A simple but great dish from the city of Bari in Southern Italy (in the region of Puglia) is Braciole alla Barese, which can be prepared using either beef or horse meat. Thin slices of beef are stuffed with garlic, parsley, and cheese, rolled up, and braised in tomato sauce. I absolutely love this dish, but I thought it could be even better when prepared sous-vide. In the traditional preparation the meat is braised and thus cooked well done; with sous-vide it is possible to ‘braise’ the meat in the tomato sauce to medium rare. There’s only one way to find out, and that is to simply try it. It turned out delicious, and without putting down the regular version, which is great, the sous-vide version to me is absolutely superior. The meat is more juicy and the whole dish has a ‘fresher’ taste. Roll up the beef bundles as in the regular recipe and brown them in hot olive oil.
Increase the temperature to 49.5C/121F and cook for another hour. At these temperatures the enzymes responsible for ‘aging’ the meat are most active. This will make the meat more tender without ‘cooking’ it. I call this process ‘warm aging’ and it is a great way to make beef more tender without cooking it beyond medium rare.
Just like with the traditional preparation, it is possible to serve 2/3 of the sauce with pasta first as a primo piatto, followed by the meat with the remaining 1/3 of the sauce as a secondo piatto.
For comparison, this is what the tradionally prepared braciole look like. As you can see, they are well done rather than medium rare.