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Beef Melt: Steps for Preparation

March 10, 1988|JOAN DRAKE | Times Staff Writer

Question: I recently purchased a beef melt. Can you give me instructions for basic preparation? Also, I remember my mother forming a pocket and stuffing this cut. Would you have such a recipe?

Answer: For those unfamiliar with the cut, beef melt is the steer's spleen. According to information from the National Live Stock & Meat Board, spleen may be cut into small pieces, dredged in seasoned flour and fried with onion in hot oil. Add chopped celery, carrot and garlic, cover with water and simmer until tender. Thicken with flour in tomato sauce before serving.

Merle Ellis, who writes The Butcher column, provided this more detailed recipe for stuffing the cut from "Innards" (101 Productions: 1974) by Jana Allen and Margaret Gin. Caul, an ingredient called for in the recipe, is a netlike, fatty membrane that covers a pig's intestines.

STUFFED SPLEEN

1 beef spleen

2 tablespoons rendered chicken fat

1 onion, chopped

1/2 cup chopped green pepper

1/2 cup chopped celery or celeriac

2 matzos

2 eggs

2 tablespoons chopped parsley

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly black ground pepper

1 pork caul

2 cups beef stock

Cornstarch, optional

Remove outer membrane from spleen and make lengthwise pocket. Scrape away 1/2 cup meat from inside of pocket and reserve.

Heat chicken fat and saute onion, green pepper and celery 2 minutes. Soak matzos in water 5 minutes, then drain and combine with eggs and scraped meat in mixing bowl. Add sauteed vegetables, parsley, salt and pepper, mixing well. (Mixture will resemble thick batter.)

Stuff vegetable mixture into pocket. Skewer or truss with string. Cover with pork caul. Place on rack in shallow roasting pan and pour stock over. Bake at 350 degrees 1 1/2 hours, basting occasionally.

Remove spleen and reduce cooking liquid or thicken with cornstarch dissolved in cold water. Serve sauce with baked spleen sliced in 1/2-inch slices. Makes 4 to 6 servings.

Note: For kosher preparation, rub prepared spleen with 1 tablespoon or more chicken fat or margarine before baking rather than wrapping in pork caul.

Stuffing Variation

1 onion, chopped

2 stalks celery, chopped

2 tablespoons butter

1 cup sliced cooking apples

1/2 cup soft bread crumbs or diced raw potatoes

1/3 cup raisins, soaked in apple cider to soften

1 egg

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly black ground pepper

2 cups apple cider

Saute onion and celery in butter 2 minutes. Combine with apples, bread crumbs, raisins, egg, salt and pepper. Stuff spleen as directed and wrap in pork caul. Place on rack in shallow roasting pan and pour apple cider over. Roast as directed.

We had many responses to the Jan. 28 You Asked About . . . column on how to soften hard brown sugar or keep it from becoming hard in the first place. Most suggested placing the brown sugar in a tightly closed plastic or glass container, along with a slice of bread. Replace the bread as it hardens and the sugar will stay moist for months. One reader also suggested using a very soft, moistened sponge on a piece of wax paper inside the container.

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