Archive for the ‘Beef’ Category

Roulade Delicious

20 April 13

It is time to revisit the good old roulade. I have written on these goodies before with the title Roll ‘Em Up – Beef. You can look that one up so I will not give all the discussion in that previous article.

 1  ea flank steak

So what you need is a nice flank steak. You can ask your butcher to run it through the tenderizing machine one in each direction. This should give you a thickness of about 1/4” and also enlarge and tenderize all at once. If you don’t do that just take a tenderizing mallet and keep whacking with the rough side until you get the aforementioned 1/4” thickness. Try not to knock holes in the beef while you are having fun.

Now you need a stuffing. I will give you a recent one that we liked. You are certainly welcome to use your own ideas and variations.

1 medium onion, chopped
1 large carrot OR several small ones, chopped (about 1/2 volume of onion)
2 ribs celery, chopped (about 1/2 volume of onion)
8 oz mushrooms, chopped
2-3 slices ham and/or prosciutto, chopped
unsalted butter
olive oil

Heat olive oil and unsalted butter in a heavy skillet until the butter stops foaming and just begins to color. Turn the heat down and gently sauté the onion for a couple of minutes. Add carrots and celery and continue sautéing for another minute or so. Add the mushrooms and continue the sauté for another couple of minutes. You may need a bit more  olive oil/butter.  Add the ham/prosciutto and keep cooking gently for one or two minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.

1 cup beef broth, chicken broth, or vegetable broth
1/4 cup red wine
1/2 cup rice
salt
2-3 cloves garlic, chopped

Heat the broth in a saucepan. You can add ¼ cup of red wine to the liquid. That is good. Mix chopped garlic and salt and grind together with a mortar and pestle if you have them, or just use a cutting board and spoon to mash and stir if necessary. Add the garlic and salt mixture to the saucepan. Heat some olive oil/butter in a pan and, when the foaming stops, add in the rice and stir to get all the grains covered with lube. You only need medium heat for a minute or two. We use a rice mix with white, brown, and wild rice. Whatever you use, add it to the saucepan – be careful – if the broth is at or near boiling temp and you dump hot rice in it is going to boil up nicely. Sort of a sizzling rice effect. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes, remove from heat and let sit for 10 minutes. (Or whatever your rice requires.)

olive oil
unsalted butter
1/3 cup vermouth
1/3 cup beef broth

Heat the pan with the stuffing and add the rice to it. This would be a good time to taste and add whatever spices you like. Salt and pepper are just about always going to be needed. Others are optional. Spread the stuffing over the flattened flank steak. You may have some stuffing left over. That is fine. You can make some sandwiches with the goodie and some mayo or whatever later. Anyway, spread the stuffing, roll the steak and tie it up with butcher’s twine enough to hold it together. Be sure to secure the ends also. Get a heavy Dutch oven, lube with olive oil/butter. When the butter stops foaming and is golden start searing the roast. About 2 to 3 minutes for each side all the way around. Remove the roast, turn off the heat and add 1/3 cup of vermouth and 1/3 cup beef broth. Turn the heat back on, boil and whisk all the little pan goodies in. When the liquid is reduced by about half, add enough vegetable or chicken broth to get about 1/2” or so of liquid. Put in the roast and simmer, covered for 20 minutes per side.

3 Tbs butter
1/3 cup vermouth
1/3 cup beef broth
vegetable or chicken broth

While the roast rests (tented with foil on a cutting board) prepare the sauce. Add 1/3 cup vermouth and 1/3 cup broth to the liquid. Whisk while boiling rapidly. When reduced enough to start getting a bit thickish turn down the heat and add butter a tablespoon at a time, whisking each until melted and emulsified. Carve the roast, plate, and drizzle sauce over the slices. Serve immediately.

For those who wondered: the olive oil and butter combo does have a good reason. Yes, you could use either by itself, but the butter gives a sweeter, more intense taste than the olive oil alone. Olive oil raises the burning temp of the butter enough to make it practical as a sautéing medium and is healthier than butter alone. This is a very old and traditional medium and is very tasty and satisfactory. Oh yeah – we use unsalted butter so that we can control the amount of salt in the food and not get over-salting, which is not only unhealthy – but also tastes bad.

{{Herself sez: OMG! This is WONDERFUL! 5 Yummies! But not for Great Lent – or any other Orthodox fasting season.}}

A Very British Meal (and a Touch of France)

1 June 11

I can’t think of any greater British contribution to world cuisine than the famous roast beef with Yorkshire pudding. A standing rib roast was always the meal that I requested for birthday dinner when I was growing up. My Mother did it rather well.

Then the first girl that I ever really liked was half Brit, and her mother introduced me to Yorkshire pudding. Oh my, that stuff is good.

And of course, you know I have to add a bit of a French touch. The dipping juice reduction is very French.

