Category Archives: Beef

Blueberry Braised Short Ribs

Blueberry Braised Shortribs over Egg Noodles

Blueberry Braised Shortribs over Egg Noodles

OK, so some of you might have been tempted to opt out when you read the blueberry part of the title. Well, I’m glad you didn’t. I used to be married to a guy who would say: “I like fruit, and I like meat, but I don’t like fruit with my meat.” I am sometimes suspect when I see unexpected combinations, but I am usually unexpectedly surprised (that’s redundant) at the results. This is a perfect example. I made this because my “fruit and meat friend” had the dish at a local restaurant that is no longer in business.  So, not only is the dish no longer available, the recipe is not available via RSVP (a great column in “Bon Appetit” magazine). Typically, braising liquid requires an acid component- most often it is wine (made from fruit…seeing a connection that is not so unappetizing?). I figured I could substitute blueberry juice, concentrate, flavored vinegar, or puree. I struggled with just which component to use, but my choice was based on the following: 1. blueberries were horribly expensive at the grocery store, 2. the only blueberry juice available was combined with other fruits, 3. I have blueberry balsamic vinegar but figured many recipe readers might have difficulty finding it. I decided to use a combination of pureed fresh blueberries (you could certainly use frozen…this just now occurred to me – duh), and a couple of tablespoons of blueberry fruit preserves (Polamer brand All Fruit spreadable fruit). The fruit preserves gave me the flexibility to make the blueberry flavor stronger or weaker (my “fruit and meat friend” said she would have enjoyed an even stronger blueberry flavor). I also experimented a little bit with the type of short ribs I used. I used half bone-in and half boneless. The bone-in short ribs typically provide more flavor, but also fat (most of which I painstakingly skimmed off). I preferred the boneless cuts in the dish because I didn’t have to work around bone or fat to get to the meat. My tasters agreed that all boneless would have been better. Sometimes I will leave bits of braised vegetables with the meat or I put them in the blender/food processor and incorporate them into the sauce.  In this case, however, I thoroughly strained everything and did not include any vegetables or pureed vegetables in the sauce – I didn’t want anything competing with  that blueberry flavor. One final note, while I will often serve short ribs over mashed potatoes or polenta, I think this dish is better accompanied by good old wide egg noodles – again, the goal was to highlight the subtle  blueberry flavor.(Serves 6)

INGREDIENTS:

  • 4-5 Lbs. Beef Short Ribs (bone-in, boneless, or combination)
  • 2 Carrots – peeled and cut into 1/2 inch rounds (or 12-15 baby carrots)
  • 1 Leek – white and light green parts only, sliced
  • 6 Cloves Garlic – finely chopped
  • 1/2 Medium Onion- chopped
  • 2 Stalk Celery – diced
  • 1-2 Pints Blueberries- pureed in food processor or blender
  • 1/2 Cup Fresh Tomatoes- chopped (can use cherry or grape tomatoes cut in 1/2)
  • 3-4 TBS. Blueberry Preserves
  • 32 Oz. (4 Cups) Beef Broth
  • 3-5 TBS. Olive Oil
  • 1/4 Cup Flour
  • 1 Bay Leaf
  • 1 TBS. Dried ( 2 TBS.  Fresh) Parsley – chopped
  • 1 TBS. Dried (2 TBS Fresh) Thyme- chopped
  • Salt and Pepper
  • 3-5 TBS. Corn Starch(optional, for thickening)

INSTRUCTIONS:

