How to Stuff and Cook Beef Flank Steak
I am always thrilled when I find a recipe that allows me to take an inexpensive cut of meat and transform it into an incredible meal.
That’s what you’ll find with this recipe for Stuffed Flank Steak that I found in one of my favorite cookbooks, The New Basics Cookbook. Although I’ve made some additions to their "cooking procedures", the recipe is basically the same.
Flank steak is a boneless cut of beef that is long and fibrous and comes from the cow’s lower section. Typically you tenderize the flank by marinating it before grilling. Or you can slow cook it (braise) in broth and vegetables.
In this recipe, we take another approach. Have your butcher butterfly or split the meat down the center so it lays flat and then breaks down the tough fibers by running it through his meat tenderizer. You can also tenderize it at home with that funny-looking mallet with the ridges on it or as my daughter is doing with a meat pounder.
The only other time-consuming ingredient is preparing the roasted red bell peppers. They are easy to do and are explained below, but if you really don’t want to be bothered, you can purchase them at one of our fine food establishments.
That done, you are ready to turn an ordinary piece of meat into a delicious steak stuffed with spinach, roasted red peppers, prosciutto, and Parmesan cheese. We served this dish with rice pilaf, sautéed asparagus, and a salad. The next day I had the beef cold for lunch and it was delicious.
There are several ways to roast peppers. I like to roast them on my grill outside, turning them over and over until they are charred black on the outside. If you have a gas stove, you can char them over the flame but it’s messy and I can only do one at a time.
Another method is to cut them in half lengthwise, core them, remove the seeds, and place them skin-side up on a cookie sheet. Using the broiler in the oven, place them 3 to 4 inches from the heat source and broil until the skins are black and charred.
No matter what method you use, place the blackened peppers in a paper bag for 10 minutes before peeling off the charred outer skin. What you don’t use can be stored in a jar, covered with olive oil, and put in the refrigerator. They will last up to a week.
Stuffed Flank Steak
- Roast the red bell peppers. See above.
- Washing the spinach. It’s really important that you give the spinach a good cleaning (unless you buy the pre-washed, expensive stuff, but even then I would give it a bath in cold water). Nothing can ruin a meal faster than if you or one of your guests bite onto a hard piece of grit. Been there.
- Steam it. I use one of those metal steaming racks placed in one of my saucepans with a little bit of water. Cover and steam for 5-7 minutes until wilted. When finished, drain it well by squeezing out all the excess water with your hands or the back of a spoon.
- In your food processor, add the garlic and give it a whirl until the garlic is minced. Add the spinach, Parmesan cheese, breadcrumbs, and olive oil and puree. You should end up with an incredible aromatic mixture that has a smooth consistency.
- Preheat the oven to 350° F.
- Lay your steak out flat and season it with salt and pepper. Add a layer of prosciutto to the steak, top with a layer of roasted peppers, then make another layer with the spinach mixture and sprinkle the minced hot pepper on top.
- Now for the fun part. Starting at one end, roll the steak up like a big sushi roll making sure to pull at the ends so it doesn’t get to thick in the middle.
- Tie it with kitchen string every couple of inches. Brush or spray with some olive oil, season with salt and pepper and bake in the oven for 40 minutes for medium rare or longer if you like it more well done.
- Remove from oven and allow it to cool for a few minutes before slicing it into ¾ inch pieces and serve with your favorite side dishes.
- Once you have all the ingredients together, this dish is quick and easy to put together. Once prepared, it gives you time to spend with your guests while it cooks. Besides tasting great, the ¾ inch slices make great presentations. You may even want to try stuffing it with some different ingredients, I know I will.