Light the Grill....Crack a Beer....Crank the Tunes

Light the Grill....Crack a Beer....Crank the Tunes

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Grilled Braciole/Lagunitas Jobless Recovery Ale/Black Snake "Death Deals Blues"

Braciole, not something you often see grilled.  When it is, it brings a smoky depth to an already super flavorful dish.  Ours takes a flank steak that has been pounded thin then stuffed with prosciutto, provolone and fresh basil. The beef then gets grilled on all sides before braising all day in marinara and red wine. Served with a side of angel hair, it's one of our favorite Italian dishes. We paired the meal with Lagunitas Wilco Tango Foxtrot Jobless Recovery Ale and a great new EP from Black Snake, "Death Deals Blues".

Grilled Braciole - Braciole is one of those dishes where you get a lot of bang for your buck in more ways than one.  Literally, it is a very cost efficient meal that uses a large piece of the humble flank steak.  It doesn't stop there though, the meal is super simple to prepare but produces show stopping results.  It also makes a ton of food and is great, if not better, as leftovers.  Few meals are at the same time: inexpensive, easy to make, elegant to plate, insanely delicious and produces better leftovers.   Let's start with the flank steak that we pound to about a 1/2" thickness.

On one side of the steak, layer 5 slices of prosciutto, 3 slices of provolone cheese and 4 fresh basil leaves.

Starting at the prosciutto, cheese and basil end, tightly roll up the steak ending so that the seam is on the bottom.

Get a grill going to scorching hot.   Season the steak with pepper, salt and garlic powder.  Place the stuffed steak, seam side down on the hottest part of the grill.

The steak is going to spend a day braising, so we're not concerned with cooking this through as much as we are in getting a nice charred crust on all sides.  After 4-5 minutes per side, we should get the colorization we are looking for.

This is ready to braise, or in this case slow cook.  We drop the charred steak in a slow cooker and pour a bottle of the best quality marinara sauce we can find and a 6 oz. bottle of red wine.

Cover and cook on low heat for 8 hours until the meat is fall apart tender.   Carefully remove from the crock on to a cutting board.

The tomato and wine sauce in the crock pot will be concentrated and intense, so we need to take the bite out of it a little.  To the sauce, we add 1 tablespoon of tomato paste and 2 tablespoons of butter.  Season with salt and pepper and you have a great rich tomato sauce.

Boil some angel hair pasta and toss the noodles with the sauce.

Slice the braciole into 1" slices and layer on top of the pasta.

Garnish the braciole with chopped parsley and freshly grated parmesan cheese.   We love eating this "spaghetti and meatball style", taking a forkful of the stuffed meat and roll threads of the saucy noodles around the meat.  Incredible stuff.

Lagunitas Wilco Tango Foxtrot Jobless Recovery Ale - We kept the full name of this beer out of the post title, didn't want anyone to think we are changing formats to Alt Country BBQ.   So, about the name.  It actually has nothing to do with Chicago alt country rockers Wilco.  The Wilco, Tango and Foxtrot are military jargon, and when you put the first initial of each together you get WTF.  Appropriate acronym, seeing as though Jobless Recovery Ale is not an existing beer style to our knowledge.  So what is this beer?  It's a dark IPA that almost goes into IIPA territory is how we see it.    The beer pours the color of burnt caramel, dark brown almost black.   The head is cream colored and frothy.  The nose is perfect; hoppy with a raw sugar sweetness.  We couldn't wait to start knocking these back. The aroma did not lead us astray, citrusy hops hit the palate right away bringing with them a puckering bitterness.  Almost immediately the sweetness of cane sugar balances things out creating a truly outstanding taste experience.  The beer has a medium mouthfeel, more resiny than heavy, lending itself to be very drinkable.  The ABV hovers at around 7.5%, so a little high for a sessionable beer, but we could easily convince ourselves otherwise.  The beer is that good.  Typically with Italian, we go the Belgium-style ale route with the pairing.  This Recovery Ale went rather nicely with the buttery and salty steak as well as the rich acidic sauce.

Black Snake "Death Deals Blues" - This EP has been in our queue for a while.  We finally got around to spinning it and now we are wondering why it took us so long to do so.  "Death Deals Blues"from Portland's Black Snake has a sound that lies smack dab in the middle of the desert rock of Fu Manchu and the heavy southern boogie of Four Horsemen.   The down-tuned fuzzy riffs and whiskey-fueled vocals make for a perfect pairing.  The title track starts things off with a Sabbath-like riff that explodes out of the speakers before settling into a fuzzed out groove.  The vocals are reminiscent of Scott Hill, with a very similar vocal cadence.   "Bottle Rocket" starts out sounding like a modern day "Radar Love" just dirtier and sludgier then launches into a full force boogie number.    The album's best riff kicks off "Spoils Of War", it has an old school Anthrax feel to it.  Very cool tune.   "Word To The Wise" sounds a lot like "Hung Out To Dry", with its start/stop riff and groove.   The EP ends with "Black Lodge".  The groove is really tight and the riff fuzzed out.  A great slice of desert rock to close things out.   Black Snake is right up there with the other Portland heavyweights, Red Fang and Danava, in delivering loud, groove-based heavy stoner rock.   Here's hoping for a full length release soon, but until then check out this EP.

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