Beef Cut Profile: Beef Rolls


Description: Beef rolls are thin slices of beef that can be filled, rolled up, and then braised. Beef rolls originated in medieval times when cooks prepared thin slices of beef, veal, or mutton with a stuffing.

Other Names: Beef olives, braciole (southern Italian), involtini (Italian, usually veal), paupiettes and roulades (French), roll-ups, Rouladen (German).

Meat Characteristics: Beef rolls are made from tough cuts of beef, which become tender when braised.

How Much Should I Buy: Choose the largest slices of single-muscle meat sliced about ¼ inch thick. About 4 ounces per person.

Common Flavor Combinations: Basil, capers, garlic, lemons, mustard, onions, Parmesan cheese, prosciutto, red wine, tomatoes.



Passover Slow Cooked Brisket with Red Wine and Mustard

In honor of Passover I am offering the delectable version of brisket. To all of those of the Jewish faith Happy beginning of Passover. Of course this dish can be prepared anytime of year.  This version takes some time so plan ahead, it’s worth it.

  • Brisket (about 6 pounds)
  • Coarse kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 6 carrots sliced into 3 chunks each
  • 4 large quartered onions
  • 6 ribs celery with the greens in 2-inch chunks
  • 5 cloves smashed and peeled garlic
  • ½ cup red wine vinegar
  • 2 cups red wine
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 4 tablespoons grated horseradish
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 4 cups beef broth
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 6 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1 bunch parsley
  • Mushrooms (optional)

Preheat the oven to 250 degrees.

Season the brisket with salt and pepper, don’t skimp on seasonings. Add a few tablespoons of the olive oil to a braising pan. Warm the pan over medium heat, then sear the brisket on all sides, this takes some time.  When the brisket is mostly browned on all sides, remove it from the pan and set aside. Searing the brisket is really optional, but it is traditional.

There should be enough fat rendered in the pan, but if not add a few more tablespoons of oil. Add 3 of the carrots, the onions, celery, and garlic and sauté for a few minutes, stirring and sprinkling with more salt and pepper.

Stir together the wine vinegar, wine, honey, grated horseradish, and mustard in a bowl, then pour the liquid into the pan and deglaze, gently scraping up any stuck bits with a spoon (preferably wooden). Simmer for about3 minutes, until the sauce is slightly reduced.

Return the brisket to the pot and add enough beef broth to just cover the brisket. Add the bay leaves, thyme, and parsley and bring to a simmer. Cover the pot and put in the oven for about 4 hours. At the end of the fourth hour, add the remaining carrots, and return to the oven for one more hour.

Remove from the oven and let sit until the brisket reaches room temperature.  Cut the brisket against the grain into slices about an quarter of an inch thick.

When ready to serve, remove the fat that has accumulated on top of the brisket. Heat the liquid in the pan and reduce by half, then strain out the vegetables if you want. Return the cut brisket to the pan, heat, ladle the carrots on top, pour the sauce over, and serve.


The Five Classical French Mother Sauces: Espagnole


The Five Classical French Mother Sauces: Espagnole

The term “mother sauce” refers to any one of five basic sauces, which are the starting points for making various secondary sauces.  The five mother sauces:

  • Béchamel
  • Velouté
  • Espagnole
  • Hollandaise
  • Tomate

Espagnole Is a rich, beefy, slightly sweet sauce.  I’m presenting a simplified version of Escoffier’s original sauce which was much more time consuming.  Espagnole is also the basis of Demi-glacé which is a much reduced version of classical Espagnole.

3 tablespoons butter
1 large carrot, coarsely chopped
1 stalk celery, coarsely chopped
2 onions, coarsely chopped
1/4 cup flour
5 cups beef stock
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 traditional bouquet garni (explained here)
1/2 cup tomato paste
1/3 cup Madeira wine
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper

Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add carrot, celery, and onions and sauté until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the flour and reduce the heat to medium low. Stir in the flour and continue cooking until the vegetables and flour are nicely browned. Add the beef stock, garlic, bouquet garni, and tomato paste. Simmer for 1 hour, skimming, until the sauce is reduced by half. Strain through a chinois.

To finish, reduce the sauce by another third, or to about 1-1/2 cups total, in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the Madeira and cook through another 10 minutes. Taste to adjust seasonings.

For comparison sake I’ll list the ingredients in a traditional Escoffier espagnole sauce:

  • 13 pounds beef shin, with bones cut into 3-inch pieces
  • 13 pounds veal shank, with bones cut into 3-inch pieces
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter
  • 2 pounds carrots, peeled and sliced in rounds
  • 10 medium onions, peeled and sliced
  • 1 ½ pounds pork rind, cut into 3-inch squares
  • 1 fresh pig’s foot, split
  • 1 bunch parsley
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon fresh or 1¼ teaspoons dried thyme
  • 14 bay leaves
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 pound unsalted butter
  • 3 ¾ cups sifted all-purpose flour
  • ¼ pound salt pork, diced
  • 2 recipes Sauce Tomate
  • 1 cup Madeira

Beef Cut Profile: Short Ribs


Description: Short ribs are cut from the 12 ribs that start at the chuck and continue to the loin. Relatively square, short ribs have full-bodied flavor and luscious tenderness that develop when they are slow-cooked by hot-smoking, slow-roasting, or braising. Short ribs are especially popular in Korean, Chinese, and Jewish cuisines.

Meat Charcteristics: Short ribs consist of dense layers of rather tough, medium-coarse grain meat interwoven with layers of fat and connective tissue. They usually include the rib bones.

How much should I buy: Buy at least 1 pound of bone-in short ribs per person to allow for bone and shrinkage. Allow ½ pound of boneless short ribs per person.

Common flavor combinations: Cilantro, garlic, ginger, green onions, molasses, mushrooms, onions, red wine, sesame oil, soy sauce, thyme.

Note: They’re not as inexpensive as they used to be as they are rather in vogue right now, but still much cheaper than a quality steak.


Steak: No Grill, No Problem


Preheat oven to 350 for ten minutes.

Heat cast iron pan on stovetop to smoking point.

Pre-salt each side of steak a few minutes in advance.

Put steak into pan and sear each side for approximately two minutes.

Put steak and pan into oven.

Cook for 4-8 minutes until steak reaches internal temperature of 120.

Take out of oven and allow to rest for five minutes.