Posts Tagged ‘meat’

Straccotto – Italian Pot Roast

So, I decided to be brave and try a pot roast recipe different from my mom’s New England pot roast that I have always made. I mean, I know we love it, so why risk doing something different that we might not like? But I decided it was time, and since our trip to Florence, Italy, last September, I’ve been more into Italian food than ever, so that’s the direction I went.

I looked online for recipes, and found several for Straccotto, or Italian pot roast with red wine and tomatoes. I didn’t really follow a recipe for this, but sort of combined elements of several. It turned out great. I served it over rotini pasta with a green salad and garlic bread.

I’m not a big fan of red wines, but I did want to use one for this recipe. So I went to Angry Adam’s, a local wine, beer and cheese shop, for a recommendation. Randy recommended a Guenoc Lake Country Petite Sirah. It was perfect – not too dry or tannic; nice and soft on the palate. You could also use Barolo or Chianti.

The Parmigiano Reggiano cheese rind is not strictly necessary, but I found it really smoothed out the flavor of the sauce. I buy it from D’Italia through – it’s a lot less expensive that way.

Straccotto – Italian Pot Roast

3 lb. chuck roast
3 tbsp. olive oil
1 onion, peeled, halved and thinly sliced
3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
1 cup red wine
1/2 oz. dried porcini mushrooms (I used shiitake, because I already had them)
1 cup hot water
1 14.5-oz. can stewed tomatoes, chopped
1 sprig fresh rosemary
1 bay leaf
1 2×2-inch square of Parmigiano Reggiano cheese rind (optional but gives great flavor)
Salt and pepper to taste
2 tbsp. cornstarch
4 tbsp. water

In a small bowl, add hot water to 1/2 ounce dried mushrooms and set aside to rehydrate. Drain, reserving the liquid, and chop the mushrooms.

Heat olive oil in a large Dutch oven. Sprinkle one side of the meat with salt and pepper, then place it in the Dutch oven, seasoned side down. Brown well, season the second side, then turn to brown the second side. Remove to a plate.

Add onions and garlic to the pot and saute till softened and lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Add the wine and deglaze the pan (stir to loosen browned bits on the bottom of the pan). Bring to a simmer and cook for a few minutes, to cook off some of the alcohol and reduce the wine a little.

Chop the mushrooms and add them to the pot, along with the reserved liquid, stewed tomatoes, rosemary, bay leaf and cheese rind. Bring the mixture to a boil, reduce to a simmer and add the meat back to the pot. Spoon some of the liquid over the meat. Simmer, covered, for 1 1/2 hours. Using large tongs, turn the meat over, cover, and simmer for another 1 1/2 hours.

Remove meat to a plate and tent with foil; let rest 10 minutes. Meanwhile, mix cornstarch and water in a small bowl; stir into sauce and bring sauce to a boil. Simmer for five minutes. Serve over pasta or polenta with garlic bread and a green salad. Delish!

Italian Pot Roast

Christmas Dinner: Herb-Encrusted Lamb Chops

I don’t make lamb very often, for one reason, because it’s expensive, and for another reason, because I haven’t always enjoyed it. I’m not sure if that’s because of the quality or the preparation, but the lamb chops I made yesterday for Christmas dinner were fabulous.

You need a good, stainless steel pan for this recipe – a non-stick pan just won’t get a good sear on the meat to make it golden-brown and delicious!

Herb-Encrusted Lamb Chops
Serves 2

4 lamb rib chops, about 1 inch thick
1 tbsp. chopped fresh sage
2 tbsp. chopped fresh rosemary
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. coarse salt
1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
Olive oil

Remove the chops from the refrigerator and salt both sides lightly. Leave out to come to room temperature, about 30 minutes. The salt will draw moisture from the chops, which will then be drawn back in, seasoning them beautifully.

Prepare herbs and garlic and mix together with pepper in a small bowl.

When ready to cook, drizzle one side of each chop with a little olive oil; cover with herb/garlic mixture and press to adhere. Heat a large stainless-steel saute pan on medium-high heat. Add 1 tbsp. olive oil and swirl the oil around the pan. Add chops, herbed side down, to pan and cook for one minute. With tongs, turn chops over and cook for two minutes. Check temperature with an instant-read thermometer; it should be 130 degrees F for medium-rare. If it’s still a little low, cover the pan and let rest, off the heat, for about five minutes. If you’d like it more done, let cook another minute before resting.

Herb-encrusted lamb chops

I served this with Duchess potatoes mm mm good!

Tasty Tools: German Potato & Sausage Soup

Tasty Tools: Soup/Stock PotWhen we were in Germany recently, we had a late lunch in Potsdam with our former exchange students Olaf, Hannah and Josi, and Hannah’s parents, Bettina and Frank. We had seen Olaf in April when he visited the U.S. and stayed with us for a week, but it’s been a couple of years since we’ve seen the girls and Hannah’s parents. It was great fun to see them all again.

