I can promise you this, if you ask your Italian grandmother how to make a braciole it won’t be this way……….but, I can also promise you this, after you make and eat my Braciole you won’t care, you’ll just be happy you tried it!! (Just so you know its pronounced bra-zhole, you might even see it spelled Brajole)
There are a lot of different cuts of meat you can use for Braciole, I like to use Eye Round because of the uniform size, it makes the slices pretty much all the same. But you can use Top Round if you like. I have also made them out of good sirloin and if I truly wanted to impress even Filet Mignon.
I couldn’t find a small eye round, so I ended up with a filet, my wife has never had my Braciole, so I thought it would be nice to make it extra special! (some stores sell braciole meat already cut thin and pounded, feel free to use this if you can find it!)
1 ½ lbs of eye round trimmed
8 oz Ricotta Cheese
½ c Grated Romano Cheese
1 Large Egg
4 oz of baby spinach
¼ cup roasted red peppers (optional)
season to taste:
egg wash (beaten egg and milk)
flour (1 cup with salt and pepper)
Seasoned bread crumbs (2 cups)
10 oz sliced mushrooms
½ cup Sambuca
½ cup grated Romano cheese
3 cups Marinara
re-season to tastes
Before we start on the steak, we are first going to mix our stuffing. Start with the Ricotta cheese, then add your baby spinach, roasted pepper, egg, and cheese. Mix well and season with salt and pepper to taste. Place the mixture in the refrigerator while you prepare your meat.
First you want to trim any excess fat, grizzle from what ever cut of meat you do use. Now slice the meat, against the grain, just like you would cut it if it was a roast. You are going to pound out these slices, and while there isn’t any rule for the size, its always nice for them to be consistent. The slice shouldn’t be much more than a ¼ of an inch. (of course if your market carries thinly sliced pounded Braciole meat, by all means skip this step!!) For this recipe, we are going to make 2 braciole’s for each of our guests and lets plan on serving 4. So we want about a 1 ½ pounds of trimmed meat. (at my restaurant one braciole would fill the plate, so size is up to you)
Now that your meat is sliced, you need to use a meat hammer and pound it thin, this will also help tenderized the meat, your meat hammer should have a ridged side that helps with the tenderizing. As you pound the steaks, don’t just pound straight down. You need to hold the piece and almost push it outwards as you hit the meat trying to stretch it as you pound. Once all your pieces are pounded you can begin to stuff them with our ricotta mixture.
While stuffing the steak, don’t be afraid to fill them nicely, but not so much than they cannot be rolled properly, as you tuck in the meat you want to try and close the ends in. If they don’t close all the way, its not the end of the world, some of the cheese mixture will ooze out during baking, but you can always push some back in, or just serve it with the braciole. I like to shape the braciole into small football shapes. Once they are all formed we need to getting our breading station ready. One is flour seasoned with salt and pepper, egg wash ( beaten egg with milk), and seasoned bread crumbs (your own or store bought). First dredge the steak in the seasoned flour (this is a good time to help reshape the braciole, the flour will help you close it up a little more), then in the egg wash, and then in the seasoned bread crumbs. Repeat the process until all the braciole are breaded.
At this time you want to get your oven ready, preheat it to 350 degrees. Now get out a saute pan, let it get hot, add some olive oil to the pan and add your braciole. Don’t be in a hurry to turn them over, you want a nice crust on the braciole and good colour. Turn your braciole over and allow the other side to brown, repeat the process to the sides if you can. (Stacking them along side of each other when you do the sides will help keep them upright). Place all your finished braciole’s in your baking dish and place in the preheated oven for about 20 minutes.
While the braciole is in the oven, we will begin our sauce.
We are going to assume you have made your marinara and your ready to finish your sauce. We need sliced mushrooms for this sauce, Those of you that have an aversion to fungus may leave them out….but please try it with the mushrooms first before you decide you don’t like them….you may be surprised. Add your sliced mushrooms, into a saute pan with a little olive oil, browning on both sides until partly done, add your splash of Sambuca(trust me on this one, just use the Sambuca) and allow alcohol to burn off. Now add your marinara, a nice handful of grated Romano cheese and re season with garlic, onion and black pepper. Allow this sauce to simmer briefly, then turn off heat until the braciole are ready to be served. Before serving add one more shot of Sambuca to enhance the taste…if the sauce has thickened up to much you can add just a little water.
