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Mushroom-Stuffed Rolled Flank Steak Braised in Tomato Sauce

Serves 6

This is a delicious recipe for flank steak, and is much less complicated than it sounds. It is based on an Italian braised stuffed and rolled beef dish called braciola, braciole in its better-known plural form. I provide a description of how to butterfly the steak. If you do not want to tackle it yourself, ask your butcher to do it for you. However, once you learn the method, you can butterfly any meat or poultry, and stuff it with anything you like.

Ingredients
   Stuffing    Sauce

For the stuffing, heat a 10-inch skillet over medium-high heat. Add the 3 tablespoons of oil. Sauté the mushrooms until softened, about 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Add the bread crumbs, garlic, marjoram, sage and parsley. Sauté until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool. Add the Parmesan cheese and stir well.

Season the inside of the steak with salt and pepper. Rub with some olive oil. Spread the stuffing all over, leaving about a 1/2-inch edge around the perimeter of the steak. Roll, jelly roll style, using the short end so that the grains of the steak run lengthwise along the roll. Secure with butcher's twine. Season the outside with salt and pepper, and rub with olive oil. Heat a small sauté pan, large enough to hold the rolled steak, over high heat. Add the 2 tablespoons olive oil. When hot, add the meat and sear on all sides, about 2 minutes per side. Reduce heat to medium; remove the meat and set aside.

To make the sauce, add 1 tablespoon olive oil to the pan. Add the onions, carrots and celery and sauté until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and tomato paste. Sauté another minute, stirring well. Add the wine and stir to get up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Add the marjoram, parsley, tomatoes, salt and pepper; stir well.

Return the meat to the pan. Spoon some of the sauce on top. Reduce heat to medium-low; cover and braise until fork tender, about 1-1/2 hours, turning and saucing about every 10 minutes. Add more wine or a little water if the sauce dries out too much. To serve, place the meat on a platter or cutting surface and let rest about 5 minutes. Remove the string and slice into pieces about 2-inches thick. Top with some of the sauce. Use the remaining sauce to top a pasta, rice or potato side dish.

Notes: To butterfly the steak, cut horizontally through the center, starting on a long side. The length of the knife should be running the same direction as the grains of the meat. Cut straight across, but not completely through to the other side. Open the meat like a book. Cover with plastic wrap and pound to an even thickness. Be careful not to let the grains separate but, if they do, just push together with your hands and pound lightly to seal.