I was pretty hungry, with the time change, so while most of the group had a coffee of some type and a pastry, I had the potato and sausage soup. I was expecting something creamy; it came out more brothy, although it was thick from the potatoes being cooked in it for so long. Our first full day back home was chilly and rainy, so I found this soup online and made a half-batch. It’s so good, next time I’ll make the whole recipe, so we’ll have more leftovers.

I used my lovely Flame Le Creuset Dutch oven for this wonderful soup.

Tasty Tools: Soup Pot with German Potato and Sausage Soup

German Potato and Sausage Soup

5 pounds potatoes peeled and diced to 1/2″ pieces
6 carrots peeled and diced
1 large white onion peeled and diced
4 celery stalks chopped
2 teaspoons salt
3 pounds Polish kielbasa
1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
3 cloves fresh garlic, minced
1/8 teaspoon crushed dried red pepper
1 teaspoon black pepper, coarsely ground

Put potatoes, carrots, onion and celery in a large pot then add water to cover about 1 inch. Add half the salt, then cover with lid and set on medium flame.

Cut sausage into 2” pieces. Add water to cover bottom of frying pan and cook sausage piercing skin as it starts to harden. When cooked through, remove sausage to cutting board and dice into 1/2″ pieces; add to soup.

Add parsley, black pepper, red pepper, remaining salt and garlic. Cover and continue cooking on low heat for 2 hours; serve immediately.

This is my contribution to Tasty Tools: Soup/Stock Pots, a food blogging event hosted by Joelen of Joelen’s Culinary Adventures.

Kibbee and Bits

grow_your_own_logo-2009-bldgMy sister-in-law, Jennifer, is of Lebanese descent and when we were visiting one time, she showed me a cookbook she had – “Kibbee ‘n’ Spice and Everything Nice: Popular and easy recipes for the Lebanese and American Family,” by Janet Kalush. I was looking through it and talking about how much I like to try new things, and she gave me the book right there. Thanks again, Jen! 🙂

She also mentioned that kibbee is one of her favorite foods; I hadn’t heard of it before, but I tried it at Azar’s, a local Mediterranean restaurant, and liked it a lot. So I finally tried making it myself.

This is a variation of Lebanon’s national dish. The traditional way to make kibbee is to make the meat mixture shown below, then make another meat mixture to use as a filling; then the kibbee is baked or fried. I skipped the filling (this extra step is probably why I hadn’t made it earlier) and grilled them instead. You have to be very careful when grilling these; the bulghur wheat makes them a bit fragile. But it works!

btw, Dan kept calling it Kibbee and Bits, so here we are: Kibbee with bits of grilled potato 🙂

Kibbee Patties (spiced ground beef or lamb with bulghur)

1 cup finely ground bulghur wheat
1/2 medium onion, or one small onion
3/4 tsp. kibbee spice (see below)
2-1/2 tsp. salt
1 lb. finely ground beef or lamb
2 rounds of pita bread
tzatziki sauce (cucumber/yogurt sauce)

Kibbee Spice
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. ground allspice
1 tbsp. crushed dried mint (I used fresh mint from the garden, then dried it in the toaster oven at 200 degrees for 15 minutes)
1-1/2 tsp. ground black pepper

Combine thoroughly in a small bowl; transfer to a spice bottle and keep in a cool, dry place.

For Kibbee

Rinse the bulghur wheat in cold water twice and drain. Cover by half an inch with fresh water and let soak. Finely mince the onion in a food processor. Transfer to a bowl and add the kibbee spice and salt; combine thoroughly. Add the ground meat to the bowl and mix completely by hand.

Squeeze excess water from the bulghur wheat and add to the meat mixture. Mix by hand until well blended. Add ice water if necessary, to maintain a soft consistency.

Form meat into eight 3-inch patties, and press in the center with your thumb to form a dimple. Grill 3-4 minutes on both sides until cooked through.

To serve: Serve kibbee patties over tzatziki sauce or in pita pockets. To serve in pita pockets, briefly grill pita rounds to warm them a bit; cut in half. Put a few tablespoons of tzatziki sauce in each pita half and place two kibbee patties on top of sauce. Serves 4.

This is my contribution to Grow Your Own, the food blogging event that celebrates growing and preparing our own food. It was originated by Andrea of Andrea’s Recipes and is hosted this time by Andrea herself.

If you count the cucumber in the tzatziki, I used three ingredients from my garden in this meal: cucumber, onion and mint.

Kibbee patties ready for grilling
Kibbee patties ready for grilling

Kibbee with tzatziki sauce and grilled potatoes
Kibbee with tzatziki sauce and grilled potatoes

Festa Italiana: Osso Buco

logo-festa-italianaI love all kinds of Italian food, and I’ve been wanting to try osso buco, aka Italian Braised Veal Shanks, for ages, so this blog event, hosted by Marie of Proud Italian Cook and Maryann of Finding la Dolce Vita, seemed like the perfect time to make it.

