Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Dinner At The Hawthornes'.

I'm making something I've never made before but always wanted to make ever since I saw Debra, who can't cook, on Everybody Loves Raymond, make it to rave reviews. Braciole. I'm sure there many recipes for braciole depending on what part of Italy you're from. I checked out several, including this one and this one. I decided to go with the filling ingredients on the second recipe, but used beef from the first recipe instead of veal breast recommended by the second recipe, which I couldn't find at Food Lion. The first recipe sounded like they knew what they were talking about, although they'd probably take off points for my adding the hard boiled eggs. At any rate, I was certainly up for the challenge.
Here are most of the ingredients for the filling: 2 cups cubed Italian bread 1 cup milk, to soak the bread in 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese 4 garlic cloves, slivered 1/2 cup pine nuts, toasted 1/2 cups raisins, soaked in hot water, then drained 1/2 cup chopped Italian parsley
And this ingredient for the filling is copacola. It's a spicy ham and I found only one place on the beach which had it - Coastal Provisions Market. I called them first before I drove up there to be sure they had it. I asked the gentlemen did he have copacola. "No, but we do have pepsi."
Anyways, dice your copacola.
I decided to try a top round steak.
And a flank steak.
I sliced both steaks in half.
Then pounded away.
Drizzled top with olive oil.
Added salt and pepper. This is the flank steak.
This is the top round.
First, I soaked my bread cubes in milk for about 5 minutes, then squeezed out the excess milk.
Added in the parsley.
Then the copacola and garlic.
The raisins.
Stirred in the parmesan.
And finally the toasted pine nuts.
Then I spread the filling mixture on top of the meat. This recipe called for quartered hard-boiled eggs, which I'm sure some braciole makers would consider absolutely ridiculous and superfluous, and probably downright evil. But I went for it anyway.
Then I rolled up the meat with the filling and tied the bundle up. This one is the top round.
This is the flank steak ready to be rolled.
Flank makes a better roll than top round.
The two on the left are top round. The two on the right are the flank steak.
And here's my tomato sauce that's been simmering for several hours.
I heated up my iron skillet, added butter and olive oil, and threw in the meaty jelly rolls.
Brown all over.
Then I added some red wine to deglaze the pan.
Poured some of my delicious tomato sauce on top of the rolls.
Then I covered the braciole with foil and cooked in a preheated 375 degree oven for 1 hour.
This smells wonderful.
While I was preparing the braciole, Mr. Hawthorne prepared the veggies: carrots, onions, radishes, celery, and broccoli .
He sauteed the carrots first.
Then he added in some broccoli.
Then he added the rest of the veggies and some cashews.
Then he added a bit of white wine.
Mr. Hawthorne removes the string from the braciole. Like Auntie Sandy, I supplied the dental floss. Aren't I thoughtful?
This was good. And worth the effort. Next time, I'd use just the flank steak not the top round. The flank was more tender however Mr. H. thinks if you pounded the crap out of the round and maybe marinated it, then it would be OK.
Mr. Hawthorne's assessment: "I'm a seafood guy. Really not a meat and potato guy. But if I were, I'd love this. It would be a welcome change to ho-hum meat and potatoes. Really good flavors and textures." So, B is for Braciole. Yes, I did B is for Boniato, but boniato is not something I'd ever eat again. And I did B is for Beets, but I'm not a real beet fan. And I did B is for Borscht, but again, you have the beets, plus I was having a hard time getting past the PINK. So, B is for Braciole, a nice, hearty, robust, flavorful dish. Oh, I don't believe Debra Barone ever made this dish. I just can't see her taking the time to make the filling, pound the meat, stuff it, and roll it up. Hamburger Helper? Maybe so. Braciole? Not so much.

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