17 May 2011

Beef Rolls with PICKLES!

Since last week I had such success with a Lidia recipe, I thought I'd try another one this week. Since New Seasons has taken down their online shopping tool (boo) that I used to plan our shopping trip each week, I have had to play it safe with our shopping list, as well as make more decisions in the grocery store (dangerous). I saw this recipe for beef rolls with mustard and vegetables on Lidia's Italy months ago and immediately fell in food lust. However, unless the stars align and I'm magically in the middle of planning our meals on Sunday afternoon (never happens) when I watch her show, I forget about it and go on lusting in the back of my brain where the index of all the recipes I want to try are filed. I managed to recall the information as I mapped out our dinners for the week and made plans for it to be our Sunday meal.

These rolls are pretty simple to make once you get past the meat cutting part. A butcher I am not. Here is a short compilation of the rookie mistakes I made....

Cutting the meat with the grain
D'oh! I knew I was supposed to cut against, but got so disheveled when trying to figure out how to approach the big slab of beef that I am pretty sure I cut with it. Not the end of the world, but it did make things a little tougher than they should've been.

Not drying off the meat enough
I didn't really do much to prepare it to be browned, like take a paper towel to each one and make sure it was nice and dry.

Overcrowding the pan
Another d'oh! I noticed that they were looking a little big to all fit in my usual pan (you need a lid for this one as they simmer on the stovetop for over an hour), so I pulled out the gigantic dutch oven...except it wasn't big enough. Instead of doing them in batches and then nestling them all in for the final simmer, I pushed it and tried to brown them all at once. Problem with this, for those who didn't know not to crowd the pan, is that it lowers the temperature of the oil too much thus making it hard to brown your meat.

Despite my little errors, they still turned out pretty good. At first taste, it has a beef stew-type flavor, but then you get the tang of the pickle and mustard and it ends on a completely different note. I will probably try to make this again and hopefully avoid my rookie mistakes.

Best thing about this recipe...gets better with time. I had leftovers for lunch today and it was so much more flavorful and tender than when I first made it.


Vegetables all cut up and my recipe ready to go

Ready for rolling

Secure with a toothpick....and try not to use colored ones (the only ones we had) because they tend to leave a little decoration behind

Light dusting of flour--make sure to shake off excess flour

Steamy...too steamy. Overcrowded pans lead to less than perfectly browned meat

Had to cook my veggies separate, but still scraped up all the browned goodness

Finished product! Serve with something that can sop up that delicious gravy. I was supposed to make spaetzle, but got lazy. Ciabatta from New Seasons works too

Beef Rolls with Mustard and Vegetables*
(Involtini di Manzo alla Senape)
by Lidia Bastianich

2½ pound boneless bottom-round rump roast
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons German style mustard
2 large stalks celery, cut in 2x4 inch sticks
2 medium carrots, cut in 2x4 inch sticks
12 small dill pickles, (about 2 inches long)
½ cup all-purpose flour
1 large onion, sliced (about 2 cups)
2 bay leaves, preferably fresh
1 cup white wine
4 cups light stock, (chicken, turkey, or vegetable broth)

Lay one hand open on the top of the roast to hold it in place. With a sharp chef 's knife, begin slicing the meat on a slant, cutting across the grain, and continue with parallel angled cuts every 1/2 inch or so, slicing the meat chunk into a dozen thin scallops. As you slice, press down lightly with your top hand, creating resistance, so you can feel the blade moving and keep the slices evenly thick.

Flatten the slices into scallops one at a time. Place each one between sheets of wax paper or plastic wrap and pound it with the toothed face of a meat mallet, tenderizing and spreading it into a narrow oval, about 6 by 3 inches. When all are pounded, season the scallops with salt, about 1/2 teaspoon in all, and spread a thin layer of mustard on the top surfaces.

Starting at the short end of each scallop, pile three celery sticks, three carrot sticks, and a pickle in a bundle. Roll up the meat, enclosing the vegetables, and secure it with toothpicks. When all the rolls are formed, season with the remaining salt. Spread the flour on a plate, and dredge the involtini, lightly coating them.

Pour the olive oil in the pan, and set it over medium-high heat. Shake excess flour from the rolls, lay them in the pan in one layer, and cook, rotating and moving them around, until browned all over. Push the rolls to the side of the pan, and scatter the onion slices and any remaining carrot and celery sticks on the pan bottom. Drop in the bay leaves, and cook the vegetables, stirring occasionally, until they're beginning to brown and soften, about 5 minutes.

Turn the heat to high, pour in the white wine, and let it heat and bubble until almost completely evaporated. Pour in just enough broth to cover the involtini, and bring it to a boil. Set the cover ajar, and adjust the heat to keep the liquid simmering. Cook for an hour and 15 minutes, or until the beef is tender and the sauce has reduced to a consistency you like.Turn off the heat, take out the toothpicks, and remove the involtini to a warm platter. Ladle some of the pan sauce over the involtini, pour the rest into a bowl for passing at the table, and serve while hot.

*This recipe does not specify the amount of oil to be used for cooking the rolls. I used about 1/4 cup and that was a little much. Use enough to coat the bottom of your pan generously.

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