This is one of those long, slow-cooking dishes that I like to make on Sunday afternoons, when I have a lot of time for cooking dinner, and especially when it’s cold outside. Braised dishes are so satisfying on days like that, and this one was no exception.

Dan gave me a copy of “The Best International Recipe,” a cookbook by America’s Test Kitchen, for Christmas in 2007, so I made their recipe. OMG, it was so good – absolutely delicious. I made the classic saffron risotto to go alongside it and served it with a green salad and some crusty bread to sop up the juices. I hope everyone at the Festa Italiana enjoys it as much as we did!


Osso Buco

Veal Shanks
6 1-1/2-inch thick veal shanks (8-10 oz. each), tied around teh middle with butcher’s twine (so they don’t fall apart during cooking)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
6 tbsp. vegetable oil
2-1/2 cups dry white wine
2 medium onions, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
2 medium carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
2 medium celery ribs, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
6 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 14.5-oz. can diced tomatoes, drained
2 bay leaves

Gremolata (topping)
3 medium garlic cloves, minced or pressed
2 tsp. minced lemon zest
1/4 cup minced fresh parsley

Place an oven rack in the lower-middle position and heat the oven to 325 degrees.

Season the shanks with salt and pepper. Heat 2 tbsp. oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat until shimmering. Brown half of the shanks on both sides, about 5 minutes per side, reducing the heat if the pan begins to scorch; transfer to a bowl and set aside. Off the heat, add 1/2 cup of the wine to the Dutch oven, scraping up the browned bits, then pour into the bowl with the browned shanks. Return the pot to medium-high heat and repeat with 2 more tbsp. oil and the remaining shanks. Add another 1/2 cup wine and transfer to the bowl.

Add the remaining 2 tbsp. oil to the pot and return to medium heat until shimmering. Add the onions, carrots and celery and cook, stirring occasionally until soft and lightly browned, about 9 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in the remaining 1-1/2 cups wine, broth, tomatoes and bay leaves. Add the browned shanks with any accumulated juices, increase the heat to high, and bring to a simmer. Cover the pot, transfer to the oven and cook until the meat is easily pierced with a fork, but not falling off the bone, about 2 hours.

To make the gremolata, stir together the garlic, lemon zest and parsley in a small bowl.

When the shanks are cooked, remove the pot from the oven and the bay leaves from the pot; stir in half of the gremolata. Season with salt and pepper to taste and let stand, uncovered, for 5 minutes. Remove the shanks from the pot, cut off the twine and place the shanks in six individual serving bowls. Ladle some braising liquid over each shank and sprinkle with the remaining gremolata. Serve.

Original Recipes: Mexican Casserole

Culinarty Original Recipe Food Blogging EventA couple of weeks ago, we had a potluck lunch at work, the annual Fall Fling. Amy in HR had begged me to bring the pesto pasta I took last year – she had never had pesto before, and loved it. But I like to bring something different each time, so this time, I ended up making up my own recipe.

That was because the recipe I started out with turned out rather dry and bland. So I bumped it up a few notches and came up with something really good. It’s perfect for a potluck, too. It’s a casserole, so after making it the night before, I put it in my Crock-Pot crock in the fridge overnight. I took the Crock-Pot to work and set it on high, and by lunchtime, it was nicely heated up. So I took the heated Crock-Pot to the lunch and it stayed good and hot during the entire hour and a half or so. And it got rave reviews – several people asked how it was made.

Next time I bring something that’s a bit ambiguous, though, I’ll put a little sign next to it. I heard from a few people that they didn’t try it because they didn’t know what it was. To me, that’s a reason *to* try it, but some people aren’t so adventurous.

Mexican Casserole

Mexican Casserole

2 lbs. ground beef
2 medium onions, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup chopped green chiles (I used Anaheims from the garden)
3 tbsp. ground red chile pepper (I used ancho chile powder)
2 tsp. cumin
2 tsp. chili powder
8 corn tortillas, torn into pieces
2 14-oz. cans white or yellow hominy
1 14-oz. can diced tomatoes
1 can Rotel diced tomatoes with chiles
1 8-oz. can tomato sauce
1/2 lb. grated sharp cheddar cheese
salt and ground black pepper

Brown the beef and pour off all but 1 tbsp. fat. Add onions and garlic and cook for 3-4 minutes. Add green chiles, spices, hominy, tomatoes and tomato sauce and mix well. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Add half of cheese and stir well.

Place the mixture in a 5-quart slow cooker and put on low to keep warm for serving. Or, chill and serve within 2-3 days. Place mixture in slow cooker and put on high for 3 hours to warm up, then put on low to keep warm for serving.

You can also divide the mixture and freeze half for later. Put half the mixture in a 2-quart dish and freeze up to four months. Bake the other half in a 350*F oven for 45 minutes. Top with the remaining cheese and serve.

This is my entry in the food blogging event Original Recipe, hosted by Culinarty. The roundup of all the recipes is here.

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