Preheat oven to 450 Degrees. Season short ribs generously (on both sides) with salt and pepper. shortribs seasonedDredge meat in flour until coated, shaking off excess. Add olive oil to a large stock pot or dutch oven and heat on stovetop. Working in batches, brown short ribs on all sides and set aside. browned shortribsAdd garlic and chopped onion to pot and saute until fragrant, scraping browned meat bits from the bottom of the pot. Add remaining chopped vegetables and pureed blueberries and saute until the vegetables begin to soften slightly – about 5 minutes. blueberry pureebraising ingredients before liquidAdd blueberry preserves, beef broth (stock), and herbs to the pot. Add the browned shortribs and any juice from the meat, cover the pot and place in 450 degree oven. Cook until simmering – about 20 minutes and then reduce heat to 350 Degrees. during braiseCook for another 2.5-3 hours until meat is tender, but not yet falling apart. Using a slotted spoon, remove the meat from the pot and set aside. Pour the cooking liquid and vegetables through a fine strainer into a bowl. If desired, puree the vegetables in a food processor and return to the pot – (I did NOT do this, but I do it for other braised recipes). Place the pot with the strained liquid on the stovetop over medium heat. If you would like to thicken the liquid to make more of a gravy (I did), make a slurry (corn starch and a little bit of water combined)  and add to the hot cooking liquid. Stir and allow liquid to thicken to desired consistency (a prefer a not so thick sauce)- for a thicker sauce add more cornstarch water mixture. If sauce becomes too thick, you can thin it with beef broth. Taste and season with additional salt and pepper and possibly more blueberry preserves if desired. sauceReturn meat to pot, return to oven or continue heating on stove top for an additional 45 minutes to 1 hour until meat has reached desired tenderness. Serve over noodles, mashed potatoes, polenta, or rice.

Our Blue Themed Table

Our Blue Themed Table

Corned Beef, Cabbage, and Root Vegetables

Traditional Corned Beef Cabbage and Vegetables

Traditional Corned Beef Cabbage and Vegetables

I love St. Patrick’s Day because I love corned beef! I moved to Michigan on St. Patrick’s Day of 2000 – I moved from the Seacoast Region of New Hampshire, so I carried with me live lobsters. That was the only year I can remember not having the traditional corned beef and cabbage boiled dinner on St. Patrick’s Day. I’ve heard conflicting stories about how traditional this meal actually is – I’ve also heard conflicting stories about how Irish I am; so the way I figure, my alleged Irish heritage is as empirical as this dish. I’ve learned over the years that this dish is one of those “love it or leave it” dishes. On several occasions I’ve served this meal expecting elation from my guests, only to instead hear “I’ve never really liked corned beef.” And let’s be honest, the corned beef is the star of the show here – the cabbage, potatoes, carrots, parsnips etc., well, they’re really just boiled vegetables. In such situations, one must be sure to have great bread, and great dessert (see other posts). I know people who prepare this meal in the slow cooker – I’m sure it’s equally good, but I have always cooked it the way mother did (she never had a slow-cooker), boiled on the stove. I serve this with a variety of good mustards and horseradish cream sauce (see below). Use leftover corned beef and potatoes to make corned beef patties and serve as benedict for  breakfast.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 5-6 Lb. Corned Beef Brisket (with seasoning packet*)
  • 2 Large Sweet or White Onions – peeled, cut in half
  • 6 Large or -12 small Potatoes – peeled or skin-on(use favorite potatoes – redskins, baby redskins, Yukons, small white, fingerlings) (cut potatoes in 1/2 if using large)
  • 8-10 Large Carrots/Parsnips – or combination (peeled and cut into 1.5″ pieces) (can substitute baby carrots- about 2 cups)
  • 1-2 Heads of Cabbage – core removed and cut into wedges (use toothpicks to secure wedges if desired – I never bother)

INSTRUCTIONS:

Place Corned Beef Brisket, seasonings, and onions in a large stockpot and cover with water (water should cover meat by about 6″). Bring to a boil over medium/high heat. Reduce heat so that water is at a high simmer or gentle boil (you don’t want it to boil over – it’s messy) and cook for 3.5-4 hours. Add remaining vegetables to pot and cook for an additional 30-40 minutes until potatoes and vegetables are tender. Use a slotted spoon to remove vegetable and transfer to a large serving bowl or high rimmed platter. Remove brisket and slice – add to platter and serve immediately.

