Doesn’t this Rolled Beef Florentine look amazing? This was our Christmas dinner this year. I’d had such great success with my Elegant Stuffed Pork Roll, I thought I’d try a beef one. I mean how hard can it be to make a Rolled Beef Florentine to feed 15 to 20 people?
Time for a confession: I consider this Rolled Beef Florentine a failure. Actually, it was a catastrophic failure. Let me explain…
- I used the wrong cut of beef (I’ll explain more about that below).
- and, I used the wrong combination of flavors for the stuffing!
But, I decided to post this recipe, anyway, because I’m human, I make mistakes and we learn by doing and sharing.
Over the holidays, I bought a 10-pound whole boneless beef top sirloin roast and thought, “perfect! I’ll flatten it and stuff it – easy peasy!”
Trust me on this: there’s a reason that rolled beef recipes call for a flank steak. It’s already a thinner cut of beef, therefore you only have to “butterfly” it once (or better yet, ask your butcher to do it for you).
I placed this huge 10-pound piece of beef on my chopping board. I cut a slit down the middle vertically and then four interconnecting slits horizontally on each side to resemble a sideways “H”. Using my hands, I struggle (and I mean struggle!) to mold that hunk of beef into a thinner, butterflied piece of beef.
Huffing and puffing, I tug, mash and pound with my bare hands until the noise brings Charlie over from the other side of our great room to see what the heck I was doing:
“What the heck are you doing?” he hollers above the racket.
“I’m trying to butterfly this piece of beef so that I can stuff it and roll it.”
“Carole, you dingbat (yes, he’s nice like that and calls me by endearing names such as nimwad, goofball, or “loco en la cabeza”, which is Spanish for “crazy in the head”), that’s not the right cut of beef! That’s for a roast!”
Undeterred by his attempt to lend support (after all, he barely knows how to cook – he can make PB&J, spaghetti, salad and Charlie’s Layered Mexican Casserole, but that’s about it!) in his endearing fashion, I walk over to the kitchen tool crock I have over on another counter. Rifling through it, I can’t find what I’m looking for – my meat mallet. Opening a few drawers, success! I finally found that solid, sturdy, heavy treasure that I’d bought a few years ago just for this kind of kitchen action.
Whack! I hit that mangled piece of beef with all the force I could muster. The roast didn’t give an inch! Not willing to change my plans for our fabulous holiday meal, I whacked it again. And again. And again. Over and over and over.
With each whack, little bits of beef broke off, flying in the air – on my face, on my shirt, all over the counter. After the first few whacks, I realize that this is a great way to let off tension and stress, so I start screaming stuff like “make my Mom better”, “it isn’t fair”, etc. (she’s in hospice and I’m struggling emotionally to deal with her end-of-life).
Charlie moved back away from the counter (after all, it doesn’t want to be splattered in beef goo) and stares at me in amazement, concern and a crooked little half-smile; this isn’t a side of me he sees often.
In the end, I look like one of the characters from The Vikings on the History Channel after a battle scene (do you watch The Vikings? Fair warning if you don’t: it’s a blood bath. The battle scenes are not for the faint of heart – I have to close my eyes).
Exhausted, I finally quit – quit whacking, quit screaming, quit trying to make something into something it isn’t.
So, I turned my attention to the stuffing. I love spinach artichoke dip. My brilliant idea was to just make spinach artichoke dip and use it as the stuffing by adding Italian bread crumbs to the mixture. So, that’s what I did.
Then, I smeared it all over the mangled butterflied beef and rolled it up. Using kitchen twine, I tied it together in several places, placed the Rolled Beef Florentine in a roasting pan and set it in a preheated oven.
When it was ready to come out of the oven, I let it rest on my (now clean) chopping board for 15 minutes, removed the twine and asked Chris, Tiffany’s husband, to slice it to serve. Immediately, the Rolled Beef Florentine came unrolled! The stuffing plopped out on the chopping board with each successive slice leaving the beef unfurled and unstuffed!
Exasperated, because I had high hopes of sharing this recipe as a viable holiday dinner recipe, I debated outloud whether or not to photograph it. Chris said, “don’t worry, Carole, we’ll just re-stuff each slice and rebuild all the slices into rolls. It will be fine.” So, we did and we carefully arranged them on my large serving platter under a bed of fresh spinach (to mimic the spinach artichoke stuffing).
So, we not only had a beautiful presentation to photograph for this post, but we had a beautiful presentation for our Christmas dinner gathering! Thanks, Chris!
Personally, I thought the spinach artichoke stuffing was too rich to use as stuffing, plus I found the meat a little tough. You’d think with all that whacking that I’d tenderized this Rolled Beef Florentine, but the piece I selected wasn’t so tender. Afraid to express my opinion to everyone out loud (I didn’t want them to think that Christmas dinner was a flop), no one complained as they chowed down. It was just me and Chris’s deep dark secret!
Here’s the recipe (if you dare):
- 10 pound boneless beef top sirloin roast, butterflied by your butcher and trimmed of excess fat (or several smaller flank steaks to equal 10 pounds, butterflied)
- 3 ounces of canned artichoke hearts, drained and finely chopped
- ½ cup mayonnaise
- 3 ounces of canned hearts of palm, drained and finely chopped
- 1 clove garlic, peeled and finely minced
- 4 ounces of frozen chopped spinach, defrosted and squeezed dry of liquid
- 1 yellow onion, peeled and chopped
- ¼ cup grated Gruyere cheese
- 2 tablespoon butter, melted
- ¼ cup shredded Parmesan cheese
- 1¼ cup Italian bread crumbs
- Salt & pepper
- Kitchen twine
- 2 tablespoons canola oil
- 1 bunch of fresh baby spinach (for garnish)
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
- Place butterflied beef on a work surface, such as a large chopping board.
- Using kitchen mallet, pound butterflied beef, flattening to even out surface as much as possible.
- Season butterflied roast with salt and pepper.
- In a mixing bowl, combine artichoke hearts, hearts of palm, squeezed spinach, garlic, onion, melted butter, cheese and bread crumbs until well mixed.
- Place in microwave and heat on high for a few minutes.
- Remove from microwave and stir.
- Place back into microwave and heat on high for another few minutes (this is to cook the stuffing and melt the cheese; it won't get hot enough in the center of the roast to cook it well, so don't omit this step!).
- Spread stuffing over flattened beef, leaving a 1-inch border around all sides.
- With the grain of the meat running left to right, roll short end tightly, making sure stuffing doesn't squeeze out and tucking it back in as needed.
- Using kitchen twine, tie each end of beef (about an inch from each end), securing tightly.
- Repeat in the center of the roast and repeat on either side of center, until beef is securely tied about every 2 inches.
- Rub roast with canola oil and season again with salt and pepper.
- Place tied roast in roasting pan and place in preheated oven.
- Roast for 45 minutes, turn on broiler and broil for 5 to 10 minutes until exterior is nicely browned.
- Remove from oven, turn roast over and return to broiler and broil another few minutes until that side is browned.
- Remove from oven and transfer to a carving board.
- Cover with aluminum foil and allow to rest for 15 minutes.
- Place fresh spinach on large serving platter.
- Snip twine and remove from roast, keeping roll intact.
- Slice roast into 1-inch sections and transfer to serving platter, being careful to tuck any stray stuffing back into beef to keep rolls intact.
(other main dish meat recipes)
- Elegant Stuffed Pork Roll
- Rubbed, Roasted and Grilled Barbecue Pork Back Ribs
- Grilled Balsamic Chicken Breast Tenders