Thursday, August 16, 2012

Mark’s Dutch Oven Rolled Steak Roast

This was an experiment I tried a few weeks ago.  I’d seen things like it in pictures, magazines, and I’d seen something pre-prepared in my grocer’s meat section.  I’d thought about how to do it myself, and wasn’t quite sure if I could pull it off.

The idea is to get some very thin steaks, and to roll some delicious veggie things inside it, almost like a beef sushi.  Except, of course, that you cook it.  And that the green stuff is on the inside.  OK, it’s really nothing like a sushi.  Fine.

I think it ended up quite tasty, and quite elegant as well.

12” shallow Dutch oven
10-12 coals below
12-14 coals above

2 lbs of steak, cut to ¼ inch thickness or less.

Fresh baby spinach
Provolone Cheese

5-6 Potatoes, cubed
2 onions, quartered

I started out by lighting up a bunch of coals and letting them start to get white.

While that was going on, I seasoned both sides of the steaks by shaking on the herbs and spices you see listed.  I don’t list amounts because I just went with what I grabbed first, and estimated what might be good.  You may end up with totally different spices when you go to your cabinet.  Balance them with a bit of care, however.  Be gentle with the cayenne, for example.  You want it to have some kick, but not burn.  Once the meat was seasoned, I set it aside for a while.

In the meantime, I minced up the garlic and cut the stems off the baby spinach.  I also snapped the ends off the asparagus and cut up the potatoes and onions.

After about this time, the coals were ready.  I spread some oil around the inside, then put a tablespoon or two of olive oil in the bottom.  I set this on and under the coals to preheat.  This will also set some of the oil and help to build up your patina.

Then, to rolling the meat.

I laid out the strips of meat side-by-side, so the edges were overlapping a little bit, with the seasoned face down.  I scattered the minced garlic over the upside, and then laid out the spinach leaves in a pattern to cover, about 2-3 leaves thick.  On top of that, I spread a layer of thinly sliced provolone.  Finally, across the bottom, I took the asparagus sprigs and laid them, alternating.  By that, I mean that I wanted to get the heads of the stalks in different places along the meat, so that when I sliced it, I would get it evenly distributed.  Does that make any sense?

Finally, I rolled it all up, pretty tightly.

I tied it up with some string.  It’s tricky to describe how I tied it.  I slid the string underneath at one end and tied a knot.  Then I slid more string, starting from the other end, until it was a few inches from the first knot.  I looped it under itself, and tightened it.  I kept repeating that, until the entire roll was secure.  I drizzled on a little more olive oil.

Cooking it was a little tricky.  I poured the potatoes and onions into the now-heated Dutch oven and spread them out.  I tossed over a little bit of salt and pepper, just for good measure.  I laid the steak roll over the potatoes, and stuck in a short-stemmed thermometer before closing off the lid.

You have to be careful how long you cook it, and since the steak is thin, and the thermometer is essentially sticking into the veggies, it’s a good gauge, but not fully accurate to the steak’s done-ness.  It’s really easy to overcook the steak.  Still, I cooked it to 145, and it turned out pretty good.  It gets there pretty quick, in a preheated Dutch oven, so watch it closely.

When it’s done, pull it off the coals, but let it rest while you set the table.  Then, slice it into medallions or sushi slices or whatever you want to call them, and serve them on their side with the potatoes and onions, and whatever other side dishes you have also made.  It’s really quite an elegant presentation!

Mark has discovered a love of Dutch Oven Cooking. Mark also has other sites and blogs, including and his MoBoy blog.

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