6/29/08

Apple Danish Braid

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Proud member of Daring Bakers

Another Daring Bakers challenge in the books! This month's challenge was hosted by Kelly of Sass & Veracity, and Ben of What’s Cooking? The challenge was to make a homemade “Danish Braid” and the recipe was taken from Sherry Yard’s The Secrets of Baking.

This recipe was an opportunity to learn the technique of making and working with yeasted laminated dough. Laminated dough is dough with layers upon layers of butter going through it. This creates the flaky end result you see in various pastries, including croissants. I would like to try making homemade croissants one day... but let's lose some weight first, yes? haha...

Anyway, back to the braid. As you can see by the deliciously lovely picture above, this challenge was a success for me. The pastry had a wonderfully buttery flavor with a hint of orange and cardamom. If you don't happen to have cardamom to use in this recipe, I urge you to consider getting it. You may not need it for another recipe for a while into the future, but I tell you it's worth it in this recipe. As this dough was being made, the aromas it gave off were incredible. Orange, vanilla bean, cardamom, sugar, butter, mmmmmmm...

The recipe made two braids, each about two feet long. We brought one of the braids to my dad's house for the dessert portion of his Father's Day dinner. We made him the Chicago Italian Beef Sandwiches seen here on FOODIE a few weeks ago and he loved them. The dessert went over well, too, as it was served with a nice scoop of good quality vanilla ice cream.

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I froze the other braid and plan to thaw it out this weekend to take to a 4th of July picnic. This time I think I'll throw together a quick glaze and drizzle it over the top, then sprinkle on some toasted almonds. Yum!

Would you like to see how this was made? It was time consuming, but it was also fun. If you have a free day and feel like baking all day, give it a try! It makes your house smell fabulous and you get a great dessert out of it, too!


To make the Danish dough, start by combining yeast and milk in the bowl of your electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on low speed.
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Next, zest an orange. Oh the smell... Also, cut open half of a vanilla bean and scrape out the gooey seeds.
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In the same mixer bowl, add the sugar, orange zest, cardamom, vanilla extract, vanilla seeds, eggs, and orange juice. Mix well.
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Change to the dough hook and add the salt with the flour, 1 cup at a time, increasing speed to medium as the flour is incorporated.
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Knead the dough for about 5 minutes, or until smooth. You may need to add a little more flour if it is sticky.
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Transfer dough to a lightly floured baking sheet and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
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While the dough is chilling, make your butter block. To do this, just combine butter and flour in the bowl of a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and beat on medium speed for 1 minute. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and the paddle and then beat for 1 minute more, or until smooth and lump free. Set aside at room temperature.

After the dough, or detrempe, has chilled for 30 minutes, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface. Roll the dough into a rectangle approximately 18 x 13 inches and ¼ inch thick. The dough may be sticky, so keep dusting it lightly with flour. Spread the butter mixture evenly over the center and right thirds of the dough.
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Fold the left edge of the detrempe to the right, covering half of the butter. P6140163

Fold the right third of the rectangle over the center third. The first turn has now been completed. Place the dough on a baking sheet, wrap it in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
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While the dough is chilling, go ahead and make your apple filling. I had to core, peel, and slice 5 Fuji apples, so it was Mark and his power tools to the rescue.
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This was by far the fastest way to core those suckers! Hi Mark!
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After slicing up the apples, I tossed them with the sugar, cinnamon, vanilla bean seeds, and lemon juice.
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Next, I melted the butter in a sauce pan.
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I added the apple mixture and sautéed them for about 10 minutes. Pour the cooked apples onto a baking sheet to cool completely for later use in the braid.
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After the dough has chilled for 30 minutes, it's time for the second turn. Place the dough lengthwise on a floured work surface. The open ends should be to your right and left. Roll the dough into another approximately 13 x 18 inch, ¼-inch-thick rectangle.
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Again, fold the left third of the rectangle over the center third and the right third over the center third. No additional butter will be added as it is already in the dough. The second turn has now been completed. Refrigerate the dough for 30 minutes. As you can see, I've marked the dough with two finger holes to remind myself that this is the second turn of the dough. Two down, two more to go!
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Here's the dough after the last turn was complete.
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After all the turns are complete, line a baking sheet with parchment paper. On a lightly floured surface, roll the Danish Dough into a 15 x 20-inch rectangle, ¼ inch thick. If the dough seems elastic and shrinks back when rolled, let it rest for a few minutes, then roll again. Place the dough on the baking sheet (or at least on the parchment paper like I did - I moved the finished braid by carrying it on the parchment paper and over to the baking sheet).