Horseradish Cream Sauce:

  • 1 Cup Sour Cream or Creme Fraiche
  • 2 TBS. Prepared Horseradish (more if desired)
  • 2 TBS. Dijon Mustard
  • 1 tsp. Lemon Juice
  • Salt and Freshly Ground Pepper – to taste

Mix all ingredients until well combined. It’s best to allow the sauce to sit in refrigerator for at least 2 hours to really develop the flavors. Remove from refrigerator about 30 minutes before serving so that sauce is close to room temperature.

St. Patrick's Day Table 2013

St. Patrick’s Day Table 2013

 

 

Mediterranean Style Braised Roast

Mediterranean Braised Roast

Mediterranean Braised Roast

In keeping with the tradition of Sunday dinners with our host students, the neighbors and I have enjoyed quite a few roasts together.

Sunday Holiday Dinner Table

Sunday Holiday Dinner Table

It can be challenging to cook family style dinners for 12-15 people, but roasts are the way to go. It helps as well that they’ve been on special for BOGO – a savings of between $15-$17. The standard roast with root vegetables is always great, but I needed to change it up a bit. I decided to make the roast similarly to how I braise larger cuts of lamb (shoulder) in a hearty red wine tomato based sauce with lots of garlic, some mushrooms, olives, and artichoke hearts. Because the root vegetables are such a naturally complimentary flavor to the braised roast, I used them in the braising process but “disguised” (my Brazilian exchange student won’t eat them) by pureeing them into the sauce in the end. Well, I am happy to report that the results were even better than expected. I served it with a creamy blue cheese polenta, but knowing that the kids would be suspect of that, I also made egg noodles. This is a great meal for a crowd, but you could use a small roast and make it for a group of 4-6. This recipe falls under the “easy, prep it and leave it” category.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1-2 “Pot Roasts” (English Roast, Chuck Roast, Round Roast, Rump Roast) – about 4-5 Lbs. each – cut into large serving size pieces (about 4-5 pieces for each roast)
  • 1 Large Onion- thinly sliced
  • 6 Cloves Garlic
  • 3 Carrots- cut into 2″ pieces
  • 2 Stalks of Celery- cut into 2″ pieces
  • 1 28 Oz.Cans Crushed or Chopped Tomatoes
  • 1/2 Cup Red Wine
  • 32 Oz. Beef Broth
  • 8 Oz. Mushrooms (White, Cremini, or Baby Bellas) – cut into large slices
  • 1  Can Quartered Artichoke Hearts – drained
  • 1 Cup Kalmata Olives – pitted
  • 2 TBS. Olive Oil
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Approx. 1/4 Cup Flour
  • Small bunch of Fresh Parsley
  • 2 Bay leaves
  • Corn Starch or Gravy Flour

INSTRUCTIONS:

Preheat oven to 350 Degrees. Pat the beef dry with a paper towel; season beef generously with salt and pepper and dredge in flour. Add olive oil to a large oven proof stock pot and heat over medium. Working in batches, add beef and brown on all sidesBrown roast pieces (set browned beef aside on a plate). Add onion to pot (add more olive oil if necessary) and saute, scraping up browned bits from the pan as you brown the onions. saute onions after roastAdd red wine to the hot pot and use a spoon to scrape all bits from the pan; cook over medium until wine is reduced by about 1/2. Add wine and reduceIn the meantime, place parsley,garlic cloves,  carrots and celery on a piece of cheese cloth, form into a pouch and tie up.put vegetables in cheese cloth Add the beef broth, canned tomatoes, bay leaves, cheese cloth pouch and the browned meat to the stock pot. The liquid should cover the meat. Cover the pot with a lid and place the pot in the preheated oven. Cook for 2.5- 3  hours – until meat is tender. Remove pot from oven and remove the cheese cloth bag and set aside. Add mushrooms, olives and drained artichoke hearts. Add vegetablesIn the meantime, remove the carrots, celery and garlic cloves and a bit of the parsley from the cheese cloth pouch and add to a blender or food processor. puree carrotsAdd about 1 Cup of the cooking liquid to the blender or food processor and blend until smooth and pureed. Add puree to pot and return to oven and cook for another 45 minutes- 1 hour until mushrooms are tender. Arrange meat and vegetables (olives, mushrooms, artichoke hearts) on a serving platter or bowl. If desired, combine 3-5 TBS. of corn starch with water to make a slurry and add to the cooking liquid to thicken. Pour gravy/cooking liquid over meat, garnish with chopped parsley and serve immediately with mashed potatoes, polenta, or noodles.

