Arsip Tag: beef

beef, leek and barley soup – smitten kitchen

Seeing as my parents were spending the afternoon at my apartment on Sunday so I could pilfer content for my site from their recipe box, I figured the least I could do was make them some lunch. And although it is not quite soup weather yet, I have not been able to get my mind off of a recipe I read recently, so soup it was.


Oh, but this is not just any soup. This will be, hands down and no contest, the easiest soup you have ever made. You’re not going to believe how simple it is, and what you get as a result–something so unbelievably hearty, you’ll never have room for your next course. It’s filling and healthy and warming and delicious and oh my god, I bet you just want me to cut to the chase already, don’t you?

about to simmer

Here you go: Put some stuff in a soup pot, bring it to a simmer and cook it for three hours while you go about your business. Um, you got all that? Because that is all there is. I bet you won’t even need to print this recipe off, except to check back a zillion times, unable to believe that food this good can be this easy to make.

And did you catch that “go about your business” part? I bet you recognize that voice by now, that charming lady that tells you that recipes should adapt to your schedule and not vice-versa? Why yes, it’s Laurie Colwin once again, and now that I am two for two with her runaway hits of recipes, I don’t think I can turn back now. I am too inspired. I can’t wait to hear all of the ways all of you adapt this recipe, so be sure to report back, okay?

short rib lost its bone

One year ago: Peanut Butter Brownies
Two years ago: Roasted Acorn Squash with Chile Vinaigrette

Beef, Leek and Barley Soup
Adapted from Laurie Colwin’s Home Cooking

1. Trim two big, meaty short ribs and put them on the bottom of your soup pot.

2. Add 1/2 cup of barley, three big cloves of garlic shopped up, two chopped onions, and three leeks cut lengthwise and then into segments–use both the white and the green parts. You can also add mushrooms and any other vegetables you might like. Grind in a little black pepper.

3. Add about eight cups of filtered water or beef stock and let it simmer on the back burner for at least three hours while you go about your business. You can also add lima beans, cube potatoes, peas, corn, string beans and chopped tomatoes at any point, or the second day, should you have any leftover.

4. Before serving, skim off the fat–there will be a bit, as short ribs are quite fatty–take the meat off the bones, chop it and put it back in the soup.

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braised beef short ribs – smitten kitchen

[Braised Beef Short Ribs with Potato Purée, Swiss Chard and Horseradish Cream]

The first time I made short ribs, I freaked out. Lifting their lid after a multi-hour braise just as our guests arrived for dinner, I discovered a mess. “The bones fell out! Help! Did I ruin them?” I cried just as my mother walked into the kitchen, and because she’d never made short ribs before said “I don’t know, maybe?” But then Alex’s mother swooped in and said “That’s a good thing!”

thyme-d and black peppered ribs

And so it was, so much so that going forward, short ribs instantly became my favorite dinner party meal. They require very little effort, they’re fairly inexpensive and it is really hard to mess them up. You can doctor up the braise with one or a dozen herbs or spices, you can simmer them in almost anything, from wine or beer to stock to hoisin or tomato sauce or any combination thereof but the real magic is this: you can make them in advance. Short ribs are astoundingly flexible in their cooking time and taste even better the next day. (And if all this doesn’t sell you on their genius, this article will.)

browning the ribs

And although I have made many-a short rib recipes in my time, this one from Sunday Suppers at Lucques became my immediate favorite when I made them for a dinner party this past April. [And forgot to take a single photo. Of anything. I’m still getting over it.] The braise itself is wonderful (wine, beef or veal stock, port and a few glugs of balsamic) but what makes it stand head and shoulders above the others is the last step in which you remove the meat from the liquid and roast them until their edges are crisp again, a welcome textural accent in an otherwise soft dish.

carrots, onion, celerypost-braiseshort ribs, removed from braisepearl onions, lightly browningriced potatoesmashed potatoes

My second favorite thing about this recipes are the fixings: they’re served with rich pureed potatoes, sautéed swiss chard, studded with pearl onions, and a glorious combination of crème fraîche and horseradish cream* or *thud* I really stopped listening after that part. I mean, I could tell you that like all good short ribs, you won’t need a knife to eat them — they simple fall into a softly shredded pile of ribs at the mere inkling of the approach of your fork — but I suspect you’re already on your way to the store.

