Spice it twice—the mantra for this flavorful beef skewer. After skewering but before going on the grill, the meat is dusted generously with the spices. Those spices toast, their flavors deepening during cooking. Once the meat comes off the heat, it’s seasoned a second time with the same spice blend, creating multiple layers of nuanced flavors from the same few ingredients.
What did we do different? In place of flat iron steak, we substituted flap meat because it was already in our freezer and it’s easier to source than the aforementioned flat iron cut. In keeping with the Asian theme, we also grilled bok choy right along with the meat skewers. They benefited from a chili oil sauce that complimented the meat rub.
Don’t trim the fat from the beef before cooking. The fat adds flavor and helps keep the meat succulent. If you’re using a gas grill, make sure to give it at least 10 to 15 minutes to heat before cooking the skewers. This ensures the meat gets a nice surface char without overcooking the interior.
1½ lbs. beef flat iron steak, sliced against the grain into ¼-inch-thick strips
1 Tbsp. dry sherry or Shaoxing wine
1 Tbsp. soy sauce
2 Tbsp. grapeseed or other neutral oil, plus more for grill grate
2½ Tbsp. cumin seeds
2½ tsp. fennel seeds
1½ tsp. sichuan peppercorns
2 tsp. red pepper flakes
chili oil, to serve (optional)
In a medium bowl, combine the beef, sherry, soy sauce and oil. Let stand at room temperature while preparing the spice mix and the grill.
In a small skillet over medium-low, toast the cumin, fennel and Sichuan peppercorns until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a spice grinder and add the pepper flakes. Process until coarsely ground, about 10 seconds. Transfer to a small bowl and stir in 1¾ teaspoons salt. Measure out 1 tablespoon of the mix and set aside to use as garnish.
Prepare a charcoal or gas grill for direct, high-heat cooking. For a charcoal grill, ignite a large chimney of coals and let burn until lightly ashed over, then distribute the coals evenly over one side of the grill bed; open the bottom grill vents and the lid vent. For a gas grill, turn all burners to high. Heat the grill, covered, for 10 to 15 minutes, then clean and oil the cooking grate.
While the grill heats, thread the beef onto ten 8- to 10-inch metal skewers, evenly dividing the meat and pushing the pieces together. Sprinkle the remaining spice mixture evenly over both sides of the meat, patting gently to adhere.
Grill until lightly charred, 2 to 3 minutes, then flip and grill until the second sides are lightly charred, another 2 minutes. Transfer to a serving platter, sprinkling both sides of the skewers with the reserved spice mix, then drizzle with chili oil (if using).
A few years back, Fine Cooking published an article showcasing a variety of meatloaf recipes. It also instructed how to build your own loaf based on items from specific categories. From those, I made this rustic version, which is a blend of the two. It was surprisingly light and not dense as some meatloaves can be.
We also wanted a gravy, so, in lieu of a loaf pan, we cooked the meatloaf in a large, heated cast-iron skillet to facilitate browning on the bottom as well as the top and sides. When finished cooking, this provided some tasty drippings for the base of the gravy.
Of course, since this serves up to eight meals, we sliced one half for two separate dinners, freezing the other half for another time.
1/2 small fennel bulb, core removed and chopped small (save some fronds for garnish, if desired)
3 large cloves garlic, finely chopped
3/4 cup dry white wine
4 oz. medium-coarse white bread, such as Italian or French, cut into 2-inch pieces (about 2-1/2 cups)
1 cup whole milk
2/3 lb. bulk sweet sausage
2/3 lb. ground beef
2/3 lb. ground veal
2 large eggs
1/2 cup finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
Freshly ground black pepper
Pan drippings from meatloaf
4 Tbsp. butter
3 cups beef broth, heated
1 small shallot, minced
1 garlic clove, minced
3/4 tsp. thyme, minced
6 Tbsp. flour
1/2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
Heat 2 Tbs. of the oil in a 10- to 12-inch skillet over medium-low heat. Cook the onion, fennel and garlic, stirring frequently, until softened and just beginning to brown, about 8 minutes.
Add the white wine, and simmer briskly, until almost dry, 4 to 5 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl and let cool until warm.