Dress your serving dish with some of the sauce, then place the braciole on the dish and top with the remaining sauce……your guests will come back to the serving dish to get more sauce!!
Ask Chef Dennis
It’s that time of week again, and I have a few things to share with you this week. Over the last few weeks we have talked about all of the Foodporn sights that are out there, and we also talked about the importance of driving traffic to your blog. Now I understand that not everyone cares about driving traffic to their site, and that’s ok. But if you are interested in having more folks stop by your blog, continue reading.
I had mentioned a new sight last week, FoodBeast and as it turns out a few of our friends checked it out and had their posts featured on Foodbeast! So Check it out!
Now I have another sight for, its Food Porn Daily, or as they like to say click, drool, repeat! I can vouch for this sight because they featured my buffalo chicken wings from last week, and let me tell you it drove quite a bit of traffic to my site! They only pick one image a day to feature, so if your the lucky one, watch out!! Check it out, and tell Amanda who runs the site that Chef Dennis sent you!
Now here’s a little pet peeve of mine, I love to leave comments for as many of my friends as I can, but sometimes I am slowed down by having to enter a word verification. If you use blogspot as your blogging domain, they have an excellent spam filter and you really don’t need to use the word verification……please! You can set it so that they will not publish any comment left on any post older than 14 days, and it seems that is where the spammers concentrate their efforts. Blog Spot will recognize a lot of spam as spam, but if its not sure they will leave it for moderation. I very rarely have any spam get through their new filter.
It may not seem like much, but if your leaving 20 or 30 comments in a sitting, it can really slow things up.
Also the dreaded waiting for moderation before being published……again the spam filter gets rid of almost everything non related, and how often do you really get a comment you don’t post?
Again your call, just my take on things!
Do You Tweet?
If you love to tweet, I may have just the tool for you. It’s called Tweetdeck Check it out, its free and kind of fun…..although I really haven’t quite gotten on board with understanding everything on Twitter, but I had fun playing with Tweetdeck!
last week we talked about photo editing and some of the different programs that you can use. Now it just so happens that one of our friends Trish from Dish by Trish announced last week that her husband had developed a new photo editing program (that she uses) called SharpShot. Here’s the best part, its free!!
So stop by and check out the the program, you may be surprised!
But what ever program you do decide on using, just start using one. You’ll be happy you did!
now you know we couldn’t get through an Ask Chef Dennis, with out having a few questions about the site we love, but can be frustrating at times…..Foodbuzz. Now that being said, yes Chef Dennis does get frustrated on occasion by Foodbuzz, but then he stops and remembers he wouldn’t have met most of you wonderful people without it.
I am still getting questions about linking your website, this is mostly for newbies, but if you go into edit your profile (which is on your profile page) in the personalize your profile section there is a place to add your official website.
While your there why not fill in some more of the info, add a picture of yourself, and link to facebook and twitter. Get the most our of your account.
Another question I had was how to add your newest posts to your foodbuzz page. Thats fairly simple to do. Again go to your home page, and right next to that tab is your profile tab, click on it and all of your posts listed will be hot….when you hover over them you will see Swap or Remove, when you click on Swap a list of your posts will come up. Now here is how it works. The list goes by buzz, so if its new and has a 45 then you need to go past all of the higher buzzed posts until you find it, your newest posts will be at the very end. When you find the post you want to swap with, click on it and it will say Replace, click on that and your new post is up. Now once you set up your page, you just have to add the new post, and swap out the others. The good thing is , once your post has been up for awhile and gets buzzed the score will be higher, you may fine that all of your new posts will show up in a row, and makes it easier to just swap them out and keep your page current. Swapping images also works for your post header, you can add 1-3 images on it.
Last but not least, I talked about having some Foodbuzz mini festivals this summer, and It looks like the one in North Carolina is moving along well. The location will now be Winston-Salem and that looks like a pretty good spot to draw from the neighboring states. I am also still trying to set one up for Philadelphia.
If you may be able to attend either or can help with either please let me know. I have some speakers and demo’s lined up for the North Carolina get together already, so lets see a show of hands who would like to come!! Just let me know if it interest you ….please.
So that’s about it for today my friends, the temperature has dropped seriously in the last few hours and we are supposed to be down to about 15 tonite with windchills to 0…..some fun.
So where ever you are, stay warm and stay safe! Thanks for stopping by and remember