P.S. These pictures may not do much to sing the dish’s glory, but honestly, if anyone has figured out how to cook and serve a meal to eight people in a small apartment while eloquently photographing it, I am insanely jealous.

short rib + horseradish cream

One year ago: Iceberg Salad with Blue Cheese Dressing
Two years ago: Hazelnut Truffles

Braised Short Ribs with Potato Purée, Swiss Chard and Horseradish Cream
Adapted from Sunday Suppers at Lucques

The braise on this smells so good, it moves me to cliche: It makes my knees weak and I briefly considered dabbing it behind my ears so I could keep it with me all day. In the end, I did not. Or so I tell you.

I have adapted this recipe in just a couple ways, because honestly, it’s perfect, but being not in a restaurant kitchen with dish washing help I have tried to reduce the number of pots it requires and swap the potato puree (which, if you can even get your head around this, has twice the amount of cream and butter than my recipe below and then is passed through a fine-mesh tamis twice, when I draw the line at once…) with Cook’s Illustrated’s classic mashed potatoes, which never do me wrong and have never been the cause for any complaint.

Updated [2/27/12] Note: Mashed potatoes of this yield have an estimated serving size of 4. If you (or your party) is larger or (understandably) likes a bigger helping of potatoes, it might be on the safe side to double it.

Finally, we doubled the recipe so of course your portions will look a tad tinier.

Serves 4 (generously) to 6

6 large beef short ribs, about 14 to 16 ounces each (if ribs are tinier, buy by weight, not number)
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon thyme leaves, and 4 whole sprigs thyme
1 tablespoon freshly cracked black pepper
3 dozen small pearl onions
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup diced onion
1/3 cup diced carrot
1/3 cup diced celery
2 bay leaves
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 1/2 cups port
2 1/2 cups hearty red wine
6 cups beef or veal stock
4 sprigs flat-leaf parsley
2 bunches Swiss chard, cleaned, center ribs removed
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Horseradish Cream (recipe follows)
Potato Purée/Mashed Potatoes (recipe follows)

Season the short ribs with 1 tablespoon thyme and the cracked black pepper. use your hands to coat the meat well. Cover, and refrigerate overnight.

Take the short ribs out of the refrigerator an hour before cooking, to come to room temperature. After 30 minutes, season them generously on all sides with salt.

When you take the ribs out of the refrigerator, preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

Toss the pearl onions with 2 tablespoons olive oil, 1 teaspoon thyme, 3/4 teaspoons salt, and a pinch of pepper. Spread them on a baking sheet and roast them about 15 minutes, until tender. When they have cooled, slip off the skins with your fingers and set aside. Turn the oven down to 325 degrees F.

When it’s time to cook the short ribs, heat a large Dutch oven [or a large saute pan, if you would like to use a separate braising dish; I aimed to use fewer dishes] over high heat for 3 minutes. Pour in 3 tablespoons olive oil, and wait a minute or two, until the pan is very hot and almost smoking. Place the short ribs in the pan, and sear until they are nicely browned on all three meaty sides. Depending on the size of your pan, you might have to sear the meat in batches. Do not crowd the meat or get lazy or rushed at this step; it will take at least 15 minutes. [I find this takes closer to 45 minutes if you’re really thorough. Be thorough!] When the ribs are nicely browned, transfer them to a plate to rest.

Turn the heat down to medium, and add the onion, carrot, celery, thyme springs, and bay leaves. Stir with a wooden spoon, scraping up all the crusty bits in the pan. Cook 6 to 8 minutes, until the vegetables just begin to caramelize. Add the balsamic vinegar, port, and red wine. Turn the heat up to high, and reduce the liquid by half.

Add the stock and bring to a boil. Arrange ribs in the pot, lieing flat, bones standing up, in one layer. [If you used a saute pan for previous steps, transfer the ribs to a braising pan at this point.] Scrape any vegetables that have fallen on the ribs back into the liquid. The stock mixture should almost cover the ribs. Tuck the parsley sprigs in and around the meat. Cover tightly with aluminum foil and a tight-fitting lid if you have one. Braise in the oven for about 3 hours.

To check the meat for doneness, remove the lid and foil, being careful of the escaping steam, and piece a short rib with a paring knife. When the meat is done, it will yield easily to a knife. Taste a piece if you are not sure. [If you would like to cook these a day ahead, this is where you can pause. The next day, you can remove the fat easily from the pot — it will have solidified at the top — bring these back to a simmer on the stove or in an oven, and continue.]

Let the ribs rest 10 minutes in their juices, and then transfer them to a baking sheet.

Turn the oven up to 400 degrees F.

Place the short ribs in the oven for 10 to 15 minutes to brown.

