Tag Archives: america’s test kitchen

Stuffed flank steak

20 Jun


america’s test kitchen

Ah summertime. Time for a barbecue with friends. Grilled stuffed flank steak sounds perfect.

We saw this herb, proscuitto and provolone stuffed and butterflied flank steak and we can’t wait to try it out for the gang. We also recall Trader Joe’s sells their flank steak pinwheels rolled up with 2 cups spinach, 1/4 cup feta and 1/2 tsp milk, and 1/3 cup diced red pepper.
Another version we like has sauted shallots, with gorgonzola and walnuts.
A heavier, autumn/winter version (recipe at bottom) features carrot, spinach, peppers, and prosciutto in a deep marasla and beef stock sauce.

We think these barbecued pinwheels served with crisp greens and fruit salsa/salad will be a perfect outdoor summer meal.

To prevent the meat from shrinking on the grill, and squeezing the centers of the pinwheels, we rolled up our flank steak, tied it with twine, and skewered it at 1-inch intervals before slicing and grilling. The twine kept the steak from unraveling, while the skewers prevented the meat from shrinking. Finally, we had stuffing that stayed stuffed and rich, smoky beef.

CHARCOAL-GRILLED STUFFED FLANK STEAK
Recipe adapted from America’s Test Kitchen
2 medium garlic cloves , minced or pressed through garlic press (about 2 teaspoons)
1 small shallot , minced (about 2 tablespoons)
2 tablespoons fresh parsley leaves , finely minced
1 teaspoon sage leaves , finely minced
2 tablespoons olive oil , plus extra for oiling grate
1 flank steak (2- to 2 1/2-pounds) (see note)
4 ounces thinly sliced prosciutto
4 ounces thinly sliced provolone
8 – 12 skewers soaked in water for 30 minutes 
Kosher salt and ground black pepper

Mix garlic, shallot, parsley, sage, and olive oil in small bowl. Butterfly and pound steak into a rectangle. With grain running horizontally and opened side faces up, spread herb mixture over surface. Arrange prosciutto over steak, leaving 2-inch space at top. Next layer cheese, leaving 2-inch space from top. Starting from bottom edge and rolling away, roll into tight log. Set on a cutting board with seam-side down.
Starting ½ inch from the steak roll’s end, tie 8 to twelve 14-inch pieces of butcher’s twine at 1-inch intervals underneath steak. Tie middle string first, then work from outside strings in to centre.
Skewer meat through outermost flap near seam through each piece of string. Allow skewer to extend ½ inch on other side. Cut roll between twine into 1-inch-thick pinwheels. Season lightly with salt and pepper.

Grill pinwheels until well browned, 3 to 6 minutes. Flip them until second side is browned, 3 to 5 minutes longer. Transfer pinwheels to cooler side of barbecue, cover, and keep cooking until centre of pinwheels hit 125 degrees, 1 to 4 minutes.
Transfer pinwheels to a plate, tent with foil, and let rest for 5 minutes.

BUTTERFLY AND STUFF FLANK STEAK
Lay steak on cutting board with grain running parallel to counter edge. Butterfly meat, leaving 1/2-inch “hinge” along top edge.
Open up steak and pound flat into rough rectangle, trimming any ragged edges.
Rub with herb mixture; layer with prosciutto and cheese, leaving 2-inch border at top. Roll away from you into tight log.
Place steak seam-side down and tie with string at 1-inch intervals, starting at center.
Skewer steak directly through each string, allowing skewer to extend 1/2 inch on opposite side.
Slice steak between strings into 1-inch pinwheels.

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Argentine-Style Stuffed Flank Steak
Adapted from Williams-Sonoma

1 (1 1/2 lb) flank steaks, trimmed of excess fat and silver skin
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon paprika
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 garlic cloves, minced
4 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 lb prosciutto, thinly sliced
1 bunch spinach, carefully washed and stemmed
1 carrot, peeled and grated
1/2 yellow onion, sliced
1 red bell pepper, roasted (peeled and sliced)
1 cup fresh basil leaf
1/2 cup dried breadcrumbs
1/2 cup grated pecorino romano cheese
2 teaspoons dried thyme
salt and pepper, to taste
1/2 cup white wine
1/2 cup marsala
1 cup beef stock
1 tablespoon worcestershire sauce

