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Roll Out the Barrel January 13, 2011

Posted by Toy Lady in Cooking, Eating Down the Fridge, random stuff.
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Okay, maybe we’re not rolling out an actual barrel of beer.  But we did do some rolling, so that counts, right?  Of course it does.

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What we’re actually rolling is, no, not a barrel – but a flank steak.

We’re going to make braciole, which is, basically, a hunk of meat rolled around a hunk of stuffing.

See, it’s like this.

Late last summer, we scored a great deal on flank steak, and, while it’s perfectly good marinated and grilled, it’s also wonderful pounded, stuffed and rolled.

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Fortunately, we’d seen Alton Brown’s Fit to be Tied show and were more than happy to make his version of braciole.  Yes, it’s a little labor intensive, but really, it’s worth it.

Once we pounded the hunk o’ beef flat, we turned our attention to the filling – some croutons, a bunch of herbs, a couple of eggs – all quite straightforward, I’d say.

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I have no idea how that square-ish hunk of meat ended up in the weird trapezoid-esque shape!  But no matter – once we spread the filling on it, it’s going to get rolled up anyway.  We just made sure to roll the crazy end into the inside, that’s all.

Speaking of rolling it up.

Yeah, it’s not that hard, really.  You just start with a small end, and, well, roll it up.

Think Hostess Ho Hos.

Now keeping it rolled up, well, that’s a different story.  You’re going to want to hog-tie it.

Can one hog-tie beef?

Why, yes, yes one can.  Observe:

It’s really quite simple – as long as you’re paying attention.

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And so once the roast is tied – because really, it’s called a flank steak, but we’re really treating it like a roast – once it’s tied, we’re going to want to brown it in, ideally, something that can get covered and go into the oven.  Like a Dutch oven.

If not, well, I guess you can use your biggest frying pan, but really, you should just break down and get the Dutch oven.  You don’t have to spend eleventy-hundred dollars for a Le Crueset – you can get a just-as-good Tramontina for (ready for this?) $40.

I know, right?  Those crazy French companies.

PhotobucketSo once you brown the roast in your reasonably priced, yet still rather lovely, Dutch oven,  dump a quart or so of marinara sauce over it, turning the meat to coat.

I’m going to be honest – we cheated here.  Peeps brought home a couple of pints of marinara from work and we used that – but really, what, we’re going to let it go to waste?

That, and I’d even go so far as to say that, if you happened to have a jar of, um, jarred sauce knocking around, this would be the time to use it.  It’s going to get  braised for a couple of hours with real meat, and by the time that’s done, it won’t taste like Steve’s Spaghetti Sauce anymore anyway.

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And that’s it – brown the meat, braise in sauce (covered in a low oven) for 2-3 hours, and start your pasta.

Oh, and you’ll want to take the butcher’s twine off the braciole before slicing it – it’s just easier that way.

For the real recipe, which we really didn’t change a bit, check out the Good Eats recipe right here.

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