This is my version of Braciole, which is thinly sliced beef stuffed and rolled to create a pinwheel. It is seared and then baked in tomato sauce, which keeps the meat moist, adds flavour and gives you a sauce to serve the meat with.
I had some beef inside round rouladen to use, and wanted to do something more exciting than breading and pan frying it. The leftover cornbread that I had frozen after our last chili dinner gave me the idea to make this. I also got to use the last 3 rashers of bacon in the package, as well as the last piece of white cheddar. I baked my braciole in some beef stock and Basic Tomato Sauce that I had in the freezer.
I admit that these are time consuming to assemble, but once that is out of the way, they are in the oven for around an hour and a half, which gave me plenty of time to prepare the rest of the meal, and still have time to sit and read.
Start the stuffing by cooking until crispy:
3 rashers of bacon, diced
When the bacon is crisp, drain any excess fat from the pan.
1 small onion, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
Salt and pepper
Cook until the onions have softened. Remove from the heat.
Keep the pan for the sauce.
In a bowl, combine the cooked onions and bacon with:
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
2 cups crumbled cornbread
1 cups grated white cheddar
Mix well to combine.
Lay the thinly sliced beef on a baking sheet.
Divide the stuffing between the pieces of beef and spread it evenly, pressing down gently.
Starting at one thin end, roll the meat and stuffing up, jelly roll style.
Use kitchen string to tie the rolls.
Heat the oven to 350F.
Re-heat the pan that the bacon and onion was cooked in. Add:
1/2 cup beef stock
Bring to a boil, stirring to scrape the browned bits off the bottom of the pan. Remove from the heat and set aside.
Brown the meat on all sides in a very hot pan, using olive oil. When the last side has been browned, turn the heat off.
The beef stock
Cover the meat with:
2 cups Basic Tomato Sauce
Place the pan directly into the oven and bake, covered until the meat is tender. This took about 1 1/2 hours.
Remove the meat from the sauce and allow it to rest for 5 - 10 minutes, before cutting off the string.
Slice the meat into 1/2" thick slices.
I served the meat with rice and steamed asparagus. I portioned the sauce directly onto the plates, but it can be passed at the table if you wish. The meat was tender and juicy, the stuffing was moist and full of flavour. This meal was enjoyed by all!
- The trick here is to bake the meat for long enough that it becomes fork tender. Baking it covered helps to retain moisture.
- Other cuts of beef can be used...flank steak, top round or bottom round. If the meat is not thin enough to make rolling it easy, use a meat mallet to pound it to a thickness of 1/2" or less.
- There is no reason to stop you from using other meat, as long as it is thinly sliced and large enough in size to stuff and roll. Some options are turkey or chicken breast, or pork cutlets.
- I used cornbread in my stuffing as I had it in the freezer. Any fresh bread will work; remove any crusts and crumble it between your fingers. The beauty of the cornbread is that it is moist.
- The bacon added a smoky flavour, but the bacon fat also added richness and helped to keep the stuffing moist. I removed the excess bacon fat after cooking, leaving enough to cook the onion and garlic.
- The cheese also added richness and moisture; if you have a drier cheese such as Parmesan, you might want to add a bit more fat or liquid to your stuffing.
- The beauty of a recipe like this is that the stuffing lends itself to substitution...try and use a starch such as bread, rice, couscous or quinoa. Add in richness with fat such as bacon, sausage, butter or olive oil, and cheese. Herbs and spices can be used to complement the rest of the ingredients. Vegetables can be varied from onion and garlic to cooked greens (spinach, kale), roasted red peppers, sundried tomatoes, artichoke hearts, grilled vegetables.
- Tying the rolled up meat and stuffing helps to keep the shape during cooking; it also prevents the meat from unrolling and the stuffing falling out.
- If you have red or white wine, use that instead of beef stock. My stock was in the freezer, left over from another meal.
- The beef can be stuffed and rolled a day ahead; it can also be stuffed, rolled and frozen. Defrost and brown the meat, and proceed with the recipe.