"You gonna put up with that braciole?"
Why yes, yes I am. It's been about two years since I last made braciole, and I figured it was time to give it another try. Although the term braciole loosely refers to a thin scallop of beef or veal, the dish, to many, is a cut of beef, pounded thin, rolled around a filling, and cooked in a tomato sauce. At least, that's how I've come to know it. As with the boliche a few weeks ago, I couldn't find a specific recipe that sounded right, so I combined several of them. I based the stuffing around one from an old issue of Saveur, with a few additions: bread crumbs (I made my own this time), chopped hard-boiled egg, grated locateli, toasted pine nuts, fresh basil and flat-leaf parsley, golden raisins, lemon zest, olive oil, salt, and pepper.
Rather than making several little stuffed packages of top round, as I did last time, I opted to stuff one large cut of flank steak as I'd seen done in a few other recipes on the interweb. Several indicated that I should pound the flank steak to a quarter-inch thickness. Ok, I thought. The steak, however, chuckled silently at my best efforts with the meat mallet. I did manage to thin it out a bit though.
Another variation this time around was to line the steak with thinly sliced prosciutto before spreading it with the stuffing. I prepped all my ingredients, mixed the stuffing, set out a few slices of prosciutto, and readied several short wooden skewers to seal up the roll. It all came together much easier than I'd imagined. Only when I stepped back to admire my handywork did I notice the carefully prepared plate of prosciutto still sitting on the counter. Still wanting to include it, I tore it into strips and rendered the fat in some olive oil, prior to browning the braciole.
After browning the meat on all sides, I removed it from my dutch oven, and sauted chopped carrot, celery, onion, and garlic. I then added a can of whole San Marzanno tomatoes and about 10 ounces of beef broth. I returned the braciole to the sauce, partially covered the the pot, and put it in a 350 degree oven. I cooked it for roughly two hours, turning and basting occasionally.
The results? Well, I can only say that I wish there was a way I could have fit more stuffing into that piece of meat. 'Twas delicious. The raisins played really well with the acidity of the lemon and the fragrance of the fresh herbs. Really, that was the highlight. The richness of the flank steak also gave a nice depth to the sauce. I would definitely put up with this braciole again.