Strain the broth into a saucepan, pressing down on the vegetables with a ladle to extract all the juices. Skim the fat from the sauce (if you made these the day before, you will have already skimmed them) and, if the broth seems thin, reduce it over medium-high heat to thicken slightly. Taste for seasoning.

Heat a large saute pan over high heat for 2 minutes. Tear the Swiss chard into large pieces. Add 3 tablespoons olive oil to the pan, and stir in the cooked pearl onions. Add half the Swiss chard, and cook a minute or two, stirring the greens in the oil to help them wilt. Add a splash of water and the second half of the greens. Season with a heaping 1/4 teaspoon salt and a pinch of ground black pepper. Cook for a few more minutes, stirring frequently, until the greens are tender.

Place the swiss chard on a large warm platter, and arrange the short ribs on top. Spoon lots of braising juices over the ribs. Serve the potato puree and horseradish cream (recipes below) on the side.

Horseradish Cream

3/4 cup créme fraîche
1 tablespoon prepared horseradish
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Combine the créme fraîche and horseradish in a small bowl. Season with 1/4 teaspoon salt and pepper. Taste for balance and seasoning.

Mashed Potatoes
Cook’s Illustrated’s Master Recipe

2 pounds potatoes, scrubbed (I used Yukon Golds)
8 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 stick, 4 ounces), melted
1 cup half-and-half , warmed
1 1/2 teaspoons table salt
Ground black pepper
Chives for garnish (optional)

1. Place potatoes in large saucepan and cover with 1 inch water. Bring to boil over high heat; reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until potatoes are tender (a paring knife can be slipped into and out of center of potatoes with very little resistance), 20 to 30 minutes. Drain.

2. Set food mill or ricer over now empty but still warm saucepan. Spear potato with dinner fork, then peel back skin with paring knife. Repeat with remaining potatoes. Working in batches, cut peeled potatoes into rough chunks and drop into hopper of food mill or ricer. Process or rice potatoes into saucepan.

3. Stir in butter with wooden spoon until incorporated; gently whisk in half-and-half, salt, and pepper to taste. Serve immediately.

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beef empanadas – smitten kitchen

I am a master of finding reasons not to do things. Why I shouldn’t make a new pound cake, when I already have recipes I like. Why there’s no reason to ever roast a chicken another way. And in this case, why I shouldn’t bother making empanadas when I already have the most delicious, flawless empanada recipe ever made. (And, apparently, the moxy to boast about it.)

browning the meatempanada filling, coolingbeef empanadas, in the makingempanadas, ready to bake

This is why on the topic of empanadas, the discussion has been closed for nearly two years. Even though there are more types of empanadas in the world than chicken and olives. Even though I had only made that one recipe, ever. Even though a friend would occasionally pick up these awesome beef ones in Queens before a party, and I thought they wouldn’t be that hard to make at home.

Obviously, I could not hold off forever and that is why you see here some long overdue Beef Empanadas and you know what? They were a great dinner. They’re also great party food, if you make them a little smaller. And they’re equally good to stash in the freezer, baking them off as the empanada craving hits, or for a light dinner. Like Hot Pockets, but you know, full of awesome, healthy stuff.

beef empanadas

One year ago: Hamantaschen
Two years ago: Bulgur Salad with Chickpeas and Roasted Red Peppers

Beef Empanadas
Adapted from Gourmet, September 2007

My only grievance with this recipe the way it was printed is that the flavor was a little flat. I’ve upped the spices but definitely think that there’s nothing wrong that a couple dashes of your favorite hot sauce can’t fix. Or a pinch of cayenne. Or a heavier helping of salt and pepper. I’ll let you get creative.

Makes a dozen 6-inch empanadas

2 hard-boiled large eggs, chopped into bits
1/2 medium onion, finely chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
1 teaspoon ground cumin
3/4 teaspoon dried oregano
3/4 pound ground beef chuck
2 tablespoons raisins (optional)
1 1/2 tablespoons chopped pimiento-stuffed olives
1 (14-ounce) can whole tomatoes in juice, drained, reserving 2 tablespoons juice, and chopped
1 package frozen empanada pastry disks, thawed (or homemade, recipe follows)

About 4 cups vegetable oil and a deep-fat thermometer (if deep-frying)
1 egg beaten with 2 teaspoons water (if baking)

Cook onion in olive oil in a heavy medium skillet over medium heat, stirring frequently, until softened. Add garlic, cumin, and oregano and cook, stirring, 1 minute. Stir in beef and cook, breaking up lumps with a fork, until no longer pink, about 4 minutes.

