Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Janine's Beef Bourguignon

A beef stew is a great crock-pot dish that can joyfully feed you for 2 or more meals, and it just gets better with time in the fridge.

This recipe was submitted by my friend, and North Woods Ranch fan. Thank you, Janine!

Serves 6

Have these kitchen tools ready:
Crock pot
Large frying pan, on med-high heat (I like cast iron)
Food processor (to avoid so much chopping)
Cutting board
Chopping knife

3 oz Prosciutto or 4 pieces bacon
Olive Oil
1 large sweet onion, chopped
salt and pepper
3 cloves garlic, minced
1.5 cups chopped mushrooms (crimini or baby bella)
2 carrots, chopped
2 lbs Stew Beef
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup red wine, plus one tablespoon
1/2 cup chicken broth
2 tablespoons brandy
1.5 teaspoons dried thyme
2 teaspoons fresh or dried parsley
3 oz tomato paste
1 bay leaf

In food processor, process 6 slices (about 3 ounces) of prosciutto or bacon. (I always have this in the house and seldom have bacon.  Use bacon if you have…but I like the prosciutto better.)  Sauté in 1 teaspoon of oil using large frying pan on medium heat. When beginning to crisp, add to crock pot.  In processor, rough-chop (use pulse) 1 large sweet onion.  Sauté in 1 teaspoon of oil and 1 teaspoon of butter, seasoning with salt and pepper. In processor, mince 3 cloves garlic.  Add to onions.  Let brown. In processor, rough-chop mushrooms (I like crimini or baby bella).  Scoop onions/garlic out of fry pan and dump in crock pot. Put mushrooms in fry pan with another teaspoon of oil. In processor, rough-chop two carrots. Add to crock pot.  When mushrooms begin to take on color, transfer to crock pot.  

On cutting board, season 2 lb. stew beef with salt and pepper.  Sprinkle with enough flour to coat/toss (a 1/2 cup?).  Add another teaspoon of oil into pan and add half the beef and brown for a few min on all sides.  Add to crock pot.  Repeat with 2nd half of beef.  

While meat is browning, to crock add: 1/2 C chicken broth, 2 tablespoons brandy (I keep a small bottle of Christian Brother's on hand—not good enough to drink…but good enough to use in cooking—just a couple of tablespoons makes a big difference in soups, stews, and even French toast), 1.5 teaspoons dried thyme, a bit of fresh or dried parsley, 3 oz (1/2 small can) tomato paste, bay leaf.  Stir.  Add meat to crock.  

Lastly, add 1/2 C red wine to deglaze and scrape up any browned bits, pour into crockpot. Stir again. Cover and follow crockpot's time/instructions for stew. About an hour before it's done, brighten and freshen with 1 Tablespoon of red wine. Stir, re-lid, and cook till done! :)

"No…not quite as good as Julia's, but it's a nice way to have dinner mess done and cleaned up in the morning!" ~ Janine 

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Pan-seared steaks with Shallot Sauce

Pan-seared steaks with Shallot Sauce

A perfect recipe for a grass-fed steak, this is one of my old favorites from Bon Appetit. It can easily be increased for family portions. Plus, I just love this sauce, so be generous with your ingredients to have extra to spoon on.

Serves 2

2 steaks of your choice
1/2 cup beef broth
3 tablespoons sherry wine vinegar
1 1/2 tablespoons chilled butter
1/4 teaspoon dried tarragon

Sprinkle steaks with salt and pepper. Heat medium skillet over medium heat. Add steaks and cook about 4 minuters per side for rare. Transfer to heated plates to retain heat (I put my plates on a traditional toaster and toast the plates on the lowest setting - be sure your plates are heat safe!).  Add remaining ingredients to skillet. Boil until sauce thickens, scraping up any browned bits, about 3 minutes. Spoon sauce over steaks.

Tuscan Pot Roast

Tuscan Pot Roast

A nice tomato-based, red wine infused gravy comes along with this lovely roast recipe.

1/3 cup olive oil
1 2.5-3 lb bottom round pot roast
2 large onions, quartered
2 celery stalks, thinly sliced
2 large carrots, thinly sliced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 6-oz can tomato paste
1 cup dry red wine
1.5 oz package dried mushrooms (optional)
1 T kosher salt
1 tsp dried oregano
1 28 oz can chopped tomatoes, drained

Heat the oil in a large skillet over med-hi heat and brown the roast on all sides. Transfer the roast to a 4-6 quart slow cooker. To the fat remaining in the skillet, add the onions, celery, carrots, and garlic.  Cook, stirring frequently, about 10 minutes. Add tomato paste and coat vegetables. Add to cooker. Add wine to skillet to deglaze, scrape up browned bits. Add to cooker. Then add mushrooms, oregano and tomatoes. Cook 8 hours on low heat or 4 hours on high heat. (See Cook's Notes below.)

To make a thicker gravy o
nce cook time is complete,  mix 1/2 cup of the liquid and 1 teaspoon flour in a small bowl. Wisk until flour is incorporated into liquid and has thickened it into somewhat of a paste.  Add it back into the liquid with the meat and stir until completely combined.   

Cook's Notes:  I like to choose a longer cook time for more tender results.  Additionally, if time allows, about 1 hour before cooking is complete, remove roast and slice into 1/2 inch slices.  Return meat slices to cooker to finish out the cook time.  Pour any juices from your cutting board back into cooker.  This also creates a more tender roast.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Pork Cutlets with Rosemary, Sage and Dijon Wine Sauce

This recipe was adapted from a delicious dish that our cousin's wife, Manuella, cooks when they visit the states.  She is Italian and is an incredible cook. This can be made with pork chops, fresh ham or shoulder steaks on a skillet using low heat.  For about a 1 inch thick cut, cook no more than 4 minutes a side.  The meat should spring back to touch and the internal temperature is around 140 degrees when finished.  Be care not to overcook.

You almost cannot go wrong with the quantities of ingredients you use for this sauce.  If you love rosemary add more.  If you are not a fan of garlic, add less.  If you like a lot of sauce, add more of everything. Don't skimp on the butter and olive oil, but instead use premium quality of these items. Our favorite butter is Kerrygold, made in Ireland using grass-fed cows milk

Olive Oil
Fresh Rosemary
Fresh Sage
White Wine
Dijon mustard
Heavy or Whipping Cream
Salt and pepper

Heat generous quantities of olive oil (1 tablespoon) & butter (2-3 tablespoons) in a large saucepan.  On a plate, sprinkle your pork with fresh chopped rosemary (2-3 branches), salt and pepper. Pan cook it, adding fresh sage (2-3 tablespoons) & minced garlic (3-5 cloves). Cook around 4 minutes. 

Turn, then deglaze with 1/2 cups white wine, scraping up any browned bits around the meat.  Add 2 tablespoons dijon mustard, 2 tablespoons heavy or whipping cream & 2 tablespons fresh lemon juice, using a small wisk to combine.  Season with plenty of salt & pepper. Continue cooking for no more than 4 minutes, being careful not to overcook.  Use internal temperature suggestions above.  

Remove pork and let sauce cook a little longer if it needs thickened.  Spoon sauce on top of pork.  Plate licks completely allowable!