Sunday, December 11, 2005

Italian Braciuolini and the Weekend Cookbook Challenge

Alicat from Something So Clever and Sara from i like to cook came up a great theme for the weekend cookbook challenge. They asked us to find our oldest cookbook and pick any recipe. I actually wrote about the Doubleday Cookbook for a meme started by Ed of Tomatom . I’m not sure if it’s really my oldest (it certainly looks it – tattered cover and stained pages), but close enough for me. My mother bought it for me when I first got married ( a million years ago) so I’d know how to boil an egg or roast a chicken…and everything else.

You can see it here with the other two "old timers" Second Helpings Pleaseand The Pleasures of Your Food Processor. In flipping through the Doubleday, I came across a recipe for Braciuolini, the Italian variation of beef "birds" or roulades. I haven’t made it in years and it had some notations in the margins. Apparently, I adapted recipes even way back when.

It still sounds like my favorite kind of food - braised beef in tomato garlic sauce- what's not to like? So this afternoon, since it was too cold for us big babies to go out, my Honey and I played Scrabble while the Braciuolini slowly cooked in the oven. The aroma was wonderful and eased the pain of my Honey winning.

Italian Braciuolini (my adaptation)
Prep time: 20 minutes
Baking Time: 1 ½ hours
Serves 4
(now we'll have some for tomorrow night too)

4 slices of beef round pounded thin as for scaloppini (5”x3”x ¼“)
Salt & pepper
Flour for dredging ( ¼ - ½ cup)
2-3 tbsp olive oil
½ cup chopped onions
1 large clove of garlic, minced
½ lb/ ¼ kg Italian sausage meat
1 cup freshly made bread crumbs (or panko crumbs)
1 lightly beaten egg
½ tsp each dried basil & oregano
1 cup finely chopped eggplant, unpeeled
2 cups tomato sauce
½ - 1 cup chicken stock (beef would do as would red wine) to thin out the sauce.

1. Preheat the oven to 350°F/180°C

2. In a large oven proof skillet, brown onions, Italian sausage meat and garlic until the onions are translucent and the meat is no longer pink. (5-8 minutes).

3. Take it off the heat and add the bread crumbs, egg and herbs and toss to blend well. Place in a bowl and wipe the skillet clean.

4. On a lightly floured board, lay out the flattened steaks and put about 2 tbsp worth of the sausage mixture towards one end. Roll the beef over the mix and end with the flap underneath. Season with salt & pepper and sprinkle with flour. (The book suggests tying up the “birds” with string, but I didn’t find it necessary).

5. Put another 1-2 tbsp olive oil in the skillet and over medium high heat, sear the “birds”. Gently flip them over after 4 minutes or so to brown the other side.

6. In the meantime, in another skillet I sautéed some left over eggplant I had (this is not in the book) and added it to the sauce and stock.

7. Pour the sauce over the birds (still in the skillet), cover and bake for about 1 ½ hours.

I served it with farfalle noodles tossed with pesto and some roasted baby asparagus (I’m pretending it’s Spring).

The roundup will be posted on December 16th. I can’t wait to see what everyone’s doing.

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Kristen said...

That's such a great idea! (the weekend cookbook challenge). I was looking through some of my mom's old cookbooks last time I visited home, and someone gave her a cookbook for a wedding gift (in the early '70s) that had a recipe for fish and chips that went something like this: Buy frozen fish and frozen french fries. Defrost, bake in oven, and serve with tarter sauce (I'm not joking, that's almost word for word).

I think you had better luck finding a good recipe from an old cookbook than I did. :)

Ruth Daniels said...

Melissa, Alicat at Somethingsoclever actually started this event and, apparently wants to continue it once a month. And thanks for adding me to your blogroll. I check yours often and love it - Oh to actually BE in Panama!!!

Kristen - giant LOL!! that's probably why my mom bought me the Doubleday. Just kidding - thanks for sharing.

Anonymous said...

I like the sound of this recipe. It looks fairly uncomplicated to prepare for me. Thanks for sharing it.


Anonymous said...

What a delicious meal that must have been! I am getting married soon and my mom refuses to part with our oldest cook book (which I use more!) which was the only thing I asked from her! :) Haha! You are lucky :)

Thanks for the link to the weekend cookbook challenge...sounds interesting :)

Ruth Daniels said...

Joey, if the book is still in circulation, you might want to buy your mom a NEW copy and you can keep the old "well loved" one.

Kalyn Denny said...

Ruth, this does sound really delicious. I might try making it in a crockpot. I'm always looking for crockpot things that can cook on Saturday afternoon when I'm out running around.

BTW I think your "You Are What You Eat" might be the most successful meme ever. I'm seeing it everywhere. Way to go.