 

Beef Tenderloin Sandwiches

Beef Tenderloin Platter

Beef Tenderloin Platter

Christmas Day at our house usually involves hanging out at home in our new pajamas (a Christmas Eve tradition). I always invite people to stop by (in their pajamas if they’d like) and I put out an all-day buffet feast. The dessert tray is usually popular, as is the shrimp cocktail and smoked fish assortment, but the real star is the beef tenderloin. Since there’s no set time for dinner, there’s no way to keep the beef hot, so it’s best used for sandwiches. I always start with a good quality, well trimmed tenderloin. I don’t do much in the way of seasoning, I cut some slits in the meat and add some garlic cloves, add olive oil (I used bacon grease because I had it leftover from breakfast – I will definitely use it again in the future) to the top of the meat, rub the meat down with salt and pepper and add some “filet herbes” that my sister-in-law brought back from France (any combination of dried parsley, basil, shives, oregano, thyme – or whatever your favorite herbs are would fine). My personal favorite accoutrements for the tenderloin are: baby arugula, sliced tomatoes, and, of course, hollandaise sauce. I put out a variety of rolls – ciabatta, French rolls, Brioche, and, my son’s favorite; Hawaiian King rolls. I arrange everything on a large platter (the colors work great at Christmas time) and allow people to assemble their own sandwiches – I’ve never had a single complaint! Sometimes it’s the simplest things that are the best (it helps to make them look good too).

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 Beef Tenderloin Filet (trimmed and silver skin removed)
  • 3-4 Cloves Garlic
  • 2-3 TBS. Dried Filet Herbs
  • 2 TBS. Olive Oil or Bacon Grease
  • Salt and Pepper
  • 1 Bag Baby Arugula
  • 3 Tomatoes – thinly sliced
  • Hollandaise sauce (see below)
  • 12 Good Quality Rolls

Preheat oven to 500 Degrees. Cut 6-8 slits into the top of the tenderloin (deep enough to hold garlic clove) and place 1/2 peeled garlic clove in each slit. Drizzle olive oil or bacon fat over the top of the meat, season well with salt and pepper and “rub” it into the meat. Add the dried herbs to the top of the filet. Place the filet in a broiler pan and put in the preheated oven. Immediately turn the oven temperature down to 400 Degrees. Cook the tenderloin for 35-55 minutes (the time will depend on the size – particularly the thickness – of the filet until the internal temperature reaches 140 Degrees for medium rare. If your tenderloin has a thinner “tail” you will be guaranteed some more well-done meat. If you prefer, you can cut off the tail and cook it for a shorter period of time to keep it medium rare. When tenderloin has reached desired temperature remove and allow to rest for 10 minutes before slicing. Slice beef (thin, but not too thin), and place in the center of a platter. Surround the beef with the arugula and tomato slices and serve with a side of Hollandaise or your favorite sauce (you can use plain or flavored mayonnaise or a horseradish sauce).

