Dave Wendel’s Flank Steak Roulade

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Today, I’m delighted to welcome Dave Wendel to Nom Nom Paleo as a guest blogger. Unlike yours truly, Dave’s a classically trained chef who earned his chops at what Paul Bocuse called “the best culinary school in the world,” so you know he’s got the goods.

Dave has graciously agreed to share his flank steak roulade recipe (and step-by-step photos!) with us, and trust me — this meal is a guaranteed home run. Take it away, Dave!



I was fortunate enough to meet Michelle and Henry at AHS12. We quickly bonded over our common love for delicious food. When Michelle asked me to do a guest post for her blog, I was excited to create a main course that looks impressive, yet doesn’t keep you in the kitchen for hours. I came up with the idea of doing a roulade.

One nice feature of a roulade is that it can be made several days prior to your event and then cooked just before serving. Additionally, you can experiment with the stuffing, changing it by adding or subtracting ingredients. A roulade tastes great and your guests will be impressed by the visual appeal of the pinwheel on their plate.

Enjoy!
-Dave

Here’s what to gather to feed 4-6 people:

  • ½ pound baby spinach
  • ¼ cup water
  • 1½ pounds flank steak
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper, divided
  • 4 thick slices of bacon, diced
  • 1 medium red pepper, diced
  • 1 small green zucchini, diced
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 garlic clove, pressed
  • 2 tablespoons ghee or coconut oil

Here’s what to do:

1. Preheat oven to 400°F.

2. Heat large saute pan over high heat until very hot.

3. Add spinach and water to the pan and cover. 

4. Allow the spinach to steam undisturbed until wilted (about 2 minutes).  Uncover and allow spinach to cool.

5. Drain and press spinach to get all the water out.

6. Butterfly the flank steak with the fibers running parallel to your stabilizing hand, being careful not to slice it into two pieces.

7. Season inside of flank steak with salt and pepper to taste (approximately ¼ teaspoon of each).

8. Heat a separate saute pan over medium heat. Add bacon and cook for 3-4 minutes.

9. Toss in peppers and zucchini, cooking for 3-4 more minutes.

10. Next, sprinkle on chili powder, garlic, and ½ teaspoon each of salt and pepper. Mix well. Continue to cook until vegetables are tender and remove from heat to cool.

11. Spread cooled bacon and vegetable mixture evenly over the seasoned flank steak.

11. Cover vegetable mixture with the steamed spinach. This will help keep the vegetables in place.

12. Roll the flank steak.

 13. Tie with butcher twine, and season the outside of the roulade with salt and pepper (approximately ¼ teaspoon each).

(If you are serving the roulade later (up to 3 days), place it in the fridge at this step. When you are ready to serve it, remove it from the fridge for about an hour to bring to room temperature. Then, follow the rest of the instructions.)

14. Heat large saute pan over high heat. Add ghee or coconut oil until it starts to smoke. Sear all of the sides of the roulade until golden brown.

15. Place roulade in oven and cook until the internal temperature reaches 120°F for medium rare (approximately 18-20 minutes). Let the roulade rest for 20 minutes after removing from the oven and the residual heat will raise the temperature of the meat to 125-130°F.

16. Slice and remove twine before serving.


Dave Wendel is a 1999 graduate of The Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, NY. He has worked in the food service industry for 20 years, and currently works as a buyer for a gourmet foods company. Dave became interested in Paleo as part of the comprehensive plan to manage his Type 1 Diabetes. In his free time, Dave relaxes with his wife, Ann Wendel, the owner of Prana Physical Therapy. You can connect with Dave here

Sous Vide Grass Fed Flank Steak

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I’m always hesitant to cook new cuts of grass fed beef in my SousVide Supreme because my results have been hit-or-miss. When I mess up, I end up with a ton of powdery, overly-tender leftovers that I have to force myself to choke down. (It’s too damn expensive to toss, people.)

After perusing the interwebs and consulting my Douglas Baldwin sous vide bible, I decided to cook my grass fed flank steak at 130 F — medium rare — for 24 hours (his book recommends 24-48 hours cooking time). Most references indicate that you can actually cut the cooking time for grass fed beef by half, but I’m leery of taking the meat out too soon. I’m self-aware enough to know that I’m too lazy to vacuum seal it again if it’s underdone. 

*Update on 8/1/11: I’ve gotten great results when I’ve left the steaks in for about 36 hours. Sometimes, they’re still too chewy at 24 hours.

I seasoned the flank steak with just salt and pepper; I’ve found that with prolonged cooking (more than 6 hours), spice blends tend to overpower the meat or impart some off flavors. That being said, you should season the steak liberally with salt and pepper before sealing it. 

I seasoned and vacuum sealed my steak but I let it marinate in the fridge for several hours before I dunked it in my 130 F water oven.

I removed the flank steak which had been submerged for 23 hours…

…dried it off with paper towels…

…and blasted it with my kitchen torch.

The blowtorch is pretty awesome. I’m still getting the hang of it, but I love that I can char the whole piece of meat evenly. Whenever I’d sear a piece of sous vided meat in a pan, there would always be parts that wouldn’t brown properly because the cooked meat wasn’t flat.

