Maltese Bragioli also known as beef olives, are slowly braised stuffed bundles of beef. Beef rolls would be a more accurate description. The term olive is a bit confusing as there are no olives in this recipe.
It turns out they got their name because they are stuffed and somewhat resemble the shape of an olive when cooked. Whatever you call them, they are delicious bundles of joy!
This dish can be made with not the best cut of meat because it is braised in wine for a long time. I found some thin sliced top sirloin at my local market and it worked out great. You could use a thin slice of flank steak but really any slice of beef will do. You will make the meat slice thinner with a mallet.
The beef slice is rolled up with a mixture of bread crumbs, chopped bacon and parsley then topped with hard-boiled eggs. Once rolled they can be secured with butcher's twine or wooden toothpicks to keep them together while browning then braising.
The beef rolls are then browned over medium heat in olive oil or lard, in a large saucepan. The browned bragioli is placed on bay leaf in a large stock pot. The carrots and onions along with some garlic cloves are cooked in the same pan as the beef, then the pan is deglazed with the wine and poured over the beef rolls. This is your braising liquid. Sometimes pine nuts are added as a garnish. Be sure to remove the kitchen string or tooth picks before serving.
This dish is often served with mashed potatoes and peas however I made it with a pasta omelette as part of our Maltese meal, which was wonderful. How ever you serve them, you will savor this traditional Maltese beef dish.
This dish can easily be made Plant Paradox compliant by using grass fed beef, compliant bacon and compliant bread crumbs. You can serve it alongside mashed sweet potatoes or cauliflower for a delicious meal.
Did you know that the name of the island nation of Malta is derived from a Greek word meaning "honey"? The island has an endemic species of bee, which produces a unique type of honey for which the island is famous. Although when I visited there some people said it was because of the color of the stone of the buildings, they are definitely a honey color.
Have you ever been to Malta? I would love to hear what your favorite dish was when you visited there. If you make this Maltese bragioli, I would love to know if you loved it as much as we did.
If you would like to learn more about Maltese cuisine, be sure to check out "Our Journey to Malta" Also, get more authentic Maltese recipes like pastizzi, a wonderful street food pastry, or olives stuffed with tuna called Zebbug mimli. a cheesy pasta omelette called froga-tat-tarja plus some Maltese gelat (Ice cream).
Craving even more? Be sure to join the culinary and cultural journey around the world so you don’t miss a thing, it’s free, You can also follow me on Instagram, Facebook , Pinterest and youtube to follow along our journey.
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Maltese Bragioli (Beef Olives)
- 1 lb. top sirloin thinly sliced in long pieces
- 1 onion sliced thinly
- 1 carrot cut into bite size pieces
- 3 slices white stale bread without crust crushed
- 2 hard-boiled eggs sliced
- 4 slices bacon chopped
- 1 handful parsley chopped
- 1 Tbsp olive oil or lard
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 2 bay leaves
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 cup red wine +/- for braising
- Beat the slices of meat with a mallet so they are nice and thin.
- In a bowl, add your bread crumbs, chopped bacon, parsley, and a little salt and pepper. This is your stuffing. Place a heaping tablespoon of the stuffing onto a slice of the beef and spread it out along with a couple slices of hard boiled egg.
- Roll the meat slices lengthwise over the stuffing and tie it up with cooking string or else secure with toothpicks. Do this with all of the beef, trying to evenly distribute the stuffing.
- Pour some oil or lard in a a large pan and fry the beef olives on all sides until nicely browned. Transfer the beef olives into a large stock pot and place them on the bottom of the pan along with the bay leaves.
- Using the same pan that the beef was cooked in, fry the onions, garlic and carrots until the onions are translucent.
- Pour the wine over the onions and carrots and deglaze the pan.
- Pour the sauce over the beef olives and put on simmer, you want it to gently simmer for about 1 1/2 hours until the beef is beautifully tender. NOTE you may need to add a little wine or water if it boils away but not to much you want it to braise not stew.
- When finished remove the toothpicks and strings and serve along with the sauce.