Unknown to many people, my husband (hi, hubby!), is a professionally trained chef. The first time he made me dinner, he whipped up tacos with homemade mango salsa. Yeah, I know, pretty impressive. To top it off, that was his “Oh-I’ll-just-whip-this-up-in-two-minutes-dinner.” He’s a foodie. I’m a foodie. It’s a match made in heaven.
Clearly, when I needed to buy some new cookware, I asked his opinion on what to buy. He let me in on a little secret: expensive cookware doesn’t mean better food. That’s right, the $1,500 cook set makes an equally delicious dinner as the $160 set from Costco (which is what I have: Kirkland Pots & Pans). Obviously, some stuff out there isn’t made well. No one wants flecks of teflon in their scrambled eggs-pass on that special seasoning. Now if those more expensive sets make you really, really happy, go for it. You only live once, right? Just don’t feel inclined to spring for the most expensive set because you think you’ll have better results. There is a happy medium.
I have lots of favorite pieces of cookware, one of many is the Dutch Oven. It’s made of cast iron and has a heavy lid. The cast iron helps distribute heat evenly and the lid helps keep heat and moisture in. I paid about $50 for my very functional and attractive piece-from Target. I would call that a good find. If you’re in need of one, check it out: Target Dutch Oven
That being said, if a Dutch Oven isn’t something you have-or even want to use, you can do without it. Use an oven-safe stock pot instead. Don’t have a lid, or not sure if your glass lid is ovenproof? Nothing a sheet of foil can’t fix, tear off a sheet and fit it over the pot.
OK, so food. I wanted to make something fancy in my non-fancy cookware, and this fit the bill. It’s delicious and nutritious and doesn’t taste like (insert least favorite vegetable here). Best part, it cooks slowly in the oven, so you can be off doing more important things, like online shopping. To top it all off, both my kids loved it and actually asked for bowls of just sauce to slurp up. I’de call that a winning dinner.
Easy Braciole (Serves 4-6, Prep. 30 minute, Inactive Cook 2 hours)
- 1.5-2 lb flank steak
- 1/4 c olive oil.
- Butcher’s Twine
- 1 egg
- 1/2c unseasoned gluten free breadcrumbs (use non-gf, if that’s what you have)
- 1/2c shredded parmesan
- half a bunch of parsley, chopped
- handful of spinach, chopped
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1/2 tsp dried oregano
- 1/2 tsp dried basil
- 1/2 tsp dried rosemary
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 1/2 tsp pepper
For the sauce:
- 1/2 onion, chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 c red wine
- 2, 28oz cans crushed San Marzano Tomatoes (use an immersion blender on whole peeled, if that’s what you have, DO NOT USE regular canned tomatoes, nooooo bueno).
- 5 basil leaves.
- 1 tbsp kosher salt
Preheat oven to 325°
First, make your stuffing. Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix. It should all just stick together. Add olive oil if it needs it.
Lay the flank steak on a cutting board. Make sure it’s sitting on a stable surface-like your counter-not a pedestal style table. You’re going to be pounding it out.
Cover with a piece of plastic wrap.
Pound out the steak until it’s about the thickness of a pencil. Season generously with salt and pepper.
Spread the stuffing mixture evenly. See the consistency?
Cut several pieces of butcher’s twine. Roll the steak so that it’s with the grain of the meat. Check out the picture above, you can see that the grain (those lines in the meat) run from left, to right-not top to bottom. Tie the steak tightly. Some of the stuffing will fall out, it’s OK.
Heat a heavy pan on high with olive oil. Once the pan starts smoking, add the roll and brown. As you can see, mine didn’t fit perfectly, and that’s OK. About 3 minutes each side. Remove from pan and set aside.
Now for the sauce. Add the onion and garlic, sauté until translucent. About 2-3 minutes.
Pour in the wine and cook down by half, 15 minutes. If you’re cooking on a gas stove, turn off the burner while you pour. I’ve started my share of cooking fires with alcohol. If you’re using an electric range, just leave the settings alone.
Add the tomato sauce, basil and salt. Stir and bring to a simmer.
Gently set steak roll in the sauce. Bring to a simmer again, place lid. If you don’t have a lid, just use a large piece of foil and seal it around the top of the pot.
Transfer to a 325° oven. Braise (fancy word for covered and cook in liquid) for 2 hours. Remove the amazing rolled meat and let rest for 10 minutes on a cutting board.
Cut off butcher twine and slice. Pour some of the sauce over the meat. Serve with pasta, veggies, or salad and obviously, whatever red wine you have left 🙂
Left-over ideas: shred the remaining meat, add back into the sauce. Serve over your favorite pasta.
turnips + tantrums team