Add raisins, olives, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, and tomatoes with reserved juice, then cook, stirring occasionally, until liquid is reduced but mixture is still moist, about 5 minutes. Stir in hard boiled egg and spread on a plate to cool.

Lay a large sheet of plastic wrap on a dampened work surface (to help keep plastic in place), then roll out an empanada disk on plastic wrap to measure about 6 inches. Place 3 tablespoons meat mixture on disk. Moisten edges of disk with water and fold over to form a semicircle, then crimp with a fork. [You might see some different crimps in my pictures. The fork method really works best.] Make more empanadas in same manner.

If frying: Preheat oven to 200°F with rack in middle.

If baking: Put oven racks in upper and lower thirds of oven and preheat oven to 400°F.

Deep-frying instructions: Heat 3/4 inch vegetable oil in a deep 12-inch skillet over medium heat until it registers 360°F on thermometer. Fry empanadas, 2 or 3 at a time, turning once, until crisp and golden, 4 to 6 minutes per batch.

Transfer to a shallow baking pan and keep warm in oven. Return oil to 360°F between batches.

Baking instructions: Lightly brush empanadas with some of egg wash and bake in upper and lower thirds of oven, switching position of sheets halfway through baking, until golden, about 25 minutes. Transfer empanadas to a rack to cool at least 5 minutes.

Serve warm or at room temperature.

Empanada Dough

4 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (I used 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour + 3 cups all-purpose)
3 teaspoons salt
2 sticks (1 cup or 8 ounces) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
2 large eggs
2/3 cup ice water
2 tablespoons distilled white vinegar

Sift flour with salt into a large bowl and blend in butter with your fingertips or a pastry blender until mixture resembles coarse meal with some (roughly pea-size) butter lumps. Beat together egg, water, and vinegar in a small bowl with a fork. Add to flour mixture, stirring with fork until just incorporated. (Mixture will look shaggy.) Turn out mixture onto a lightly floured surface and gather together, then knead gently with heel of your hand once or twice, just enough to bring dough together. Form dough into two flat rectangles and chill them, each wrapped in plastic wrap, at least 1 hour. Dough can be chilled up to 6 hours total.

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beef chili + sour cream and cheddar biscuits – smitten kitchen

Abruptly, and likely surprising nobody more than my husband, I have decided to be a Good Football Wife this year. Finding it impossible to summon any actual enthusiasm for the game but refusing to fulfill the sitcom wife-cliché of grumbling about my husband’s Sunday afternoon routines, in the past, I’ve mostly tolerated it. But with months of cold and/or wet Sundays ahead of us, I finally came to the realization that football season is the perfect excuse to embrace some much-needed Lazy Sundays. A morning bagel, park and farmers market run routine segues nicely into an afternoon of bumming around, or you know, however the person at hand defines it. For Alex, football, with the requisite pre- and post-game Sports Shouting episodes. For Jacob, removing books from the bookcases one by one, then attempting to stand on them to reach higher shelves, so he can remove them too. He naps, we replace the books, he wakes up and starts again. Ah, Sundays.

garlic, beans, onions, peppers, carrots
beef chili

I made a giant pot of beef chili that I found from an old (like, 20 years!) Gourmet magazine, which, like almost all Gourmet recipes I run across, makes me sniffle and miss the magazine (in its original incarnation, that is, I haven’t made sense of this app thing yet) even more. Here, they gathered all of the things you’d normally dollop on top of a bowl of chili — cheddar, sour cream and pickled jalapeños — and formed them into a biscuit, which they use to serve the chili shortcake-style. I bet you didn’t know chili could be so cute! I just want to stand up and applaud their creativity but instead I’m very sad, because I’ve been bereft of fresh batches of it for nearly a year. I did not cry into this chili, however, because it was awesome, so awesome that the member of our family who a) does not know how to use a spoon, b) wants to eat what you’re eating but c) refuses to be fed from a spoon actually honored us with the privilege of letting us feed him. And tucked away a frightening amount of chili. The chili is that tremendous.

white cheddarsour cream biscuit doughcutting the shortcakessour cream and cheddar shortcakes

One last thing: If you are from Texas, I want you to promise to take a deep breath before reading the recipe. I know that chili con carne is the official dish of Texas and I know how seriously Texans take their chili con carne and their feelings about things named chili that contain things like kidney beans, bell peppers, carrots, oregano, vinegar and if that hasn’t blown your top yet, tomato sauce too — see also: Epicurious comments such as “No TEXAN would ever call this chili!” and “This recipe is blasphemous!” Then again, if you are from Texas you’ve likely got a recipe you were making since you were old enough to stand at a stove and don’t need my Chili Con Carne Not Sanctioned By Texans or Those With Texas Allegiances anyway. But still, I want us all to get along, even those of us who (shh) might like it all blasphemized better.

