Friday, May 31, 2013

Balsamic Glazed Steak Rolls from Picture the Recipe

A few weeks ago I noticed this awesome looking dish that created cute little meat and vegetable packages on Pinterest from a site called Picture the Recipe.  Officially, they are called Balsamic Glazed Steak Rolls.  I knew I had to test this recipe out!  I posted a teaser picture of these on the blog's facebook page and it got quite a positive response.  So now you will know whether or not they taste as good as they look, or at least my opinion.  

The recipe is not from a paleo site, and was mostly paleo except for the Worcestershire Sauce in the marinade and the brown sugar for the balsamic glaze.  I felt fine about omitting the sugar for the glaze, but I didn't want to cut out the Worcestershire flavor for the marinade, so I have now embarked on yet another quest for condiments:  Worcestershire or bust!   

Some of you might be asking yourself, "Worcestershire sauce isn't paleo?  But Lea & Perrins is gluten free and I've seen it in several 'Paleo' recipes on the internet!"  I'm sorry friends, but Worcestershire sauce has molasses in it and wish as you may added sugar, natural or not, is not paleo, at least not here at The Paleo Review.  I used my first Worcestershire sauce recipe attempt for the steak rolls.  Check out my review, here!  

Back to the steak rolls.  I started by prepping the meat.  The recipe site that the rolls came has pictures of every step in the cooking process.  I ended up printing a copy with the pictures and I'm glad I did.  As I bought the meat on sight not by name, and that allowed me to buy the correct cut as I think the author has flank steak and skirt steak.  They are similar cuts, but skirt steak is a bit thinner and more appropriate for this recipe.  I went back after making this and actually purchased a flank steak for comparison.  I would not use flank steak for this recipe unless you are going to bake the rolls after browning them.  I used skirt steak.

When I finished writing this review, I noted that I both printed the recipe just by printing the web page and then also printing a version without pictures.  In the version without pictures, it says skirt steak.

Use skirt steak not flank!
I started by trimming off the fat from the steak.  I approached this in the same way I would skinning a fish fillet.  The author gives using thin cut sirloin steaks as another beef cut option to eliminate the need for trimming.  It really wasn't that big of a deal.  

Once I was done trimming, I weighed the the trimmings.  While I did get some muscle meat, the trimmings weighed about 11 ounces.  I then cut the two larger pieces of meet into 3 inch strips cutting with the grain of the meat.

I then lowered my cortisol levels by taking out some of my stress tenderizing the meat.  You'll want to place a piece of plastic wrap or waxed paper between your meat and meat pounder/tenderizer tenderizer or meat/blood will splatter everywhere.  In case you get some splatter, have you found a good apron yet?  

I then seasoned the meat on both sides with salt and pepper.  I placed the meat in a small Pyrex dish and added my paleo Worcestershire sauce.  I wish I had used a larger dish so that the meat could have better contact with the very small amount of Worcestershire sauce called for.  I covered the meat with plastic wrap, put it in the refrigerator and set a timer for 30 minutes, the minimal amount of time stated in the recipe.  

While the meat marinated, I prepped the vegetables.  The recipe calls for matchsticks and encourages the use of a mandolin slicer if you have one.  I do not.  The recipe calls for one carrot and 1/2 zucchini.  I cut up 2 carrots and a whole zucchini as the amount I had when finishing cutting up the called for amounts didn't look like enough.  This was a smart move.  

I also minced the shallots needed for the balsamic glaze, which was the next thing that needed to be prepared.    

I minced the shallot further after getting the matchsticks out of the way.
The recipe says to use a sauce pan for the glaze, so I pulled out my 1.5 quart sauce pan.  After adding the butter and letting it melt, I added the minced shallots.  My butter was perhaps a bit hot, but it was fine.

Once the shallots had softened, I added my homemade beef broth, and balsamic vinegar to the pan.

I let the sauce boil, mixed it occasionally until it reduced by half.  

Now it was time to saute the veggies.  The recipe says to use the same pan.  Hrm.  To me, a sauce pan is different from a saute pan.  I would not make the glaze in a saute pan.  I added about 2 tablespoons of olive oil and the crushed garlic cloves to my 12 inch saute pan and let the oil heat over a medium high burner.  

I turned up the heat and tossed in the veggies except for the green onion.  I cooked them for about 3 minutes and seasoned them with Italian herb seasoning and salt as indicated by the recipe and removed them to a bowl.  

