‘Matambre de vaca’ is a cut of beef that, to many, defines Argentine cuisine. If you are struggling to find matambre, ask your local butcher to see if they can order some in or, failing that, substitute beef flank steak.
- 4 small free-range eggs
- 155 g (5½ oz/1 cup) frozen peas
- 1 tsp dried marjoram or oregano
- sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1.25–1.4 kg (2 lb 12 oz–3 lb 1 oz) matambre or beef flank steak, excess fat trimmed
- 1 carrot, sliced into 5-mm (¼ in) wide batons
- 1 red capsicum (bell pepper), sliced into 5-mm (¼ in) wide batons
- large salted crackers, to serve
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Chilling time: overnight
1. Place the eggs in a small saucepan and cover with cold water. Bring to the boil and cook for 5 minutes, until the eggs are just hardboiled. Rinse the eggs under cold water, then gently peel and set aside.
2. Cook the frozen peas in boiling water for 5 minutes. Drain well and, while still warm, transfer to a food processor. Add the marjoram or oregano, season with salt and pepper and process to make a chunky paste.
3. Place the beef, fat side down, on a large piece of plastic wrap and use a meat mallet to gently pound all over until you have a rough 30 cm x 40 cm (12 in x 16 in) rectangle of even thickness. With a long end of the flattened beef facing towards you, season the meat with salt and pepper, then spread the pea mixture over the top, leaving a 5 cm (2 in) border. Lay the eggs horizontally and end-to-end along the centre of the beef, then place the carrot and capsicum batons either side of the eggs. Starting at the end nearest to you, roll the meat to enclose the ingredients in a firm log. Tie the meat with kitchen string to secure.
4. Bring a large saucepan of lightly salted water to the boil, then carefully lower the rolled beef into the water. When the water returns to the boil, reduce the heat to medium and simmer for 2 hours, topping the pan up with boiling water to prevent the beef touching the bottom of the pan.
5. Remove the rolled beef from the water and set aside. When cool enough to handle, wrap firmly in plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
6. To serve, unwrap and thinly slice the rolled matambre, and arrange on a plate with large salted crackers on the side.
Recipe from The Food of Argentina by Ross Dobson and Rachel Tolosa Paz, Smith Street Books, RRP $44.99