Yes, rib roast is pretty expensive, but if you really watch your meat prices you can probably get a fairly decent buy once or twice a year. We find that a two rib roast will yield several meals and some nice sandwiches.

bone-in prime rib
cloves garlic
salt and coarsely ground black pepper
red wine
beef stock
chopped fresh thyme leaves

Remove the meat from the refrigerator and let it come up to room temperature. Maybe an hour depending on the size. 30 minutes is about right for a two rib roast.

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Garlic the roast, you know the drill. Make small slits and plunk a slice of garlic in all over the roast. Rub all over with a mixture of coarse salt and coarse pepper. Set it on a rack in a pan, bones down and fat up. (You do know that you need a bit of fat for basting and flavor, don’t you?) You can lube the rack with non-stick spray if you like, but don’t lube the pan. If it worries you then you can put in a layer of aluminum foil. I can’t tell you how long to cook it. About 15 to 18 minutes a pound is what is usually quoted for bone-in and 350°F cooking temp. That ain’t the way to go. Put a thermometer in the meat. Thermometers of the electronic oven type are pretty cheap anymore, and your cooking consistency will improve. What you want is medium rare, or 135°F at the center. Even if you are one of the unwashed heathens that wants done shoe leather, don’t. The flavor is at peak at medium rare. Reheat your slices if you must. But you should really try it the right way first. Tent the roast with foil while you do everything else. The rest will do it good.

If you are going to do Yorkshire pudding you will need a couple of tablespoons of the pan drippings. Be sure to get out what you need and get the puddings going into the oven at this point.

Now here comes the French part. Put the pan over a burner or two on your stove and add some wine. I can’t tell you how much. I can tell you that a 2 rib roast is about 1 cup of red wine. Reduce it over high heat, stirring often and mixing up any pan goodies. Add twice as much beef stock as the wine, 2 cups for a two rib roast. You will notice that the wine/stock ratio is 1/2 and everything else in proportion. Keep reducing and stirring until it is reduced by nearly half. Taste, salt, pepper as necessary. Be careful not to over salt things. Keep it a little lighter than you would normally like, the meat already has salt and pepper on it. We like some thyme in ours. You’d need a light tablespoon full of fresh chopped thyme or about half that of dried for our hypothetical two rib roast.

Slice the roast fairly thin and serve with the juice. Au jus just means “with juice.”

Now the Yorkshire pudding part; which you actually start making as soon as you put the roast in.

Yorkshire Pudding

150 g all-purpose flour (1 cup)
4 g kosher salt (1/2 tsp)
230 g milk (1 cup)
25 g melted unsalted butter
2 eggs
roast drippings

A bit of discussion: According to the aforementioned first girlfriend’s Brit mother it may not be possible to make a true Yorkshire pudding with anything other than true British flour. I have pretty good results with King Arthur all-purpose, but I won’t swear that it is authentic Yorkshire.

Further discussion: The true and original is blended by hand and sat under the roast and cooked with meat juice dripping into it. Not the way it is usually done nowadays, even in England. There are two ways that it is done nowadays, single dish where you get one big pudding. The multiple version is done in muffin tins or something similar so that you get many individual servings. That is how I prefer it.

A note on proportions: This will make about a dozen individual puddings. If you need to double it, add an extra egg.

Dump everything into a good mixer and blend it 30 seconds low speed, 90 seconds on the highest speed you can do without sloshing over. This is probably about speed 6 on a Kitchenaid. This should be nice and smooth and about the consistency of heavy cream. Let it sit, covered, for about an hour.

When you take your roast out raise the oven temp to 450°F.

For a single put a couple of tablespoons of pan drippings into a 9×12 ovenproof dish. Heat the dish in to oven for about 10 minutes. Then pour the batter into the pan, bake for about 15 minutes at 450°F, then reduce the setting to 350°F for another 15 minutes or so.

For the individual, or popover version put about 3/4 teaspoon of drippings in the bottom of each cup. Pop the muffin tin into the oven for about 3 minutes. Then pour batter into the pan, about 1/3 full. Bake for 15 minutes at 450°F and then reduce the temperature to 350°F for another 10 minutes or so.

Keep an eye on things, you want a really puffed up, golden brown creation.

As a point of information: anytime you have an oven temperature reduced partway through the cooking, usually for baked goods, you are trying to mimic the action of an old-fashion masonry oven. This was called a falling oven, and it is one of the things that really expensive baker’s ovens try to imitate.

I should also mention that Yorkshire pudding will not keep. In fact, it begins to deteriorate as soon as it comes out of the oven. So serve it immediately. If you are having some other courses ahead, make sure you time it so the puddings are eaten as soon as they come out.

{{Herself Sez: OMG! Yorkshires get my “inner Labrador” in a frenzy! Himself made the mistake of making 5 the other night. We each ate one. He was going to throw out the rest. I “rescued” them from a fate worse than death – I ATE THEM!! Just YUMMM!}}

It is Truly Meat!