For the Hollandaise Sauce:

  • 3 Egg Yolks
  • 2 TBS. Lemon Juice
  • 1/2 Stick Unsalted Butter
  • 1/2 tsp. Salt
  • Pinch of Cayenne Pepper (optional)

Combine egg yolks, lemon juice, salt, and cayenne in a blender; blend until combined. In a small saucepan, heat butter until bubbling, but do not allow to burn.With the lid on, turn the blender to medium speed; remove the blender lid insert, and, in a slow, steady stream, add butter to blender. It is important that the hot butter be added slowly so that it cooks the eggs in the sauce.

Steak Salad

Sirloin Steak SaladThis is a classic kitchen sink recipe – it was a combination of ingredients I had available; the result was great. My daughter came home while I was eating my salad and I thought she was going to steal it right out from under me – instead she just said “I know you’re planning on making me one of those.” As always, I encourage you to modify based on the ingredients you have on hand, but remember to include a variety of flavor elements, including, if available, savory, sweet, salty, spicy. One unique ingredient that I used which may be hard to find is a rosemary pistachio cracker which I broke into small pieces and used almost like a crouton. I loved the crunch and the flavor it added – see what happens when you experiment with what you have in the cupboard? I’m including a picture of the crackers – they’re worth looking for – they are delicious smeared with goat cheese. For my local followers: they are available at Westborn Market.Pistachio rosemary crackers 002While the steak would appear to be the star of this salad, I would argue that it is the veggies that make the salad. The steak was a simple NY Strip seasoned with salt and pepper and cooked to medium rare on the grill. You can use a variety of cuts (or even substitute chicken or salmon), but make sure you use a tender but flavorful cut. As for the veggies and other toppings – I used yellow tomatoes from my garden (love the low acid and sweet flavor), English cucumbers, fresh radish slices, goat cheese, and mixed spring greens. I topped the salad with a homemade cherry balsamic vinaigrette, but use your favorite dressing. My daughter suggested using more cheese – I would agree. I think it would have been even better with blue cheese crumbles, but goat cheese is what I had. Again, I loved the addition of the rosemary pistachio crackers, but as an alternative, you could add nuts and croutons. As with most of my salad recipes, I haven’t included measurements – use whatever amounts suit you.

INGREDIENTS:

  • Spring Salad Mix (or your favorite greens)
  • Radishes – thinly slices
  • Fresh Tomatoes (yellow, or your favorite variety)
  • English Cucumber – sliced
  • Goat Cheese
  • Rosemary Pistachio Crackers – crumbled
  • NY Strip Steak – grilled to desired temperature (shown medium rare)- trimmed and thinly sliced

Cherry Balsamic Vinaigrette:

  •  1/4 Cup Olive Oil
  • 1/4 Cup Cherry Balsamic Vinegar
  • 5 TBS. Red Wine Vinegar
  • 1 heaping tsp. Dijon Mustard
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

Add all ingredients to a jar or container with a lid. Shake well until all ingredients are well combined.

Chili Mac

Chili Mac 2

Chili Mac

My mother used to make this quite a bit, and we all loved it. She called it “goop” because she said it wasn’t technically ghoulash. I call it chili mac, but it’s not technically chili because it doesn’t have all of the chili spices (or beans). As you can imagine, my kids also love it. It’s super easy to make, and, if you’re like me, you probably have many of the ingredients on hand with the exception, maybe, of the ground beef (which I usually have frozen). You could easily spice this up by adding more chili powder and/or red pepper flakes (I add a little of both, but my kids don’t like it spicy). You can also top it with cheese and finish it off in the oven so that the cheese makes a nice warm blanket for the chili mac. This is a great weeknight dinner, and it’s almost better as leftovers.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1.5 Lbs. Ground Beef (80/20 or 85/15)
  • 3 Sweet Peppers (Green, Red, Yellow or Orange- chopped
  • 1 Large Sweet Onion- chopped
  • 3 Cloves Garlic – minced
  • 1-2 TBS.Olive Oil
  • 2  28 Oz. Can Crushed Tomatoes
  • 1 16 Oz. Can Tomato Sauce
  • 1 Lb. Macaroni (or other small shaped pasta)
  • 1 Bay Leaf
  • 2 TBS. Dried Italian Herbs
  • 1 TBS. Sugar
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Shredded Cheese (Mexican Blend or your favorite) – Optional

