Archive for category Beef
I’ll be honest with you, I don’t eat much beef. But it’s not because I don’t want to. My partner doesn’t like the texture of beef. And she definitely doesn’t like the whole “rare” thing. This is good, though, because moderation is important when eating red meat. You have to remember that pork and lamb are also considered red meats when planning your menu for the week. So, when I make this dish, I am really in the mood for it and I enjoy it thoroughly. For those who are purists and do not like the spicy aspect of this dish, I provide an alternative.
This can also be made using sirloin strip steak, but I find rib-eye more tender, so it’s my beef cut of choice. You can use either bone-in or boneless. If you want to make a pretty presentation and cut and fan the steak on a plate, use boneless. Either way, it’s absolutely delicious.
Here’s some fair warning: This recipe creates smoke which could very well set off your smoke detectors. I made it this past Friday night and did just that, even with the windows open. The dog didn’t much like the sound but, for we humans, it’s a small price to pay for such a delicious dish.
Also, the level of “marble” in the beef is important. The more “marble” the more tender after it’s cooked.
1 tbsp paprika
1 tbsp chili powder
1 tbsp garlic powder
1 tbsp Kosher or Sea salt
1 tbsp coarse ground black pepper
1 tbsp red pepper flakes (if you don’t like heat; just leave this out)
This is a simple process. Just mix all of these ingredients together. If there is any left over after you’ve rubbed it on the steak, just store it in an airtight container.
2 rib-eye steaks, about 1-1/2 inches thick
Spicy Steak Rub (above)
Canola oil (to coat the steak)
Remove the steak from the refrigerator and bring it to room temperature. Place a 12-inch cast iron skilled (or other oven-proof skillet) in the over and heat the oven to 500 degrees (hence, the smoke folks).
When the oven reaches 500 degrees, remove the skillet from the oven and place it on your stove-top range on high. Coat the steak lightly with the Canola oil and coat both sides with the spicy rub.
Place the steaks in the skillet and cook for 30 seconds. Use tongs to flip the steak and cook for another 30 seconds. Then, put the pan straight into the 500-degree oven for 2 minutes. After 2 minutes, flip the steaks and cook for another 2 minutes. The steak is being cooked for “rare.” If you prefer medium rare, add 1 to 1-1/2 minutes on each side.
Remove the steak from the oven and cover with aluminum foil and allow it to sit for about 2 minutes. (While you’re waiting, wave your arms like crazy under your smoke detectors to get them to shut up.)
You can either serve the steak whole or slice thin and fan onto your plate (if you’re into presentation, of course).
Alternative to Spicy Rub
If you’re not into the whole spicy thing (which I do not understand, of course), simply sprinkle both sides of the steak before cooking with Kosher or Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. If this is the way you go, I suggest serving it with a bottle of Tabasco sauce or a dipping sauce. Here’s a good one:
2 tbsp reduced-sodium soy sauce
2 tbsp fresh lime juice
1 tbsp Sriracha
1 tsp malt vinegar
Knock yourself out.
For this recipe, you need about a 4 lb. beef brisket (and you cannot substitute corned beef brisket either). Visit your local butcher or call your supermarket (which is what I do) to order yours in advance if brisket is not readily available. The key to this dish is slow cooking.
It also calls for two cups of dark, brewed coffee. Forget Dunkin’ Donuts and forget supermarket brand coffees. For this recipe, you need Starbucks Gold Coast, Italian Roast or Sumatra. Nothing else will do.
1 4-lb. beef brisket
1 large Vidalia onion (coarsely cut)
8 cloves of garlic (cut into fourths)
2 tablespoons of chili powder
2 tablespoons of cumin
2 tablespoons of coriander
2 tablespoons of freshly ground black pepper
2 teaspoons of sea salt
3 tbsp. olive oil
2 tbsp. sambal oelek
2 bottles of Magic Hat No. 8 Beer
2 cups of malt or apple cider vinegar
2 cups of dark coffee
1 can of tomato puree
1 can of chopped tomatoes
A pasta pan is the right attitude for this dish. Place the olive oil, a handful of the onions and several hunks of garlic in the pan to get the process going. While things are heating up, make a rub with 1 tbsp. each of the cumin, coriander, chili powder, black pepper, and 1 tsp. of the salt. Rub each side of the brisket with a bit of olive oil and spread the rub over both sides.
Once the oil is fairly hot and you can smell the onions and garlic, place the brisket in the pan and brown nicely on both sides. Everything gets easier from here. Remove the brisket and add the beer, vinegar, brewed coffee, tomato puree and chopped tomatoes. Then add the balance of the spices (coriander, cumin, chili powder, salt and pepper). Add the 2 tbsp. of sambal oelek, as well as the rest of the garlic and onions. Stir.
Place the brisket back in the liquid and allow it to come to a boil, then turn to low and allow it to cook for a minimum of six hours. It is important that you taste what you are cooking the brisket in and adjust the spices to your liking. There is no right and wrong here. Personally, I love garlic. Prior to browning my brisket, I actually poke holes in it and place additional cloves of garlic in the holes. It all depends upon what you like.
When done, it’s quite possible that the meat will be hard to cut. It may just fall apart. This is a good thing.