4 April 10

Christ is Risen! Indeed, He is Risen!

Herself here, posting a menu with links to recipes.

Pascha (Easter) Morning Breakfast:

Sauteed Hog Jowl
Eggs Benedict
OJ

Pascha (Easter) Noon – Lunch:

MEAT and CHEESE sandwiches!
Potato chips

Pascha (Easter) Evening Dinner:

Bad Man’s Steak
Creamed Peas
Salad with Olive Oil and Vinegar dressing
Strawberries Romanoff

O Just YUMMMM!

The Best Hamburger You Will Ever Eat

6 October 09

Or – as the French call it – Biftek Haché à la Lyonnaise. This is from Julia Child’s seminal book The Art of French Cooking. As I may (or may not) have said at some point or other – if you can only have one cookbook, this should be it. Even if you don’t think that you want to learn French cooking Julia will teach you more about food and cooking in general than any other cookbook in the world. It is not that the French don’t eat burger biggies, they do. And they do a much nicer job than the charred lumps that you are used to having.

For beginners – get cheap ground meat. I know that sounds contrary to what you may have thought that you knew – but trust me. Get ground chuck or neck (or grind you own) with no added fat! The leanest that you can find. We will carefully introduce exactly the quantity fat that we want in the flavor.

You will notice that I differentiate the butter into A, B, C, D. That is so you know which butter (and quantity) I am talking about. Somewhere or other I read a description of French cooking that went thusly:

  1. Do Something. Add Butter.
  2. Add Butter. Do something.

Seems reasonable to me.

—–Burger—–

3/4 cup finely minced yellow onions
2 Tbs Butter – A
1-1/2 lbs lean, ground beef
2 Tbs softened butter – B
1 tsp kosher salt
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
1/8 tsp Thyme
1 Egg

—–Cooking—–

1/2 cup flour on a plate
1 Tbs Butter – C
1 Tbs olive oil

—–Sauce—–

1/2 cup dry white vermouth
2 Tbs softened butter – D

—– Burger —–

Mince the onion pretty fine. If you use a processor be careful not to go to a mush. As far as the onions go – a strong flavor is not a negative here. Cook the onions on low heat in butter – A for about 10 minutes until translucent but not brown. Mix together the onions, beef, butter – B, salt, pepper, thyme, and egg with a wooden spoon until blended thoroughly. Use some elbow grease. You may have heard that business about not mixing hamburger much, but that does not hold here – get it well mixed. Correct the seasoning to your taste. You want to wind up with patties about 3/4” thick. The easiest way to get there is to measure out 1/4 lb. patties on a good scale and then take a cutting ring about 3” or so and just pat down meat to a thickness of 3/4”. Adjust the size of the ring up or down so that you get nice round 3/4” thick burgers;. Cover with waxed paper and refrigerate until you are ready for action. You do want to do this ahead of time so that you can get the burgers rather cool. It makes them easier to handle.

—– Cooking —–

When you are ready then take a plate and put the flour in it and dredge both sides of the burger biggie carefully. Heat up butter – C and olive oil in a good cast iron or other heavy skillet, and set on medium high heat. When the butter just starts to turn golden put in the burgers. Now then, what you are looking for is a good sear to seal in the juices, but low enough so that you don’t wind up with burned shoe leather. Go for about 3 minutes a side on the highest heat you can get without burning and you should wind up about medium rare. Adjust the time up or down to suit your taste. If you are afraid of the meat then cook to shoe leather with some other method. Don’t waste this effort on something that is disgusting. Besides – if you are afraid of the meat, why eat it anyway? Set the burgers aside on a warming plate while you play with this wonderful sauce.

—– Sauce —–

Pour the fat out of the skillet, being careful to keep the brown goodies. Add the liquid and boil it down rapidly while stirring with a whisk. Reduce down to a pretty thick almost syrup consistency. Remove the skillet from the heat and blend in the butter – D a bit at a time, whisking constantly. If necessary return the skillet to the heat for a short while. If you do it right the butter will blend in completely forming a wonderfully smooth and flavorful sauce. Pour it over the burgers. Garnish with whatever suites.

Alternates: (But I gave the best in the base!)

For the butter – B in the burger you can substitute beef suet, beef marrow, or pork fat. Mostly you can’t get this stuff in the grocery, but if you have a source – try them.

For the cayenne in the burger you can use any other pepper that you like.

For the vermouth in the sauce you can use beef stock, beef bouillon, or red wine.

Garnish at the end. Try a few more leaves of thyme or some parsley.

The first time through with this don’t do the American thing with the bun. Just enjoy as-is with a simple salad and/or some fresh veggies and maybe some good French bread and butter. After you know what this delicacy is like do as you please. I will bet that you will want it without all the disguising that American burgers need to be palatable.


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