Along one long side of the pastry make parallel, 5-inch-long cuts with a knife or rolling pastry wheel, each about 1 inch apart. Repeat on the opposite side, making sure to line up the cuts with those you’ve already made.
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Spoon the filling down the center of the rectangle. Starting with the top and bottom “flaps”, fold the top flap down over the filling to cover. Next, fold the bottom “flap” up to cover filling. This helps keep the braid neat and helps to hold in the filling. Now begin folding the cut side strips of dough over the filling, alternating first left, then right, left, right, until finished. Trim any excess dough and tuck in the ends.
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Spray cooking oil (Pam…) onto a piece of plastic wrap, and place over the braid. P6140175

Proof at room temperature or, if possible, in a controlled 90 degree F environment for about 2 hours, or until doubled in volume and light to the touch.
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Whisk together a whole egg and yolk in a bowl and with a pastry brush, lightly coat the braid.
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Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Position a rack in the center of the oven. Bake for 10 minutes, then rotate the pan so that the side of the braid previously in the back of the oven is now in the front. Lower the oven temperature to 350 degrees F, and bake about 15-20 minutes more, or until golden brown.
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Cool and serve the braid either still warm from the oven or at room temperature. The cooled braid can be wrapped airtight and stored in the refrigerator for up to 2 days, or freeze for 1 month.




DANISH DOUGH

Makes 2-1/2 pounds dough

Ingredients
For the dough (Detrempe)
1 ounce fresh yeast or 1 tablespoon active dry yeast
1/2 cup whole milk
1/3 cup sugar
Zest of 1 orange, finely grated
3/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 vanilla bean, split and scraped
2 large eggs, chilled
1/4 cup fresh orange juice
3-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt

For the butter block (Beurrage)
1/2 pound (2 sticks) cold unsalted butter
1/4 cup all-purpose flour

DOUGH
Combine yeast and milk in the bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and mix on low speed. Slowly add sugar, orange zest, cardamom, vanilla extract, vanilla seeds, eggs, and orange juice. Mix well. Change to the dough hook and add the salt with the flour, 1 cup at a time, increasing speed to medium as the flour is incorporated. Knead the dough for about 5 minutes, or until smooth. You may need to add a little more flour if it is sticky. Transfer dough to a lightly floured baking sheet and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Without a standing mixer: Combine yeast and milk in a bowl with a hand mixer on low speed or a whisk. Add sugar, orange zest, cardamom, vanilla extract, vanilla seeds, eggs, and orange juice and mix well. Sift flour and salt on your working surface and make a fountain. Make sure that the “walls” of your fountain are thick and even. Pour the liquid in the middle of the fountain. With your fingertips, mix the liquid and the flour starting from the middle of the fountain, slowly working towards the edges. When the ingredients have been incorporated start kneading the dough with the heel of your hands until it becomes smooth and easy to work with, around 5 to 7 minutes. You might need to add more flour if the dough is sticky.

BUTTER BLOCK
1. Combine butter and flour in the bowl of a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and beat on medium speed for 1 minute. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and the paddle and then beat for 1 minute more, or until smooth and lump free. Set aside at room temperature.
2. After the detrempe has chilled 30 minutes, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface. Roll the dough into a rectangle approximately 18 x 13 inches and ¼ inch thick. The dough may be sticky, so keep dusting it lightly with flour. Spread the butter evenly over the center and right thirds of the dough. Fold the left edge of the detrempe to the right, covering half of the butter. Fold the right third of the rectangle over the center third. The first turn has now been completed. Mark the dough by poking it with your finger to keep track of your turns, or use a sticky and keep a tally. Place the dough on a baking sheet, wrap it in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
3. Place the dough lengthwise on a floured work surface. The open ends should be to your right and left. Roll the dough into another approximately 13 x 18 inch, ¼-inch-thick rectangle. Again, fold the left third of the rectangle over the center third and the right third over the center third. No additional butter will be added as it is already in the dough. The second turn has now been completed. Refrigerate the dough for 30 minutes.
4. Roll out, turn, and refrigerate the dough two more times, for a total of four single turns. Make sure you are keeping track of your turns. Refrigerate the dough after the final turn for at least 5 hours or overnight. The Danish dough is now ready to be used. If you will not be using the dough within 24 hours, freeze it. To do this, roll the dough out to about 1 inch in thickness, wrap tightly in plastic wrap, and freeze. Defrost the dough slowly in the refrigerator for easiest handling. Danish dough will keep in the freezer for up to 1 month.

