Stuffed Beef Rolls (Alouettes Sans Tetes)

Despite its bizarre name {it means, literally, larks without heads) this dish is really stuffed beef rolls, or paupiettes as they are sometimes called in France. Because of the long slow cooking time, an inexpensive cut of meat can be used, braising or chuck steak, for instance, as well as the more usual paupiette beef topside {top rump).


4 servings
8 slices Lean beef, cut 12 1/2 cm (5 in) square by 1/2 cm (1/4 in) thick
2 Tbs Vegetable oil
2 Onions, chopped
2 Carrots, chopped
300 ml (10 fl oz) 1 1/4 cups Beef stock
3 Tomatoes, blanched, peeled, seeded and chopped
1 Garlic clove, crushed
1 Bay leaf
2 Tbs Chopped parsley

for the stuffing

175 g (6 oz) Minced (ground) pork or veal
1 Small onion, finely chopped
25 g (1 oz) 2 Tbs Butter, softened
25 g (1 oz) 1/2 cup Fresh white breadcrumbs
1 Tbs Finely chopped parsley
1 tsp Dried sage
1 1/2 tsp Finely grated lemon rind
1 Egg, lightly beaten
Salt and pepper to taste


1. Preheat the oven to moderate 180°C (Gas Mark 4, 350°F).

2. To prepare the stuffing, mix all the ingredients together until they are thoroughly blended.

3. Lay the beef slices out flat on a working surface and divide the stuffing among them, spreading it out carefully. Roll up the slices, Swiss (jelly) roll style and tie with string or thread.

4. Heat the oil in a large saucepan. Add the rolls and fry, turning frequently, until they are evenly browned. Transfer them to a large casserole.

5. Add the onions and carrots to the pan and fry until they are soft. Stir in the stock, tomatoes, garlic and bay leaf and bring to the boil. Pour the mixture over the beef rolls and cover the casserole tightly. Put the dish into the oven and cook for 1 1/2 hours, or until the rolls are cooked through and tender.

6. Transfer the beef rolls to a warmed serving dish and remove the string or thread. Keep hot. Strain the cooking liquid into a jug or pan, pressing down on the vegetables and flavourings with the back of a wooden spoon. Bring to the boil and adjust the seasonings if necessary.

7. Pour the sauce over the beef rolls, sprinkle over the parsley and serve at once.

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