Tag Archives: bay leaves

Braised Beef Shanks with Tomatoes

1 Apr
Braised Beef Shanks with Tomatoes

Braised Beef Shanks with Tomatoes

I know this beef man from Ireland, and Conor Bofin is his name. He’s the closest I know to a connoisseur of any part of the damned cow that I know, even the unusual and sketchy bits. But he can cook the most amazing meals with that lowly bovine, so I jumped on the chance to sort-of copy-cat this wonderful braise of beef shanks with some nice meaty ones from our quarter cow.

While my photos won’t do it justice — and I wasn’t about to try and plate it for a shot — I think anyone who makes this will be satisfied with the most delicious gravy and tender beef. I served mine with some Parmesan risotto, but pasta or potatoes would work fantastic too. One of my deviations from the original recipe was to reduce the mushrooms (not enough on hand) and add a couple of almost-overripe tomatoes to the braise, which added a wonderful color and flavor to the gravy. (The long braise makes your house smell dreamy, too!)

Braised Beef Shanks with Tomatoes
Adapted from Daub of Beef from One Man’s Meat

2 meaty beef shanks, seasoned with pepper and salt
1 tablespoon high-heat oil (I used grapeseed)
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
Half of a very large onion, chunked up
4 ounces whole white mushrooms, quartered
2 medium ripe tomatoes, cut in eighths
Half head of garlic, peeled and sliced thick
2 1/2 cups homemade or high-quality beef stock
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 cup good red wine (I used an Oregon Pinot Noir)
2 bay leaves
Handful of thyme sprigs
Black pepper and salt, to taste

Beef Shank Ingredients

Beef Shank Ingredients (Mostly)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Season the beef shanks with pepper and salt, then score the membrane in several places on the sides. Heat a Dutch oven to medium high heat and add the oil, then sear the beef until very browned on all sides. Remove and set aside to a plate.

Browned Beef Shanks

Browned Beef Shanks

Add the butter, then toss in the onions and mushrooms. Reduce heat a bit. Cook and stir until the mushrooms have browned and onions are softened.

Veggie Madness

Veggie Madness (I like to dose my dishes with pepper at random moments)

Top with the tomatoes and garlic, then pour in the beef stock. Grind more pepper over if your feeling it. Stir in the tomato paste until combined. Now pour in the red wine and bring up a a boil and simmer for about 5 minutes.

Nestle the beef shanks into the liquid, then add in the bay leaves and thyme.

Braise Ready for Oven

Braise Ready for Oven ~ Time to read a book now. I did. Really.

Cover and cook in the oven for 4 to 5 hours, until beef is fall-apart tender. Remove the beef to a plate, then remove the bay leaves and thyme sprigs and gently stir gravy to combine. Taste for additional seasonings and add, if needed. Serve each shank with risotto, pasta, or potatoes, topping the shanks with a generous amount of gravy and veggies.

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Mexican Shrimp Meatball Soup (Albondigas de Camerones)

8 Jan
Mexican Shrimp Meatball Soup

Mexican Shrimp Meatball Soup

The snow will just not stop where I live! We are buried, I tell ya’! So of course I made more soup (spicy too!) to ward off the snow demons and hopefully melt them.

I made this earlier in the year from a recipe at Cooking on the Ranch, but the hubs said there was too much seasoning in the shrimp meatballs and he couldn’t taste the shrimp. So I made a notation on the recipe to make it again but with noted adjustments. I did, and the meatballs came out so much better this time! We really enjoyed it so I hope you do too!

Mexican Shrimp Meatball Soup
Adapted from Cooking on the Ranch

For the meatballs:

1/2 pound raw shrimp, peeled and deveined (weight after peeling)
1 thick slice onion, quartered
1 tablespoon tomato paste
A pinch of ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon Mexican oregano
2 heaping tablespoons flour
1 egg yolk
A pinch of salt

For the soup:

1 tablespoon olive oil
3/4 cup chopped onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 14.5-ounce can diced tomatoes
2 roasted Hatch chiles, peeled, seeded and chopped (can sub 1 4-ounce can mild green chopped chiles)
3 to 4 cups shrimp, fish, or chicken stock
2 bay leaves
Ground black pepper and salt, to taste
Fresh chopped cilantro, for garnish

Shrimp Meatball Mixture

Shrimp Meatball Mixture

Add the shrimp, onion, tomato paste, spices and herbs, flour, egg yolk and salt to a food processor. Pulse until well combined. Cover and chill in refrigerator for a half hour.