Ingredients

INSTRUCTIONS:

Cook pasta to al dente (or even a little less). Drain pasta and run under cold water to stop the cooking process. Set aside. Cook ground beef in a skillet or large saute pan over medium heat. Heat olive oil in a large stock pot or large, deep saute pan; add garlic and saute until just fragrant. Add onion and peppers and saute until all are softened. Saute onion and peppers until tenderUsing a slotted spoon (to drain off some of the excess fat and liquid) transfer cooked ground beef to pot with cooked peppers, onions, and garlic. Add canned tomatoes, paste, and sauce as well as Italian herbs, sugar, and season generously with salt and pepper. Simmer over medium heat for 20-30 minutes to allow flavors to develop. Remove bay leaf, and add macaroni to pot. Check for seasoning and add more salt if necessary. Garnish with shredded cheese if desired.Chili Mac

Grilled Flank Steak and Garlic Herb Aioli Sandwiches

Through July 4th 045The picture doesn’t do these sandwiches justice – my sincere apologies. These were the sandwiches I featured at one of our recent concerts in the park. The sandwiches are pretty basic, but the key to the flavor is in the quality of the ingredients. I used great fresh Italian bread which I grilled, marinated flank steak, fresh artisan lettuce from the garden, and a garlic herb aioli made with fresh herbs. For a quick shortcut, you could make a garlic herb mayonnaise by simply combining fresh herbs, garlic and mayonnaise, but I think the aioli is worth the extra effort. You could add other ingredients such as grilled onion, red or yellow peppers, or substitute arugula for the lettuce. These sandwiches pack well and make great picnic fare – particularly when paired with a good pasta salad.

INGREDIENTS:

For the Marinade:

  • 3/4 Cup Dry White Wine
  • 1/2 Cup Olive Oil (plus a little extra for grilled bread)
  • 4 TBS. Onion (red, sweet, or white) – finely chopped
  • 4 Cloves Garlic – finely chopped
  • 1 tsp. Worcesteshire Pepper (or seasoned pepper)
  • 1 TBS. Red Wine Vinegar
  • 1 TBS. Dried Italian Herbs
  • 1 Flank Steak
  • 1 Loaf Italian Bread – sliced
  • Fresh Lettuce

For the Aioli:

  • 3 Cloves Garlic – finely chopped
  • 1 Egg
  • 1/2 Cup Olive Oil
  • 1 TBS. Freshly Squeezed Lemon Juice
  • 1 tsp. Fresh Parsley- chopped
  • 1 tsp. Fresh Basil – chopped
  • 1/2 tsp. Fresh Thyme – chopped
  • 1/2 tsp. Fresh Rosemary – chopped
  • 1/2 tsp. Salt
  • 1/2 tsp. Freshly Ground Black Pepper

INSTRUCTIONS:

Combine the marinade ingredients in a glass baking dish or a bowl large enough to hold the marinade and steak. MarinadeAdd the steak and marinate for at least 2 hours – up to overnight.Flank Steak in Marinade In the meantime, prepare the aioli: combine the garlic, egg, lemon juice, herbs, salt and pepper in a food processor or blender and puree. Add the oil in a slow stream and continue to blend until the mixture has forms a thick emulsion. Garlic Herb Aioli

Prepare a charcoal or gas grill until preheated to about 450-500 degrees. Grill the flank steak for a few minutes on each side to desired doneness (I prefer medium rare); remove from the grill and let rest for at least ten minutes. Grilled Flank SteakBrush the bread on both sides with olive oil and grill on each side until lightly browned. After the meat has sufficiently rested, slice against the grain into thin slices.Slice Flank Steak Assemble the sandwiches by generously spreading the garlic herb aioli on one slice of breadGrilled Bread with Aioli; place a few slices of steak on another slice, Add Flank Steakcover with lettuce (and any other ingredients – if using) Top with Lettuceand top with the aioli covered sliced of bread.