1. Butterfly the meat by slicing horizontally, stopping about 3/4 inch from the other side. Open up the meat and pound with a meat mallet to an even thickness of 1/2 inch.
2. Preheat the oven to 350°F
3. Mix together the vinegar, paprika, 1 Tb of the tomato paste, garlic, and 1 Tb of the olive oil. Stir to form a thick paste. Smear the paste on the open side of the steak, reserving 1 Tb.
4. Layer the prosciutto, spinach, carrot, onion, bell pepper, and basil on top.
5. In a small bowl, combine the breadcrumbs, cheese, 1 tsp of the thyme, and salt and pepper to taste; sprinkle the mixture on top.
6. Roll the meat from the long end into a tight cylinder and tie with kitchen string. Turn it seam side down and rub with 1 Tb of the olive oil.
7. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and the remaining 1 tsp thyme.
8. In a large, heavy frying pan over medium-high heat, heat the remaining 2 Tb olive oil. Add the meat and brown on all sides, about 5 minutes.
9. Transfer to a flameproof roasting pan, seam side down, and roast for about 45 minutes.
10. Lift the meat and pour the white wine into the pan underneath to keep the meat from sticking. Roast until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center registers 130F, 30 minutes to one hour.
11. Transfer to a board and tent loosely with aluminum foil.
12. Add the marsala to the roasting pan and place over high heat. Scrape up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Whisk in the stock, worcestershire sauce, and the remaining 1 Tb tomato paste, and cook, stirring often, until reduced by half, about 5 minutes. Strain the sauce through a fine-mesh sieve.
13. To serve, remove the string from the meat and slice it thickly into rounds. Transfer to individual plates and ladle the sauce over.

Spagballs

8 Jun

We love the lycopene, but our betrothed is not down with thick tomato sauce.
Fair enough — America’s Test Kitchen to the rescue.
The first recipe is a dreamy, creamy sauce for short pasta. We have prepared a vodka rose sauce we served with slices of chicken rosemary sausage tossed with papardelle.
Amazing.
The second is a great bolognese that tastes as if it’s been cooking all day long.

“Readily available, canned crushed tomatoes trumped canned whole and diced tomatoes—theyíre bright in flavor, easy to puree in the food processor, and contain just the right amount of juice. Before adding the tomatoes to the pot, we cooked a few tablespoons of tomato paste with some onion and garlic, and added sun-dried tomatoes, to deepen the flavor of the sauce. A pinch of red pepper flakes, a splash of wine, and a little minced prosciutto added depth and tamed some of the sauce’s sweetness; a bit of reserved uncooked crushed tomatoes and another splash of wine stirred in before serving brought the sauce’s ingredients together. As for the cream, traditional heavy cream can’t be beat; we added it to the just-finished sauce to enrich it without subduing the bright tomato flavor.”

PASTA WITH CREAMY TOMATO SAUCE
adapted from America’s Test Kitchen
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 ounce prosciutto, minced (about 2 tablespoons)
1 small onion, diced fine (about 3/4 cup)
1 bay leaf
Pinch red pepper flakes
Table salt 3 medium garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 ounces oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes , drained, rinsed, patted dry, and chopped coarse (about 3 tablespoons)
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons dry white wine
2 cups plus 2 tablespoons crushed tomatoes (from one 28-ounce can)
1 pound pasta
1/2 cup heavy cream
Ground black pepper
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
Grated Parmesan cheese, for serving

“Melt butter in medium saucepan over medium heat. Add prosciutto, onion, bay leaf, pepper flakes, and 1/4 teaspoon salt; cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is very soft and beginning to turn light gold, 8 to 12 minutes. Increase heat to medium-high, add garlic, and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in tomato paste and sun-dried tomatoes and cook, stirring constantly, until slightly darkened, 1 to 2 minutes. Add 1/4 cup wine and cook, stirring frequently, until liquid has evaporated, 1 to 2 minutes.
‘Add 2 cups crushed tomatoes and bring to simmer. Reduce heat to low, partially cover, and cook, stirring occasionally, until sauce is thickened (spoon should leave trail when dragged through sauce), 25 to 30 minutes.
“Meanwhile, bring 4 quarts water to boil. Add pasta and 1 tablespoon salt and cook until al dente. Reserve 1/2 cup cooking water; drain pasta and transfer back to cooking pot.
“Remove bay leaf from sauce and discard. Stir cream, remaining 2 tablespoons crushed tomatoes, and remaining 2 tablespoons wine into sauce; season to taste with salt and pepper. Add sauce to cooked pasta, adjusting consistency with up to 1/2 cup pasta cooking water. Stir in basil and serve immediately, passing Parmesan separately.”

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Our first try with a panade. Highly recommended!
Bolognese-style meat sauce in under 60 minutes. The meaty flavor comes from the mushrooms; the beef is NOT browned to prevent it from becoming rubbery. Do not be tempted to use a different fat-percentage. 80% lean beef will yield a greasy sauce. 90% lean will become chewy.

EASY MEAT SAUCE
America’s Test Kitchen
1/4 lb white button mushrooms
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion, diced finely
1 slice white bread (high-quality sandwich bread)
2 tablespoons milk
table salt, to taste
fresh ground black pepper, to taste
1 lb 85% lean ground beef
6 garlic cloves, minced fine
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 (14 1/2 ounce) can diced tomatoes, juice drained and reserved
3 teaspoons fresh oregano or 1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 (28 ounce) can crushed tomatoes
1/4 cup grated parmigiano-reggiano cheese

Directions
Remove stems from mushrooms. Cut into quarters and toss into food processor. Chop finely, 8-10 1-second pulses. Heat olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat until it smokes. Add onion and mushrooms and saute until soft and very brown, 6-12 minutes.
Pulse milk and bread in food processor until it forms a paste, about 8 pulses. Add salt and pepper. Add beef and pulse until just combined, about 6 pulses.
Add garlic, red pepper flakes and tomato paste to saucepan. Deglaze with 1/4 cup of the reserved tomato juices (discard or consume the rest). Add 2 tsp fresh oregano (if using dried oregano, add all of it now) and stir well. Add meat mixture and stir until no longer pink, but not yet brown. Add drained, diced tomatoes and crushed tomatoes. Stir well, and simmer gently 30 minutes.
6Add remaining fresh oregano and Parmigiano cheese. Season with salt and pepper to taste, and serve over pasta.

