Skirt steak roulade is a fancy name for a steak served in the form of a roll, with a soft filling of some kind. In this case, it is farofa and spinach.
The whole family loves this dish, but my Matt-man L-O-V-E-S this dish. And I really like that this is a pan-grilled steak that can be done indoors when grilling weather is gone but you have a hankering for some seared steak.
Skirt steak is the bomb. Primarily because it has so much flavor. But every time I try a new recipe, they want me to marinate it to make it more tender. This cut is very tender! You just need to work with it against the grain of the meat, which I can demonstrate as we go through the steps to prepare this roulade.
So, what is farofa? Farofa is a Brazilian dish made with toasted manioc flour. In concept, it is like stove top stuffing, since it is frequently used in my home country to stuff different meats. And like stove top stuffing, it can also be served as a side dish.
I find toasted manioc flour at the Asian market, but that may not work for many of you. So, I recommend bread crumbs or panko for this recipe.
Let’s See What Goes into Skirt Steak Roulade
I struggle to find skirt steak in Arizona that is big enough to make a roulade. In Texas? Shoot, I could walk up to the Whole Foods Market counter or HEB (my favorite grocery chain in Texas) and ask them to cut me a 4-pound steak and it would be thick enough for them to butterfly it for me. That makes rolling the skirt steak roulade SO much easier! But in AZ I find only long, thin, cuts of skirt steak. For this, I used a long piece and cut it in half to make two roulades.
The basic concept is:
- make the farofa or bread stuffing
- layer the filling on the meat
- roll the meat up with the stuffing inside
- tie the meat with cooking twine
- brown it carefully on all sides
So Now Let’s Make the Filling
Brown the bacon so it is caramelized but not crispy.
Then add the onion, garlic, and egg directly to the bacon and the rendered bacon fat. The fat helps to moisten the stuffing.
Stir frequently to scramble the egg. Cook only until the onion is somewhat softened.
Next, add the manioc flour or the bread crumbs. Stir to distribute all of the ingredients evenly. Then drizzle a couple of tablespoons of olive oil. Stir again because the olive oil will also help moisten the stuffing. As you can see, it will still be somewhat crumbly. That’s ok. It will get more moisture later.
Take the stuffing off the heat because…
It’s Time to Roll the Skirt Steak Roulade
As I mentioned before, this is one half of the skirt steak I purchased, so I will be rolling two steaks.
Why am I showing this picture? Because it shows the grain of the meat. You can see it running top to bottom of the picture. So, we are going to layer the filling and then roll this baby from left to right (or right to left, if you prefer).
The goal is to roll it so that when you slice the finished roulade, it is AGAINST the grain of the meat. Trust me, that is all you need to ensure that your skirt steak not only delivers that huge beefy taste it is known for, but that it will also have the mouth feel of a much more expensive steak.
Salt and pepper the top of the steak.
Add an overlapping layer of baby spinach leaves, salt and pepper lightly, and drizzle about a teaspoon of olive oil.
Next, spoon the prepared stuffing mix onto the spinach leaves, going as close to the edges as possible. Don’t lay it on too thickly or it will make rolling the steak very difficult and messy. When that happens I really holler and cuss. Please don’t holler and cuss. Just use a reasonable amount of stuffing.
Then roll the steak, pressing down firmly to get a tight roll.
See, I chose left to right. But I bet you lefties out there go the other way. Both my boys are lefties and they do everything backwards from how I do it.
After rolling, truss that baby up with some cooking twine. I go lengthwise to try to keep the ends relatively closed, and then I go the other way with several loops to seal the outside seam of the steak.
Now people, there is a pretty way to tie up a roulade and you can Google the videos if you want. Me? I get the job done and just don’t sweat what it looks like, as long as the stuffing stays stuffed, you know what I mean?
Then we are off to the skillet!
And Now for The Home Stretch
I always use my cast iron skillet for this. If you don’t have one, I recommend you get one. But for now, use the heaviest pan you have. You want something that is going to distribute heat evenly.
Basically, you will turn your roulade around a small turn at a time because you want THE WHOLE of the outside to be caramelized. Leave each side down long enough to get a really nice sear. I roll mine several times, landing on different spots, to make sure I get a dark brown sear all over the roll.
Press against the meat to feel for doneness. This dish tastes very good well done, medium-well, and medium. But I’m not so fond of it rare or even medium-rare.
It should look like this.
Transfer your roulade to a cutting board and let it rest for about 10 minutes under a loose tin foil tent. This is important to allow the meat juices to settle so as not to run out as soon as you cut into the meat. We like ours cooked medium, so if you don’t let the juices settle, you get discoloration in the stuffing and all the yummy juices will leak onto your plate.
After letting the meat rest, gently cut and remove the cooking twine. Be very careful not to unravel all of your work!
And this is what you want.
Use a VERY sharp, low-weight knife. Cut 1/2 inch slices, and no thinner. Using a sharp, low-weight knife and cutting somewhat thick slices will keep your roulade looking like a roulade, instead of a “meat and filling scramble”.
But you know what? If you accidentally scramble it, it will still taste amazingly good! Take my word for it.
Pair it with a seasonal veggie and maybe some oven-roasted rosemary potatoes, and you are good to go!
- FOR THE FILLING
- 4 pounds trimmed skirt steak, sized to allow for rolling against the grain of the meat
- 4 slices of low-sodium bacon, cut cross-wise into ribbons
- 1 cup sweet onion, coarsely chopped
- 1 large garlic clove, diced
- 1 egg
- 1 cup toasted manioc flour, bread crumbs, or panko
- 2-3 tablespoons olive oil
- ¼ cup chopped parsley
- Salt & pepper
- FOR THE ROULADE
- Manioc flour or bread filling from above
- 2 cups baby spinach leaves
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- Powdered garlic to taste
- Salt & Pepper
- Canola spray
- Start with the stuffing by cooking the bacon until brown but not crispy.
- To the bacon and rendered fat, add the egg, onion, and garlic.
- Scramble with the bacon and cook just until the onion is lightly softened.
- Add the manioc flour, or bread crumbs or panko.
- Stir to distribute evenly.
- Drizzle the olive oil.
- Add the parsley and stir.
- Salt and pepper to taste.
- Remove from flame.
- With the skirt steak on a cutting board, salt and pepper the top lightly.
- Stack the baby spinach leaves in an overlapping layer to cover the top of the meat.
- Salt and pepper the baby spinach leaves lightly.
- Drizzled with olive oil.
- Spoon the prepared stuffing evenly but not too thickly over the spinach leaves, going as close to the edge of the meat as possible.
- Roll the meat tightly until all of the stuffing is inside, then tie to seal the ends and the side seam.
- Sprinkle all sides with salt, pepper, and garlic powder.
- Heat a cast iron skillet to medium-high heat.
- When the pan is hot, spray with canola spray and set the rolled steak in the center.
- Allow to brown well on the bottom, then turn slight turns at a time until all sides are browned.
- Press ends against the side of the pan to brown the ends as well.
- Cook until the meat is fully browned and cooked to desired doneness (recommend between well and medium).
- Transfer to cutting board and tent loosely with tin foil to rest for about 10 minutes.
- Cut the cooking twine.
- With a very sharp knife, slice into ½ inch slices and serve.