 

 

 

Braised Hangar Steak with Vegetables

Braised Hangar SteakI had a version of this at a great restaurant named Seasonal which I stumbled across when I was in NYC competing in the Sterling Vineyards Ultimate Host Challenge. Seasonal’s version had a different combination of vegetables, and their broth was probably homemade. I didn’t have any homemade beef stock on hand, so I used store bought. I actually preferred my vegetable combination – they were all very fresh and were perfectly cooked. You can use whatever vegetables you like – choose ones that are in season. The key to this dish is that the hangar steak (a very flavorful cut) is incredibly tender due to the braising. When served, the dish looks almost like a soup, but it’s not really eaten that way – the broth is just a vehicle for the steak and vegetables. I served it as they did at Seasonal with a potato pancake and sides of creamed pureed spinach (phenomenal) and a horseradish sour cream. This recipe is for 2 Servings, but you can easily increase it.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 Hangar Steaks
  • 2 TBS. Flour
  • Salt and Pepper
  • 1 TBS. Olive Oil
  • 4-6 Cups Beef Stock/Broth
  • 6 Scallions (green parts only)
  • 4 Kohlrabi (peeled and cut into 1/2″ cubes)
  • 8-10 Baby Carrots
  • 1 Bunch Enoki Mushrooms

INSTRUCTIONS:

Heat olive oil in a saute pan. Season steaks generously with salt and pepper and dredge in flour. Add steaks to pan and brown well on both sides.Brown steaks Remove steaks from pan and set aside. In a stock pot, heat beef broth; add steaks and cook for 45- 60 minutes, until very tender. VegetablesAdd carrots and kohlrabi and cook for another 10 minutes until vegetables are al dente. Add Enoki mushrooms and scallions and cook for another 2 minutes. (Optional: strain broth before serving.) Serve 1 steak per person in a shallow bowl with broth and vegetables. Accompany with potato pancakes, creamed pureed spinach.The finished dinner

Cube Steak with Mushrooms and Gravy

Cube Steak with Mushrooms, gravy, and Mashed PotatoesThere is nothing gourmet about this recipe, but it is Midwestern comfort food all day long. This was a staple in my house as a kid; honestly, I’ve made it only a very few time but always enjoy it; usually I make it when I am in desperate need of comfort food. Cube steaks are not inexpensive, which is surprising, because I think they’re kind of glorified ground beef, but they are flavorful. (Our family dog was served a raw cube steak ever night for dinner). I would love to tell you that I served the cubed steak with some awesome homemade gravy, but, that’s not the case – I doused them in Heinz beef gravy out of the jar (my Mom always used Franco American which comes in a can – I just feel better about gravy out of a jar). My Mom also used canned mushrooms – really? So, here’s my spruced up cube steak with mushrooms and gravy recipe. Serves 4.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 4 Cube Steaks
  • 1/4 Cup Minced Onion (about 1/2 Small onion)
  • 1 Clove Garlic – Minced
  • 1 Package of Sliced White Mushrooms
  • 2 Jars of Beef Gravy
  • 2 TBS. Olive Oil
  • Salt and Pepper

INSTRUCTIONS:

Season cube steaks generously with salt and pepper and allow to rest for 30-45 minutes.Cube Steak In a large saucepan, heat olive oil; add garlic and onion and saute until fragrant. Add mushrooms and saute until softened. Remove mushrooms from saucepan and set aside. Saute Mushrooms and onionsAdd cube steaks to pan and brown on both sides. Return mushroom mixture to pan and add gravy. Reduce heat, cover,  and simmer until cube steaks are fully cooked and tender – at least 20 minutes. Combine Gravy, mushrooms, and cube steakServe over mashed potatoes.

