From My Wok to Yours - Taking the Mystery Out of Everyday Dining and Meals!!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Pan Seared Steak Rolls

Ask me what I had for lunch today.  Go ahead. Ask.

Okay.  "Colin, what did you have for lunch today?"

"Fast food.  Carl's Jr. to be exact.  The Big Carl Combo. With onion rings."

"Eww... I thought you didn't like fast food..."

"I don't...but..."

I simply did not feel like leftovers today, even though we had plenty in the house.  Thankfully, some of the meals that I have made recently hold well, and reheat well.  I thought I was going to have leftovers from last night's meal, a delicious creation of Pan Seared Steak Rolls, a la Martin Yan, but for some strange reason, the kids ate every bit of it.  There wasn't even anything to scrape into the garbage can.  (I tried to tell my wife, who was in bed, sick, that the meal was terrible, so that she would not feel bad about not getting any but she didn't believe me.) But she didn't get any anyways.  There simply were no leftovers.  Wow.

Operationally, this was a tough meal to make on a weeknight.  The meat needs to be frozen for about 30 minutes to make it easier to slice into manageable strips, and then it needs to sit in the marinade for up to 2 hours.  On a Tuesday night? Yeah, right.

The cut of meat is super important as well.  A couple of nights ago I tried to make my Broccoli Beef recipe with brisket that did not have a chance to sit in marinade.  (I was trying someone else's recipe.  Otherwise, the marinade would have been a given.)  Brisket, sadly, if not allowed to smoke on a barbeque and cook for hours, can be a very tough cut of beef.  Consequently, Kim had to go on a shopping excursion during her lunch hour yesterday to find me some flank steak, which would have been the optimal cut of meat to use for steak rolls.  Unfortunately, the neighborhood meat market did not have flank.  Tripe, tongue, liver, pig's feet, sure.  Flank steak? Not so much. Weird, right?  (For those of  you familiar with San Antonio, yeah, that's weird.)

After visiting 2 other grocery stores, and with time slipping away, I told Kim just to get the leanest package of skirt steak.  *Skirt steak is a fattier cut of meat, even though both skirt and flank are a tough cut of meat from the diaphragm of the cow.  Because skirt is considered a tougher cut of meat, it lends itself perfectly to stuffing, rolling then searing, and us usually the only cut of beef traditional cooks use when making fajitas.  Flank steak, my personal preference, is much leaner, and is generally used for cuts of London Broil.  When sliced thinly at a diagonal across the grain, if marinated properly, flank steak is delicious.*   I still, however, had to wait for her to get home from work to be able to start working with the meat, and by that time, I had already finished most of the vegetable prep.

Best practice with this recipe:  Pan seared steak rolls require a lot of different ingredients,  for the marinade, sauce and stuffing.  I would highly advise keeping the wet ingredients together, then the veggies, as I, in my fervor, just tossed all of the stuffing ingredients in one bowl to mix when I really should have set the oil, garlic and ginger aside to cook separately.

The final result was tasty, if not a little salty.  Also, despite my best attempts to adhere to the recipe, I did not get a good "searing" of the meat, instead poaching it more.  The solution?  I should have used a little less oil and more butter when trying to sear the steak rolls.  Upon cutting the Steak Roll open, we were able to view a colorful mosaic of vegetables, which could have only been enhanced by the addition of chives, or green onions that I wanted to put in the recipe.  (Onions were only kept out at Kim's insistence, even though she did not even end up being able to enjoy the dish.)

I would definitely suggest that everyone tries this recipe.  Perhaps, from many, one can gather THE perfect recipe for this meal.  Until we find it, Good Eating, Friends...

Pan Seared Steak Rolls

8 ounces flank steak (4 inch x 6 inch piece) or 8 thin sliced sirloin


1 tablespoon soy sauce

1 teaspoon vegetable oil

freshly ground pepper


1 tablespoon oyster sauce

1 tablespoon Chinese rice wine or dry sherry

2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced

¼ cup canned chicken broth

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1 teaspoon minced garlic

1 teaspoon minced ginger

1 carrot, cut into 2 inch matchsticks

½ red bell pepper, cut into 2 inch matchsticks

2 ribs celery, sliced thin on diagonal

1 tablespoon soy sauce

1 teaspoon sesame oil

12 green onions, cut into 3 inches long

4 ounces enoki mushrooms

2 teaspoons vegetable oil

2 teaspoons butter

¼ teaspoon sesame seeds
Freeze steak for 30 minutes until partially frozen. Slice steak against the grain, on the diagonal, into 8 equally thin pieces. Use a meat mallet to pound each piece of meat to 1/8 inch thick. If using thin sliced sirloin, skip this step.
Combine marinade ingredients in a bowl and add meat slices. Let stand 15 minutes to 2 hours.
In a separate bowl, combine sauce ingredients.
To prepare filling, heat a wok or skillet over high heat. When hot, add vegetable oil, swirling to coat the sides. Add garlic and ginger and fry for 20 seconds. Add carrot, bell pepper, celery and stir fry for 1 minute. Add soy sauce, sesame oil and stir. Transfer to bowl and let cool.
To make the beef rolls, lay beef slices out with short side facing you. Equally divide chives, enoki mushrooms and vegetable mixture among the pieces of meat. Roll the beef up, over the filling and secure with toothpick.
Place a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the vegetable oil and butter, swirling to coat bottom. When hot, add beef rolls, seam side down, not touching and pan fry for 1 minute, turn roll. Add sauce to the pan. Cover and simmer over medium heat until beef is just cooked through, 1-2 minutes. Remove toothpick, sprinkle with sesame seeds to serve.
Yields 4 servings

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