Once I had finished preparing the vegetables and the glaze, 40 minutes had passed since putting the meat in the refrigerator to marinate.  

Darn iphone gives a yellow overcast to any pictures with blue. 
I got some toothpicks out to have ready for securing the steak rolls before starting to fill them.  I took each piece of meat, laid a portion of the sautéed veggies and then some of the raw green onions in the middle crosswise to the grain of the meat.  How much?  You really have to just judge with each piece how much you think you can add and still roll up the edges.  

I then carefully rolled the ends lapping one end over the other as best I could and secured the roll with a toothpick or two if needed.  The recipe says you should be able to get 8-10 rolls out of 1.5 to 2 pounds of meat.  I got 6 out of 2 pounds of meat.  I'm ashamed to admit that I pulled out a ruler to make sure my strips were 3 inches.  I had one small piece of meat left that wasn't really large enough to roll and I had run out of filling anyway, so I saved it to cook another day.  

I'm glad I increased the volume of vegetables I chopped up as I would not have had enough for 6 rolls if I had not.  

I wiped out my saute pan and heated it over medium-high heat.  Once the pan was hot, I added the steak rolls.  They all fit in one batch.  Yay!  As they browned, I turned them so that each side was cooked.  I also seasoned them with Paleo Powder, my steak seasoning of choice - just a light dusting on each side.  

Here's a nice skillet shot.  Cook them until they are as done as you like your beef.  
Pretty seam up pictures.  
I plated mine and decided that these look so much better seam side up.  Seam side down they look like little little beef squids.  I almost didn't post this, but its funny.  At least I think it is.

Adventures in food photography gone wrong.
I then decided to try to be fancy with the glaze.  I poured it into a squirt bottle and intended to make a nice design of glaze.  That did not work out. I won't scare you with pictures of that squid accident.  

So let's just finish with a pretty skillet shot.  The one you all liked so much! 

Accessibility & Cost of Ingredients: You should be able to find everything you need for this recipe at your "big box" grocery store.  I wanted to try this with thin sirloin steaks but I couldn't find any at the grocery stores I frequent.  If you'd like to try Paleo Powder, you can get some here

Preparation & Cooking Time:  It took me 20 minutes to get the meat ready to go into the refrigerator to marinate.  I ended up marinating the meat for 40 minutes while I prepared the other elements of the recipe, but I would likely plan to keep them in over night the next time I make this.  Out of that 40 minutes, 23 of those were chopping veggies and the rest was prepping the glaze and sautéing the veggies.  My total preparation and cooking time:  1 hour and five minutes.  

Clean Up:  The clean up wasn't terrible.  I had the two pans to hand wash but everything else went into the dishwasher.  For reasons described below, my clean up will be less next time.  

The Paleo Review:  Thumbs Up!  When I first tried these, they were cooked medium rare.  This resulted in them being a bit tough.  I wondered if this was because I did not marinate the meat long enough, or evenly enough or if I just needed to cook them more.  I am going to say that its probably a little of both.  As I reheated the rolls during the week as leftovers, toughness issue was not there.  Also, its helpful if you cut the rolls against the grain which is counter intuitive given the shape of the roll that encourages you to cut from veggie end to veggie end (or at least they do to me).  

Flavor-wise, these are awesome little meat and veggie rolls.  The flavor you get will be influenced by the steak seasoning you use and how much you use.  It will also be influenced by the paleo Worcestershire sauce you use if you use any at all.  The Worcestershire sauce I used worked fine in that it seasoned the meat a bit.  I can't say it tasted anything like Worcestershire sauce as I remember it alone.  I could see simply using Coconut Aminos instead.  

The glaze didn't add enough flavor to me to justify making it.  Certainly make it once to see if you like it.  I guess I'm a bit of a purist with my steak and veggies these days and don't need sauces or glazes to enjoy them.  The next time I make this, first, I wont make the glaze.  This will cut down on preparation time and clean up.  

Also, I will plan ahead and marinate this overnight next time.   Remember that small piece of leftover meat?  I marinated it overnight in something I threw together that turned out awesome (and will be blogged),  sautéed it on the stove top, and it was wonderfully tender.  I suspect overnight marination will have the same effect on the steak rolls. 

I will also double the amount of marinate.  Even if I used a larger dish, the marinade in the recipe as written would not cover the meat.  

I'm adding this recipe to my list of recipes to impress company with.  Grab some skirt steak and give this a try!