Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Lunch Week 28: Braciole with German Potato Salad

So every Sunday, I head over to the kitchen to whip up a big batch of food for lunch next week. Yes, I brown bag. And I almost always do it, unless I become too busy to even buy cold cuts from the deli. I do it for several reasons being health, finance, and laziness. Now, you may think that spending hours on a day off to prep and cook five meals at once is hardly lazy. But let me remind you, I hate it when the time comes to decide what to eat for lunch every day. I work in Midtown so the choices are endless. My problem, the more choices, the harder it is for me. So it's much easier for me to have my lunch ready and already decided.

So my lunch for the week: Braciole with German Potato Salad

If you followed me on Twitter this weekend then you would have known that I was super busy. Between a couple of dinners out and prepping for a massive dinner for 11 people, I didn't have much free time to concentrate on myself. So I knew I would have to make something that would cook on its own without much attention. Braciole came to mind but I wouldn't have too much free time with an oven. Besides, I didn't want sauce with it. So I decided to enlist Mr. M&P to help grill the meat. For my sides, I chose a simple salad as usual and some German potato salad using the mustard I purchased in Germany.

First the meat. I used Giada De Laurentiis's recipe on Food Network (recipe at end of post) as my reference. I took a beef flank steak and pounded it out until it was relatively even in thickness.

Then I grated some provolone and pecorino romano cheese. To that, I added chopped garlic, parsley, salt, pepper, and oil. A quick mix and onto the meat it went.
*Quick tip: Save any extra cheese mixture to cook with pasta one day.*

Then starting on a long side, I rolled up the steak really tightly until it was a log. I let it rest seamside down while I used my kitchen string to tie it up tightly. I wanted to make sure that it didn't unravel during the cooking process.
Mr. M&P set the grill at medium temperature and I finished the meat with salt, pepper, and oil. Onto the grill it went for about 7-10 minutes on each side (total 4 sides). Halfway through, I lowered the temp to low to prevent flame ups.

When the meat is cooked to your desire (I like medium), I took it off the grill and let it rest and reset itself. Once cooled for about 10 minutes or so, I cut off the strings and sliced it. The cheese was melted and reformed itself that it didn't ooze out. The meat was tender and juicy from the low cooking. The garlic and parsley added so much delicious flavor. I love this combination of garlic and herbs. It's one of my favorites.
For the potatoes, I largely cubed 2.5 lbs of red potatoes. Then I tossed them with oil, salt, pepper, garlic powder, and rosemary. Into the oven at 375 degrees for about 45 minutes until softened. Roast for longer if you like them really crispy. Once out of the oven, I placed them into a bowl and quickly tossed them with German mustard (~4 tbsp) and mayo (~2 tbsp). The residual heat from the spuds will melt the condiments a bit but also help absorb the flavors. The result is tender potatoes with a light sweet, spicy flavor but creamy from the mayo. Simple but good flavor.
This lunch was really nice. It kept me pretty full throughout the day. The meat stayed juicy through the week and the potatoes seemed to get more and more flavorful as the days went on. I would definitely do this again.

Below, please find Food Network's & Giada De Laurentiis's recipe for Braciole:

* 1/2 cup dried Italian-style bread crumbs
* 1 garlic clove, minced
* 2/3 cup grated Pecorino Romano
* 1/3 cup grated provolone
* 2 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley leaves
* 4 tablespoons olive oil
* Salt and freshly ground black pepper
* 1 (1 1/2-pound) flank steak
* 1 cup dry white wine
* 3 1/4 cups Simple Tomato Sauce, recipe follows, or store-bought marinara sauce

Stir the first 5 ingredients in a medium bowl to blend. Stir in 2 tablespoons of the oil. Season mixture with salt and pepper and set aside.

Lay the flank steak flat on the work surface. Sprinkle the bread crumb mixture evenly over the steak to cover the top evenly. Starting at 1 short end, roll up the steak as for a jelly roll to enclose the filling completely. Using butcher's twine, tie the steak roll to secure. Sprinkle the braciole with salt and pepper.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil in a heavy large ovenproof skillet over medium heat. Add the braciole and cook until browned on all sides, about 8 minutes. Add the wine to the pan and bring to a boil. Stir in the marinara sauce. Cover partially with foil and bake until the meat is almost tender, turning the braciole and basting with the sauce every 30 minutes. After 1 hour, uncover and continue baking until the meat is tender, about 30 minutes longer. The total cooking time should be about 1 1/2 hours.

Remove the braciole from the sauce. Using a large sharp knife, cut the braciole crosswise and diagonally into 1/2-inch-thick slices. Transfer the slices to plates. Spoon the sauce over and serve.

Simple Tomato Sauce:
* 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
* 1 small onion, chopped
* 2 cloves garlic, chopped
* 1 stalk celery, chopped
* 1 carrot, chopped
* 2 (32-ounce) cans crushed tomatoes
* 4 to 6 basil leaves
* 2 dried bay leaves
* Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
* 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, optional
* In a large casserole pot, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic and saute until soft and translucent, about 2 minutes. Add celery and carrot and season with salt and pepper. Saute until all the vegetables are soft, about 5 minutes. Add tomatoes, basil, and bay leaves and reduce the heat to low. Cover the pot and simmer for 1 hour or until thick. Remove bay leaves and taste for seasoning. If sauce tastes too acidic, add unsalted butter, 1 tablespoon at a time, to round out the flavor.
* Pour half the tomato sauce into the bowl of a food processor. Process until smooth. Continue with remaining tomato sauce.
* If not using all the sauce, allow it to cool completely and then pour 1 to 2 cup portions into plastic freezer bags. Freeze for up to 6 months.
* Yield: 6 cups
* Prep Time: 15 minutes
* Cook Time: 1 hour, 10 minutes


  1. i don't have plans for lunch today. if you can bring a box of this over to me that would be super.

  2. looks great and so easy! Hmm... I'm pretty sure I have some steak in the freezer...


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