Friday, September 21, 2012

Paleo Comfort Foods Steak Roll

In the 25 pound grass fed beef share I recently bought, there were some round steaks.  I did some searching for a recipe to cook with these steaks and decided upon a Steak Roll from Paleo Comfort Foods.  The recipe is in their book, but I could not find where they had posted it themselves on the internet.  If you do some searching on the internet you may be able to find where others have reprinted it.  This cookbook is a great resource to have on hand, whether you are eating a paleo diet or just want to cook some tasty food.

When I was in elementary school, I remember getting the idea that I wanted to cook a fancy dinner.  I checked a cookbook out of the school library and picked out a few pretty pretentious recipes.  My mom, the patient woman that she is, indulged me and I remember going shopping with her and making at a minimum a pretty horrid soup.  This recipe reminds me of the recipes I saw in that cookbook.  It has that pre-Food TV/celebrity chef American cuisine feel about it to me.  Hopefully my skills in the kitchen have improved since then.

Get your knife ready, as there is lots of chopping to be done.  The recipe starts by instructing you to pound your steaks.  I decided to this after chopping all of the vegetables as I thought it would be more efficient time wise to do it while the vegetables were cooling after being sautéed.  While chopping the vegetables, I cooked my bacon.     


I started with chopping the celery.  

...And then the leeks.  If you've not used leeks before, you only want to use the white to really light green portion of the leek.   Cut off the root end (of course) and cut off the green leaves.  After doing this, I cut the remaining cylinder of leek goodness in half and then in strips before chopping into little pieces.  
Cylinder of Leek Goodness

Chop and chop some more.

If you want to save a little time, you can buy pre-washed bagged spinach.  Bunches of spinach were only 99 cents and I only needed one for the recipe compared to $2.50 for the bagged, so I decided I could wash the spinach myself.  I chopped off the stems of the spinach, put it in my trusty salad spinner, and gave the spinach good spin.

Putting the breaks on the spin!

Clean Spinach
To make chopping my spinach easier, I rolled up the leaves using a quasi-chiffonade method first and then cut the strips down to smaller sizes. 

Spinach Roll-up!
Next, were the mushrooms.  Somewhere in this chopping, the bacon finished cooking, I removed it from the pan, and put it on paper toweling to drain a bit and cool.

And finally the onions and garlic.  

You may want to get a bowl out to put your freshly chopped vegetables in as you chop them.  As I chopped, I usually ended up with a little more than called for in the recipe.  I set the extra chopped vegetables aside and used them in the batch of vegetables I cooked up for my breakfasts for the week.  Waste not, want not.  

Whew!  Chop and chop some more!

I put some homemade beef broth in the microwave to defrost.  

And now to saute all of these vegetables.  I put the onions and garlic in the pan with the bacon grease to saute.  Once they softened, I added the additional vegetables, the thyme and celery seed to the pan.  

I mixed everything up and then chopped up my bacon.  I'd recommend starting to preheat your oven at this point.  

Thought you were done chopping?

When the veggies were done sautéing, I moved them to a bowl to cool.  I mixed in the bacon as well.  

And now to pound the steaks.  When I opened up my steaks, I had a surprise.  I had two 1 pound packages and assumed that each had one steak.  Wrong.  Each had two long narrow strips of steak.  They were already close to 1/4" thick, so I didn't need to pound them much.  I've never gotten to use my meat pounder before, so I was excited to take some of my stress out on this high quality beef!  

Oh, what a mess!  There is a reason I've seen cooking shows recommend a layer of plastic wrap over your meat when pounding.  Not to be gross, but blood will splatter everywhere if you don't.  If you don't like plastic wrap, I suppose you could use wax paper.  

Since I had the 2 steak issue, I laid my steaks out overlapping ever so slightly.  

I spread about half of the mixture on the first steak to be rolled.  Have your big cutting board ready or clean counters.  Don't worry, my counter was clean.

I carefully rolled the steak up into the roll.  

And repeated the process for my second steak roll.  

The recipe says to use a few toothpicks to hold roll in shape, but mine seemed to stay in a roll fine with out them.  I greased my baking dish with ghee, and carefully moved my steak rolls into it.  I poured my broth over the rolls.

Finally, I put the steak rolls in the preheated oven, covered, for one hour.

After one hour, I uncovered the dish and set the timer for an additional 30 minutes.  Silly me, I didn't see that I was supposed to have spooned some of the broth over the steak at this point.  

After 30 minutes more, here is the result. 


I was worried these would be difficult to get out of the baking dish.  They really weren't.  I used a sturdy food turner to lift them out onto my cutting board. 

Oh, how pretty they were when I cut into them.

Oh, I hope this is good!
I served the steak rolls with a green salad with homemade vinaigrette.  Here are two pictures of my plate.   I served a little bowl of the juice from the pan on the side.  

Cost and Accessibility of Ingredients:  As a part of my 25 pound meat share, these grass fed steaks cost me $7.00/ pound.  I've not shopped for round steak, but as its pretty lean, I want to say its a less expensive cut of meat.  All of the ingredients are available at your big box grocery store.

Preparation/Cook Time:  This recipe takes a substantial time commitment.  The recipe does not give any stated preparation time.  I set my stopwatch for this one.  From beginning to chop to putting the steaks in the oven, it took me 48 minutes.  Estimating on the high side for my stopping to snap a picture as I cooked, subtracting 5 minutes, thats still 43 minutes of preparation time.  Then theres 1.5 hours of cook time.  This is a weekend only dish for me.

Clean up:  I think because there was so much chopping, I feel like there was more mess than maybe there was.  There were certainly little bits of vegetable everywhere.  I was able to put everything but my knife and saute pan in the dishwasher.

The Paleo Review:  Thumbs Up!   Thank goodness this tasted as good as it looked!  Yes, you will spend a long time in the kitchen, but you will be rewarded with a flavorful main dish that is so much more interesting than just broiling a steak with some vegetables.  It certainly could be served to special company.  While eating it, I dont know that I could pick out the leek flavor over the onion, so I wonder if you could omit the leek and just add a little more onion?  While putting the steak away, I poured the remaining juice through a fine metal sieve and refrigerated it separately from the steak.  After refrigerating it over night, I was able to remove the solidified fat and had a nice sauce for my leftovers.

I also wonder if you couldn't do the prep work and refrigerate the steak rolls ahead of time, say the day before you want to serve them?  I'll likely try this next time.  And yes, there will be a next time, as this recipe is worth the time.