Photo: Oxmoor House 
Hands-on Time
1 Hour 40 Mins
Total Time
2 Hours 10 Mins
Serves 8 (serving size: about 3 ounces cooked meat and 1/3 cup sauce)

It's known in italy as involtini, but in Italian-American pork stores (and homes), particularly in cities that have a Little Italy, it's probably called braciole [BRAH-ZHOWL]. Thin slices, often pork leg or beef top round, are stuffed with whatever makes sense. We use soft cooked fennel and onions with plenty of the power-nourisher, kale. This recipe uses a panade, as it deftly binds up the moist stuffing ingredients. It's lemony, it's soulful, it's whatever you want to stuff it with--it's braciole.

How to Make It

Step 1

Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add 1 tablespoon olive oil, and swirl to coat.

Step 2


Step 3

Add 1 cup each of the fennel and the onions. Spread them out evenly. Good.

Step 4

Stir frequently and cook for precisely 13 minutes or until they are both golden brown and translucent.

Step 5

Add 3 of the minced garlic cloves and the lemon zest. Cook 1 minute, stirring to incorporate.

Step 6

One cup at a time, add the kale and cook 10 minutes, stirring and folding until the greens collapse and become incorporated with the onion-fennel mixture.

Step 7

Monitoring closely, raise the heat to high, and stir frequently, so that the mixture is moist, but not watery. Encourage evaporation by stirring and resting--in waves.

Step 8

Season with 1/2 teaspoon of the salt.

Step 9

Turn off the heat and transfer the mixture to a mixing bowl. Refrigerate for now, uncovered. It'll only be in the fridge for a few minutes.

Step 10

In a separate mixing bowl, combine the bread, the egg white, the milk, and 1 tablespoon pecorino. Using your hands, squeeze, mash, and stir to combine into a uniform mixture. This is a panade.

Step 11

The kale mixture will likely still be warm. That's okay. Make sure it's not super-hot.

Step 12

Fold the panade into the kale mixture, creating a well-bound stuffing. You should be able to compress it into a uniform mass with your hand without it falling apart. Refrigerate, covered, until well chilled.

Step 13


Step 14

On a butcher block or resilient kitchen surface, lay down four broad sheets of plastic wrap--one for each pork cutlet. You'll be pounding the pork cutlets on this foundation.

Step 15

Lay down the pork cutlets on top of the plastic wrap.

Step 16

Now, top each pork cutlet with another broad piece of plastic wrap.

Step 17

Using a mallet, small heavy skillet, or old-school rolling pin, pound steadily but gently--tearing is a bad thing--until the pork is a thin, flat sheet, not quite translucent, about 1/4 inch thick.

Step 18

Remove the top sheets of plastic wrap and discard them. Sprinkle the cutlets evenly with 1/2 teaspoon salt.

Step 19


Step 20

Take the kale mixture from the refrigerator, and distribute the stuffing evenly among the 4 pounded cutlets: use about 1/2 cup per cutlet and spread it over the pork, leaving a 1/2-inch margin around the outside edges.

Step 21

Roll and tie the cutlets.

Step 22


Step 23

Spread the Wondra flour on a pie pan or plate. Dredge the cutlets evenly.

Step 24

Bring a Dutch oven to medium heat. Add the other tablespoon of olive oil and heat for about 2 minutes, or until the oil "breaks" into a haze, but not a smoke.

Step 25

Brown the rolled and stuffed cutlets on all sides, about 5 minutes total for all "four sides," assuming you'll get some slight flattening as you cook the cutlets.

Step 26

Remove the rolled and stuffed cutlets to a plate for a moment. Reduce the heat to medium-low.

Step 27


Step 28

Add the remaining 1 cup of fennel and 1 cup onions to the Dutch oven. Stir frequently and cook until very soft, about 15 minutes.

Step 29

Add the 3 minced garlic cloves, the lemon juice, the white wine, the vegetable stock, the crushed red pepper flakes, and the rosemary sprig.

Step 30

Now, return the rolled and stuffed cutlets to the Dutch oven.

Step 31

Raise the heat until the liquid bubbles intermittently, but not any more frequently. Boiling is not beneficial here.

Step 32

Braise the braciole for about 30 minutes.

Step 33

Turn off the heat. Let the braciole stand in the Dutch oven for 30 minutes. Braciole, if handled improperly, can end up dry. This step lets everything seek equilibrium, allowing the meat to reabsorb any moisture it may have lost in the cooking process. It's a gentle bath.

Step 34

Carefully transfer the braciole to a small heatproof pan or casserole dish. Snip and discard the twine. Keep the braciole warm.

Step 35

Ladle a few ounces of liquid over each braciole while you finish the sauce.

Step 36


Step 37

Raise the heat on the sauce that remains in the Dutch oven to high. Bring to a boil and cook for about 3 minutes more.

Step 38

Turn off the heat.

Step 39

Carefully blend the sauce using an immersion blender, or by carefully blending in small batches using a standard tabletop blender. Blend until smooth.

Step 40

Ladle the sauce on a platter in an even layer.

Step 41

To present, slice each braciole into 8 slices, each slice about 3/4 inch thick. Fan over the sauce.

Step 42

Garnish with the fresh parsley, the remaining salt, and 1 tablespoon pecorino.

Cooking Light Mad Delicious

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