Thursday, September 29, 2011

Braciole: One-Pot Wonders

Braciole must not be too common. Most people I mention it to have never heard of it. It's actually pretty simple - thin beef with a stuffing of bread crumbs, cheese, herbs and other things, simmered in a tomato sauce and served with pasta.

One interesting item in the stuffing in Emeril Lagasse's recipe in Sizzling Skillets and Other One-Pot Wonders was chopped hard boiled eggs along with the usual ingredients.

When my husband and I lived in Chicago, we had a favorite Italian restaurant that served braciole. I've tried making it several times over the years, but I've never been impressed with the recipes I tried. Some of them make a huge roll - like a roast - but I prefer the small, individual-serving rolls. That's what Emeril's recipe is, and that's one reason I was interested in trying it.

The other is that I knew my husband would appreciate the effort. So, yes, this is another husband-chosen recipe. Sort of. I picked it because I knew he'd pick it. And when I told him there was a recipe for braciole, he agreed that we had to try it.

On the other hand, I was just a little bit nervous about it. He'd been talking about how great that restaurant braciole was, and I was worried that this one wouldn't measure up to his memories. But I had already committed to making it.

Previous recipes I made have used a variety of cuts of meat. Flank steak is common. Or skirt steak. This recipe called for bottom round, sliced 1/4 thick, and then pounded thinner. It seemed pretty impossible that I'd find 1/4-inch slices of bottom round, so I bought a bottom round roast and sliced it myself.

This wasn't an easy-peasy recipe. The prep work takes a bit of time, even if you're not slicing a roast. In fact, slicing the roast wasn't a big deal. But then it had to be pounded thin. The stuffing had to be assembled and then put on the meat and then the meat was rolled and secured with toothpicks.

While there was quite a bit of prep work, after that it just simmers for a couple hours. Here at high altitude, it simmered for a bit longer. But I expected that. The great thing, though, is that like any braised tough meat, it's actually better the next day, So you can make this whole recipe the day before you want to serve it, and right before dinner, cook some pasta to go with the meat, and then reheat the meat and sauce.

There was one oddity with this recipe. It called for 2 cups of water, but it wasn't listed in the instructions. I think it might have been intended to go into the simmering liquid along with the tomatoes. I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that the need for that water would depend on how loose your tomato mixture is. The thickness of canned tomato products varies from brand to brand. So if you're making this one, add the water at your discretion. Maybe you'll need it, maybe you won't.

I made this in a dutch oven on the stove, as the recipe suggested, but it would convert easily to a crockpot.

So ... the result?

Another winner! Yep, we like this one. The sauce was great, too. I served it with spaghetti, and I could have been happy with just the sauce and noodles. My husband declared it "excellent." Good enough for me. I'll be making this one again, but I might add just a bit more cheese to the filling next time.

For my part in this party, I've been given a copy of the cookbook, a jar of Emeril's Essence and serving bowls made by Zak! I also had several items to give away, courtesy of Morrow Books. Check the sidebar for giveaways that are still running.

Bloggers who participate in this party and complete the 3-week assignment will receive some additional books by Emeril as well as a small cash reimbursement. One blogger will be chosen to receive a 6-quart Emeril-branded crockpot made by T-Fal.

For more information on Morrow's cooking blog, see The Secret Ingredient. Want to pre-order the book? Clicky-clicky right here.

Are you on Facebook? The Secret Ingredient and Emeril have pages there. Or if you prefer Twitter, you can find Morrow Books and Emeril there as well.


30AEats said...

Looks delicious! Another winner Donna!

Miss @ Miss in the Kitchen said...

I've heard of it but never tried it. That is a delicious plate of food!

diabeticFoodie said...

Thanks for the braciole lesson. I'd never heard of it before either, but it looks fantastic!

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