APPLE FILLING
Makes enough for two braids

Ingredients
4 Fuji or other apples, peeled, cored, and cut into ¼-inch pieces
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 vanilla bean, split and scraped
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
4 tablespoons unsalted butter

Toss all ingredients except butter in a large bowl. Melt the butter in a sauté pan over medium heat until slightly nutty in color, about 6 - 8 minutes. Then add the apple mixture and sauté until apples are softened and caramelized, 10 to 15 minutes. If you’ve chosen Fujis, the apples will be caramelized, but have still retained their shape. Pour the cooked apples onto a baking sheet to cool completely before forming the braid. (If making ahead, cool to room temperature, seal, and refrigerate.) They will cool faster when spread in a thin layer over the surface of the sheet. After they have cooled, the filling can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Left over filling can be used as an ice cream topping, for muffins, cheesecake, or other pastries.

DANISH BRAID
Makes enough for 2 large braids

Ingredients
1 recipe Danish Dough (see below)
2 cups apple filling, jam, or preserves (see below)

For the egg wash: 1 large egg, plus 1 large egg yolk

1. Line a baking sheet with a silicone mat or parchment paper. On a lightly floured surface, roll the Danish Dough into a 15 x 20-inch rectangle, ¼ inch thick. If the dough seems elastic and shrinks back when rolled, let it rest for a few minutes, then roll again. Place the dough on the baking sheet.
2. Along one long side of the pastry make parallel, 5-inch-long cuts with a knife or rolling pastry wheel, each about 1 inch apart. Repeat on the opposite side, making sure to line up the cuts with those you’ve already made.
3. Spoon the filling you’ve chosen to fill your braid down the center of the rectangle. Starting with the top and bottom “flaps”, fold the top flap down over the filling to cover. Next, fold the bottom “flap” up to cover filling. This helps keep the braid neat and helps to hold in the filling. Now begin folding the cut side strips of dough over the filling, alternating first left, then right, left, right, until finished. Trim any excess dough and tuck in the ends.

Egg Wash
Whisk together the whole egg and yolk in a bowl and with a pastry brush, lightly coat the braid.

Proofing and Baking
1. Spray cooking oil (Pam…) onto a piece of plastic wrap, and place over the braid. Proof at room temperature or, if possible, in a controlled 90 degree F environment for about 2 hours, or until doubled in volume and light to the touch.
2. Near the end of proofing, preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Position a rack in the center of the oven.
3. Bake for 10 minutes, then rotate the pan so that the side of the braid previously in the back of the oven is now in the front. Lower the oven temperature to 350 degrees F, and bake about 15-20 minutes more, or until golden brown. Cool and serve the braid either still warm from the oven or at room temperature. The cooled braid can be wrapped airtight and stored in the refrigerator for up to 2 days, or freeze for 1 month.

6/19/08

Chicken Wet Burritos

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You would not believe how hard it was for me to find a recipe for "wet burritos" on the internet! I was actually pretty shocked because I've seen this item on many a tex-mex menu, so I thought there would be some good recipes out there. I found a few, but they were things like "wet burrito casserole" and uh... NOT what I was looking for.

A wet burrito is much like an enchilada, but instead of being baked in the oven, it's made right on the stove. It's a big burrito with a hot filling that doesn't include cheese, that is drenched with either a tomato or green chili sauce and while it's still hot, topped with cheese and served immediately. It's melty, saucy, and hearty. It's also quicker than making enchiladas because there's no bake time.

So after searching for a recipe for like a half hour, I decided to just make my own version and gift the internet with a recipe of my own. Then maybe one day there will be someone out there like me that really just wants a recipe to tell them how to make this thing and there it will be. I did use Emeril's enchilada sauce recipe as a base, but majorly tweaked it, so really this recipe in its entirety is all mine.