In a shallow dish that holds it in a single layer, soak the bread in the milk, flipping once, until soggy but not falling apart, 5 to 10 minutes, depending on the coarseness and freshness of the bread. Lightly squeeze a handful of bread at a time to remove some of the milk (it should be wet but not drenched). Finely chop and add to the bowl with the onion mixture.
Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 375°F.
Add the beef, veal, and sausage and eggs to the onion mixture. Scatter the Parmigiano, and parsley over the meat, and then sprinkle with the Worcestershire, 2-1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Use your hands to gently mix all the ingredients until just combined; try not to compact the mixture as you do this.
Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large cast-iron skillet. Form a rectangular block from the meatloaf mixture that will fit into your skillet. Carefully transfer the meatloaf into the hot skillet and put the skillet into the preheated oven. Bake until an instant-read thermometer registers 160°F in the center of the meatloaf, 40 to 55 minutes. (Ours was done at 45 minutes.) Remove the meatloaf to a platter and cover with foil while you make the gravy.
Add enough butter to the pan drippings to equal 6 tablespoons. (We had 2 tablespoons in the pan so we added 4 tablespoons of butter.) Sauté the minced shallot in the fat and drippings until it softens.
Add garlic and thyme and sauté another 30 seconds.
Stir in flour and cook for 2 minutes. Whisk in hot broth and Worcestershire sauce. Scrape up any browned bits and smooth out lumps.
Simmer gravy 10-15 minutes. Taste and adjust seasonings.
Arrange 1-inch slabs of meatloaf on the platter, top with gravy. Serve extra gravy at the dinner table.
You will adore this lickety-split sauce of butter, green onion, and ginger, which adds an Asian-style final touch to this steak recipe. With its crisp pan-seared exterior and succulent juicy center, and quick cooking time, you’ll find you’ll want to make this recipe often. And you can mix it up by using filet tips like we did.
In the original version from Better Homes & Gardens, the recipe calls for four filet mignon steaks. But we had 14 ounces worth of filet tips in our freezer, which had thick and thin areas, so cooking them was a little tricky. Once the meat was medium-rare, they were plated and covered while the sauce was made; then thinly sliced and laid over a bed of steamed rice. This actually stretched the portions to three with less than a pound of meat!
The most-time consuming portion of this recipe is the wait. The meat has to be seasoned and refrigerated for 2 hours, then taken out to room temperature for another 30 minutes. The actual cooking time is only about 15 minutes. If you are serving rice too, make sure to time it correctly so that is ready when the sauce is.
Omitting any rice keeps the dish low-carb and keto-friendly.
Jasmine rice, cooked according to package directions (optional)
Season beef generously with salt and pepper. Place on a plate. Chill, uncovered, for 2 hours. Remove and let stand 30 minutes. Heat a heavy 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat. To check when hot enough, add a large drop of water (1/8 teaspoon) to the skillet. When it rolls around the pan like a bead of mercury it is ready. This will take 2 to 3 minutes.
Remove from heat; add oil. Swirl to coat bottom of skillet. Return to medium-high heat. Add beef. Cook for 5 minutes or until a crust forms (be patient; the beef will release when it’s ready to be turned). Turn and cook for 2 to 4 minutes more or until done at 135°F.
Remove beef from skillet to a clean plate; cover loosely. Remove skillet from heat. Carefully add wine, miso, and soy sauce (mixture will spatter).
Return to heat. Bring to boiling, stirring to scrape up browned bits and whisking to incorporate miso. Remove from heat. Whisk in butter, green onions, and ginger.
Spoon sauce over beef to serve. Sprinkle with sesame seeds.
If you’re not familiar with Beef Braciole(I had never heard of it until I moved out East in my early twenties),it’s a classic Italian dish with many variations. It can be made with thin, individual slices of beef such as round or as one large roll using flank steak. It can also be made with pork and it always has a savory filling. But first, get the pronunciation right: [brah-chee-oh-ley, brah-choh-; Italian brah-chaw-le].
For this take on stuffed beef rolls, Cook’s Illustrated chose flank steak rather than top or bottom round because its loose grain makes it easier to pound thin and its higher fat content means that it emerges from the oven tender and moist. And that it did!
This filling is on the bold side, with the inclusion of umami-rich ingredients such as prosciutto; anchovies; and fontina, a good melter that also brings much-needed fat to the dish. In addition, a gremolata-inspired mix added to the filling provides a jolt of flavor and freshness. Right up our alley! Finally, beef broth is added to the tomato sauce to integrate the beef and the sauce into a unified whole.
