Posts Tagged ‘Beef’


Sweet and Sour Potted Meatballs

March 3, 2015

Two summers ago I bought myself a subscription to Saveur magazine. I enjoyed browsing through it, but most of the recipes either didn’t appeal to me upon reading through the ingredients/directions, or turned out to be duds. There also seemed to be a large percentage of articles about travel, whereas what I usually look for in a cooking magazine is good-sounding, well-tested recipes. And some pretty food photography. That’s it. I like the recipes themselves more than I like reading someone else’s story about their visit to the place of origin. :) So I let my subscription lapse. I can always browse recipes on their web site for free, and I don’t have to wade through ads or allow paper magazines to pile up “just in case.”

However, this is one recipe of theirs that we really enjoyed. Classic Italian meatballs in savory tomato sauce are amazing, but sometimes it’s nice to mix it up a bit! The sauce is still tomato-based, but the lack of Italian herbs and the addition of brown sugar and sour salt/lemon juice take these in an entirely different direction. I found rice to be an interesting inclusion in the meat mixture – not something I ever would have thought of to use inside meatballs, but the texture works well! I’m also not positive where the “potted” part of the name comes from… usually “potted” refers to a way of preserving meat/food. I’m guessing it’s that the meatballs are braised in the sauce rather than being fried/baked: “potted” like “pot roast,” maybe? A google search for “potted meatballs” indicates that this is primarily a Jewish technique for meatballs.

Either way, these were delicious, and really easy to make without using tons of dishes. Not quite quick enough to call it a weeknight meal, but I’d say not more than 45 minutes if you multitask the sauce and the meat. Enjoy!

Sweet and sour potted meatballs

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Beef and Veal Loaf (Polpettone)

January 27, 2014

This weekend was cold and windy, a good weekend for staying inside and getting some projects done. My husband and I are taking another photo class at the Genesee Center; the class is called “Snapshot to Series” and we’re learning how to progress from taking individual photos to developing a cohesive photo project. We’re supposed to have a project started and bring in a few photos for the next class, but so far I’m not experiencing any moments of brilliance. I could continue my retro food photo project from the summer, but that feels a little bit like cheating. Since I wasn’t coming up with anything, I decided to spend some time catching up with recipes in my blog post drafts.

So… this recipe. It scarred me for life. Quite literally. Thanks to this meatloaf, I now have two ½-inch-long burn scars on my left forearm. I made this over the summer, and the scars are still visible, so I don’t think they’re going away any time soon! Turning over a 10-inch-long loaf in a skillet without a) causing it to fall apart, or b) splashing hot oil all over myself… clearly above my current skills level. However…! The meatloaf was awesomely delicious, so I might be brave enough, next time I find a good price on ground veal, to attempt this again. You wouldn’t think lemon zest would go well with meatloaf, but with the flavors from the wine sauce, it made for a really lovely combination. Next time though, I think I may shape it into 2 smaller stubby loaves rather than one long one. I really don’t want a matching set of scars on my right arm! :)

Beef and veal loaf

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Red-Wine-Braised Short Ribs with Carrots

October 23, 2013

Here’s another dish I made during my cooking streak before I got sick. I had purchased a few packages of short ribs here and there over the summer when they were marked down and was keeping them in my freezer until I came across a good recipe. When I saw this braise mentioned in the October issue of Bon Appetit (though not printed; I had to go to the web site to find it), I knew this was how i wanted to use my ribs. I was fortunate enough to find a vendor selling small young carrots at the market that weekend, and I convinced my coworker to trade me a bottle of his favorite local red wine for a serving of the finished product. (Because hey, if your bottle costs about $8, that compares extremely favorably to how much you’d pay for a serving of short ribs in a restaurant, am I right?) :)

So these took a long time, as is expected of a braise, but they were incredibly tasty. The flavor was traditional, similar to pot roast – no weird ingredients or surprises, just super tender fall-off-the-bone meat with an excellent braising sauce. And like many braises, it’s even better reheated the second or third day. Enjoy!

Red wine braised short ribs

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July 13, 2013

As my work partner’s birthday approached, I was having a difficult time deciding what sort of baked good to make for him. He prefers savory food to sweets, but no one else in the office would be terribly appreciative of me bringing in, say, chuck roast with onions instead of a cake. :) Since so much fresh fruit is available in summertime, I was thinking of making a pie instead of a cake, and then it hit me: tourtière!

Nobody I’ve talked to has ever heard of tourtière; they are seriously missing out! Tourtière is a French-Canadian meat pie that’s traditionally served at Christmastime. The typical filling in the Montreal version consists of ground pork (sometimes mixed with ground beef and mirepoix), cinnamon, and cloves.

