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Bought the wrong cut of beef, how can I make it yummy?

So the idea was to do a peppercorn steak with a side of garlic mashed with chives. I bought what I thought was three small filets, but turned out to be three small EYE ROUND steaks. Clearly, I wasn't paying even the slightest attention ... except that I thought it was a great price for a filet!

Anyway, from what I've found everything seems to say this piece of meat is super tough and not good to serve as just a steak. So .... what can I do to salvage my meal plan? Any suggestions? I'm thinking perhaps to marinade it for awhile then slice it thinly and kind of saute it in a pepper sauce. Does that sound plausible?

Just curious if anyone has any suggestions. Please tell me I'm not the only person to get distracted at the meat counter and grab the wrong thing! :-)

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  1. Before I knew my braises from my roasts I cooked protiens the wrong way a LOT. Even recently I saw a pork recipe which looked lovely and it called for pan braising pork chops-bone in (think fatty). I couldn't get them so instead used center cut pork chops which are way too lean to braise. I wound up with tough dry chops! It happens.
    Your sense is right in how to cook th eye round. It does not braise and is very lean. Cook it medium rare and slice across the grain to get a more tender cut. I think your meal will pull together justs fine.
    Good luck!


    1. I would take a schnitzel approach: pound them flat between two sheets of wax paper, season w/salt & pepper, dip in a bit of flour, and quick sear on both sides.

      Or to go a bit more elaborate in that direction, there's this recipe from the current issue of Saveur: http://www.saveur.com/food/classic-re...

      1. What about pounding the rounds thin, and stuffing with herbs and mashed potatoes or rice, then tie up, and make your sauce with cognac, cream and peppercorns/ The meat will be more tender.
        Let them braise a bit in some wine and broth covered.
        I've done this too, I get hung up on the great price... not too long ago Ibought a different cut of lamb that was shoe leather tough!

        1 Reply
        1. re: chef chicklet

          Oooo, I like the idea of stuff them with herbs and potatoes.

          Does the braising eliminate the need for marinating?

        2. I'd marinate the heck out of them. Sear on both sides, blast in the oven till med rare and then slice them thinly against the grain. Serve with a sauce of some type.

          1. Thanks for all the suggestions. Any thoughts about throwing them in the slow cooker with some onions, mushrooms and peppercorns for about 6 hours? (I'm new with the slow cooker thing, so this might not be the best idea.)

            3 Replies
            1. re: KrazyB

              Ohhhh.....I'd advise against this. I think it would dry the heck out of it. Without fat and a lot of connective tissue to break down=dry meat. For a brisket yes, a lean eye round no.
              Stick to searing. Cut into individual servings.Sear, make your sauce as planned while the meat rests, pour sauce over steaks. Enjoy.

              1. re: KrazyB

                I wouldn't. It doesn't have enough fat/tendons/etc. and will get tough.

                1. re: chowser

                  Thanks for the heads up. This is my first slow cooker so I really haven't figured out what works and what doesn't. Thanks!

              2. Don't be embarrassed. Many years ago, I grabbed what I thought was a prepack of snow crab out of a freezer case (this was before the good stuff was more readily available) and tossed it into my zuppe di pesce, knowing that my DH really liked crab legs. When they started to unroll, literally, in the sauce like a kid might unroll a Yodle, I fished the package out of the garbage and discovered it was "Krab"! Once fooled, twice shy. Now I read labels.

                Eye round is tough but not inedible. My mother favors this cut for a roast, which is not my preference, I think, because it is "clean" and doesn't have fat and gristle. It is tough because it is really lean. You need to cook it rare and slice very thin. If you don't like rare, don't go past medium and consider a beef/onion au jus, because it can also dry out. Marinade will not improve the texture much if at all, just alter the flavor. It might be difficult to slice the steaks like you would deli roast beef, but that is what you need to go for, or else you will find yourself chewing a little too hard.

                As an alternative, you could cut the steaks up into thinnish cubes and braise for several hours with peppers and onions in your favorite sauce or gravy. Keep the cubes thinner because this cut can actually dry out in a braise when used as a pot roast, but the smaller pieces will response well to this cooking technique.

                1 Reply
                1. re: RGC1982

                  When I moved to Italy for grad school both my food knowledge and my language skills were a bit rusty, so shopping was a challenge. I managed to buy a kilo of aspartame thinking it was sugar (because really, who would've guessed you could buy that by the kilo?), and what I thought was a pork tenderloin turned out to be a rolled-up turkey breast!

                2. Reporting back .... I seared the meat for 2 min a side and then tossed it into the oven (covered) at ~175 while I made the pan sauce. Sliced it as thin as I could, about 1/4 inch, and it ended up pretty darn tasty! it was nice and rare and the small pieces distracted from the chewiness.

                  Thanks for all the suggestions!

                  1. I'd recommend cutting it into slices, and making a nice Beef Stroganoff with it. It should tender up nicely during the initial braising process.

                    My Blog: http://www.epicureforum.com

                    5 Replies
                    1. re: sirregular

                      That's probably the best idea for this lean beef, and stroganoff is mighty tasty too!

                      1. re: chef chicklet

                        Mighty irregular though - true beef Stroganoff is only made from very tender beef because it's not supposed to braise, it's supposed to cook in minutes.

                        1. re: BobB

                          really? oops. Usually I don't use expensive meat at all for stroganoff. My version is my version though, we like it.

                      2. re: sirregular

                        If you do that it'll only dry out faster. This cut of meat is not made for braising.

                        1. re: C. Hamster

                          Yes: the one thing you cannot do well to eye round is braise it.

                      3. While top or bottom round is more common, you can also use eye round for the classic Chicken Fried Steak, which is in the same family of other recommendations you've gotten here.

                        1. I buy eye round beef all the time! You cut it in fairly thin steaks, pound them on both sides, season with salt and peper. Spread a little bit of mustard on one side, put half a slice of bacon, a thin slice of a pickle and a slice of raw onion. Roll up, secure with a toothpick. Heat up some oil in a pan, sear them on all sides (you may sprinkle with a little bit of flour, sauce will be thicker), add enough water or beef boullion to cover the meat, also add 1-2 bay leaves, more salt and pepper, other spices if you want. Cover and cook until tender for about 1 or 1.5 hrs. There, you have a great and simple polish recipe that you could serve with mashed potatoes and red cabbage. And it even tasted better the next day:))

                          3 Replies
                          1. re: polish_girl

                            That's German Rouladen, actually. :-)

                            1. re: polish_girl

                              That sounds amazing!! And with the eye round costing less than $3/lb a nice cheap meal.

                              What type of pickles do you use?

                              1. re: KrazyB

                                Maybe it's german rouladen, but it's one of these dishes everybody in Poland makes :)))
                                We have been neighbors with Germany for sooooo long, I am sure it's hard to tell where some of the dishes originated (same thing with Russia).
                                Anyway, I use any pickle I have in the fridge- usually Clausen, sometimes Bubbies, sometimes my own (I make them only in summertime).

                            2. Incise an x in the center and stuff it with a sausage (andouille, chaurice, span chorizo, etc..) Braise away. Google boliche.