Tag Archives: beef stock

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 Poblano Burger Soup

16 Oct
Mexican Poblano Burger Soup

Mexican Poblano Burger Soup

After we got back from our trip to the coast for our anniversary, I harvested the last of my chile peppers and the wee tomatillos and poblanos I managed to eke out with our short summer weather. Half the hot peppers had turned red while we were gone, but that’s OK as I like spicy!

Cooking is quite the challenge one-handed, but I’ve figured out some hacks to where I don’t ask for much assistance any more in food prep. Dicing a fresh onion is the hardest I’ve found, but luckily I have a bag of diced onion in the freezer that I brought home from a work potluck, which can be used in soups and stews.

Tips: A mini food processor can be used for a rough dice of carrots, celery, and onion, and a pair of kitchen shears does quick work on green onions. I do have limited use of my left thumb and forefinger, so I place the green onion between those two fingers and snip away!

This soup was the culmination of wanting to use my peppers and tomatillos in something as well as a large leek that needed to be cooked stat. I roasted the poblanos, tomatillos, and a serrano until charred, then had my daughter peel and mince them for me. I then scrounged the freezer and pantry and came up with a half pound of burger, black beans, and golden hominy. Combined with my homemade beef stock, a filling Mexican-style soup was on the horizon!

I’m still limiting my prep photos until I have two hands again but this is a pretty straight-forward soup recipe. Note: I used all my very small poblano peppers and tomatillos in this, but have adjusted the recipe below for standard grocery-sized produce.

Pepper and Tomatillo Harvest

Pepper and Tomatillo Harvest

Mexican Poblano Burger Soup

1 large leek, halved lengthwise and sliced
3 peeled, rinsed and roasted tomatillos
1 large roasted and peeled poblano, minced
1 roasted and peeled serrano pepper, minced
1/2 pound ground beef
1 teaspoon olive oil
2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
Ground black pepper, to taste
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon Ancho chile powder
4 cups homemade or low sodium beef stock or broth
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 can golden hominy, drained and rinsed
2 soft corn tortillas, diced large
Juice squeezed from a large lime wedge
Tortilla chips, sour cream, and cilantro for garnish (optional)

Roast and prep the peppers and tomatillos. In a soup pot or Dutch oven, brown the ground beef and leeks in 1 teaspoon olive oil until burger is browned and leeks have softened. Add the minced garlic in the last minute of cooking them.

Add the rest of the ingredients except the garnishes and stir to combine. Bring to a simmer and cook 15-20 minutes until the tortillas have dissolved and soup thickens, stirring occasionally.

Ladle into bowls and serve with desired garnishes. This soup was even better the next day!

Mexican Poblano Burger Soup

Mexican Poblano Burger Soup

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Jagerschnitzel with Mushroom Gravy and Bacon

9 Jul
Jagerschnitzel with Mushroom Gravy and Bacon

Jagerschnitzel with Mushroom Gravy and Bacon

“This is a keeper!”

Those were pretty much the first words out of hubby’s mouth after finishing the meal. I must admit this is pretty damned good, too. In my usual frugal manner, I had picked up some super-thin cut pork loins in the 50% off bin and was randomly searching the interwebz and Pinterest what to make with them and Voila! Not only did bacon and mushroom gravy catch my eye, but so did the unusual name.

Jager (properly spelled Jäger in German) loosely means hunter, named after the German military term for rifle-armed infantry. In short, “hunter’s cutlet” and the dish was originally made with thinly pounded venison or wild boar backstrap. In the U.S., it is typically made with pork.

If you do not pour sauce over all the cutlets, then the schnitzels reheat beautifully with a light spray of oil in the toaster oven. The meal is typically served with spaetzle or noodles, but I served Brussels sprouts instead. Hey, that’s close to Germany! This isn’t the quickest dinner to make in the book, but it is so very worth the time. It took me about an hour and a half but if you have all your ducks in a row (i.e. prep everything ahead of time) then you could probably make it in an hour. Guten Appetit!

