I learned this technique from the Sierra Mar cook book of Craig von Foester and I have been using it for years now. It works well with any lean meat – poultry, veal, venison, rabbit, or lean pork. The bacon gives lean meats much needed juiciness and smokiness.
- Loin or tenderloin cut of any lean meat: veal, pork, venison, rabbit OR lean poultry: chicken, turkey, squab, quail
- Thin strips of bacon. For any 1 inch length of meat, you need 2 pieces of bacon. For example, if you have a 10 inch long veal tenderloin, you need 20 pieces of bacon. For this technique you can’t use the prepackaged bacon because it is too thick. You need your butcher to slice bacon from a slab, and the slices need to be only slightly thicker than prosciutto.
- 1 tbs canola oil
Tear off a foot-long piece of plastic wrap and lay it out on a flat surface. Then start arranging the bacon strips vertically overlapping them by half an inch. The resulting “sheet” of bacon needs to be slightly wider than the length of your meat piece.
In most cases one row of bacon strips will be enough to completely wrap the meat. You can measure if the meat can be wrapped in the bacon “sheet” and be completely covered. If you have a very large piece of meat (such as pork loin), you may need to create a second row of bacon strips. If you need to add a second row of bacon strips, repeat what you did with the first row.
Once you have laid out the bacon, place the meat at the bottom part of the bacon “sheet”. Lift the lower edge of the bacon “sheet”, and wrap it around the meat. Start rolling the meat, and wrapping it in the bacon.
See the technique demonstrated in the video:
The next step is to tie the meat roulade with kitchen twine so that it holds together during the cooking process. Cut strings of kitchen twine that are 1 1/2 times the length of the bacon strips. You need one piece of twine for each 2 inches of meat roulade (i.e. if you started with a 10 inch piece of veal tenderloin, you need 5 pieces of kitchen twine).
Lay out the pieces of twine vertically on the plastic sheet, spacing them equally, and place the bacon wrapped meet in the middle of the twine strings. Then tie each string of twine, and cut the excess string. The process of tying the roulade is shown in this video:
Lastly, wrap the roulade in the plastic sheet, twist both ends of the sheet and tie the ends with kitchen twine. Put in the fridge until you are ready to cook it.
The beautiful thing about a bacon wrapped meat roulade is the crispy bacon, and the only way to cook the bacon crispy is to pan fry the roulade. Pan frying may or may not be enough to cook the roulade depending on the type of meat and its thickness:
- If the meat is thicker than 1 1/2 inch diameter, I would first cook the roulade in sous-vide, and then pan fry it only long enough to brown and crispen the bacon
- If the meat is thinner than 1 1/2 inch diameter, I would simply pan fry the roulade which would be enough for rare to medium rare. If you need it to be well done (for chicken, turkey) you can then finish it in the oven.
To pan fry the roulade, heat the oil in a fry pan, keep the heat high and add the roulade. Fry until the bacon gets crispy on one side, and then roll the roulade. Repeat until the bacon is cooked and crispy all around. Then finish in the oven for a few minutes if needed.
Take the roulade out of the pan, cover with aluminum sheet, and let rest for 3-4 min. Cut into 1 inch slices and serve.
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