Braised Beef Braciole with Fresh Mozzarella and Basil

Braised Beef Braciole topped with sauce

Braised Beef Braciole topped with sauce

Ok, ok, ok, this is not something you’d fix after work for dinner. It is definitely too much work for that but this does make a great special occasion dinner!! This is what I made for Ken’s birthday dinner.

In order to make it more manageable the night of the dinner party, I actually did everything except braise the beef the night before. I flattened the flank steak, made the stuffing, stuffed the beef and tied it in a roll. I, then, wrapped it well in plastic wrap so it was ready to brown the next night for the dinner party. Then, while the beef was simmering I prepared the rest of the meal.

I found this recipe in The Best of Fine Cooking: Big Buy which I reviewed a few posts back. If you want to prepare something for a special occasion, this is fantastic!! I served the beef braciole with roasted winter vegetables, salad, a relish tray, and blackberry trifle for dessert.

Ingredients
1 2-lb. flank steak
1 C. shredded mozzarella cheese (fresh if available)
3/4 C. shredded Parmegiano-Reggiano cheese
1/2 C. fine, dry bread crumbs
12 large basil leaves, torn into pieces
1/4 C. olive oil
1 large yellow onion, cut into thin strips
1/2 C. red wine
1 28-oz. can of canned whole tomatoes and their juices, pureed (preferably San Marzano)
1/4 t. crushed red pepper flakes
8 oz. white mushrooms, quartered

Place the flank steak on a large cutting board. Using a chef’s knife slice the steak lengthwise along one side and open it up like a book. Using a meat pounder (I used my French rolling pin), flatten the meat so it’s about 1/4 inch thick. Sprinkle boths sides of the meat with 1 tsp. salt and 1/2 tsp. pepper. For the stuffing, put the Parmigiano, breadcrumbs, and basil in a mini food processor and pulse to combine. Grate the fresh mozzarella and toss with the bread crumb mixture to finish the stuffing. Sprinkle the stuffing over one side of the beef. Slip 5-6 pieces of string under the meat evenly spaced so they are in place and ready to tie once the beef is rolled up.

Pounded out flank steak spread with filling & ready to be rolled and tied

Pounded out flank steak spread with filling & ready to be rolled and tied

Carefully roll up the beef jelly roll-style with the stuffing mixture inside and with the grain of the beef running lengthwise. Secure the roll with the string you have in place.

Rolled & tied flank steak ready to brown

Rolled & tied flank steak ready to brown

Heat half the oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat until it’s shimmering hot. Add the beef and cook until it browns and releases easily from the pan, about 3 minutes. Flip and cook the other side until browned, about 5 more minutes. Transfer to a platter.

Add the remaining 2 T. of oil and the onion to the pan and lower the heat to medium. Sprinkle with 1/2 tsp. salt and cook, stirring until the onion wilts completely and turns light brown, about 8 minutes. Add the red wine and cook, stirring until it almost completely reduces (evaporates), about 2 minutes. Add the tomato and red pepper flakes and bring to a boil. Reduce to a gentle simmer and tuck the meat and mushrooms into the tomato sauce. Cover and cook, repositioning the meat occasionally, until the meat becomes tender and cuts easily with a paring knife, about 1 1/2 – 2 hours. Remove the meat from the sauce and place on a cutting board and let rest for 10-15 minutes. Carefully remove the string, thinly slice, and top with the sauce.

Sliced Beef Braciole before being topped with sauce

Sliced Beef Braciole before being topped with sauce


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2 Responses to “Braised Beef Braciole with Fresh Mozzarella and Basil”
  1. Poppa John says:

    Beautiful, If I can scale down Coq au Vin, I should be able to scale this to a meal for one – maybe. M y wife’s family used to do this almost the same way. I forgot how much I miss this meal.

    • Faithful Foodie says:

      I hope it works. I think it should. In fact, I had to get the butcher to order the size piece of beef I needed. You won’t have any trouble finding a smaller piece!

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