Jagerschnitzel with Mushroom Gravy and Bacon
Adapted from Guy Fieri and The Food Network

1 1/4 pounds thin-cut pork loin (or pounded thin)
3/4 cup flour, divided
1 teaspoon salt or Mrs. Dash
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon granulated garlic
1 teaspoon paprika
1 egg
1/2 cup milk
2 teaspoons spicy brown mustard
3/4 cup crushed unsalted crackers
3/4 cup panko bread crumbs
3 slices thick-cut bacon, diced (1 more if thin-cut)
1/2 cup diced onion
2 cups sliced mushrooms
1/4 cup red wine
Olive oil, for frying
2 cups beef stock, homemade or high-quality store-bought
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

Schnitzel Ingredients

Schnitzel Ingredients ~ I am not ashamed to use paper plates to use less dishes

If your pork slices are not already thin, pound them thin until 1/8 to 1/4 inch thick. Trim the fat off the pork edges. On a plate, mix together 1/2 cup flour with salt, pepper, garlic and paprika. In a bowl, combine egg, milk and mustard. On another plate, combine crushed crackers and panko.

Breaded Cutlets

Breaded Cutlets

Dredge pork slices first in flour, then in egg wash, then in the crumbs. Set on a cooling rack above a sheet pan and place in the refrigerator until ready to cook.

In a cast iron skillet (or other heavy pan), cook the bacon until crispy. Remove and drain on paper towels.

Frying Bacon

Frying Bacon ~ And yes I did cook this entire meal on our grill propane burner outdoors!

In the same skillet with the bacon grease, add the onions and saute for several minutes. Add mushrooms and continue cooking for about five more minutes until the mushrooms have browned.

Shrooms and Onions

Shrooms and Onions

Stir in 1/4 cup flour and continue stirring until you have a light brown roux. Add the wine and cook for a few more minutes until it’s reduced by 1/3, then add the beef stock. Continue cooking to reduce by 1/3 again. Season with salt and pepper then keep warm on low.

Mushroom Gravy

Mushroom Gravy ~ Not my best shot…

Heat 1/4-inch oil in another cast iron skillet (or heavy pan) until it bubbles when you insert a wooden chopstick to the bottom. In batches, cook pork evenly on both sides, about five minutes for the first side, several more minutes for the second.

Fried Schnitzels

Fried Schnitzels

Remove to a platter and continue cooking until all cutlets are done. Add butter to sauce, stirring until it has melted. To serve, cover pork with sauce and garnish with chopped bacon and fresh parsley.

Jagerschnitzel with Mushroom Gravy and Bacon

Jagerschnitzel with Mushroom Gravy and Bacon

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Download and Print this Yummy Recipe!

 

Classic French Onion Soup

2 Jan
Classic French Onion Soup

Classic French Onion Soup

I put onions on the shopping list, and good ol’ hubby came home with a 5-pound bag of them! I typically buy two or three at a time, sometimes a couple of sweet and a yellow, sometimes a red. But 5-pounds of yellow onions?! So of course, I had to make some French Onion Soup.

I have made this soup before, but the results were less than satisfying. So I printed out my handy-dandy PDF copy, then went to work at scratching out items and modifying amounts and ingredients. I was extremely pleased with this version of the Classic French Onion Soup. WAY better than the last one. I hope you think so too!

Classic French Onion Soup

1 1/2 pounds medium yellow onions
3 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup dry sherry (the good stuff, not cooking sherry!)
1 sprig thyme
1 bay leaf
4 cups homemade beef stock, or low sodium chicken broth
1/2 teaspoon cider vinegar
Salt and ground black pepper, to taste, if needed
Thick slices French bread
Butter for bread
Grated Gruyere cheese, enough for topping

Sliced Onions

Sliced Onions

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Meanwhile, slice the onions thin. This is a piece of cake if you have a mandoline slicer, and I adore mine! Next, add the butter to a soup pot or Dutch oven that has an oven-proof lid and melt it over medium heat.

Buttered Onions

Buttered Onions

Add the onions to the melted butter, stirring around to coat. Cover and cook over medium heat for 20 minutes.

