If you enjoy getting in the Halloween spirit as much as I do and plan on entertaining on this most gruesome of holidays, this recipe for Savory Severed Arm in Marinara Sauce will be a hands-down favorite! Last year I had the pleasure of preparing “the arm” with two of my favorite culinary compadres, Dwight Langford and his grandmother Beverly Langford aka the lovely Miss Bev. Both Dwight and Miss Bev are wonderful cooks and I so enjoyed having them in the kitchen to help make this fun and festive dish.
I first saw this recipe on “Nadia G’s Bitchin’ Halloween Special” a few years ago and it is one of the few dishes I’ve ever made that can be described as simultaneously revolting and delicious. Butterflied flank steak, Italian cheeses and bread crumbs are rolled up to form the arm while the hand consists of a mixture of ground beef and spices. Once formed, the entire thing is covered with prosciutto which, when cooked, resembles burnt flesh. The end result is incredibly tasty though – I promise!
This recipe is a tad time intensive and while I followed it to a tee, I did use pre-made marinara sauce which definitely helped. For aesthetics, I added sliced almonds as “fingernails” which made the meaty, gory arm even more creepy. Although it looked positively hideous when it came out of the oven (pictured above), it received rave reviews from my guests and there wasn’t a “fingernail” or crumb of the arm left at the end of the night. Of course, Louis the Lion and Coco the Cowgirl (pictured below) were more than happy to help us finish it!
If you’re looking for a wine to pair with your Savory Severed Arm, a hearty, food-friendly red like an Australian Shiraz or an Italian Barbera would be a wonderful choice. If you’re looking for other recipes to round out your Halloween feast, here are a few more from Nadia’s Halloween special: Worm and Maggot Salad, Double-Decker Coffin Sandwiches and Creepy Bocconcini Eyeballs with Prosciutto “Flesh” & Blood Salsa. Although these recipes are delicious, “the arm” is definitely the pièce de résistance! Please scroll down for the recipe for the Savory Severed Arm and you can find the other recipes from Nadia’s Halloween Special by clicking the recipe names above.
Big thanks to Dwight and Miss Bev for their help in the kitchen and we’d like to wish you a very Happy and Delicious Halloween!
“Savory Severed Arm in Marinara Sauce”
3/4 cup olive oil
8 cloves garlic, minced
1 large Vidalia onion, minced
2 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped
2 tablespoons fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
2 teaspoons dried thyme
1 carrot, shredded
Four 28-ounce cans whole San Marzano tomatoes, hand-crushed
Freshly cracked pepper
For the Hand:
1/4 cup fresh Italian flat-leaf parsley, minced
1 teaspoon steak spice
1/2 teaspoon red chili flakes
1/2 teaspoon dried Greek oregano
1 bunch fresh chives, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
Freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 pounds ground beef
For the Arm:
1/2 cup Italian-style breadcrumbs
1/2 cup pecorino cheese, grated
1/4 cup dried cranberries, chopped
2 tablespoons fresh flat-leaf parsley, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
5 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 pounds flank steak
Freshly ground black pepper
4 slices mozzarella cheese
4 slices provolone cheese
1 cup white wine
4 ounces prosciutto, for covering
For the marinara sauce: Heat the oil in a pot, and then add the garlic and onions. Cook until the onions are translucent and the garlic is lightly browned around the edges, about 12 minutes. Add the basil, parsley, thyme and carrots and cook for 5 to 8 minutes. Pour in the crushed tomatoes and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, and then reduce to a simmer and cook for about 30 more minutes, stirring often. Set aside for later use.
For the hand: Mix together the parsley, steak spice, chili flakes, oregano, chives, egg, garlic and some salt and pepper in a bowl. Add the beef and mix together for 30 seconds to season the beef. Don’t over-mix. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour.
For the arm: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Mix together the breadcrumbs, pecorino, cranberries, parsley and garlic in a small bowl. Quickly mix in 2 tablespoons of olive oil and set aside.
Lay the flank steak flat and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Lay the mozzarella and provolone slices on the steak. Add breadcrumb mixture and roll up the steak, tying with butcher’s twine at each end. Sprinkle the roll with salt and pepper. Heat the remaining 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a skillet over medium heat and brown the roll on both sides, 10 minutes. Pour in the wine to deglaze the pan and cook until boiling, 3 minutes. Add some of the marinara sauce and cook for another 2 minutes. Remove the meat with tongs. Cover the arm with half of the prosciutto.
For assembly and cooking: Remove the hand mixture from the refrigerator and make a large patty to resemble the palm of a hand. Cover with some of the remaining prosciutto. Roll out 5 fingers with the remaining beef mixture, using your own hand as a guide. Cover each finger with the remaining prosciutto.
Attach the hand to the arm. Transfer to a roasting pan and pour the remaining marinara sauce all over. In order to see the arm more clearly, pour the marinara sauce around the arm rather than over it. Cover with foil and bake for 45 minutes, basting with the marinara at the 30 minute mark. Remove the foil and bake uncovered until tender, another 45 minutes, basting again at the 30 minute mark.