So let me show you how to make this tex-mex treat so you can add this to your week-night dinner choices list because I promise you, these are no more difficult than the taco dinner you make with a kit out of the box.

Start by making the sauce. Heat the olive oil, then add the flour and stir until smooth. Cook for 1 minute on medium heat.
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Next stir in the chili powder and cook for another 30 seconds.
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Next, add the chicken stock, tomato paste, oregano, cumin, and salt.
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Stir to combine. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low and cook for 15 minutes. The sauce will thicken and smooth out. P6170187

Add the honey and sour cream and adjust the seasonings if needed.
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Keep warm until you're ready to ladle it over your wet burrito.
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Next, make the filling. Start by cooking your chicken in a bit of olive oil until cooked through. No need to even season the chicken at this point because it will be seasoned later when it's mixed with the vegetables. Remove the chicken from the pan and set aside.

In the same pan, heat some more olive oil if needed, then add the onions, bell peppers and garlic. Saute for a minute or so, then add most of the tomatoes (reserving some for garnishing the burrito), cilantro, cumin, salt, and pepper. Stir to combine. While that's cooking, quickly chop up the cooked chicken and add it to the pan along with the juice of 1 lime. Cook for a few minutes more and it's done.
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Pop the flour tortillas into the microwave for 30 seconds or until they're warm, soft, and easy to bend and work with. Quickly spoon some of the filling into the tortilla, fold in the sides of the tortilla, then roll the tortilla enclosing the filling inside.
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Do this with the other four tortillas to make four burritos.
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Ladle as much sauce over the burritos as you like, then top with some of the shredded cheese immeidately so it can start to melt.
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Garnish the burrito with slices of avacado, the rest of the tomatoes, sour cream, and a sprig of cilantro. Serve with a knife and fork.
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Chicken Wet Burritos
by Tara

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For the sauce:

1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 tablespoon flour
1/8 cup chili powder
1 1/2 cups chicken stock (or a bit more depending how thin you want it to be)
6 ounces tomato paste (1 small can)
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon honey
1/2 cup sour cream

For the filling:
1 tablespoon olive oil
3-4 chicken boneless skinless chicken breasts (depending on size)
1 small onion, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 yellow bell pepper, chopped
3 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
4 small plum tomatoes, diced
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
1 tablespoon cumin
salt and pepper to taste
juice of 1 small lime

4 large (not extra large) flour tortillas
1 cup shredded colby jack cheese (or cheese of your choice)

1 avacado, peeled, pitted, and sliced for garnish
sour cream for garnish
sprigs of cilantro for garnish


Make the sauce:
In a medium saucepan heat oil, add flour, smoothing and stirring with a wooden spoon. Cook for 1 minute. Add chili powder and cook for 30 seconds. Add stock, tomato paste, oregano, cumin, and salt. Stir to combine. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low and cook for 15 minutes. The sauce will thicken and smooth out. Add the honey and sour cream and adjust the seasonings if needed. Keep warm until you're ready to ladle it over your wet burrito.

Make the filling:
Start by cooking your chicken in a bit of olive oil until cooked through. No need to even season the chicken at this point because it will be seasoned later when it's mixed with the vegetables. Remove the chicken from the pan and set aside.

In the same pan, heat some more olive oil if needed, then add the onions, bell peppers and garlic. Saute for a minute or so, then add most of the tomatoes (reserving some for garnishing the burrito), cilantro, cumin, salt, and pepper. Stir to combine. While that's cooking, quickly chop up the cooked chicken and add it to the pan along with the juice of 1 lime. Cook for a few minutes more and it's done.

Assemble the burritos:
Pop the flour tortillas into the microwave for 30 seconds or until they're warm, soft, and easy to bend and work with. Quickly spoon some of the filling into the tortilla, fold in the sides of the tortilla, then roll the tortilla enclosing the filling inside. Do this with the other four tortillas to make four burritos.

Ladle as much sauce over the burritos as you like, then top with some of the shredded cheese immeidately so it can start to melt.

Garnish the burrito with slices of avacado, the rest of the tomatoes, sour cream, and a sprig of cilantro. Serve with a knife and fork. Makes 4 wet burritos.