Meanwhile, start making the soup. Heat the olive oil in a soup pot or Dutch oven and saute the onion until translucent and soft, about 5 to 7 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for a minute more. Add the tomatoes and chiles and simmer over low heat for about 10 minutes.

Simmering the Soup Base

Simmering the Soup Base

Add the stock, bay leaves, and pepper and salt, to taste. Bring up to a simmer again, then simmer on low heat while you make the meatballs.

Get a bowl of water ready and add parchment paper to a large cookie sheet. Dip your hands in the bowl of water, and using a spoon, scoop out a large teaspoon of the shrimp mixture, and roll into a ball and place on the cookie sheet.

Shrimp Meatballs

Shrimp Meatballs

Dip hands in water as needed, it prevents the shrimp mixture from sticking to your hands. Repeat until shrimp is gone. Drop the meatballs carefully into the soup, then bring to a simmer again heat the meatballs until cooked through, about 5 to 7 minutes.

Simmering the Shrimp Meatballs

Simmering the Shrimp Meatballs

Remove bay leaves, and serve soup in bowls garnished with chopped cilantro.

Mexican Shrimp Meatball Soup

Mexican Shrimp Meatball Soup

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Navy Bean Soup with Ham

3 Nov
Navy Bean Soup with Ham and Cornbread

Navy Bean Soup with Ham and Cornbread

This can be a delicious vegetarian meal, and it pretty darn nearly was. (Which is not a bad thing, really.) While prepping the soup, I didn’t even notice there was no ham in any of the photos. It was only after I got the soup in the crock pot that I realized I forgot it. AND, when I looked in the freezer for the bag of ham chunks, I found it was dark turkey meat instead. I rummaged around some more and came up with two small chunks.

Soaked Navy Beans

Soaked Navy Beans

Now I am all for a meatless soup, but I just love ham in my navy bean soup. I added the small amount of ham, and drove to the store later for a ham steak. My husband suggested adding some Italian sausage we had instead, but that did not sound appealing at all. So ham steak it was! I ended up with a pretty largish ham steak, but I wanted a good quality one and this was the smallest one and it was made fairly local, in Pendleton, Oregon! Now I have a half of ham steak in the freezer for a future use.

Navy Bean Soup Ingredients

Navy Bean Soup Ingredients ~ Minus the Ham

Navy Bean Soup with Ham

1 pound dried navy beans
1 cup diced celery
1 cup diced carrots
1 cup diced onion
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary, crushed
2 bay leaves
Mrs. Dash Garlic and Herb, to taste
Lots of ground black pepper, to taste
6 to 7 cups chicken broth, homemade or low-sodium canned
1 1/2 cups diced ham
1 pint jar of tomatoes, drained and diced, or 1 14-ounce can of diced tomatoes

Veggies, Spices, and Beans Ready for Broth and Ham

Veggies, Spices, and Beans Ready for Broth and Ham

Ham Steak

The Missing Ham

Rinse the beans then cover with at least an inch of water, and soak overnight. The next morning, drain and rinse the beans again and add to a large crock pot (slow cooker). Prep all the vegetables, then add the rest of the ingredients (except the tomatoes) to the pot. The acid in the tomatoes will prevent the beans from softening properly if you add them at the beginning.

Cover and cook on low for 8 to 10 hours. In the last hour or so, add the tomatoes. Remove the bay leaves. To make a thicker soup, you can smash some of the beans against the side of the pot, or remove some from the soup and puree in a blender. We served this with Skillet Cornbread. A delicious, filling soup for a chilly fall evening!

Navy Bean Soup with Ham and Cornbread

Navy Bean Soup with Ham and Cornbread

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Download and Print this Yummy Recipe!

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