This is not your quick weeknight meal. It takes the better part of 4 to 5 hours before you will be serving it on the dinner table, so plan accordingly.
And below is a bonus Roasted Broccoli Rabe recipe to accompany the main dish; this recipe hailing from Milk Street. It takes about 30 minutes max, so you can make it just as the braciole is getting done.
NOTES: Before you begin, cut sixteen 10-inch lengths of kitchen twine. You can substitute sharp provolone for the fontina, if desired. For the most tender braciole, be sure to roll the meat so that the grain runs parallel to the length of the roll. Serve the braciole and sauce together, with pasta or polenta, or separately, as a pasta course with the sauce followed by the meat.
⅓ cup grated Pecorino Romano cheese, plus extra for serving
⅓ cup plain dried bread crumbs
3 oz. fontina cheese, shredded (3⁄4 cup)
1 (2- to 2½-pound) flank steak
8 thin slices prosciutto
1 tsp. kosher salt
½ tsp. pepper
1 large onion, chopped fine
¼ tsp. red pepper flakes
¼ cup tomato paste
¾ cup dry red wine
1 (28-oz.) can crushed tomatoes
2 cups beef broth
Your choice of pasta, optional
Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 325 degrees.
Stir 3 tablespoons oil, half of garlic, lemon zest, and anchovies together in medium bowl. Add ⅓ cup basil, parsley, Pecorino, and bread crumbs and stir to incorporate. Stir in fontina until evenly distributed and set aside filling.
Halve steak against grain to create 2 smaller steaks. Lay 1 steak on cutting board with grain running parallel to counter edge. Holding blade of chef’s knife parallel to counter, halve steak horizontally to create 2 thin pieces. Repeat with remaining steak.
Cover 1 piece with plastic wrap and, using meat pounder, flatten into rough rectangle measuring no more than ¼ inch thick. Repeat pounding with remaining 3 pieces. Cut each piece in half, with grain, to create total of 8 pieces.
Lay 4 pieces on cutting board with grain running parallel to counter edge (if 1 side is shorter than the other, place shorter side closer to you). Distribute half of filling evenly over pieces. Top filling on each piece with 1 slice of prosciutto, folding to fit, and press firmly. Keeping filling in place, roll each piece away from you to form tight log. Tie each roll with 2 pieces kitchen twine to secure. Repeat process with remaining steak pieces, filling, and prosciutto. Sprinkle rolls on both sides with salt and pepper.
Heat remaining ¼ cup oil in large Dutch oven over medium-high heat until shimmering. Brown rolls on 2 sides, 8 to 10 minutes. Using tongs, transfer rolls to plate.
Add onion to pot and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened and lightly browned, 5 to 7 minutes. Stir in pepper flakes and remaining garlic; cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in tomato paste and cook until slightly darkened, 3 to 4 minutes.
Add wine and cook, scraping up any browned bits. Stir in tomatoes and broth. Return rolls to pot; bring to simmer. Add parchment paper to cover the entire pot opening, then cover tightly and transfer to oven. Braise until meat is fork-tender, 2½ to 3 hours, using tongs to flip rolls halfway through braising.
Transfer braciole to serving dish and discard twine. If there is a lot of fat on the surface of the sauce, skim off as much as you can with a large spoon.
Meanwhile, if serving pasta, cook according to package directions.
TIP: If your sauce reduced too much (ours did), add up to a cup of the pasta water to thin it. Stir remaining 2 tablespoons basil into tomato sauce and season with salt and pepper to taste. Pour sauce over braciole and serve, passing extra Pecorino separately.
Roasted Broccoli Rabe with Fennel and Chili Flakes
The high heat renders the stems and florets tender while the leaves crisp around the edges, like kale chips with a spicy broccoli bite. Make sure not crowd the pan or everything will steam rather than roast. In the end, they may not look real pretty, but they are fantastic in the taste category!
If possible, use whole toasted fennel seed then grind it down yourself either with a spice grinder or mortar and pestle. There was a sweet-and-sour mint dressing that was also part of this recipe, but we omitted it. And in a word, the rabe was “Delish!”
