This Braciola is kosher by way of Southern Italy
Quickly-boiled beet greens mixed with capers and garlic, stuffed into thin, pounded-out beef shoulder and braised in a red wine-tomato sauce is a lighter, delicious version of the traditional Southern Italian rolled beef dish braciola. If you’ve seen just about any episode of “The Sopranos,” Tony spends at least one scene standing at the fridge in his boxers and bathrobe, eating cold leftovers of “brashol.”
The usual versions use provolone cheese and sometimes prosciutto. This kosher version skips all that, and turns out to be lighter but just as deeply flavored. I serve it with olive oil-mashed potatoes. It’s also delicious cold, in your boxers.
3 pounds kosher beef round
Salt and pepper
1 t. smoked paprika
10 cups raw chopped beet tops
5 cloves garlic, smashed
¼ cup capers + 2 tablespoons capers
2 cups best-quality prepared tomato sauce, yours or store-bought
1 cup red wine
Kitchen string or toothpicks
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
The Filling: In a large pot, bring 3-inches of water to boil. Add the beet greens, cover and boil several minutes until just tender. Remove from heat and drain. Let cool, then use your hands to press out excess liquid. Press hard: you don’t want it soggy. You should end up with about two cups. Add the garlic, ¼ cup capers, salt and pepper and mix well. Set aside.
The Beef: Slice the beef into ¼ inch slices. The sharper your knife and colder your meat, the easier this is. Lay out a piece of kitchen parchment, lightly oil it, and with a mallet pound the slices to around ⅛ inch thick. Try for roughly rectangular shapes.
Lift each piece and re-assemble into one large rectangle with the pieces overlapping by an inch or even less. Now pound this together.
The Roll: Lay the beet mixture lengthwise about three inches in from the long edge of the flattened beef. Shape it into a cylinder. Roll tightly, shaping as you go. If a little pops out, press it back and keep going. Use the twine or toothpicks to secure the roll. Check a YouTube video on proper technique, if you wish. Sprinkle all around with salt, pepper and paprika.
The Braise: In a deep skillet or casserole, heat the olive oil until just smoking. Add the roll and sear on all sides. This should just take a few minutes. Lower the heat, stand back, and add the wine. Let it cook a second, then add the tomato sauce. Stir gently. Add the 2 T. capers, and enough water to come halfway up the sides of the roll. Stir again.
Lower to simmer. Cover with a layer of fitted parchment paper if available, then a lid. If no parchment paper, just use the lid. Simmer for about 30 minutes. Lift the covers to baste and turn the roll a couple of times.
Remove from heat. Slice into 3-inch rounds. Serve with sauce. Dust everything with chopped parsley and serve. Serves 4-6.