Wednesday, April 2, 2014

The Great Flank Steak Roulade Experiment

I don’t remember exactly why, but for the longest time I’ve wanted to try stuffing and braising a beef flank steak, and this very brociale-like roulade was the result. And while the outside was an unsightly mess of frayed meat fiber, the overall dish was a delicious success.

Braising a flank steak seems counterintuitive since it’s almost always cooked briefly and served medium-rare, but so is top-sirloin, and I’ve used that cut for beef roulade before, and it worked fine. Flank steak is also one of the “beefiest” cuts on a cow, and has a decent amount of fat, so I felt pretty confident going in.

The only thing I hadn’t considered was the appearance, and that ended up being my only real complaint. Because flank steak has such large, pronounced meat fibers, after a few hours of simmering, my roulade had a bad case of split ends. As I mention in the video, we may try and wrap the meat with some type of protective layer, and by protective, I mean fatty.

Other than that, it was a fairly straightforward procedure. Feel free to stuff with anything you like (just not too much), and the same goes for the braising liquid. No matter what you decide to simmer this in, once you’re done, simply reduce it, and use it as a sauce. That means be careful with the salt. I generously salted the roulade, so I didn’t need to heavily season the braising liquid as well. Best to adjust that later.

Anyway, whether you use my specific ingredients or not, I hope you give this technique a try soon. All you need is a flank steak, a sharp, thin knife, and you’re ready to roll. Enjoy!

1 trimmed beef flank steak, butterflied, and pounded flat (please note: you must cut and roll the meat in the exact way shown, so the grain is going the right way for slicing!)
salt and pepper to taste
1 tbsp black currants
1/4 cup plain breadcrumbs
2 tbsp chopped Italian parsley
1 ounce pancetta, slice into thin strips
2 tbsp finely-grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
For the braising liquid, I used:
3/4 cup white wine
3 cups tomato sauce
2 cups chicken broth
1 bay leaf
enough water to just cover


PhillyBear said...

ugh! will EVER post a recipe that lets us use our dull, fat knives?!

Eric said...

What was the point of rolling and unrolling? Or did you just forget to add the pinenuts?

Franken Stein said...

Hmmm, how about baking this at 325F for a few hours instead?

Spencer Jackson said...

Nice job and that Phish/joint rolling reference. I laughed more than I should have.

mekman said...

just made beef medallions for the guys at work, as inspired by your post, made delicious mushroom/tomato crema sauce also CHEF JOHN inspired.

keep up the good work!

blogagog said...

Can't do it. Flank steak has only one grosser cut to look down upon - skirt steak. Only Californians are... misguided enough to eat this part of a cow.

"Misguided" was the nicest word I could think of.

Still love you like a brother though Chef!

Elisha said...

Any other cuts besides beef flank steak this might work with?

Roberto said...

Try this technique using a big piece of round steak for easier prep. I stuff mine with chopped green olives, slivered almonds, and a dusting of cinnamon (sounds bad, tastes good). Brown in oil then braise with tomato, onion, garlic, stock, red wine.

Anthony Vaiana said...

Can you dry age flank steak?

Yardog59 said...

Is it just me, or does this recipe SCREAM for Blue Cheese in the filling? I can't butterfly without totally destroying it, but I may give this a try regardless.

Chris K. said...

Caul fat.

Yes, pretty sure what you're looking for is caul fat.

Linda said...

I will have to try this!

Jim Spatz said...


kinjun ranger said...

Flank steak is an awesome piece of meat if prepared and sliced correctly. I no, i don't live out West.

Hey Chef John - are you sure you weren't at a Phish show prior to making this? Just looking for an out on the pine nut incident.

Peter Sices said...

Where in the bajeebus does one find black currants?

Peter Sices said...

Oh, shows how much I know. I actually thought I needed to find fresh currants LoL.

Peter Sices said...

...that moment when you roll everything and tie off all your knots, take a proud photo only to realize you forgot the cheese. :O

P Lusardi said...

I learned a neat trick from a butcher buddy of mine. When slicing (or in this case butterflying) meat before cooking, pop it in the freezer for about a half hour (a little longer for thicker cuts) it firms the meat up a bit and makes cutting easier. Ive butterflied Flank steaks both ways and its definitely easier after a "quick freeze".

Chrystian Yepiz said...

I tried and it was amazing! my couple loved it! thanks a lot!

ron nord said...

I used to make this years ago, it was an old Brazilian recipe called, "Man Killer" and was made for the long treks by stage coach in Brazil. The recipe called for carrots and hard boiled eggs to be rolled with in and when it was cut it was very pretty. Just found you site and will be making some of the other skirt steak marinades and barbecue's.