Meat stuffed with chicken, a specialty from Goias. Wait. What? At first, it seems like an odd combination but when you taste, you’ll love it! The roulade is slowly roasted and presents a spectrum of textures: crusty and flaky meat around the edges and moist ground chicken stuffing packed with aromatic flavors in the center, this roulade is succulent and rich.
Truth be told: this is not the easiest of dishes, and it needs to rest in the refrigerator for a day. Yet, it is my kind of dish. There is some work and technique involved, especially when it comes to butterflying and tying the meat. I must confess I have never mastered the butcher’s way of using twine, and the two endings of this meat log always suffer from my poor tying skills (I am working on it!). Even though I don’t make the most perfect embroidery, once roasted, it looks gorgeous and tastes sublime.
Serves 6 to 8
1 flank steak (around 1 ½ pounds)
3/4 pound ground chicken (mixed from white and dark)
2 scallions (white and green parts), finely chopped (about ¼ cup)
1 stalk celery, finely chopped (about ¼ cup)
Half red onion, chopped (about ½ cup)
Half yellow bell pepper, finely chopped (about ½ cup)
Half red bell pepper, finely chopped (about ½ cup)
1 small carrot, finely diced (about 1/3 cup)
4 cloves garlic, minced (about 1 tablespoon)
¼ cup fresh parsley, chopped
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 chicken bouillon cube, grated into powder
2 teaspoons Kosher salt
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
- Using a boning knife or a very sharp paring knife, trim any excess fat and silver skin from the flank steak. Carefully butterfly the meat, working across the grain and trying not to tear it. Start through one of the long edges and slowly cut deeper into the meat. Keeping the meat flat and the knife blade horizontal at all times will help with the job. When you reach the center, stop and open the meat as if it was a book (If you know a good butcher, don’t be shy to ask him to do it for you). Season both sides liberally with salt and pepper. Set aside while you prepare the filling.
- Place the ground chicken in a large bowl. Stir in the scallions, celery, red onion, bell peppers, carrot, garlic, parsley, one tablespoon of the olive oil, the soy sauce, and bouillon cube. Mix well. To check the seasoning, pinch off an egg-size piece and cook it in a hot skillet with a dash of oil. Season the rest of the filling with salt and pepper as necessary.
- Place the ground meat mixture inside the opened flank steak, cut side up, and spread throughout the surface of the meat. Make sure to leave a 2-inch edge on all sides. The amount of stuffing may vary slightly, depending on the size of your flank steak.
- Carefully roll the flank steak making sure to fold some meat over the ends to avoid ground meat from escaping.
- Tie the roulade with a string, making a knot in 5 to 6 places. Don’t worry if the ends are a little messy; as long as you tie it well, the dish will hold its shape. Wrap the roulade in plastic wrap and keep it in the refrigerator for 1 day (or up to 2 days) so that the flavors have a chance to blend. Make sure to bring it to room temperature at least 30 minutes before proceeding.
- Pre-heat the oven to 225˚F.
- Warm the remaining olive oil in a large skillet over medium to high heat. Add the roulade and cook, rotating every 2 minutes until it forms a nice brown crust all over, about 8 minutes.
- Transfer to a cutting board and let it rest for about 10 minutes.
- Wrap the roulade in aluminum foil and seal the edges very tightly. Place seam side up pm a baking sheet on the center rack of the oven. Cook for about 2 hours, until you reach a 155˚F internal temperature. Save any juices that render and accumulate.
- Remove from the oven and let rest with the foil wrap closed, for about 15 minutes.
- Open the foil, pour any juices into a bowl, and place the meat onto a cutting board. Using a serrated knife cut ¾ -inch thick slices. Serve with the juices drizzled on top.