Roasted Broccoli Rabe with Fennel and Chili Flakes
A sense of satisfaction comes from the way the spice-infused red wine permeates the beefy ribs and provides a backdrop for the earthy porcini mushrooms and fresh piney taste of rosemary. Truly a cool weather, down-home meal if there ever was one.
Thanks to Molly Stevens, we obtained this Red-Wine Braised Short Ribs with Rosemary and Porcini recipe from her “All About Braising” cookbook.
A classic trio for braising beef—red wine, tomatoes and mushrooms—there’s no cut more suited to this treatment than beefy short ribs. No need to break the bank when choosing the wine, just look for a big red that can hold its own without too much tannin or bitterness, such as Shiraz, Zinfandel (which we used), or a Rhone blend.
DO AHEAD: Keep in mind that the ribs need to marinate for 12 to 24 hours, so you may want to do this step a day (or two) ahead of the planned dinner (or very early the morning of). In addition, the flavor of the short ribs improves if they are braised 1 to 2 days before you serve them. In this case, complete the recipe through Step 6, and after braising, let them cool to room temperature in their braising liquid. Once cool, transfer ribs and sauce to a glass container, cover tightly and refrigerate.
When ready to cook, scrape off almost all of the solidified fat from the surface. Arrange the ribs in a shallow baking dish, along with the sauce; discard spice pack. Cover with foil and bake in center of oven at 375° for 15 minutes. Remove foil, taste sauce for salt and pepper, and baste ribs with sauce. Place back in oven uncovered, to heat for another 10 minutes before serving.
BTW, beef short ribs should not be confused with back ribs or beef spareribs. These two cuts (one from the back and one from the belly) are what are referred to in the trade as “scalped” ribs, meaning nearly all of the meat has been stripped from the bone and there is very little left to eat—not exactly a hearty meal for company.
You’ll want a bed of creamy polenta or silken mashed potatoes over which to ladle the beef and sauce when ready. Our choice was a potato, celery root mash combo along with roasted carrots and cauliflower.
Red-Wine Braised Short Ribs with Rosemary and Porcini
1 bottle dry robust red wine, such as Zinfandel or Shiraz
3 1/2-4 lbs. meaty beef short ribs, thick fat trimmed away and silver skin
AROMATICS & BRAISINGLIQUID:
1/2 oz. dried poricni mushrooms
3/4 cup warm water
3 Tbsp. evoo
1 large onion, julienned
2 cloves garlic, minced
14 1/2 oz. canned whole tomatoes, chopped and juice reserved or 1 lb plum tomatoes, peeled and chopped w/ juice
2- 3-4″ sprigs fresh rosemary
Marinade: place bay leaves, allspice, peppercorns and cloves wrapped up in a piece of cheesecloth; tie up.
Sauté onion, celery, carrot and garlic; add wine and cheesecloth bundle. Bring to a boil and simmer 10 minutes; set aside to cool.
Place ribs in a baking dish, season and pour over marinade. Cover and marinate 12-24 hours.
Just before braising, soak mushrooms 20-30 minutes.
Remove ribs from marinade and strain marinade into a bowl. Reserve liquid and cheesecloth bundle; discard vegetables. The ribs will have absorbed a lot of the marinade so you should have about 1 cup marinade.
Make sure ribs are dry and season. Sear until deeply browned on all sides; remove to a plate.
Preheat oven to 375°
Drain mushrooms and squeeze dry; reserve liquid. Coarsely chop mushrooms and strain liquid through a coffee filter to catch any dirt or grit; reserve liquid.
Sauté onions; add garlic, tomatoes with juice and mushrooms. Add mushroom and wine liquids and boil until reduce by half. (Since we had no liquid left at the end, we recommend not reducing this liquid.) Return short ribs to pot with any juices. Tuck spice bundle in between ribs and cover with parchment, pressing down.
Cover with a lid and braise on lower rack of oven for 2 1/2 to 3 hours. Turn every 40-45 minutes. After 20 minutes, remove lid and see if liquid is simmering too fast, if so turn down heat.
Remove ribs from pot and discard spice bundle. Remove top layer of fat from liquid. Season remaining liquid. Spoon over ribs. NOTE: We had no liquid left in the pot, just fat and veggies. So we first spooned off as much fat as possible. Then we added a cup of warm water, scraped down the browned bits from the side, covered and let the mixture meld, with a few stirs in between.