Bracioli – Stuffed Beef
Remember a couple of weeks ago I shared my friend Michelle’s recipe for Mom’s Homemade Gravy? I promised to share recipes to use that delicious marinara sauce and here’s a real favorite! It’s a recipe I shared on my Facebook Live Feed earlier this week and I wanted to make sure you got a chance to check it out!. Thinly sliced beef is stuffed with bread crumbs, figs and herbs then slowly simmered in a bath of sauce.
Here’s Michelle’s story & recipe –
When I was growing up in Boston, all the women in our Italian family made gravy every Sunday morning. This was a rich tomato sauce, with meatballs, sausage, and, if we were lucky, Bracioli. Bracioli is basically a stuffed piece of beef. There are lots of recipes with many variations, but here’s how we make ours.
MEAT: Buy thin round steak at the grocery store. It used to be hard to find, but they now sell Carne Asada, top round cut into thin pieces. I make sure I get the package that has as little fat as possible. Take each piece out and trim off any fat. Then, put the pieces between waxed paper, and pound until they are thin and tender – not too thin or the meat will tear.
FILLING: I use freshly made breadcrumbs, my favorite are stale croissants, or some crusty bread left out for a few hours to get dry. Stick in the blender, small pieces at a time, and add parsley and fresh basil to each small batch. Pour into a bowl and add parmesan cheese, one beaten egg, salt and pepper. Add a handful of raisins, and about ¼ cup of pine nuts (optional). Moisten with a bit of olive oil or water squeezing with your hands until it all stays together. Let the egg and olive oil sit a bit on the bread before you squeeze together.
MAKING: Lay each piece of beef down on paper towels and put some of the filling in each one.
Don’t overfill or the filling will fall out. Roll each one up and secure with either thread or toothpicks, whichever you prefer.
Saute in olive oil until lightly browned on all sides . Remove from frying pan and add to your own pot of simmering Marinara sauce. Cook for about 45 minutes until fork tender. (I changed it up just a bit here, by covering the Bracioli with Marinara Sauce, covering tightly with tin foil and popping it in the oven at 300 degrees for an hour.)
Remove string or toothpicks before serving. You can cut each bracioli into rounds, or serve as is and let each person do his/her own (not quite as pretty, but easier).
This is everyone’s favorite, so make sure and make lots. As I don’t make gravy every Sunday, I just make a big pot of without all the other meat. Then, we have lots of leftovers for freezing.
Author, my fabulous friend Michelle!
I completely agree with my buddy Michelle – this is an incredible dish. In the recipe above I used dried figs in place of raisin and I loved the flavor combination. The meat is perfectly tender, the stuffing so delicious and when you bite into it the pine nuts burst in your mouth. Of course you can substitute with jarred sauce, but Michelle’s recipe for Mom’s Homemade Gravy is the perfect combination. This is savory with just a touch sweet – truly amazing flavors!
Bracioli is labor of love to make and completely delicious. I hope you give this a try and make it for the most special people in your life!
Bracioli - Stuffed Beef
- 1 lb thin sliced round steak
- 6 small croissants - day old works great yields 2 cups*
- 1 tablespoons handful parsley about 3
- 1 tablespoons handful basil about 3
- 1/2 cup parmesan cheese
- 1/3 cup pine nuts
- 1/2 cup raisins or figs if you use figs, remove the stem and chop into small pieces.
- 1 egg
- 3 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- Serve with Mom's Sunday Gravy - or your favorite Marinara sauce
- Begin by preparing the meat. Remove the fat. Place between wax paper and pound each slice of meat until it is thin and tender. Do not pound too thin as the meat will tear. Set the meat aside.
- If you are making your own breadcrumbs, do that next. Using a food processor, tear the croissants into small pieces and add to the processor. Also add the parsley, basil. No need to chop the parsley or basil, just add them to the food processor and pulse until all of the ingredients are chopped into small pieces. Remove from the food processor and put into a bowl.
- Add the Parmesan cheese, pine nuts and raisins or figs to the breadcrumbs. Season the stuffing with salt & pepper. Mix lightly. Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil and a lightly beaten egg. Allow to sit for a few minutes before mixing everything thoroughly.
- Lay each piece of beef down on paper towels and put some of the filling in each one. Don't overfill or the filling will fall out. Roll each one up and secure with either butchers twine or toothpicks, whichever you prefer.
- Saute in olive oil until lightly browned on all sides . Remove from frying pan and add to your own pot of simmering Marinara sauce. Cook for about 45 minutes until fork tender. (or pop in the oven for one hour at 300 degrees.
- Remove twine or toothpicks prior to serving. You can cut each bracioli into rounds, or serve as is and let each person slice his/her own (not quite as pretty, but easier).
Suggested Recipe Pairings
This savory Italian tomato bread pudding will take your taste buds on a Flavor Excursion and satisfy your soul all while keeping you warm! – Take Two Tapas – Savory Bread Pudding