Thursday, April 14, 2011

Brociolone or falsomagro: the Sicilian beef roll for important occasions


Do you know how to cook the traditional Sicilian brociolone? This is an extraordinary dish that Sicilians prepare for important events or festivities because, even if it takes a bit of time, it's very delicious. We also called it in Sicilian "falsu magru", literally meaning "false slim" (ital. falsomagro). Why? Probably the name was related to the fact that the beef roll looks quite light from the outside, but that's just an illusion because once it's cut in slices you can see all the layers of stuffing and the several ingredients (onion, salame, omelette, breadcrumb and caciocavallo cheese), which are rolled out in a big thin slice of beef that the butcher normally prepares specifically for this dish.


In ancient times probably meat was not particularly nice and tender so the Chefs of Nobles, the famous Monsù, created new fillings to stuff the meat. Every Sicilian family puts a different stuffing inside, because nowadays everyone has its own version. My favourite, which is one of the most traditional, is the one with omelette, caciocavallo, breadbrumbs and salame.

 
To prepare this dish you will need:
- a big slice of beaten beef (about 800 gr & it must have the thickness of half of a cm)
- 150 gr of thin sliced salami
- 60 gr grated caciocavallo cheese
- 100 gr provola or fresh caciocavallo cheese in small cubes
- 3 eggs
- 5-6 tablespoons of breadcrumbs
- 1 large onion
- 3/4 of a glass of red wine
- 1 glass of water
- olive oil 
- salt & pepper


Preparation:

1. Cut the onion in half and chop it. On a low heat put a pan with a drizzle of olive oil and half of the onion and the spoons of breadcrumbs. Adjust with salt and pepper.
2. Remove from heat, let the mix cool down and add the cheeses (both grated and in cubes).


3. With the 3 eggs make an omelette, but careful because it has to be very thin and a bit smaller than the size of the beef, otherwise it will come out of the meat.
4. Oil the beef and inside, than put the ingredients in the order that you prefer, for example:  the thin slices of salami, then the omelette and finally the mix of breadcrumbs. You have to cover all the space making three different layers of stuffing.
5. Roll it out very carefully and make sure that the filling do not fall from the sides, then using a kitchen string tie the roll very well and firmly.

6. Now it's time to brown the meat roll in the appropriate pan. Again put some oil at the bottom, the other half chopped onion, salt & pepper on a minimum heat. Place the roll inside the pan and let it cooked well, turning it every 4-5 minutes.

7. When the beef has become finally brown add just less than a full glass of red wine and let it evaporate completely. Then add a full glass of water and cover the pan with the lit. 8. Let it cooked for another half an hour, checking every 10 minutes and turning the meat so that it can cook on every side. After 30 minutes check the cooking point sticking a fork inside the roll, if it comes out easily means that the beef is also cooked on the inside, otherwise leave it for another 10 minutes and check again later. (Another alternative would be finishing cooking the meat in the oven for about 20-25 min.)

 
9. As soon as it is cooked remove it from the pan and once it has cooled down cut the roll in slices, thick not more than 1 cm.
10. Place it on an oval serving dish or a tray and put the sauce that has remained in the pan, on top of the slices.

If the sauce is too dense or concentrated add a little bit of hot water and mix with the fork. Then cover the roll slices with this delicious sauce and serve hot! 

This dish is perfect for any festivity and in particolar on Easter day, which is so close now. Not only is exquisite, but also colorful and beautiful in its presentation.

You will definetely enjoy it!

4 comments:

  1. I havnt made this dish since dad died and it has inspired me to make it again. Dad taught me to cook it in the sugo but I am looking forward to cooking your version. :)

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  2. Thanks for your comment. Yes there are many people who like to cook the roll in the tomato sauce, but I prefer the plain version. I hope you can try it and like it as well!

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  3. My former mother-in-law taught me this and other Sicilian dishes in New Orleans, LA. It was "Americanized" using local ham to line the beef and without sausage or salami. She used Parmesan cheese and grated hard-boiled eggs. She cooked it in a tomato sauce (called tomato gravy in New Orleans). After I turned 50 tomato sauce wasn't setting well with me and I started cooking it with its brown drippings as gravy. I had no idea this was how it was done in Sicily. With tomato sauce we served it with spaghetti. With a brown gravy I served it with rice or mashed potatoes. Either way it is delicious. To save time over-all and avoid the multiple mess, I make three rolls at the same time and freeze two of them ready to be cooked.

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  4. Hello dear friend, how is life in New Orleans? Yes, the version you describe is a bit different, but as I wrote in my previous comment, there are many people who actually cook it in the tomato sauce. Then after having eaten the meat roll if there is any tomato sauce left we use it on top of pasta, but we never do together. Anyway, thanks for sharing, it was really interesting :)

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