Drain the fat and oil off the remaining liquid and cook down to make a sauce. You can also add a tablespoon of cornstarch mixed with water to hasten the process. It’s great to serve this dish with yellow rice, placing the beef on top and covering the entire thing with the sauce.
Even people who claim to “hate” beef will devour this dish.
I grew up in an Italian household, and every Sunday we had ‘macaroni and gravy.’ We never called it ‘pasta sauce.’ There’s also the false belief that you absolutely have to use fresh tomatoes. You do not. With canned tomatoes, someone else does all the hard work. This is not marinara; this is thick. It cooks slowly for about 8+ hours. So, here’s my original recipe for ‘gravy.’
4 tbsp. olive oil or extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO)
1 can tomato puree
2 can crushed tomatoes
1 can whole tomatoes
4 cans tomato paste
8 garlic cloves, chopped
1/2 sweet (Vidalia) onion, chopped
6 Italian sausages (I prefer hot; you can use sweet or hot, or a combination of both)
3 boneless country-style pork ribs
Homemade meatballs (recipe follows)
4 tbsp. dried oregano
4 tbsp. dried basil
2 tbsp. dried parsley
6 bay leaves
1 tsp. salt (I prefer sea salt)
1/2 cup ‘old’ red wine or 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
Put olive oil in a very large sauce pan (and I’m not kidding about the size) over medium high heat. Add chopped garlic cloves and chopped onion. Sauté until transparent and/or slightly browned and you get the aroma. Add Italian sausages and boneless country-style pork ribs. Brown on all sides, turning intermittently. Add ‘old’ red wine or red wine vinegar. (I don’t know about you folks, but I can rarely down a bottle of red wine in a couple of days. However, it doesn’t have to go to waste. Set it aside. It will age and develop a bit of a ‘vinegar’ essence. I keep all my old red wine and routinely use it for cooking.)
Allow this concoction to simmer for about 15-20 minutes over low heat, then it’s time to add the canned tomatoes. Add all four cans plus one can of water. Start simmering over medium heat, but move it to low and simmer for about an hour. It’s important that you stir this continuously so that nothing gets stuck and burns on the bottom of the pan.After an hour, you’ll add the meatballs (recipe follows this) and simmer for another 40 minutes.
After 40 minutes, add the first two cans of tomato paste. Again, you’ll add one can of water after. You can use the water to rinse all of the paste out of the two cans. Simmer for 20 minutes more, then add the last two cans of tomato paste, repeating the rinsing process. All in all, you’ll be adding two cans of water to four cans of paste. Then, please taste the gravy and adjust the seasonings. I’m giving you measurements for the seasonings (parsley, oregano, etc.), but you should add more to suit your flavor preference. There is no magic formula here.
Once the paste is added, you’re going to put the cover on and leave the gravy and meatballs on a low simmer for a few more hours. Again, it’s not necessary to simmer for the full 8 hours, but I made this at Christmas and basically let it simmer on low for the full 8 hours, stirring occasionally to make sure nothing burns to the bottom. It’s worth it. As it cooks, the paste helps it to thicken. Remember, this is not marinara. Thick is better. I always buy an extra can of paste in the event that I want to add more. That’s a good policy.
By the way, it’s a good idea to taste your gravy several times during it’s creation. It’s never too late to adjust your seasonings.
Now, here are a couple of myth busters: It is not necessary to add sugar to your gravy. I never do. Some people insist this takes the acidity out of the tomatoes. Not necessary. The process of simmering will take care of that. And, when it’s time to cook your pasta, you absolutely should not put a teaspoon of olive oil in the water. A lot of people recommend this to prevent the pasta from sticking together. This doesn’t happen if your water is at a high rolling boil and you keep stirring it (or if making spaghetti, moving it around the pan with a spaghetti implement). Adding oil will prevent the gravy from sticking to the pasta. That’s not what you want. If using commercial pasta, I love Orichiette (often referred to as ‘pigs ears’), Cavitappi (often called ‘corkscrew’), Farfalle (or ‘bow ties’) or Medium Shells. On the ‘spaghetti’ side, I love Fusilli (the long version; not the short) and Linguine. They hold the gravy so well..
Meatballs can be made with ground beef, a combination of ground,beef and ground pork, turkey or chicken. For Christmas, I made mine with ground turkey.
1 lb. ground beef, pork, turkey or chicken or any combination of the four
3 tbsp. minced garlic (feel free to buy this in the jar)
1 tbsp. oregano
1 tbsp. thyme
1 tbsp. dried basil
1 tbsp ground parsley
1 tsp. sea salt
1 tbsp. ground black pepper
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 to 1/2 cup Italian style bread crumbs
2 large eggs (add more if needed)
This is an uncomplicated recipe. Simply mix all these things together in a big bowl. Yes, use your hands (but wash them first). Size is relative. I don’t like mine too small or too large. The ones in this photo are the right attitude.
Many people bake their meatballs in the over before putting them in the gravy. I only do this if I’m making them to be added to ready-made gravy for the kids. Otherwise, carefully put them in the gravy you’re making on the stove and allow them to cook slowly. Nothing special needs to be done. They will be absolutely delicious.
Cook’s Note: In the next few days, I’ll be putting up several recipes for home made pasta. Keep an eye out!