Matambre (Stuffed Flank Steak)

Ingredients:

  • 1 flank steak, 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 pounds; butterflied
  • 1 cup pitted green olives
  • 1/4 – 1/2 C. each chopped fresh parsley and cilantro leaves, or all of one or the other
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil.
  • 1 Tbsp fresh marjoram or oregano, or 1 teaspoon dried
  • 1 Tbsp minced fresh garlic
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 6 or 8 thin carrot sticks (1 medium carrot)
  • 1 medium red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 bunch watercress, trimmed
  • 6 oz piece of Parmigiano-Reggiano or Romano cheese, cut into match stick size pieces
  • 2 hard boiled eggs, peeled and cooled and thinly sliced (optional)
  • 4 – 6 thin slices of bacon (optional)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Yields 6 servings

Directions:

1. First you must butterfly the flank steak; this is the hardest part of the recipe. The easiest way to do this is to place the steak at the edge of a cutting board, short side toward you. Using a long thin knife (I like to use a 9 inch carving knife) hold the blade parallel to the board and begin slicing the meat through half the thickness. Stop when you get about 1/2 inch from the opposite edge. Unfold the meat like you are opening a book. Next use a meat pounder, and lightly pound the meat until it is uniform in thickness. Don’t pound it thin; you just want the thickness to be even. You should end up with a piece of meat that is slightly rectangular, and about 12 to 15 inches in length.

2. Season meat liberally on both sides with salt and pepper, then place it cut side up, the grain of the meat should be running from bottom of the cutting board to the top. Season with marjoram or oregano, cumin and garlic and cover it with a fairly even layer of parsley-cilantro mix. Then arrange egg (if used), carrots, onions, Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, and olives horizontally over the full width of the meat. Scatter a relatively even layer of watercress over all.

  • If you choose to use bacon, prior to stuffing arrange the bacon strips on the cutting board (the strips should run at a 90 degree angle to the bottom edge of the cutting board.). Space the strips so that they evenly cover the area of the flank steak. Next place the flank steak on top of the bacon, so that the grain of the meat runs in the same direction as the bacon.

3. Roll meat up as tight as possible, from the bottom like a jellyroll. You will be rolling with the grain. Tie meat about every two inches, and end to end with butcher’s twine. Coat entire surface with olive oil.

  • If you have a few slits in the meat, don’t be overly concerned, but try to patch up any holes as best you can. The leafy vegetables and herbs do a good job in keeping the stuffing in.

4. Place in a 250°F preheated smoker. Apply 1:00 – 1:20 hours of Apple or Oak smoke, and continue to cook for a total of 2:00 hours (approximately 4 – 4.5 hours total), or until the desired doness is reached.

  • If you have a large load in your smoker, you may have to adjust your cooking time.

5. Remove from smoker, and let rest for 20 minutes. Remove string and slice 1/2′ thick slices, at an angle. Serve hot or at room temperature.

  • Or, wrap in plastic wrap, place in a clean baking dish, weight it with a plate with something heavy on it and chill overnight. Take matambre from refrigerator and slice it into 1/2-inch to 1-inch pieces about an hour before serving at room temperature.

To Cook In Oven (non-smoked)

6. Heat two tablespoons of olive oil in a Dutch oven, braising pan, or roasting pan large enough to accommodate rolled steak. Deeply brown it on all sides, about 15 minutes total, then transfer pan to a preheated 375°F oven and roast for about 30 minutes, or until the desired doness is reached.

7. Transfer to a cutting board and let rest for 30 minutes before slicing and serving.

Recipe Variations:
Use one bunch of spinach, chopped; instead of olives.

Crumbled or whole sausage makes a good stuffing, if you are using the smoking method of cooking, you will need to cook the sausage before using it as stuffing. If you use whole sausage, two 6′ links should be enough.

After butterflying the meat, marinate 1-2 hours at room temperature in 1/4 cup Red wine vinegar, 1 teaspoon Garlic, finely chopped, 1/2 teaspoon Thyme, dried; or your favorite marinade.

Try different seasonings and/or herbs.