Uncover and give the onions a good stir, then recover and add the pot to the oven, leaving a crack in the lid. After 30 minutes, uncover the pot and give the onions another good stir.

Onions Halfway Cooked

Onions Halfway Cooked

Leaving uncovered, cook for another 45 minutes, stirring them every 10 or 15 minutes, until they are caramel brown.

Caramelized Onions

Caramelized Onions

Once the onions are brown and caramelized, take the pot out of the oven and place on the stove over medium heat. Add the sherry and deglaze the pot, including scraping all the brown bits from the edges. Cook for about 5 more minutes, until the sherry reduces about half. Add the thyme sprig, bay leaf, and beef or chicken broth. If you don’t have homemade beef stock, I have read the soup will come out much better using a good quality store-bought chicken broth rather than beef.

Simmer the soup for 20 minutes, then finish it off with the cider vinegar. Take a sip, and season to taste with salt and/or pepper. I found it only needed just a pinch of salt, but I always use a lot of pepper.

About 10 minutes before you are ready to eat, slice enough French bread to top the amount of individual ramekins you will be cooking. Butter the tops of the slices, then place them in the oven or toaster oven on broil for a few minutes, until browned and crispy.

Soup Ready for Broiling

Soup Ready for Broiling

Ladle soup into the ramekins, top with a slice of crispy bread, then top with a good amount of grated Gruyere cheese. Broil for several minutes until the cheese is melted and bubbly. Remove carefully from oven, and serve immediately.

French Onion Soup

French Onion Soup ~ Please forgive my horribly focused shot!

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How to Make Homemade Beef Broth

19 May
Homemade Beef Broth

My First Attempt at Homemade Beef Broth.

Subtitled, Or How NOT To…

I can be very compulsive when it comes to trying new things in the kitchen, and sometimes things just don’t work if you don’t even attempt to research just a teensy bit before barging head-on with a new recipe. This was one of those times. My husband wanted to make a beef stir-fry with our leftover tri-tip steak. We also just happened to be out of any chicken or beef broth. I have always made my own chicken broth, but had never tried to make beef stock. However, I had been planning on doing so because I had been stockpiling beef rib bones in the freezer for just such purpose.  It was only about 4:30 and figured I had plenty of time to whip up some beef broth. I mean, it would be just like making chicken broth, right? Throw the bones into a pot of water, add some veggies and spices, and simmer for an hour or two, right?

Bones in Roasting Bag

Bones in Roasting Bag

Well… no. After a couple of hours, I realized I must have done something wrong, as the broth looked suspiciously like vegetable broth. At this point, one of my online friends pointed out to me that I needed to roast the bones in the oven first after I embarrassingly bragged about making my first batch of beef broth. Oops. All was not lost, though, as we went ahead and used the vegetable broth (with a brief hint of beef) for our stir-fry sauce, and it came out fine. I went ahead and froze the rest of the broth for a later use and rescued the bones (once again) so I could try attempt number two the next day.

Round two worked out perfect. I happened to have a turkey roasting bag on hand, so I put the bones and veggies in that. It made it a snap to turn the bones over half-way through the cooking time. Now we have plenty of beef (and vegetable) stock in our freezer for future concoctions!

Homemade Beef Broth

About 4 pounds of beef bones
3 to 4 carrots (or a half bag of baby carrots)
2 celery stalks with leaves
1 onion, quartered
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon Mrs. Dash Seasoning (I used Garlic and Herb)
1 tablespoon dried parsley flakes
10 whole black peppercorns

Roasted Beef Bones

Roasted Beef Bones

Place the bones and veggies in a turkey roasting bag, then arrange in a layer on a large baking sheet. Cook in a 400 degree oven for one hour, flipping the bag after a half hour. Pour the contents of the bag into a dutch oven or large soup pot, then fill the pot with water. You can add more fresh veggies at this time if you want, I did. Then add the rest of the ingredients and bring to a boil. Turn down and simmer for four to six hours, adding hot water as needed. The longer you cook it, the deeper brown your stock will turn. When ready, line a colander with cheese cloth, then strain the broth into another pot or bowl. You now have a healthy, no-salt beef broth!

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