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Elvira's braciola

Braciola is the Italian version of roulade, a slice of meat that is stuffed and rolled, browned, and simmered in a sauce or stock. Elvira used round steak, with a simple stuffing of parsley and garlic.

I was never a fan of braciola by itself; I always loaded up on meatballs and sausage. But braciola, more than anything else, was the ingredient that gave Elvira's sauce its special flavor. Elvira used Crisco to make her braciola. I suspect her mother used lard and Elvira settled on Crisco as a substitute after she moved to Knoxville. You could probably use softened butter, but I've never tried it.

ingredients (for one braciola)

1 slice of round steak, 1/4"-1/2" thick, about 6" in diameter
1 clove garlic
1 large sprig of parsley
salt and pepper to taste

Sprinkle a little salt and pepper on both sides of the steak. Then spread one side with a thick layer of Crisco, like you were making a peanut butter sandwich. Place the garlic and parsley on top of the crisco in the center of the steak and chop with a large knife, into the meat itself. As you go along, spread the chopped garlic and parsley over the entire top surface of the meat and keep chopping. What you want is a paste of chopped garlic, parsley and Crisco. Then loosely roll the steak into a tube and secure with toothpicks.

Brown the braciola well in a little Crisco (more will drain from the meat once you start). Then drain on paper towels and put the braciola in tomato sauce and simmer for an hour. It is then ready to add to the meatballs and sausage for Elvira's special sauce. If you're just going to serve the braciola by itself, simmer for another hour. Carve into slices before serving.

Elvira froze her braciola in tomato sauce, usually in small aluminum loaf pans, one per pan.


Elvira Moffo Kendig:

About Elvira

Elvira's tomato sauce

Elvira's meatballs

Elvira's braciola

Elvira's sausage

Mrs. Maglio's Whoopee Chicken

Elvira's favorite stuffing