Saturday, July 4, 2009

Bragioli - Beef Olives

Bragioli are often called beef olives although no olives are used! The 'olive' refers to the way the beef is wrapped round the stuffing but sometimes people use it as a name for the whole dish
A traditional Maltese beef dish, Bragioli takes some time to cook but preparation is simple.
This dish probably originated from the Sicilian 'Bragiol" which was one big rolled beef olive

4 Thin slices of beef topside (aprox. 1lb /500 grams )
2 Diced onions
2 Diced carrots
100 gms peas (frozen will do)
3 slices stale white breadcrumbs
2 Hard boiled eggs -chopped
6 Slices of Bacon
1 bunch parsley
2 Garlic cloves
2 Bay leaves
Salt and pepper to taste
1 glass Red wine

Set oven to 180C / 350F so it will heat up.
Beat each slice of meat flat with a kitchen mallet(or anything that will do!) until as thin as possible.
Chop the bacon, garlic and parsley.
Grind the bread to crumbs, then prepare the stuffing by mixing the crumbs with the chopped bacon, garlic, parsley and seasoning, but not the bay leaves. Add the chopped hard boiled egg.
Some recipes call for the egg to quartered and put on the stuffing and not mixed into it but i prefer this way.
Put a heaped tablespoon or two of the stuffing onto a slice of meat.
Roll up the meat slices lengthwise over the stuffing, and fasten together with wooden toothpicks.(traditionally, thread was used to tie up the bragioli and when removed after cooking they actually keep their shape really well. I tried using ordinary sewing thread and it worked!)
Pour some oil in a large pan, and brown the beef olives all over in this, together with the bay leaves.
Put the browned bragioli and bay leaves into a casserole dish.
Fry the sliced onion and carrot in the same oil.
Pour the wine over the frying vegetables.Let the sauce reach a slow boil and then pour this over the bragioli in the casserole dish.
Add the peas.
Simmer very gently for 1½ hours. You probably will have to add a little more wine to top up the braising liquid, but don't add too much, otherwise the bragioli will not cook correctly.
Remove the bay leaf and serve with your favourite vegetables or even a large portion of chips and salad. I prefer mashed, boiled or roasted potatoes.

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All the recipes here have either been sent to me, adapted by me or found on the web. If I know the source I always give credit to the author/website. If you know of a source I may have missed please let me know.