My mom used to make tourtière about once a year in the winter, from a recipe my dad had found in Gourmet magazine many years ago. I asked my mom for a copy of the recipe, but when she went to get it from her recipe binder, it turns out my dad had gotten rid of it because he decided it was “too rich”! I knew there was a recipe in my Gourmet Cookbook, but when I looked at the ingredients, I knew it wasn’t going to be the same. I remember the crust from my childhood as being very rich and buttery, but this recipe’s crust included baking powder and was described as “biscuit-like.” Definitely not. So I turned to google. This post from the Runaway Spoon sounded promising – her grandmother had gotten this recipe from Gourmet many years ago. I don’t remember my mom’s including carrots and celery, but it was worth a try! She didn’t include a crust recipe, so I used my standby pie crust recipe as it always turns out buttery and flaky.

The tourtière was amazing, just like how I remembered it. :) My partner loved it as well and took a few pieces home for leftovers. (I did end up making a fruit pie too because not everyone would like meat pie and I was feeling generous like that. Fruit pie is to be posted later.)


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Flank Steak Salad with Chimichurri Dressing

July 10, 2013

When I was at Palmer’s buying chicken for July 4th, I picked up a flank steak on a whim. It’s been a while since we’ve grilled flank steak, and it’s one of my favorite cuts because it’s so flavorful. But I wasn’t thinking about the fact that we also have a ton of lettuce from our CSA to use! I was already planning on making salad niçoise sometime this week, but then I thought I could incorporate the flank steak into a main-dish salad too somehow. I didn’t see anything appealing in any of my cookbooks… they either called for a lot of extra ingredients I didn’t have, or the flavor profile wasn’t what I was looking for, etc. So Bon Appetit’s web site came in very handy: they have most of their magazine recipes available for free online (this recipe was from the June 2009 issue).

This salad turned out great! My grocery store surprisingly didn’t have marinated mozzarella balls, so I marinated the plain ones myself (which I will post the recipe for later). Because flank steak is a thin cut, it cooks quickly, so this recipe is perfect for a weeknight. Overall: delicious and healthy!

Flank steak salad with chimichurri dressing

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Cuban Picadillo

May 22, 2013

Picadillo is difficult to describe – it’s too thick to be a stew, but it’s not a casserole or one-dish meal either. It’s generally served alongside rice, black beans, and plantains or potatoes to make a complete meal. The dish is made primarily of finely chopped or ground beef cooked with peppers, onions, raisins, olives, and spices (such as cinnamon and cumin)

When I saw this recipe in my May/June 2013 issue of Cook’s Illustrated, I knew I had to try it because the flavor profile sounded very similar to the delicious Don Francisco empanadas that Juan and Maria’s serves at the public market. They include bits of hard boiled egg, olives, and raisins in these empanadas, and they have a wonderful sweet-sour-salty quality that I guessed this recipe would provide as well.

I guessed correctly, and we will definitely be eating this picadillo again! It was delicious served over rice with black beans, and while I didn’t have any plantains, perhaps I’ll get some for next time. I served mine with hard-boiled eggs, but you could also serve the picadillo with chopped parsley or toasted almonds for a bit of flavor/texture variety. Although the ingredient list is long, the dish comes together quickly and could be reasonably made on a weeknight. Enjoy!

Cuban picadillo

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Pasta with Bolognese Sauce

September 9, 2012

As we move into fall and the nights are getting cooler (50º here tonight!), it’s time to start thinking about homey, tummy-warming dishes. Bolognese sauce, a common type of ragù, fits the bill perfectly. It’s not a quick-cooking sauce, so it’s best for a weekend or a day off. However, the sauce could also be made ahead and refrigerated for a day or two so that all you need to do is reheat it and cook the pasta.

I’ve tried a few different recipes for Bolognese sauce but was generally unsatisfied with my end results – which seemed to turn out too greasy – no matter which recipe I used. I finally decided to try this version from the Gourmet cookbook, and I quickly realized that this one was going to be the winner. Meatloaf mix (made from equal parts ground beef, pork, and veal) is fairly lean but still tender, and there is no heavy cream in this recipe to make it overly rich.

Although I left the recipe below written up as it was originally in the cookbook, next time I will just buy a can of crushed tomatoes rather than puréeing whole tomatoes in juice; the results looked basically the same and it will save a step (and the fewer dishes the better). Enjoy!

Penne with Bolognese sauce

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