Servings: 6 servings
6 boneless beef round steaks (flank steak)
2 tablespoons papaya paste (see tips)
2 teaspoons maple syrup
1 teaspoon black pepper, freshly cracked
1 teaspoon kosher salt
3 tablespoons canola oil
2 cloves fresh garlic, finely minced
½ (8-ounce) can jellied cranberry sauce
2 tablespoons dried cranberries, finely chopped
1/3 cup cream cheese
6 tablespoons curly parsley, snipped
Marinating the beef:
In a large sealable zip-top plastic bag, combine 1 teaspoon maple syrup, papaya paste, 1 clove of garlic, mustard, 1 tablespoon canola oil and black pepper. Seal the bag and shake well.
Pat the steaks dry with paper towels. Create a pocket by making a deep, horizontal incision for the filling. Put the beef pieces in the plastic bag, chill and allow to marinate for at least 15 minutes.
Making cranberry cream cheese filling: In a mini-food processor (if you don't mind chunky bits a small bowl will work as well), combine the chopped cranberries, 1 teaspoon maple syrup, remaining garlic, cranberry sauce and cream cheese. Pulse a few times so the mixture is barely combined. Transfer to a bowl. Add 2 tablespoons oil and mix using a spatula. Add 4 tablespoons curly parsley. Season with salt and black pepper.
Remove the beef from the refrigerator so it returns to room temperature.
Preheat the oven to 350°F.
Pat the meat dry one more time.
Spread 1 to 2 tablespoons cranberry filling inside the steak. Carefully fold the beef tightly. Seal the stuffed steak with twine. Repeat with the remaining steaks. Brush the steaks with oil and sprinkle with salt.
With a brush, grease a cast iron skillet grill (a regular frying pan will work, but you won't get the nice grill marks) and heat until it's really hot, almost to the smoking point. Using tongs, place the stuffed steaks in the pan (still on high heat) and cook for 2 minutes. It's important that you do not pierce the meat so it stays moist and tender. You want to create nice grill marks. Flip the meat on the other side. Grill for another 2 minutes. Immediately transfer the skillet to the oven and roast the beef for about 6-7 minutes for medium-rare, or a bit less or more, depending on how pink you like the meat (see tips).
Remove the pan from the oven. Sprinkle the meat with a little salt. Cover with a piece of aluminum foil. Let the meat sit for at least 10 minutes before slicing. Delicately remove and discard the twine.
Note: Make sure the steaks are sliced against the grain, so the meat remains tender.
Garnish with parsley.
Serve immediately with mashed potatoes.
For a vegetarian equivalent, check out my eggplant roll up recipe.
Papaya paste was Baji, my husband Lulu's late grandma's secret for tender meat. Peel a green papaya. Grind the cubed papaya with seeds in a blender, place about 2 tablespoons of papaya paste per slot in an ice-cube tray and freeze them.
You can check the doneness of the meat by using a digital thermometer. (You can get a digital thermometer at IKEA for a reasonable price). Here is a guideline for the degree of doneness of the steaks.
Rare: 130°F. Gently press the steak with your finger; there should be light resistance.
Medium-rare (my favorite): Between 145°F and 150°F. Gently press the steak with your finger; there should be resistance against the crust and juice should come to the surface.
Well done: Between 155°F and 170°F. The flesh should be firm to the touch.