beef chili
sour cream and cheddar biscuits

One year ago: Date Spice Loaf
Two years ago: Black and White Cookies and Summer’s Last Hurrah Panzanella
Three years ago: Cream Cheese Noodle Kugel and Spaghetti with Chorizo and Almonds
Four years ago: Outrageous Brownies and White Batter Bread

A not-so-new sideblog about feeding babies: I have this terrible habit of launching side projects and, um, not telling people — like the six weeks I was blogging at Epicurious or the side blog entirely devoted to cooking Tips. Last spring, I started sporadically posting some baby food recipes, such as applesauce, peach sauce with nutmeg, a vanilla bean pear sauce and a mango-banana sauce. There have also been first carrots, spinach and white yams, Morroccan-ish carrots and yams and now, we are elbows (and eyebrows, really) deep in finger foods. I want to keep expectations real low; I’m still a one-woman operation, this site and that little cookbook I’m writing are my top priorities right now but obviously, with a one year old underfoot, a tremendous amount of energy is going into figuring out how to interrupt his steady diet of carpet lint + whatever he found on the ground at the park with some occasionally wholesome foods. I’ll be talking about that over here.

Beef Chili with Sour Cream and Cheddar Biscuits
Adapted from Gourmet

A couple notes: First, if you like a saucier chili, you might reduce the beef by one pound, though this might reduce your serving size. [Updated to add:] You could also add a second can of beans, as some commenters have suggested. Second, I didn’t get the rise out of these biscuits that I’d expected to. Since they were delicious and other commenters have raved about them, I assumed it was me and didn’t bother tinkering with them. Finally, the original recipe says that it serves six but I think it stretches further, especially if you’re doing this shortcake-style, with just a ladleful on top. I’d suggest scaling the biscuit portion to the number of guests you’re having. If you make more than you need, I recommend freezing the extras unbaked until you’re ready to serve the chili again — you can bake them directly from the freezer, and they’ll always be fresh and crisp. [Updated a few years later to add:] I mention this in the previous note, but not as clearly as I should have: this makes a lot of chili but not that many biscuits. The proportions, especially if you want to serve this on biscuits, are off. I’d double or triple the biscuit recipe if serving the full batch of chili. Enjoy!

Serves [more than] 6

2 large onions, chopped (about 3 cups)
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 tablespoon minced garlic
2 carrots, sliced thin (suggested by Gourmet) or in a small dice, as I’d chop them next time
3 pounds boneless beef chuck, ground coarse or 3 pounds ground beef
1/4 cup chili powder
1 tablespoon ground cumin
2 tablespoons paprika
1 tablespoon crumbled dry oregano
Dried red pepper flakes, to taste (Gourmet suggests 1 tablespoon; I used 1 teaspoon knowing that my flakes are very hot)
2 8-ounce cans tomato sauce or 2 cups fresh tomato sauce or tomato puree
1 1/4 cups beef broth
3 tablespoons cider vinegar
1 3/4 cups or 1 19-ounce can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
2 green bell peppers, chopped
Sour Cream and Cheddar Biscuits, below
Sour cream and pickled jalapeños (optional, to finish)

In a large pot (I used a 5-quart, and just fit it all), heat the oil over moderately low heat and cook the onions in it for 5 to 10 minutes, until softened. Add the garlic and carrots and cook for one minute more. Raise the heat to medium and add the beef, stirring and breaking up any lumps until it is no longer pink, about 10 minutes. Add the chili powder, cumin, paprika, oregano and pepper flakes and cook for another minute. Add the tomato sauce, broth and vinegar and simmer the chili, covered, for 35 to 40 minutes (if you used ground beef) or 50 to 60 minutes (if you used coarse chuck). Add the kidney beans, bell peppers, salt (I used 2 teaspoons to get the seasoning right for my tastes) and pepper to taste and simmer for an additional 15 minutes, until the bell peppers are tender.

Serve ladled over a split Sour Cream and Cheddar Biscuit, below, with additional sour cream and pickled jalapenos, if desired.