6/8/08

Chicago Italian Beef Sandwich

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That's right... drink it in. This was a juicy, delicious version of an Italian Beef Sandwich that I saw one day on "Guy's Big Bite". Guy Fieri is one of my favorite food network stars by far and I'm so glad that he won "The Next Food Network Star" a couple years ago. He not only makes some really good looking food on his show, but he seems like a fun guy. Anyone with a laugh like that is cool in my book.

I don’t think a weekend goes by when I don’t watch the Food Network. Usually on Saturday mornings, Mark and I will wake up and if I get to the remote first, I’ll turn on the Food Network and we’ll lay there and watch at least one show. Of course, that’s about the time when we get a coffee jones and we get hungry for breakfast and get up. But after that, I usually keep the Food Network going all day on the kitchen TV while I cook and clean.

So when I saw this sandwich on Guy Fieri's "Poker Night" episode, I knew immediately that I had to try it. I changed it up a bit and topped it with peppers and onions rather than the chopped giardiniera vinaigrette vegetables and jarred red sweet peppers the recipe calls for. I also added a bit of cheese at the end because well, I love cheese damn it.

I'm actually going to make these again this coming weekend for my Dad for part of his Father's Day dinner. Here's how they're made:

Start by mixing together the dry rub for the meat. It's a combination of Italian seasoning, salt, black and cayenne pepper, paprika, and red chili flakes.
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Next, rub it all over the meat. This time I used flank steak because I had some in the freezer. I think this weekend we're going to try a top round roast. However, if you have flank steak on hand, I can tell you that it works great.
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After heating some olive oil in a braising pan, sear the meat on both sides so it has a nice dark color all around. I then removed the meat from the pan, added the garlic cloves and onions and sauteed them for a few minutes to get some color on them. Next, I deglazed the pan with wine, added the Worcestershire sauce, beef stock and bay leaves.
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I added the meat back to the pan and covered it with the onions and garlic, then put it in a 275 degree oven for 2 hours. The time in the oven all depends on how big the meat is and how thick. Basically, you want to keep it in the oven until the meat reaches an internal temperature of 135 degrees.
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When I took the meat out of the oven, it looked great. I let the meat rest on the cutting board for about 10 minutes before I cut into it.
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While the meat was resting, I sauteed up some bell peppers and onions in olive oil with a little salt and pepper.
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Next, using a bowl and a collinder, and strained the remaining juices from the pan.
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I went back to the cutting board and thinly sliced the meat. You can just see how tender it was.
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Finally, I added all the sliced meat to the bowl of au jus and tossed it until completely combined. The au jus gave the beef an unbelievable flavor and made it SO juicy.
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Then just toast a couple of sausage rolls, pile in the meat, top with peppers and onions and some mozzarella cheese if you prefer. Pop it back into the oven or toaster oven for a minute to melt the cheese and they're done!

This is a delicious sandwich and really not that heavy because there's only a small amount of cheese on it. Also, you can make it as big or as small as you like. Serve a salad on the side and you're all set!



Chicago Italian Beef Sandwich
Recipe courtesy Guy Fieri, 2008
Show: Guy's Big Bite
Episode: Poker Night

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4 pounds top round with fat cap
3 tablespoons Italian seasoning
2 tablespoons salt
2 tablespoons fresh cracked black pepper
1 teaspoon cayenne
1 tablespoon paprika
1 teaspoon red chili flakes
3 tablespoons bacon fat, or canola oil
3 yellow onions, chopped
1 cup garlic, whole cloves
1/2 cup red wine
3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 cup beef stock
2 bay leaves
6 sourdough baguette rolls halved, toasted
1 cup chopped giardiniera vinaigrette vegetables
1 cup jarred red sweet peppers

Rub meat with dry ingredients, cover and refrigerate for 2 to 3 hours.
Preheat oven to 275 degrees F.

Add meat to a roasting pan with bacon fat, add onions and garlic, saute for 15 minutes, deglaze with wine, and add Worcestershire sauce, beef stock and bay leaves.

Place roasting pan in the oven and cook for 3 hours, uncovered, or until an instant-read thermometer registers 135 degrees F in center. Remove, let cool, then slice very thin.

Cool broth in roasting pan and remove the fat that rises to the top. Strain.

Reheat the broth, and add the sliced meat. Place some meat on each toasted roll, ladle with some broth and top with giardiniera vegetables and red peppers.