May 7, 2009
Matambre literally means 'hunger-killer'–from the Spanish matar (to kill) and hambre (hunger). The arrollado part means 'rolled up', and it combines the components most prized to the Argentinean palate: beef (in this case, a long, thin piece of flank steak), roasted red peppers, a few vegetables (for color) and (you guessed it!) hard-boiled eggs and sliced green olives, all rolled up into a neat little package.
Matambre got its name because the thin flank steak, when placed on a grill, cooks faster than any other cut of meat. Pieces are sliced off and eaten straight from the grill, slaking hunger until the other, thicker cuts are finished. And that should give some idea of the all-day, slow and steady meat-fest that a traditional Argentinean as-ado can be.
As most things, there are so many different recipes and ways of preparing the Matambre Arrollado that you could write a book on the variations. Some people add or omit ingredients, it can be marinated overnight, braised; some people even stitch the Matambre Arrollado together! (Actually that aspect, along with the rolled, stuffed part, reminds me of my Sicilian-descended mother's recipe for brigole.) Use this recipe as a starting point, and then adjust it to your own tastes. We went for the simplest, least-time consuming and most straight-forward way to go.
This would be wonderful as a holiday meal, a main course in an Argentinean-themed party (like when you get back from Argentina and invite your friends over to drink Malbec and look at all your amazing photos…) or as a Sunday supper. Provecho!
Rolled Stuffed Flank Steak
3 hard-boiled eggs
1 1/2 pounds flank steak, preferably grass-fed
1/2 cup white wine, such as Torrontes
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
salt, to taste
pepper, to taste
3 cups spinach, cooked until wilted
1/2 cup bread crumbs, optional
3 carrots, sliced lengthwise in quarters, ends removed
1 roasted red pepper, sliced into strips
6 green olives, sliced
toothpicks and foil
Hard-boil the eggs. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Tear off a large piece of aluminium foil and set out about 8 sturdy toothpicks, set aside. In a roasting pan or shallow dish large enough to hold your flank steak, (it can be folded over to fit) combine the wine andvinegar. Salt and pepper the falnk steak on both sides and then place into the wine/vinegar mixture. Let marinate for at least 45 minutes, or longer if desired. (Can be overnight if covered and refrigerated.)
After marination, lay the steak out flat on a large surface, like a cutting board. In a food processor, combine the cooked spinach, egg, and bread crumbs and mix until combined. Spread the spinach mixture along the length of the steak. Next, as if dividing the entire steak in thirds, place the carrot slices and roasted pepper slices across the flank steak cross-wise–first about one-third from the end, then at the center, and finally at the last third. Place sliced olives where desired across entire flank steak.
Place the eggs in the center of the flank steak, near your row of carrots and roasted pepper, on their sides and end-to-end so they form a row across the center. Slowly begin to roll the flank steak at the end closest to you, being sure to tightly roll all the filling in as you go. Place the roll on the foil, and roll the foil very tightly around your Matambre Arrollado. Twist the ends tightly, and place several toothpicks around the roll at various places, being sure to leave enough sticking out so that they can be removed.
Bake for an hour to an hour and fifteen minutes. Foil can be sliced to check for doneness (rarity is up to you). Or use a meat thermometer.
Relevant posts: Argentinean Barbecue
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