Sour Cream and Cheddar Biscuits
Adapted from Gourmet

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into bits
1/4 pound sharp Cheddar cheese, coarsely grated (about 1 1/2 cups)
Drained and chopped pickled jalapeños, to taste (I used about 2 tablespoons)
1 cup sour cream

Preheat oven to 425°F. Whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large bowl. Either cut the butter pieces into the flour mixture with a pastry blender or rub them in with your fingertips until well-combined. Stir in the cheddar, jalapeños and sour cream until the mixture forms a sticky dough. Pat it out to a 1/2-inch thickness on a very well-floured counter and use a 3 1/2-inch biscuit cutter to cut six rounds. Bake on an ungreased (or parchment-lined, if your baking sheets are as “weathered” as mine are) for 15 to 17 minutes, until golden on top.

Do ahead: If you’d like to serve them over a couple days, I recommend freezing already formed but unbaked biscuits until you are ready to bake them — you can bake them directly from the freezer, adding just a minute or two to the baking time.

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dijon and cognac beef stew – smitten kitchen

I don’t mean to shock you, I mean, I do hope you’re sitting down for this, but it turns out that when I asked my husband to choose between a caramelized cabbage dish, mushroom tacos, or a beef stew whose ante had been upped with butter, bacon, Dijon, cognac and a splash of red wine as his ideal homemade Valentine’s meal, he chose the beef stew. I could hardly believe it either. I mean, between my delivered flowers, his cufflinks and the kid’s heart-shaped candies, I might have to mix things up next year just to rage against predictability.

what you'll need
rendering the bacon fat

This isn’t just any beef stew, however. This stew is fancy. It’s luxe and lush and so intensely flavored, if you’re anything like me, after one bite you’ll forget every crock pot attempt that yielded thin broths, tough meat, weak flavor and, always, unevenly cooked vegetables (potato mush and still-rubbery carrots, sigh), or at least I did. It will an excellent consolation prize for a winter you’re totally ready to be done with, pretty as it can occasionally be.

snowy february

Comfort is indeed the central theme. The New York Times published this recipe one week after 9/11 as part of a piece by Regina Schrambling about the meditative aspects of long-cooking dishes with layers upon layers of flavor. These days, and in this city especially, there’s usually so little reason to cook. If you’re hungry, soup dumplings or Thai curry is always just a Seamless order away. But if you’re feeling hollow, Schrambling writes, you can bake pumpkin bread or molasses cookies; you can lose yourself inside a recipe for a while and build something delicious where you thought there wasn’t much at all. It’s the act of cooking, not the egg noodle-draped result, that feeds us.

flouring the chuck
browning the chuck
beef stew: not pretty when it cooks
so much dijon
dijon and cognac beef stew

One year ago: My Favorite Buttermilk Biscuits
Two years ago: Carrot Cake Pancakes
Three years ago: Spaghetti with Lemon and Olive Oil
Four years ago: Ginger Fried Rice
Five years ago: Whole Lemon Tart
Six years ago: Pasta Puttanesca + Broken Artichoke Hearts Salad
Seven years ago: For Beaming, Bewitching Breads [Breadmaking Tips]

Dijon and Cognac Beef Stew
Adapted, barely, from Regina Schrambling via The NYT

It probably goes without saying that if you’re no fan of Dijon, this isn’t your dish. While it mellows inside the stew, it still contains a staggering amount, not for the faint of heart. (Although, I believe you can easily halve the mustard volume and still make something spectacular.) If, however, you’ve been plagued by mediocre beef stews; if you, like me, wondered why they were regarded so warmly when you found effort upon effort so lackluster, this bold and rich take should be your new favorite dish. We served it over wide egg noodles and it was perfect.

A few notes: If you don’t eat pork, keep in mind that it’s used here a little bit as a background flavor but also as rendered fat to brown your meat in. Thus, if you’d like to skip it, just start with a tablespoon or two of butter or olive oil instead. The crisped bacon is never used in the dish (gasp!) but you’d better believe we sprinkled it over our salads. Do keep in mind that Dijon contains a fair amount of salt, as do cured pork products. The best way to keep the saltiness at bay is to use an unsalted beef stock and only lightly salt your meat before browning. If you don’t have Cognac, brandy is a good substitute. Schrambling calls for Pommery mustard in this dish, a extra-sharp mustard from Meaux, France based on an ancient recipe. I used a whole-grained Dijon instead, and recommend it if you, understandably, don’t live near a French grocery store. The recipe calls for 1/2 pound mushrooms but if you’re a mushroom fiend, as we are, I think you could easily use 3/4 pound or more. Finally, I entirely forgot to finish the dish with red wine and we didn’t miss what we didn’t know about. If you don’t have a bottle open, don’t fret it. This dish is good without it, too.

