This dish has always been a special favorite of Matthew’s ever since he was a child. So when I asked him what he wanted to make for his birthday, it was not a great surprise that farse magru is what he asked for. We started out with caviar and all the fixings with some Veuve Cliquot. Then it was dinner – farse magru with pappardelle pasta and garlicky green beans and a delicious Reserve Cabernet. Dessert was leftover Chess Pie.
This dish is fun to make and I never make it exactly the same way twice! It’s one that you can be creative with and it always turns out as a spectacular presentation. It is possible to roll and tie the meat yourself, but it is MUCH easier if you have another person working with you. I generally serve this with polenta or pasta, a veg and a side salad. This will not be an exact recipe but a method and a guide. It’s really not that difficult once you get the hang of tying the roll up. Trust me – you can do it.
Farse Magru – Stuffed Rolled Beef
Yield: 6 portions
Ingredients – use these a guide, not as written in stone
1 piece of flank stank, about 2 pounds, rounded thin into a rectangle (If you can, ask your butcher to do this or use the flat side of a meat tenderizer with the meat between 2 pieces of parchment or heavy duty plastic wrap.)
2-3 teaspoons finely chopped or crushed garlic
About 1/4 cup of finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
Kosher salt and cracked fresh pepper
About 1 cup of sun-dried tomatoes
16 ounces of frozen whole leaf spinach that has been defrosted and squeezed dry
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
4-5 hard boiled eggs, peeled
About 1/4 pound of Genoa salami, thinly sliced
About 6-8 ounces of shredded cheese (I used a combination of Fontina and Asiago. If you wish to leave the cheese out you can)
2 large boxes or cans (about 28 ounces) of San Marzano tomatoes, broken up (If you are feeling lazy, you can use two jars of a quality tomato-based pasta sauce of choice instead of the tomatoes and following ingredients.)
1/2 cup dry red wine ( I used the Cabernet we would be drinking)
2 bay leaves, dried or fresh
1 Tablespoon dried oregano
1 Tablespoon dried thyme
- On a large cutting board or platter, covered with parchment paper, lay out your rectangle of beef. Smear the garlic, parsley, salt and pepper over the surface. Drizzle with EVOO. Don’t be afraid to use your hands – adult finger-painting!
- Now add your sun-dried tomatoes then half of the cheese and then half of the spinach, sprinkled with 1/2 of the nutmeg
- Now the Genoa Salami (Are you getting the idea?) Now the hard boiled eggs go right down the middle Then the rest of the spinach and nutmeg, followed by the remaining cheese Now unfortunately, I was too busy working to roll and tie this up with my husband to take photos of the next part, so I ‘ll try to walk you through.
- Preheat your oven to 325 degrees F.
- Cut about 6 lengths of kitchen twine that are long enough to generously go around the meat and allow you to tie it tightly. You can cut off any excess and since twine is cheap, don’t skimp! Carefully work the pieces of twine under the slab of meat at intervals. More string is better.
- Now the tricky part. Carefully, but confidently take the meat along the longer side and roll it towards the opposite side, gently squishing it down and tucking things in that want to escape. Don’t get too concerned. Anything that falls out can go into the sauce so nothing is wasted. While one person is holding it together as tightly as possible, the other person helping you should be tying the string around the meat roll that you have created as tightly as possible without ripping the meat. The ends do not need to be sealed, but you don’t want everything to fall out when you pick up the roll. Check for any gaps and use more string of you need to close the roll up as much as possible.
- Heat about 3 Tablespoons of EVOO in a heavy pan that is deep enough to hold the meat and the sauce. I have an oval Dutch Oven that is perfect. Carefully lift the meat roll and fit it into the pan to brown it on all sides. If you need to slightly bend the roll to fit it in the pan, that’s fine. Turn it carefully to brown.
- Once the meat is browned, add your sauce or sauce ingredients, covering the meat with some of the sauce. Cover the pan and bring the ingredients to a heavy simmer. Place the covered pan in the oven and cook for 1.5 hours.
- Turn off the heat and allow the meat to rest for about 30 minutes or longer. When you are ready to serve the meat, carefully remove the roll from the pan and place it seam side down on a cutting board. Snip the string. With a good, sharp knife, slice your rounds of meat. Do not slice them too thin or they will fall apart.
- Place some of the hot sauce (reheat the sauce if necessary) on a platter and place the rounds of meat on top). Place the remaining sauce in a gravy boat or its equivalent and serve on the side at the table.