How To Make Morcon: These Are Our Best Tips
The beef morcon is basically a stuffed beef roll. It's very similar to the German rouladen or beef roulade. Unlike the German version which is stuffed with bacon, onions, and pickles, the morcon is stuffed with carrots, pickles, hot dog or a chorizo de Bilbao, cheese, and a hard-boiled egg.
There are a few things about these two dishes that make for a great beef dish. Here are tips that will make the morcon easier to make and cook for the holidays:
1 Choose a thin cut of beef.
What these two dishes do share is the way the beef roll is made. For both recipes, the beef is a thin slice so it can easily be rolled with ingredients without bulging too much. This thin cut of meat is also responsible for ensuring the inside of the beef heats through without the beef itself overcooking and turning tough.
However, don't choose a cut like the sukiyaki beef that might be too thin for the morcon. You want to think like Goldilocks: not too thin, not too thick, so you want it to be just right in thickness. You should be able to roll the beef without it tearing but it should be thin enough to not be too thick either. It can a be delicate balance and if you're unsure, consult your butcher on what cut is the best for your dish.
Just remember to not fill it up with too much filling or it can be unwieldy to manage as well as difficult to cook properly.
2 Learn how to tightly tie up the beef.
A big concern that you may have is how to properly truss the beef. The principle behind trussing up the meat is to not only ensure the fillings you rolled into the meat stay inside the beef roll but also to maintain the shape as it cooks. That's why it is necessary to truss the meat tightly without any loose spots.
Need pointers and tips on how to do that? We have a video!
3 Use a heavy pot with a tight-fitting lid.
The good news about the morcon (and other beef rolls) is that it is braised. This slow cooking ensures that the beef is tender when it comes out but not too fall-apart tender. This is what commonly happens when the beef is simmered or boiled, instead of braised.
To braise the morcon well, it's best to use a Dutch oven, otherwise known as a pot with a tight-fitting lid.
Why is the pot important in the cooking of morcon?
The Dutch oven is commonly a heavy-bottomed pot so this means the pot itself is going to be more evenly heated during the long cooking time. More evenly heating means there are no hot spots to scorch the food.
Another reason why the Dutch oven is ideal for this is because of the lid. The lid is tight-fitting so any water that evaporates will collect on the underside of the lid and eventually drip down, effectively basting the food as it cooks. The small amount of water or liquid that you do add to the beginning of the cooking will not evaporate easily and will keep your meat moist and tender.
4 Do check on it.
Despite all the precautions you may have taken to prevent your morcon from burning, overcooking, or drying out, you should still check on it occasionally. For example, the liquid might run too low and the sauce might thicken too much that it will scorch the bottom despite the low heat. The meat might need to be flipped or otherwise turned for even browning and cooking. The beef itself may already be tender and done cooking before the timer has run down!
A quick check on the pot and the beef that's cooking inside won't hurt. Besides, you get a whiff of the delicious flavors being created when you do. Yum!
5 Thicken the sauce.
When the beef is perfectly tender, the sauce may not be quite ready for serving. It might be too thin or it might even be too thick to be considered a sauce! If the sauce is too thin aka watery and a bit bland in taste, it's easy to remedy: simply reduce the liquid until it's the consistency of a sauce and the taste is improved.
If the sauce is thin but would become too flavorful if reduced, simply make a mixture of equal parts oil or butter and all-purpose flour. Known as a beurre manie or butter-flour dough, this mixture easily mixes and dissolves in hot mixtures. This is used to thicken sauces and soups without the worry of lumps forming.
If however, the sauce is too thick, you need to thin it down with a little water. If it's not tasty enough to thin down, you can tweak the sauce with a quick beef gravy.
All of these tips and tricks might seem tedious but when it comes to cooking, sometimes, a little tweaking can work better than allowing things to just run their course without any interference from you.
The morcon is a fabulous dish to make for Christmas! Take the time to make it properly and you'll enjoy the fruits of your labor with a super delicious meal that will make everyone happy.
Thinking about what to cook next? Join our Facebook group, Yummy Pinoy Cooking Club, to get more recipe ideas, share your own dishes, and find out what the rest of the community are making and eating!
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