Oven Braised English Roast with Vegetables

Plated with Gravy

Let me begin with an apology for being MIA for nearly a month. My friends and followers know that I hosted a big Halloween party which was part of a contest for Sterling Vineyards for the “Ultimate Host”. I was one of four semi-finalists who was selected to compete in the final competition in New York. Unfortunately, I was not named as the winner, but it was a great learning experience and I met some great people. So, to drown my sorrows – I am going to focus on comfort foods. As a side-note, our winter break is in ten days and I’m looking forward to posting as much as possible.

I am new to the English roast, but I must say, I’m a fan. It’s a sturdy cut of chuck with a good balance of fat which makes it the perfect candidate for braising. It can be purchased with bones or boneless (often referred to as an English roll), but I always prefer to have a bone-in cut because I think the flavor is better. After the roast was braised, I skimmed the fat from the braising liquid, strained it and made a simple gravy. I served it with traditional pot roast root vegetables including carrots, parsnips, and potatoes. I also added mushrooms, simply because I love them and look for any excuse to add them to a dish, particularly when it involves red meat. You could certainly use many other vegetables including peas, sweet potatoes or squash, rhutabega, or turnip. I served this over mashed potatoes – because can you ever have too many potatoes? This would be great with wide egg noodles as well. Serves 6-8.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 3-5 lb. English Roast (or other chuck pot roast cut)
  • 1 Medium Sweet Onion – finely chopped
  • 6 Carrots – 2 finely chopped, 4 reserved
  • 3 Celery Stalks – finely chopped
  • 7-10 Small Yukon Gold potatoes (could substitute small white or redskins, or fingerlings)
  • 16 Oz. Baby Bella Mushrooms
  • 3-5 Cloves Garlic – finely chopped
  • 4-6 Cups Beef Broth
  • 2 Cups Dry Red Wine
  • 1 Bundle of Herbs (Rosemary, Thyme, Parsley) 0r 1 tsp. each dried
  • 1 Bay Leaf
  • 1 tsp. Crushed Red Pepper Flakes (optional)
  • 2 TBS. Olive Oil
  • Salt and Pepper

INSTRUCTIONS:

Remove roast from refrigerator about 1 hour before cooking. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Season roast generously with salt and pepper. Season roast well with salt and pepperHeat olive oil in a heavy duty stock pot; add roast and sear until well browned on all sides. Sear until well browned on all sidesRemove meat from pot and add diced onion, garlic, chopped carrots and celery to the pot; saute until vegetables are tender. Add garlic and shallotsAdd wine to pot and reduce by 50%.Add wine and reduce to about half Return meat to pot, add beef broth and herbs.Add beef broth and herbs Cover stock pot and place in preheated oven.Cover and put in oven Cook for 2-3 hours (depending on size of roast) until meat is fork tender. Peel carrots and chop into desired sized pieces. Cut potatoes into desired size pieces if too large to serve whole. Clean mushrooms.  Remove the meat from the pot and set aside. Strain the braising liquid and return strained liquid to pot. Strain liquidReturn roast to the pot, add the remaining vegetables, and continue cooking for another 20-30 minutes until vegetables are tender. Add vegetables for last 40 minutesTransfer roast and vegetables to a serving platter and cover to keep warm. Skim the fat from the braising liquid and reserve about 2 TBS. of fat, set aside 2-3 cups of the braising liquid. Serve on platterFor the gravy: In a saucepan, combine 3-4 TBS. flour with the fat. Cook into a roux (flour should become golden brown). Add remaining braising liquid and whisk until well combined. Serve hot gravy alongside the roast and vegetables. Sometimes if I’m in a cheating mood, I will make my gravy by adding corn starch to water or milk and mixing it in to the braising liquid; however, I think the flavor is superior when made with a roux. Season gravy with salt and pepper.