Stuffed flank steak has been one of my favorite foods for over 50 years. It is one of my family’s favorites, too. But honestly, our version has gotten a little boring. The tradition is to stuff the flank steak with a conventional bread dressing and – don’t get me wrong – it is delicious. But my thought is that surely you can do something different after 50 years. Once again, it was my turn for the main dish at our Sunday family dinner. A wonderful new market had opened in the little shopping center across the street, and they had some beautiful flank steaks in their butcher shop. Like a conjunction of the planets, flank steak stuffed with something different seemed like an inspiration. Evan and Brandin Rice at Rich Table have been experimenting with farro lately, and I was interested in how I might make it work in my more plebian dishes. Inspiration! – farro-stuffed flank steak. Of course, there needed to be something to perk up meat and grain, so the addition of a green sauce – chimichurri is a natural – came to mind. Mushrooms and pine nuts added to the flavors. It all came together.
I made a serious miscalculation by buying two flank steaks for 6 people. That is way more than you need, The recipe that follows is for one flank steak. On the other hand, leftovers of this dish are a bonus, so you may want to make two stuffed steaks. Regardless of your decision, I am sure you will enjoy the result.
Farro-Stuffed Flank Steak
Butterflied and pounded flank steaks
Flank steaks spread with filling
Rolled, tied, and ready for braising
Stuffed flank steak pinwheels
Rolled flanks steak topped with chimichurri
- 1 flank steaks, about 1½ pounds
- ½ cup cooked farro
- 1 recipe chimichurri, divided (see previous post for recipe)
- 4 cremini mushrooms, chopped finely
- ¼ cup pine nuts
- ¼ cup panko
- 1 egg
- all-purpose flour
- 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 2 cups beef stock
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- salt and pepper
- With a sharp knife, butterfly the steak so that it opens like a book. Flatten the meat with a heavy pounder. Chill until ready to fill.
- In a. Medium bowl, combine the cooked farro, half of the chimichurri, mushrooms, pine nuts, panko, and egg.
- To fill the flank steak, open it on a flat surface, cut side up. Spread with the farro/chimichurri mixture leaving a half-inch border around the edge. Begin to roll the steak beginning from the narrow end until the roll is sealed. Tie the rolled steak with kitchen twine at two-inch intervals, making sure the ends are tied closed.
- Heat the oil in a heavy lidded oven-proof casserole over a medium flame. When the oil is hot, brown the stuffed flank steak, turning frequently until browned on all sides. When the steak is browned, add the beef stock and tomato paste. Bring to the boil and then transfer the covered casserole to the middle of an oven preheated to 275°F. Cook, covered, for 2 hours.
- Remove the steak from the oven and transfer to a plate, cover with foil, and let rest for 5 minutes. Remove the twine, slice into ¾ inch slices and serve with the remaining chimichurri to be spooned over the top if desired.
Recently I celebrated my birthday. I was surprised when a big box came from my family. It turned out to be a gleaming Vitamix food machine. I can hear some of you asking, “What will the old goat do with that?” It seems akin to buying $2000 skis for a duffer who only skis greens or a Sunday driver receiving a Ferrari. Still others are thinking that, after all, its only a blender. A Vitamix is way more than a blender – it has a full 2 horsepower motor with speeds up to 37,000 rpm and variable speeds between 12,000 and 24,000 rpm. It will grind up just about anything without a single whine. It sounds like those are specs straight out of a Ferrari ad. Now if I can only learn to drive it like a Ferrari.
I spent the first day reading all of the manuals and recipe books. I definitely did not want to destroy the machine during its first outing in the kitchen. Then, I had to think of something to make. Creamed soups prepared in a Vitamix are supposed to be so smooth that they don’t require straining through a sieve or chinois. Soups are definitely on my list of things to make, but I wanted something to go with the meal I had already planned: pot roast and roasted potatoes. Some sort of sauce seemed like a good choice. Salsa verde and romesco came to mind. One of my food blogger friends , writing with the title of Back Road Journal, had provided a great recipe for the Dominican sauce, wasakaka (Isn’t that a great word to say?). That struck me as very similar to one of my favorites, the Argentinian chimichurri that goes so well with roasted beef.
The Vitamix cook book didn’t have the recipe, but I found one to modify in the Joy of Cooking. For a first pass, the chimichurri turned out to be easy and flavorful, but I will probably add some tweaks for my next effort. If you don’t have a Vitamix, you can use a food processor fitted with a metal blade. Pulse until you get the right consistency, and be careful not to blend for too long. Of course, you can always chop things by hand. You’ll just have to do it more finely. Also, there is a severe sensitivity to chiles in our household, so I usually omit them, but you can definitely mince some jalapeño or add some cayenne.
Finally, a big THANKS to all my family for such a thoughtful gift.
Brand new Vitamix
Coarsely chopped ingredients ready for the Vitamix
Pot roast, roasted potato and chimichurri
- ¼ cup red wine vinegar (If you don’t have red wine vinegar, another vinegar will do.)
- ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
- ½ cup parsley leaves, washed and stems removed
- 3 cloves garlic, chopped coarsely
- 1 medium onion, chopped coarsely
- 2 tablespoons fresh oregano leaves OR 1 tablespoon dry Mexican oregano.
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional or to taste)
- Pour the vinegar and olive oil into the Vitamix container. Make sure the cover is in place. Set the speed indicator to High. Turn the machine on and process for about 15 seconds or until the vinegar-oil mixture is emulsified. Turn off the machine.
- Add the parsley, garlic, onion, oregano, salt, pepper, and optional cayenne pepper. Set the speed indicator to Variable and Variable knob to 3. Make sure the cover is in place, turn on the machine and as you process gradually turn up the rate to 6. Process for 20 seconds or until the mixture is the desired consistency. Be careful not to over-process. Turn off the machine. Transfer the chimichurri to a bowl, adjust the seasoning if needed, and let stand at room temperature for at least 30 minutes before serving.