Serves 4 to 6; takes about 3 hours total

1/4 pound salt pork, pancetta or bacon, diced
1 large onion, finely diced
3 shallots, chopped
4 tablespoons butter, as needed
2 pounds beef chuck, in 1-inch cubes
2 tablespoons flour
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup Cognac (see Note)
2 cups unsalted beef stock
1/2 cup smooth Dijon mustard
4 tablespoons coarse Dijon or Pommery mustard (see Note)
4 medium carrots, peeled and cut into half-moon slices
1/2 pound mushrooms, stemmed, cleaned and quartered
1/4 cup red wine (see Note)

Place salt pork in a Dutch oven or a large heavy kettle over low heat, and cook until fat is rendered. Remove solid pieces with a slotted spoon, and save for another use, like your salad, vegetables or, uh, snacking. Raise heat to medium-low, and add onion and shallots. Cook until softened but not browned, about 10 to 15 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to transfer to a large bowl.

If necessary, add 2 tablespoons butter to the pan to augment fat. Dust beef cubes with flour, and season lightly with salt and more generously with pepper. Shake off excess flour, and place half the cubes in the pan. Cook over medium-high heat until well browned, almost crusty, on all sides, then transfer to a bowl with onions. Repeat with remaining beef.

Add Cognac to the empty pan, and cook, stirring, until the bottom is deglazed and any crusted-on bits come loose. Add stock, smooth Dijon mustard and 1 tablespoon coarse or Pommery mustard. Whisk to blend, then return meat and onion mixture to pan. Lower heat, cover pan partway, and simmer gently until meat is very tender, about 1 1/4 hours.

Add carrots, and continue simmering for 40 minutes, or until slices are tender. As they cook, heat 2 tablespoons butter in medium skillet over medium-high heat, and sauté mushrooms until browned and tender. Stir mushrooms into stew along with remaining mustard and red wine. Simmer 5 minutes, then taste, and adjust seasoning. Serve hot.

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oven-braised beef with tomatoes and garlic – smitten kitchen

I realize that if you’re scouring the internet this week looking for something romantic to cook for that little Hallmark holiday this weekend, the words “pot roast” probably didn’t cross your search threshold. It’s not sexy food; nobody is writing aphrodisiac cookbooks about bottom rounds and boneless chucks. But if you ask me, it’s something better, something cozy, warm, and classic, which neither steals the show nor keeps you from enjoying it. It’s for people who long ago stopped aspiring to entertain in multi-course and completely exhausting meals (for host and guest) and turned instead to comfort foods that surprise and delight on sleety winter nights. Sure, those individual gratins, galettes, microgreens and shooters of soup look elegant, but none of them have ever gotten the reaction that a massive batch of spaghetti and meatballs, from-scratch lasagne or great big short rib braise with a green salad did. No dessert, frosted, layered or crimped has ever had the delighted reception of freshly baked chocolate chip cookies (dough prepared days before, shh), still on their baking sheet. Why are we pretending we have a team of line cooks at our disposal, anyway?

a quick chop of tomatoes
a head of garlic

My favorite meals can be prepped in advance, often taste even better the second day, require no trips to specialty stores and are hard to mess up. And I’m never, ever able to resist the siren call of a recipe that promises transcendence in less than five ingredients.

ready to braise

First published in Gourmet in 2001, this oven-braised beef recipe was inspired by two others, Laurie Colwin’s Aunt Gladys’s Beef (January 1992) and Nathalie Waag’s Leg of Lamb with Tomatoes and Garlic (September 1986). The 2001 version trimmed the ingredient list to three items — three! — just a big can of tomatoes, a head of garlic and a beef roast and the meltingly tender results are as magical and transformative as our other three-ingredient archive favorite, Marcella Hazan’s Tomato Sauce with Onion and Butter, all from less than 15 minutes active cooking time. I’m not surprised that Jane Lear said “it achieved immediate cult status among the Gourmet staff” and that Ruth Reichl, in the intro to The Gourmet Cookbook, said she’d be embarrassed to tell you how often she made this over the weekend just so she could reheat it on a weekday night. Now that it’s finally in our winter repertoire, I expect no less from it.

from the oven
sliced and falling apart
oven-braised beef with tomato and garlic

One year ago: Chocolate Hazelnut Linzer Hearts
Two years ago: Salted Caramel Brownies
Three years ago: Lasagne Bolognese
Four years ago: Blood Orange Olive Oil Cake
Five years ago: Walnut Jam Cake
Six years ago: Crisp Black Bean Tacos with Feta and Slaw and Whole Lemon Tart
Seven years ago: Dulce de Leche Cheesecake Squares
Eight years ago: Miniature Soft Pretzels

And for the other side of the world:
Six Months Ago: Apricot Pistachio Squares
1.5 Years Ago: Strawberry Lime and Black Pepper Popsicles
2.5 Years Ago: Charred Pepper Steak Sauce
3.5 Years Ago: Tomato Salad with Crushed Croutons

Oven-Braised Beef with Tomatoes and Garlic
Gourmet, February 2001 and The Gourmet Cookbook

InstantPot directions were added in January, 2019.

