Flank steak can be a challenging piece of beef to work up well. It's cheap and flavorful so it's worth the effort but it's best in low and slow cooking methods, except when flash grilling to a medium rare for fajitas. My mother made Swiss steak often with it when I was growing up, simmering it for hours in an onion, celery, bell pepper tomato sauce and serving over rice or mashed potatoes. Talking about it now makes me crave it so that's definitely on the menu for next week!
Another favorite preparation is Beef Braciole, or stuffed, rolled flank steak. The traditional Italian stuffing is bread crumbs flavored with garlic, onion, and parsley, although stuffed with strips of sweet pepper, onions, and garlic, is another personal favorite.
The key to flank steak is in preparing the cut itself. The extra time spent removing the prevalent silverskin and pounding that sucker out thin can make the difference between a really "Wow!" dish and a mediocre one. Everything else is embellishment. Don't let the number of steps being intimidating if you've never made this dish before. Once you've done it once, the second and many times after will feel easy.
Recipe by Glenna Anderson Muse
Makes 6 servings
- 2 lb Flank Steak
- 2 cloves Garlic, minced
- 1/2 onion, diced
- 2-3 Tbsp olive oil, mixed uses
- 1 tsp dried basil (2 tsp fresh)
- 1 tsp dried oregano (2 tsp fresh)
- 1 tsp dried thyme (2 tsp fresh)
- 2 tsp dried parsley (4 tsp fresh)
- 1/2 cup bread crumbs
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan
- 2 cups Glenna's Slow Cooker Meat Sauce if you have some in the freezer
- 1 small jar of commercially prepared pasta sauce
- 2 cup red wine of choice (I used Stag's Leap Cabernet)
1. Rinse and dry (paper towels) flank steak and lay out on a couple sheets of waxed paper or plastic wrap.silverskin or silvering which is the white thin connective tisshe that covers the muscles. This tissue, when cooked, will draw up and become tough and chewy to eat. Slide the tip under the edge of strips of it and just let the knife follow the tissue and peel it away from the red meat, the muscle. Remove as much of this as possible from both sides for the most tender resulting dish at the finish.
2. Cover the flank stead with another couple of layers of waxed paper or plastic wrap, and with the FLAT side of a meat mallet, beat the snot out of it. Well, hopefully it doesn't have any snot but being a respiratory therapist in real life, I couldn't resist using the phrase. Yes, you can use either side with the pointies but I've personally found that this tends to fling little meat splinters all over me and the kitchen so I used the flat side to do the whacking.
Start in the middle and work your way out to the edges. Really get in there and beat it up. Take out your aggressions. The point is twofold: break down the meat fibers so it will cook up into a tender dinner and also to produce a nice, evenly thin, rollable piecs of beef in which to roll up those nice aromatics that willb e rolled up into it.
3. Once it's beaten into submission, check again for any silverskin that has been exposed and dispose of that too.
4. Place bread crumbs and cheese to medium bowl and set aside.
5. In an OVEN SAFE heavy bottomed skillet like this one from a professional kitchen line or an overn safe dutch oven, saute the garlic in a Tbsp of oil (the oil I used was one I'd already put dried herbs into for bread dipping) until it starts to soften.
6. Add onions and saute until translucent. Add another Tbsp of oil if needed.
Then add the herbs and toss until fragrant.
Add onion mixture to bread crumb/cheese mixture and toss together.
7. Pour bread crumb/onion mixture over flank steak and press down.
8. Starting on the long end closest to you, roll tightly around filling, keeping seam on bottom of roll. Be sure to roll from the long end, keeping the meets fibers running lengthwise along the roll so that when it is cut, the knife will cut across the grain, again producing extra tenderness.
Secure with toothpicks or bind with twine to secure for cooking. Can be cut into two rolls if needed for the size of the pan being used.
9. In the oven safe skillet or dutch oven and with a Tbsp of oil oil, heat oil until nice and hot. Add the rolled flank steak(s) and sear on each side until all sides are browned nicely.
Add pasta sauce or wine to the pan.
10. Place into oven, loosely covered with foil, and roast for 1 1/2 hours. Remove foil and roast for another 20-30 minutes. Remove and allow to sit for 15 minutes on stove top to allow juices to redistribute before cutting rolls into 1" slices.
Nutrition per 1/6 (4oz): Calories: 275; Protein: 31; Carbs: 9; Fat: 9; Fiber: 1; Weight Watchers Points: 6