Midwestern Matambre Recipe


For each meat roll:

  • 1 ¾ lbs brisket, split open (but still in one piece) and lightly pounded (As far in advance as you can, even the night before, season meat with salt and pepper, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate.)
  • ½ lb kale
  • 1 large parsnip and 1 large carrot, peeled and cut into matchsticks (or as close as you can get to that shape, trying to keep them uniform)
  • 8 oz kielbasa, cut into same shape

Immerse kale in boiling water until leaves deepen slightly in color, about 45 seconds. Remove using tongs, drain excess cooking water, and plunge immediately into a big bowl of ice water. When cool, drain in colander and squeeze dry.

Lay out meat (seam side down). Leaving about ½ inch around the sides, arrange kale over meat and, working in horizontal sections, lay out parsnips, carrots, and kielbasa. Roll the meat (horizontally, from bottom to top) as tightly as you can and tie with kitchen twine to secure (about every 1 ½ inches or so).

  • About ¼ cup canola oil (Be generous — you need enough oil to carry the heat to the meat, and most of it is going to end up in splatters on the stove anyway.)
  • 1 lb slab bacon (not too smoky), thickly sliced and cut into lardons (small strips)
  • 2 lbs white cabbage, halved and cut into ¼-inch strips
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 Spanish (white) onions, halved and cut into ¼-inch strips
  • 1 tsp red-chile flakes
  • 1 bottle dark beer (I use La Rossa.)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 4 tbsp grainy mustard
  • Gold’s white horseradish to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Place a large roasting pan (like 12 inches wide and 18 inches long) over two burners at high heat and add oil. When oil is hot (it will shimmer), add meat and, using tongs to rotate, sear quickly on all sides to prevent curling. Then do a longer hard sear to get it crusty brown.

Remove meat from pan, add bacon, and cook until fat is rendered, about 8 minutes. Add everything except the mustard and horseradish and let the liquid come to a simmer, wilting the cabbage a bit. Return meat and securely cover the roasting pan with double thickness of foil, making sure all edges are sealed.

Place in oven until tender, about 2 hours. (To test: Insert fork through the foil so the cooking steam doesn’t escape if the roast isn’t ready. It should go into the meat with no resistance.)

Remove meat, letting it rest before slicing. Transfer pan to stove top and add mustard, stirring to incorporate. Add horseradish teaspoon by teaspoon to taste. Working against the grain of the meat, slice each roll into 6 pieces and plate with cabbage.

Each roll serves 6; make as many as necessary.


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