After 24 hours and a quick char, the flank steak turned out tender and juicy.

Yay!

Lunch! Leftover sous vide flank steak topped with Primavera salsa served with bacon fat roasted broccoli and Brussels sprouts. 
I’ve been afraid of nuking my leftover sous vide meats because I thought reheating them would turn them into leather. I zapped this plate for about a minute and it actually improved the texture of the flank steak.  The flank steak tasted like yummy, braised brisket because the fat melted and the meat remained really tender. Now, I’m not afraid to nuke my leftover sous vide meats. It’s nice to break the cycle.

Lunch! Leftover sous vide flank steak topped with Primavera salsa served with bacon fat roasted broccoli and Brussels sprouts.

I’ve been afraid of nuking my leftover sous vide meats because I thought reheating them would turn them into leather. I zapped this plate for about a minute and it actually improved the texture of the flank steak.  The flank steak tasted like yummy, braised brisket because the fat melted and the meat remained really tender. Now, I’m not afraid to nuke my leftover sous vide meats. It’s nice to break the cycle.

Fun With Bacon Grease

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After baking two pounds of bacon in the oven yesterday, I now have a tidy container of congealed bacon grease chillin’ in the fridge. And I’ve been on the lookout for alternatives to roasting veggies and meats with extra virgin olive oil, so the bacon grease certainly came in handy today.

I had some Brussels sprouts languishing in my vegetable crisper, so I roasted them off this morning. I kept it simple, and just tossed ‘em with a few tablespoons of bacon grease, salt, and pepper. My bacon grease turned milky white in the fridge –- I’ve grabbed it a few times today thinking it was my coconut milk. Not a terrible mistake, but I’m not sure I wanna eat my Paleo trail mix with bacon fat.

To liquefy the fat, I zapped it in the microwave for 30 seconds and stirred it. I store my fat in a microwave-safe glass Snapware container, so there’s no need to use (and later, wash) an extra bowl. Then, I spooned some of this liquid gold over my trimmed sprouts…

…seasoned with salt and pepper…

…and popped the tray in a 400 F oven for around 25-30 minutes.

The bacon fat lends the Brussels sprouts a rich, smoky, mouth-filling flavor.

For lunch, I ate some of the sprouts along with a salad I threw together using leftover sous vide flank steak, salad greens, sliced cucumbers, and grape tomatoes.

The bacon grease left in my glass container went right back into the fridge — for another few hours, anyway.

This evening, I once again nuked the container of bacon grease and then tossed a few tablespoons of the fat with some broccoli before roasting it in the oven (400 F for 25-35 minutes). 


But wait — I found more uses for my bacon fat!

While the broccoli cooked, I reheated two sous vide chicken breasts in my SousVide Supreme (140F for 30 minutes).  After removing the chicken from the water bath, I patted them dry, and brushed on some melted bacon grease…

…before searing them in my grill pan.

I’m sorry, but boneless and skinless breasts aren’t the tastiest parts of the chicken, so basting ‘em with bacon grease is a good thing.

I sliced the chicken breast and topped it with Primavera salsa and diced avocados. I served it along with my bacon-grease roasted broccoli.

Dammit, I’m running out of bacon grease. Time to make more bacon!

Party Food: How to Sneak in Paleo Options at a Kinder Party

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Today we had a gaggle of hyper kids and their parents over to celebrate our older son’s birthday.  I knew that the kids were gonna eat pizza and fruit but I wanted to offer the adults something more sophisticated and stealthily Paleo-friendly.  Earlier in the week, I sous vided some flank steak seasoned with Spice Hound’s fajita and taco seasoning (130 F for 36 hours) and chicken breasts seasoned with salt and pepper (140 F for 2 hours) and I planned on serving them along with some Cobb salad fixings.  

When I woke up, I preheated the oven to 400 F to bake two pounds of bacon and roast 1.5 pounds of mushrooms tossed in a few tablespoons of the resulting bacon grease.

Here’s the tray of ‘shrooms pre-roasting: 

After roasting in a 400 F oven for 25-30 minutes:

Then, I sliced some hard-boiled eggs, and washed and chopped some ripe avocados, Persian cucumbers, and grape tomatoes.  I also crumbled up some Point Reyes original blue cheese and Laura Chenel Chef’s Chevre so our guest could pick one to sprinkle on their salads.  Most people love one and hate the other (or hate both). I’m a goat cheese fan myself ‘cause blue cheese smells raunchy. 

When the bacon cooled, I used my kitchen shears to cut the strips up.  I also put some pre-washed organic greens in two large bowls. Did I mention that I bought all this food from Costco?

For nibbles before the main event, I put out some Smokehouse almonds, two cheese platters, and an Italian salumi platter (all from Costco as well).

After surveying our spread, I realized that we already had a ton of meat/protein so I only reheated the flank steak (130 F for 30 minutes) in the SousVide Supreme.  Fitbomb seared the two steaks on our gas grill outside and I sliced them up.

Here’s our make-your-own Cobb salad bar:

And here’s my lunch:

Truth be told, I found the flank steak a little mushy for my taste but everyone else loved that it was so tender. Hey, if my guests are happy, I’m happy!