May 4, 2006


Rumaki are appetizers of Japanese origin, usually chicken liver and water chestnuts wrapped in bacon, seared, and served with a soy based brown sugar and/or ginger sauce. Although it does sound a bit like something from the 1952 Betty Crocker party cookbook, anything wrapped in bacon has just got to be good. Not so much for the liver part, so I wrapped beef tenderloin, napa cabbage, and chives instead. The inspiration to give this a try came from the latest Cuisine at Home, and they served it with a bourbon vanilla sauce. I added a bit of soy, ginger, and cilantro to the sauce to help cut the sweet. I used toothpicks to hold it all together while I seared them, but the toothpicks got in the way of browning the sides so next time I’d make them ahead of time and refrigerate them a while so they would hold together better.

1 cup bourbon
2 tbs fresh cilantro
1 rough cut green onion
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 tbs soy sauce
2 tbs red wine vinegar
Mix all this together and set aside. Keep 1/2

1 lb. trimmed beef, cut into strips
salt and pepper to taste
4-5 trimmed green onions, split lengthwise
1 cup chopped nappa cabbage
1 can sliced water chestnuts
1/2 slice bacon for each piece of beef

Using half a strip of bacon, roll up each strip of beef with a bit of cabbage, a slice of water chestnut, and a few sprigs of green onion. Spear with a toothpick to hold it all together. Sear these rolls on all sides to your desired doneness level and set aside (keep warm). Deglaze the pan with the bourbon sauce you mixed earlier. Allow the mix to simmer until it reduces by about half, and is thick enough to slowly coat the back of a spoon. Stir in the vanilla at the last minute, and serve with the steak rolls. It really seems like an appetizer to me, but you could easily add a little sushi-style rice and some stir fried veggies for a meal.

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