Serves 6

1 28-ounce can whole tomatoes
1 (3 to 3 1/2 pound) boneless beef chuck roast, tied with a string
1 head garlic, separated into cloves, left unpeeled

In an oven: Heat oven to 300°F (150°C). Coarsely chop tomatoes with their juice in a food processor (Gourmet’s suggestion) or go at them in their can with kitchen shears (my lazy preference) to break them up. Put roast in an ovenproof 4- to 5-quart heavy pot or a casserole dish with a lid — a tight fit is just fine, as it will shrink very soon. Pour tomatoes over roast and scatter garlic around it. Season generously with salt and pepper. Braise in middle of oven, covered, until very tender, 3 to 4 hours.

In an Instant Pot or Electric Multi-Cooker: Coarsely chop tomatoes with their juice in a food processor (Gourmet’s suggestion) or go at them in their can with kitchen shears (my lazy preference) to break them up. Put roast in cooking insert. Pour tomatoes over roast and scatter garlic around it. Season generously with salt and pepper. Press the meat/stew button, and set the beef to cook at high pressure for 75 minutes. Let the pressure release naturally for 10 minutes, then release the pressure manually, and take out the roast and test for doneness. If it is not cooked to your liking, return to the pot for another 5 to 10 minutes at the same setting — meat/stew at high pressure. Once it is done, if you wish, press Cancel, transfer meat to a serving dish, press Sauté and let the sauce in the pot reduce for 10 to 20 minutes, until your desired thickness is achieved, then pour it over the meat.

Both methods, to serve: Cut roast into 1/4-inch-thick slices and serve with sauce, garlic, squeezed from its peels (or you can leave others to do this) and orzo (Gourmet’s suggestion, of course not gluten-free), mashed potatoes (recipe at the end) or crusty bread. Leftovers shredded over egg noodles sound wonderful as well.

Do ahead: Like almost all braises, this is even better on the second day, which means it’s a dream of a dinner party dish. Let it cool to room temperature, then chill it in the fridge until needed. Defat the sauce before warming (it will be a cinch once solidified on top) and rewarm at 300 for 30 to 45 minutes.


  • What to buy: Gourmet is absolutely adamant that you should buy your meat from a supermarket, and not a fancy butcher shop, where the meat is often too lean and becomes dry when cooked. I, ever the rebel, and eager to part ways with my hard-earned money, didn’t listen and bought a lovely and dearly priced grass-fed organic one with a good marbling of fat and regret nothing. But you have every reason to keep this as budget-friendly as possible.
  • Why truss? It’s a valid question, especially as we are not stuffing the roast and thus have nothing to contain. This is almost purely an aesthetic choice; it’s about appearance, not flavor. Trussing keeps a roast from spreading out too much as it expands while cooking, losing that nice round shape you paid so much for. If it flattens, it also might end up completely submerged in the liquid, tasting more boiled than braised, which would be a bummer.
  • How to truss: Note, don’t use mine as much of a guide; it’s far more trussed than this dish requires. (I couldn’t say no when the butcher offered to do it for me.) Two or three loops — at either end, or with a third one in the middle — would have done just fine. Keep them loose; you want the meat to expand even while gently encouraging it to keep it’s shape, plus cotton butchers twine, the best thing to use, will shrink in the oven as well. If you’re still nervous about how to proceed, check out one of these videos on YouTube (using fewer loops and not trimming the fat, okay?). [Trussing Video 1 or 2]
  • To dabble: You should not make this if you care for neither garlic nor tomatoes, for obvious reasons. And I hope that you anticipate that this will be a simple (but lovely) dish as written. Nevertheless, there’s no reason not to dabble if you’ve got a couple pet ingredients you’d prefer this with. I don’t think I’d be able to resist adding a couple glugs of red wine, maybe a halved onion and some thyme next time. A tablespoon or two of tomato paste will add more body to the sauce. And I’ve rarely met a beef braise that didn’t taste good with a dash of vinegar (sherry, balsamic or malt) or Worcestershire, bay leaves, mushrooms (which I’d saute and add at the end).

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