Beef olives are a British classic of stuffed, thin sliced beef which is rolled into a parcel and cooked slowly in a rich brown sauce.
The delicious stuffing includes breadcrumbs, shallots, mushrooms and Stilton cheese, so it has all the flavours of a steak and Stilton pie.
They are really simple to make in advance too, which makes them perfect for entertaining family and friends.
By the way, there are NO olives in this dish!
Beef olives made their first appearance in the middle ages, according to my Readers Digest Farmhouse Cookery book from 1980.
The olive name comes from the shape of the stuffed beef rolls, which become a neat parcel when they are tied up with string. In the past veal steaks were used too.
The stuffing can include minced beef, veal or a breadcrumb base with anchovies, but I've chosen to make my stuffing with Stilton cheese, as it goes so well with beef.
Absolutely! Prepare the stuffing and roll up the beef parcels and put in the fridge a day in advance. Make the sauce and put in the oven and hour before you want to eat.
Why you will love this dish
- This is a great dish to make a relatively small amount of a cheaper cut of beef go a long way, so it's very economical.
- The stuffed beef rolls slice well with the cheese keeping the filling in place, so this dish is elegant enough for entertaining too.
- Easy to make the rolls in advance and cook later or the next day.
- Lots of ideas for variations for the stuffing to suit all tastes.
- Beef - thin long slices of frying steak. It doesn't need to be a particular type as it will be cooked on a low heat in the oven.
- Beef stock - from a cube or tin.
- Vegetable oil
- Flour - plain or all purpose
- Onion - yellow onion, sliced for the brown sauce.
- Seasoning - flaked sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.
For the stuffing:
- Breadcrumbs - bought, white breadcrumbs or made from 3 slices of bread in a food processor.
- Shallots - the long banana shallots are easier to peel than the smaller round ones.
- Mushrooms - basic white mushrooms or any that you have.
- Cheese - Stilton cheese or any blue cheese. This will help hold the stuffing together so it doesn't fall apart.
- Egg - for binding.
- Thyme - fresh thyme leaves, chopped.
See recipe card for quantities.
- Frying pan or skillet
- Wooden Spoon
- Sharp knife
Peel the shallots and wipe or peel the mushrooms. Chop finely.
Heat a tablespoon of the oil over a low/medium heat and cook the mushrooms and onions for about 5 minutes until soft.
💭 Top tip
- Use a paper towel to wipe any dirt from the outside of the mushrooms. Washing them with water will make them absorb moisture which will affect the cooking process.
Put the onion and mushroom mixture in a large bow with the rest of the stuffing ingredients and mix.
Divide the mixture into 4 sausage shapes, the same width of the beef.
Lay the beef slices on a chopping board and place the stuffing at one of the short ends then roll up the beef.
Repeat with the remaining slices then use kitchen string to tie into a parcel.
Put a length of string on the board then place the beef olive down seem first.
Twist the string then flip the beef over and tie in a knot. Trim the ends.
Use the original pan and heat the remaining oil.
Fry the onions for 5 minutes until softened then transfer to a small oven dish.
Increase the heat, season the meat and sear on all sides then place them on top of the onions.
Make the sauce by heating the butter until frothy then stirring in the flour for 1 minute.
Next, gradually stir in the stock and bring to the boil for a minute to thicken.
The mixture will look lumpy to begin with but will become smooth with stirring.
⏲️ Baking time
Pour the brown sauce over the beef, cover the dish with foil and bake at 170C/325F/150 FAN/Gas 3 for 40-60 minutes.
Check the beef with carving fork after 40 minutes to see if it's tender, Depending on the thickness of the rolls they may need a longer cooking time.
Leave the stuffed beef rolls to rest for a few minutes then snip the string before serving over a bed of creamy mash with the onion gravy spooned over the top.
🥗 Side dishes
- Honey Glazed Carrots
- Cavolo Nero Kale
- Braised Red Cabbage
- Broccoli Cauliflower Cheese
- Duchess Potatoes
- Easy Roast Potatoes
- Potatoes Dauphinoise
- Beef - use chicken breasts sliced in half and pounded until they are thin, turkey or pork escalopes instead.
- Stuffing - use minced chicken, pork, sausage meat or beef instead.
- Mushrooms - use some rehydrated porcini mushrooms for extra flavour.
- Stilton - try another blue cheese such as Roquefort or use brie or camembert for a different flavour.
Prepare the stuffed beef parcels a day in advance if you need to and store covered in the fridge.
Any leftover meat and gravy can be stored in the fridge for up to 3 days.
I don't recommend freezing this recipe.
So delicious! Serve on a bed of creamy mashed potatoes.
- Frying pan or skillet
- Wooden spoon
- Sharp knife
- 400 g steak thin long frying steak
- 400 ml beef stock
- 2 tablespoon oil
- 25 g butter
- 25 g flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ tsp pepper
- 125 g breadcrumbs fresh, white (3 slices of bread))
- 2 shallots banana or long, finely chopped
- 60 g mushrooms finely chopped
- 50 g Stilton crumbled
- 1 egg
- 1 tablespoon thyme fresh, leaves, chopped
- Heat a tablespoon of the oil over a low/medium heat and cook the mushrooms and onions for 5 minutes until soft.
- Put the onion and mushroom mixture in a large bow with the rest of the stuffing ingredients and mix.
- Divide the mixture into 4 sausage shapes, the same width of the beef.
- Lay the beef slices on a chopping board and place the stuffing at one of the short ends then roll up the beef.
- Repeat with the remaining slices then use kitchen string to tie into a parcel.
- Heat the remaining oil and fry the onions for 5 minutes until softened then transfer to a small oven dish.
- Increase the heat, season the meat and sear on all side then place them on top of the onions.
- Make the sauce by heating the butter until frothy then stirring in the flour for 1 minute.
- Next, gradually stir in the stock and bring to the boil until thickened.
- Pour the brown sauce over the beef, cover the dish with foil and bake at 170C/325F/150 FAN/Gas 3 for 40-60 minutes
Disclaimer: The nutritional information provided is approximate and is calculated using online tools. Information can vary depending on various factors, but we have endeavoured to be as accurate as possible.
Detailed instructions for this recipe, including step by step photographs, hints and tips, can be found in the main article
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- Do not use the same utensils on cooked food, that previously touched raw meat.
- Wash hands after touching raw meat.
- Don't leave food sitting out at room temperature for extended periods.
- Never leave cooking food unattended'
- Use oils with high smoking point to avoid harmful compounds.
- Always have good ventilation when using gas.
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