Eye Round Braised in Wine

(“Girello Stracotto alla Palermitana")
(
 “Lucertu Aggrassatu”)


 


In Palermo, our butcher (il carnezziere) was Mr.Giarrusso, owner of “The Giarrusso Meat Market”. In my hometown the loyalty to the family butcher is passed on from generation to generation and the butcher knows his client’s names, their family’s history and of course their preferred meat’s cuts. He tries to please all customers, giving them the kind of cut more suitable for the dish they are going to prepare. 
We bought the meat at Giarrusso's, who was also my father’s friend.
When my father went food shopping it was a feast, because he would buy in abundance, from fruits to nuts, and so much of it he had to engage somebody to carry the shopping in a cart. When my father went shopping for meat, Mr. Giarrusso would drink coffee with him, smoke a cigarette, indulge in conversation then he would cut the meat.
The lucerto di vitello (eye round of veal) was one of my father's favorite cuts.
Cooking would became a family affair: the children peeled the onions, my aunt got all the ingredients ready, my father sliced the onions and it was the responsibility of the oldest child to turn and turn the onions and the meat with tears rolling down his cheeks because of the pungent smell of the onions.
The end result was a delicious and flavorful roast, which smell, I vividly remember with memories of winter’s Sundays spent with all of the family and where everyone was involved together in a communion of tasks and undertakings.

 

Serves 6

                        

Ingredients:

  • 1 larded and tied eye round of beef (about 3 Lb.) 
  • 4 onions (about 2 Lb.), sliced not too thin 
  • 8 tablespoons of olive oil 
  • 1 cup of your preferred white wine 
  • ½ cup of chopped celery 
  • ¼ cup chopped carrots 
  • 4 bay leaves 
  • Twig of sage and/or rosemary 
  • 2 cloves of garlic whole 
  • Few coriander seeds and red pepper seeds
  • Salt & pepper to taste 
  • Chopped parsley for garnish 

 

Preparation

The Sautéing
Over a medium heat, in a 5 ½ quart sauté pan, heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil and sauté the eye round. When meat is seared, it appears lightly burnt on all sides, transfer onto a platter. 
In the same pan, add remaining 3 tablespoons of oil, the sliced onions and stir until onions are translucent.
Slowly add wine, keep stirring and scraping off any brown residue stuck at the bottom of the pan, which will give color and extra taste to our dish.
Put the meat in the sauté pan and add the celery, carrots, bay leaves, sage, rosemary, garlic, salt and pepper.

 

                         Eye Round


Simmer for an additional 5 minutes over a medium heat, stirring occasionally, slowly add the remaining wine and 1 cup of water.

Sprinkle the coriander and pepper seeds and finish cooking in a pre-heated oven at 375 degrees for 1 hour for medium meat, or 1 hour and 25 minutes for well done.

Serving Suggestions
Cool a few minutes, slice the meat into ¼ of inch thick pieces and display it in a large dish, overlapping each slice. Use the wine and vegetable sauce to cover the sliced meat.

Or pass the vegetables through a strainer or a blender and place it back into the pan, add some water and wine to give to the sauce the right consistency. Before serving the Stracotto, warm up the sauce and sprinkle over the sliced meat.

Garnish with chopped parsley.

                                   

Variation
If it is preferred to cook it over the direct heat, instead of putting it in the oven, lower the flame, cover meat with water, place lid on the sauce pan and continue cooking. Meat is ready when liquid is absorbed.
Once in a while, check the pot and turn the meat and the vegetables to make sure that they do not stick to the bottom of the pan.
Cool a few minutes, slice the meat about a ¼ of inch thick and display it in a large dish, overlapping each slice.
Pass vegetables through a strainer or a blender and follow the above direction.
Garnish with chopped parsley.