starting knot so that you have a nice neat contained package.

15.  (Optional step: searing the meat.  If you want a nice brown crust to the meat, pan sear all sides in a tablespoon of canola oil in a 12 inch cast iron skillet.  You can use the cast iron skillet as your baking dish in the next step.)

16.  Place the meat roll, seam side down into a baking dish.  Scatter the onion on the bottom, and pour your spaghetti sauce over the roll, and into the dish.  Stir the white wine into the sauce.  Cover with a double layer of foil, crimping down the edges.

17.  Bake at 350 degrees for 1-3 hours.  (If you seared it, this will probably be done at about 1-1.5 hours.  If you did not sear it, cook a little bit longer – up to 3 hours.)

18.  Remove from the oven, and remove the roll to a cutting board.  Cover with foil and let rest for 5-10 minutes before slicing.

Remove the string right before slicing.

19.  Serve with the spaghetti sauce.

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