Cinco de Mayo

5 May


Here’s our Mexican-inspired party fare. The pork turned out amazing!

We have an array of organic corn and flour tortillas, crisp radishes, cheese, salsas, chipotle lime crema, and guacamole, accompanied by a sunny salad of orange supremes, red onion, and lettuces in a cumin-scented roasted garlic and parmesan dressing.

To further the Mexicans conquering the French theme, we are treating our guests to chocolate mousse spiked with cinnamon and cayenne, topped with fruit salsa: kiwi, mango and strawberry.

To begin, we have cassava chips and some corn tortillas chips in the colours of the Mexican flag. For dipping: guac, salsa verde, picante sauce, refried bean dip. And of course, darling two-bite epanadaditas with chicken/achiote/raisin/olive filling.

Now, where’s that margarita?

PLAYLIST: Tequila-The Champs… Tijuana Taxi-Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass…La Bamba-Ritchie Valens…South of the Border-Frank Sinatra… Low Rider-War…Spanish Flea-HA&TB…Conquest-White Stripes… El Paso-Marty Robbins…

From America’s Test Kitchen: “Why this recipe works: Traditional carnitas, Mexico’s version of pulled pork, is fried in gallons of lard or oil. The results are tasty, but who wants to deal with all that hot fat? We wanted to create restaurant-style carnitas—tender chunks of lightly crisped, caramelized pork, subtly accented with oregano and citrus—without the hassle of frying.
Our initial recipe for carnitas started by simmering the meat (taste tests proved boneless pork butt had the best flavor) in a seasoned broth in the oven and then sautéing it in some of the rendered fat. The flavor was OK, but too much of the pork flavor went down the drain when we discarded the cooking liquid. So we kept the liquid and reduced it on the stovetop (after the meat had been removed) until it developed the consistency of a thick, syrupy glaze that was perfect for coating the meat. Broiled on a rack set over a baking sheet, the glazed meat developed a wonderfully rich flavor and the rack allowed the excess fat to drip off. We emulated the flavor of the Mexican sour oranges used in authentic carnitas with a mixture of fresh lime and orange juices. Bay leaves and oregano provided aromatic notes, and cumin brought an earthy dimension that complemented the other flavors.
We like serving carnitas spooned into tacos, but you can also use it as a filling for tamales, enchiladas, and burritos.
Don’t Cut the Fat. Leaving a 1/8-inch layer of fat on the pork is critical to imparting the best flavor and texture to the final dish. Overtrimming the meat will lead to dry, bland carnitas.”

MEXICAN PULLED PORK (CARNITAS)
America’s Test Kitchen: Supper From South of the Border
1 (3 1/2-to 4-pound) boneless pork butt , fat cap trimmed to 1/8 inch thick, cut into 2-inch chunks
1 teaspoon ground cumin 1 small onion, peeled and halved
2 bay leaves 1 teaspoon dried oregano
2 tablespoons juice from 1 lime
2 cups water 1 medium orange , halved

Tortillas and Garnishes
18 (6-inch) corn tortillas , warmed
Lime wedges
Minced white or red onion
Fresh cilantro leaves
Thinly sliced radishes
Sour cream

Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 300 degrees. Combine pork, 1 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, cumin, onion, bay leaves, oregano, lime juice, and water in large Dutch oven (liquid should just barely cover meat). Juice orange into medium bowl and remove any seeds (you should have about 1/3 cup juice). Add juice and spent orange halves to pot. Bring mixture to simmer over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally. Cover pot and transfer to oven; cook until meat is soft and falls apart when prodded with fork, about 2 hours, flipping pieces of meat once during cooking.
Remove pot from oven and turn oven to broil. Using slotted spoon, transfer pork to bowl; remove orange halves, onion, and bay leaves from cooking liquid and discard (do not skim fat from liquid). Place pot over high heat (use caution, as handles will be very hot) and simmer liquid, stirring frequently, until thick and syrupy (heatsafe spatula should leave wide trail when dragged through glaze), 8 to 12 minutes. You should have about 1 cup reduced liquid.
Using 2 forks, pull each piece of pork in half. Fold in reduced liquid; season with salt and pepper to taste. Spread pork in even layer on wire rack set inside rimmed baking sheet or on broiler pan (meat should cover almost entire surface of rack or broiler pan). Place baking sheet on lower-middle rack and broil until top of meat is well browned (but not charred) and edges are slightly crisp, 5 to 8 minutes. Using wide metal spatula, flip pieces of meat and continue to broil until top is well browned and edges are slightly crisp, 5 to 8 minutes longer. Serve immediately with warm tortillas and garnishes.