This is the time of year to go all out with your cooking, whether you are hosting elaborate holiday parties or small family gatherings. A lot of people, myself included, look for something different to make on Christmas besides a traditional turkey or ham. After all, you likely enjoyed those dishes for Thanksgiving just a month ago.
Some of my favorite Christmas non-beef dinners include the Italian-American tradition of Feast of the Seven Fishes (we have a hands-on class next week if you are interested in learning more about this seafood-laden feast) and Crown Roast of Pork with Shallots and Crab Apples.
I also love working with a nice cut of beef for the holidays, and when you stuff it, it adds a level of elegance plus additional flavors. Last year, I made a stuffed standing rib roast that was a big hit with the family.
However, the price of beef has increased over 20% since last year, partly due to the pandemic shutting down production plants and causing labor shortages. But you can still catch a good sale price on some beef cuts, if you're lucky. I just went to the grocery store today and flank steak was on sale for $9.99/pound. Since flank steak can go as high as $14/pound, I thought that was a pretty good price.
Flank steak can make an impressive meal, especially when you stuff it. You'll need a sharp knife to cut the steak in half the long way. Then, you'll flatten each piece out with a meat mallet. If you don't have a meat mallet, a rolling pin or the bottom of a cast-iron skillet will also work. I cover the meat with plastic wrap before pounding out the steaks so that raw meat doesn't get all over my kitchen. This is also a great task for getting out any aggression you may be having that day! Ultimately, you want the steaks to be 1/2 inch thick or less.
Then, you can stuff the steaks with whatever you like. I chose to use prosciutto, spinach and Parmesan cheese for an Italian theme. But you can really use whatever you like, any fresh herbs combined with fresh garlic would be lovely. Mozzarella and basil would be delicious. Peppery greens and goat cheese? Yes, please! Any type of soft or melty cheese like queso fresco or blue cheese would work well. Other stuffing ideas include olives, capers, anchovies, sun-dried tomatoes, caramelized onions, mustard, horseradish, pesto. You are only limited by your imagination with this dish!
I live in Florida where grilling is a year-round sport, but if you happen to be in Chicago or another cold place and don't want to venture outside to grill, you can easily adapt this recipe for indoor cooking. Simply sear the outside of the stuffed steaks in a hot skillet using a little grapeseed (or other neutral high-smoke point oil like canola or vegetable) oil on all sides and then finish in a 375 degree oven until you reach the desired doneness.
Stuffed Flank Steak
Scroll down for printable recipe below
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes
Inactive time: 10 minutes
One 1 1/2- to 2-pound flank steak
Salt and pepper
4 ounces prosciutto
1 cup baby spinach
1 cup grated or sliced Parmesan cheese
1. Start the coals or heat a gas grill for medium-high direct cooking. Cut at least ten 8-inch pieces of kitchen twine. Bring your flank steak to room temp.
2. Slice the steak lengthwise into two pieces.
3. Pound the two thin steaks with a meat mallet evenly to no more than 1/2-inch thick.
4. Pat them dry with paper towels and sprinkle with salt and pepper on both sides.
5. Layer the prosciutto, spinach and cheese on both steaks.
6. Roll the steaks up so that the grain of the meat runs the length of the roll, so you’ll be slicing them across the grain.
7. Tie the steaks closed with the twine every 2 inches or so. (You can prepare the recipe to this point up to several hours in advance and refrigerate.)
8. Put the stuffed steaks on the grill directly over the fire. Close the lid and cook, turning the rolls every five minutes for even browning, until you reach an internal temperature of 145° for medium doneness. Depending on the thickness of the rolls, they should take about 20 minutes or so, depending on the doneness you prefer.
5. Transfer to a cutting board and let rest 10 minutes. Cut the rolls into 1-inch slices, transfer them spiral side up to a platter, and serve.
If you would like to indulge in an elegant beef dish around the holidays, let us handling procuring it for you, The Chopping Block has some great classes coming up around New Year's Eve:
- New Year's Eve Gourmet Soiree Demonstration on Thursday, December 30 at 6pm at Lincoln Square featuring Roasted Prime Rib with Dijon-Herb Crust and Cabernet Reduction
- New Year's Eve Gourmet Soiree Demonstration on Friday, December 31 at 6pm at Merchandise Mart featuring Roasted Prime Rib with Dijon-Herb Crust and Cabernet Reduction
- Hands-On New Year's Eve French Steakhouse on Friday, December 31 at 6pm at Merchandise Mart featuring Roasted Rack of Lamb with Red Wine-Truffle Sauce
- Virtual New Year's Eve Surf and Turf Workshop on Friday, December 31 6pm CST featuring Sautéed Beef Tenderloin Steaks with Red Wine Reduction
Stuffing meats is our challenge for our private Facebook group members this week. Join, make a stuffed meats dish and share it with the home cooks in our group!