Please note: Eileen Goltz is a freelance kosher food writer. The Orthodox Union makes no endorsements or representations regarding kashrut certification of various products/vendors referred to in her articles, blog or web site.
I grew up in a ethnically and culinary diverse neighborhood and to say I ate well was an understatement. My Jewish Italian friend’s parents were always cooking cannoli and linguini and, mama mia, braciole.
For anyone who’s never experienced the sheer culinary pleasure of beef (or chicken) wrapped around a succulent vegetable filling and then slowly simmered in a fabulous sauce, you have not truly experienced Italian cooking at its finest.
A braciole is so much more than just stuffed meat (I suggest a beef roast, butterflied for your first attempt). It’s a meal all by itself.
There exist many variations on the recipe. Changing the type of assorted vegetables can significantly alter the taste and texture. Always remember to pound the meat very thin and then spread the filling on one half of the meat and roll it up jelly-roll style. But it’s not only what you put into the filling, but how you prepare the filling. You can stuff the braciole with either a chunky mixture or smooth filling and any combination of stuff. The sky is pretty much the limit.
You will need to secure the meat so the filling doesn’t come out when it’s cooked in the sauce. You can use toothpicks, string or just sear the meat roll shut.
Once you’ve secured the filling in the braciole sear the outside of the stuffed roll in a few tablespoons of hot oil in a skillet. Don’t cook the bundle thoroughly; just sear the outside and don’t forget about the ends.
After searing the meat gently place the bundles in a sauce pan of simmering sauce (you can use homemade, store bought spaghetti or pizza sauce) and simmer for at least 2 and up to 8 hours depending on the cut of meat, the filling and whether you’re doing this on the stove top, in the oven or in a slow cooker. I have been known to caramelize a few onions before adding the sauce to the pan, but you do what you like.
All the variations of the recipes I’m including are delicious but for my money, I’ll take the slow-cooked, tomato sauce braciole every time.
QUICK BAKED CHEATERS’ BRACIOLE (meat)
2 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup diced green bell peppers
1/4 teaspoon McCormack © Montreal steak seasoning, plus extra
1 cup parsley, minced
1 1/2 oz pareve cream cheese or pareve sour cream
1 tablespoon paprika
1 teaspoon pepper
16 oz beef butterflied
2 cups spaghetti sauce
In a bowl combine the mince garlic, parsley, bell pepper, paprika olive oil and pareve cream cheese. Mix to combine and set aside.
Preheat oven to 400. Fillet the beef making, it one thin long piece. Season the meat with steak seasoning and spread the mixture on top of the meat. Roll the meat jelly roll style making sure the filling stays put. Secure the bundle with tooth picks or with twine.
Grease a 9X13 baking baking pan with olive oil and place the braciole in pan. Drizzle extra olive oil on top of braciole and season outside of beef with the steak seasoning.
Bake for 15 minutes then pour the sauce over the top, reduce the heat to 350, cover and bake for 45 minutes to an hour.
When braciole is done, remove from the sauce, let sit for 5 minutes, slice into 4 pieces, place on a serving plate and drizzle the sauce over the top and serve.
Submitted by George Sardocci of Glenview, IL, original source unknown.
BEEF ROULADEN (meat)
Servings: 4 – 6
1/4 cup Dijon mustard
8 (4 ounce) pieces round steak, pounded 1/4 inch thick
1/2 cup thinly sliced green onion
2 teaspoons paprika
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons ground black pepper
8 slices pastrami
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 (12 ounce) can beef broth
1 1/4 cups water
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 cup warm water
1/4 cup pareve sour cream
Spread 1/2 tablespoon mustard over one side of each piece of meat. Sprinkle the green onions, paprika, salt, and pepper evenly over the steaks. Lay one slice of pastrami on each piece. Roll up the meat and secure with toothpicks or string.
Heat the oil in a skillet. Sear the meat all over just until browned. Add the broth and ¼ cup water; then bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, cover and cook 30 minutes.
Remove the meat and set it on a plate. Strain the liquid in the pan then return it to the skillet.
In a bowl combine the cornstarch and 1 cup of water. Whisk to combine. Slowly pour the cornstarch water into the skillet, whisking continually until the sauce has thickened, 2 to 3 minutes. Whisk in the pareve sour cream. Return the rolls to the sauce, heat for 2 to 3 minutes and serve.
Modified from yummly.com.
HUNGARIAN HUSOS TEKERCS (meat)
My neighbor made this last week and says it was, and I quote, “AWESOME.”
Servings: 4 – 6
1 1/2 pound skirt or hanger steak or roast butterflied
1/2 pound lean ground chicken or turkey
1 large and 1 small finely chopped onion
1 teaspoon minced garlic
6 hard-cooked eggs, left whole
1 teaspoon paprika
2 tablespoons tomato sauce
1 sliced green or red pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
Pound the beef on a piece of plastic wrap or flexible mat until it is very thin. Season lightly with salt and pepper.
In a medium bowl, mix together the ground chicken, small chopped onion, garlic and 1/2 teaspoon salt and black pepper to taste. Spread it evenly on the flattened beef.
Place the eggs horizontally, end to end, about 2 inches from the bottom of the meat. Using the plastic wrap or flexible mat as an aid, roll the meat so the eggs are completely enclosed. Tie with string if necessary.
In a Dutch oven heat 2 tablespoons olive oil. Add large chopped onion and saute until translucent. Move onion to the sides of the pan and add the meat roll to the center. Cook covered for 10 minutes.
Mix together 1 cup water, paprika and tomato sauce. Pour over meat and place pepper slices around it. Cook, covered, for 1 1/2 hours on very low heat. Remove to a platter and keep warm.
Puree the vegetables and pan drippings and season to taste. Slice beef roll and nap with sauce. Serve with rice or boiled potatoes.
Modified from a recipe by Barbara Rolek, from About.com.
Eileen Goltz is a freelance kosher food writer. She graduated from Indiana University and the Cordon Bleu Cooking School in Paris. She lectures on various food-related topics across the U.S. and Canada and writes weekly columns for the Chicago Jewish News, kosher.com and OU Life. She is the author of the Perfectly Pareve Cookbook (Feldheim) and is a contributing writer for several publications. You can visit Eileen’s blog by clicking Cuisine by Eileen.