A Valentine’s Day recipe to fall in love with

Beef Roulade tops the menu.A local caterer shares the instructions.

You can impress your Valentine with a fancy dinner out, but you can really impress your Valentine with a thoughtful, home cooked dinner in.

Thursday is Valentine’s Day. We asked Renee McClure, 37, a self-described “food fashionista” who is better known as the owner/operator of Elite Catering in Dayton, to come up with a recipe that readers and their significant others will fall in love with. Her company caters within a 45-mile radius of downtown Dayton.

“For Valentine’s or any special occasion, I try to pick recipes that look really hard to execute but can be pulled together quickly, earlier in the day when no one is around. Then I pop in the oven while I finish the side dishes … of course with a glass of wine,” McClure said.

“When I want something special I usually pick beef. One of my all-time favorite go-to recipes is a beef roulade. It can be so colorful and pretty, and it really looks impressive on the plate.”

The recipe she provided has a simple stuffing to compliment the complex, flavorful sauce. McClure chose a Red Wine Cherry Sauce for a touch of sweetness as an homage to the day. For those who want to something other than the sauce, McClure recommends using a more colorful stuffing like red bell peppers, leeks, garlic and fresh herbs with some provolone cheese.


Recipe courtesy of Renee McClure, Elite Catering


2-3 lbs. Flank Steak - be sure to trim excess fat and butterfly so it is about 1/3” thick (can use London Broil if you prefer)

Canadian steak seasoning

3 tbsp. EVOO (extra virgin olive oil) to sear the meat

Butcher string


2 cloves of garlic, minced

1/4 cup sweet yellow onion, diced

1/2 cup mushrooms, chopped

3 tbsp. butter

1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley (omit if not fresh)

4 oz thinly sliced hard salami, chopped and separated

4 oz of your favorite soft cheese ~ McClure prefers Gorgonzola or Roquefort

1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano

1 cup soft bread crumbs (about 2 slices of bread) OR 1/2 cup dried bread crumbs

3 tbsp EVOO

Kosher Salt

Ground Black Pepper


Heat butter in pan and add minced garlic, chopped mushrooms and diced onion, stir and cook until liquid has evaporated and onions are translucent. Combine remaining ingredients with the onions, mushrooms and garlic in a mixing bowl. McClure likes to use her hands so all the ingredients are mixed well. Set aside.

Place the flank steak on work surface so that the grain of the meat is parallel to when cutting — McClure advises when working with flank steak to make sure you carve the end product against the grain. Season the inside of the meat with salt and pepper. Press the filing mixture onto the flank steak leaving about a 1/4” boarder at the end farthest away. Starting from the side that’s closest, roll up the meat like a jelly roll, pressing any stuffing that falls back into the meat. Do this as tightly as possible so when you sliced the finish product there is no gaps in the pinwheel. Tie the beef with twine about every 2 inches and then wrap tightly with saran wrap.

Refrigerate the meat roll at least 4 hours or overnight.

Unwrap the meat roll carefully. Heat 3 tbsp of EVOO in frying pan. Season the outside of the roll lightly with Canadian steak seasoning. When oil is hot sear each side to lock in the juices (about 1 minute per side). Transfer to a rack in a roasting pan and cook at 350 for about 25 minutes for medium rare (130 degrees), longer if you like prefer meat that is more well done. Tent the meat while finishing your sauce (about 10 minutes) before cutting the butcher tie and slicing for service.

Red Wine Cherry Sauce


1/2 cup water

1/4 cup red wine vinegar

1/2 cup red wine

1/2 cup tart dried cherries

1/4 cup sugar

2 small red onions, strips

2 shallots, diced

1 tbsp dijon mustard

2 tbsp EVOO

Pan juices from the roast


On the stove, combine water, vinegar, red wine, dried cherries and sugar. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly to make sure the sugar dissolves and does not burn to the bottom of the pan. Turn heat down to medium and reduce the liquid by half. Remove from the heat and let stand for 4 minutes.

For a smoother sauce, add to a food processor or blender and blend until smooth. McClure likes chunky sauces, so she skips this step. In another pan, heat the EVOO and add the Add the pan juices from the roast, the dijon mustard and the cherry mixture. Turn heat to medium-high and stir until the sauce comes together, about 3 minutes. Spoon over the sliced roulade or on the side.

McClure suggests serving this with some sauteed asparagus spears and some roasted red skin potatoes.

Dessert? McClure says, “It has to be chocolate! Chocolate Lava Cakes are one of my favorite. I love culinary disasters that turn into something delicious. In the case of the lava cake, the dessert was to be individual chocolate cakes for a dinner party and a cook took them out of the oven too soon. Since there was no time to cook them further, the chef simply introduced the dessert as “lava” cake. Sprinkle with a little powdered sugar and top with some fresh raspberries — perfect for my valentine.”

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