Monday, February 16, 2009

Valentine's Day

Our friends Larry and David gave us a subscription to Saveur magazine for Christmas. Well, actually they gave me some striped knee socks with toes and fuzzy balls on them, but they had to have known that if they gave D. Saveur, I'd have at least as much fun with it. We decided to cook our own meal for Valentine's Day, and I chose a dish from the February issue: Vegetable-Stuffed Rolled Flank Steak. We brought our friends' dog to their country house and created the dish there. It was quite an effort, and I don't know if I could have done it without D, but it was totally worth it. This is directly from Saveur's website, which also has a tutorial for the dish. We made our own video while we were cooking, but I haven't figured out how to post it yet. It was almost a perfect weekend, if I hadn't gotten sick on all the chocolates we ate....

and if Emma hadn't been stuck by a porcupine, which meant that we had to take her to the vet.

Vegetable-Stuffed Rolled Flank Steak, from Argentina

cooked meats, which work their wonders without much intervention, are a boon to home cooks. So are inexpensive cuts. Our favorite alliance of these two attributes is matambre, an Argentine dish (the name means hunger killer) that calls for covering a flank steak with vegetables and hard-boiled eggs and rolling it all together. Click here for illustrated instructions on how to roll the steak.

1 flank steak (2 lbs.)
1⁄2 cup red wine vinegar
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 tsp. dried thyme
Kosher salt, to taste
6 oz. baby spinach
4 boiled carrots, halved lengthwise
2 hard-cooked eggs, peeled and
quartered lengthwise
1 small onion, thinly sliced crosswise
1⁄4 cup chopped parsley
2 tsp. chile flakes
1 1⁄2 cups beef stock
2 tbsp. olive oil

1. Arrange steak on a cutting board so that the long side is parallel to you. Using a long knife, butterfly the steak to within 1⁄2" of the far edge so that it opens like a book. Put steak between 2 layers of plastic wrap. With a mallet, pound to a 1⁄4" thickness. Poke steak all over with a fork. Transfer, cut side up, to a baking sheet lined with plastic wrap. Sprinkle meat with vinegar, garlic, and thyme. Cover with plastic wrap; let marinate for 6 hours or overnight in refrigerator.

2. Heat oven to 375°. Arrange meat cut side up so that the grain is parallel to you; season meat with salt and arrange spinach evenly over top. Top spinach with carrots, arranging them evenly so that they run parallel to the grain. Place eggs between rows of carrots and scatter onion rings evenly over top. Sprinkle evenly with parsley and chile flakes and season with salt.

3. Starting with the edge closest to you, roll meat forward to form a tight cylinder. Using kitchen twine, tie the meat at 1" intervals. Heat oil in a 6-qt. oval dutch oven over high heat. Sear meat all over until brown, about 10 minutes. Pour in the beef stock and add enough water that it reaches one-third of the way up the meat. Cover, transfer to the oven, and cook until very tender, about 2 hours. Let matambre cool for 15 minutes. Slice and serve.

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