I don’t often see skirt steak at my market so when I happen onto a package or two, I snap them up knowing that in the vast jumble of recipes waiting to be sampled that is my brain, I’ll surely find a good use for it. The unfortunate aspect of this “plan” is that often I confuse skirt steak and flank steak. What’s the difference?
Actually, they both come from the same area of the animal — either the short plate or flank which is on the underside in the center. Both benefit from rubs and marinades to break down or tenderize the muscle, but skirt steak, a much more thin cut often needs to be either scored or pounded to further tenderize it. Skirt steak is often used for fajitas.
When it came right down to it, I just needed a thin cut of meat, so skirt steak it would be. I’d seen a succulent recipe for “Braised Beef Braciole Stuffed with Basil and Fresh Mozzarella” in a recent issue of Fine Cooking and had to try it — or a version of it since I didn’t have all of the required ingredients. It didn’t matter because I can’t imagine that it would have been any better had I followed the recipe exactly. Perfect for a special dinner, the possibilities are endless.
Basil Cheese Stuffed Skirt Steak
2 lb. skirt steak
1 c. Parmesan, freshly grated
1/2 c. sharp Provolone, freshly grated
1 piece dry sourdough bread
12 lg. basil leaves
1/4 c. extra virgin olive oil
1 lg. sweet onion, chopped
1/2 c. dry red wine
28 oz. canned tomatoes, chopped
2 pinches crushed red pepper flakes
1.5 oz. assorted dried mushrooms
- If the steak is thick, slice it horizontally, then open it like a book. To make this easier, make sure the beef is slightly frozen.
- Use a meat tenderizer or plastic covered rolling pin to flatten it as much as possible. Season both sides of the beef with salt and freshly ground pepper.
- To make the stuffing, pulse the dry sourdough in a food processor until fine crumbs are achieved. There’s no need to remove crusts. Add the grated cheese and basil, then pulse to combine well.
- Cover the tenderized meat completely with the bread crumb mixture. Tightly roll the meat from the long end and secure with kitchen twine.
- In a large skillet, heat half the oil on medium high heat. Add the beef roll browning it on all surfaces. Remove and let sit on a large plate.
- In the same skillet, heat the rest of the oil and add the onion cooking over medium heat. Add a couple of pinches of salt and stir occasionally until the onion is softened and a caramel color, about 8 minutes.
- Pour in the red wine and deglaze the pan, scraping up all the browned bits from the bottom. Allow to cook until the wine is nearly evaporated, about 2 minutes.
- Add the tomatoes and bring to a boil. Add the dried mushrooms and dried red pepper, stirring well to hydrate the mushrooms. Lower the heat.
- Nestle the meat into the tomato sauce and spoon sauce up over the roll. Cover the pan and cook gently until the meat is tender, about 1 hour.
- Remove from the sauce when done and allow to sit for 15 minutes covered, then slice and serve with some of the sauce.
- The original recipe calls for flank steak which would have been easier to work with. Maybe.
- If you don’t have kitchen twine, then toothpicks would do the trick. Just make sure the roll is secure or you’ll lose the fantastic tasting stuffing in the tomato sauce while the meat is cooking.
- This was an excellent dish. The flavors are perfect together. The cheese is flavorful enough that you can taste it in each bite. The original recipe called for mozarella, and as much as I enjoy it, I think the flavor would have been too mild for this.
- I always have dried mushrooms in my pantry. Although I normally hydrate them first before adding them to a dish, the cooking time for this dish was long enough and the tomato sauce wet enough that the mushrooms would be able to release their intense flavor right into the sauce. It worked out perfectly.
- We enjoyed this over a bed of fettuccine.
- If you’re not thrilled with the idea of the beef, tenderize some boneless chicken breasts and prepare the rolls the same way. The cooking time will be less than an hour, however.