Showing posts with label beef. Show all posts
Showing posts with label beef. Show all posts

Monday, September 28, 2015

Plantains in Perth - Beef Ragu with Mashed Plantains (Slow Cooker Love)

Plantains in Perth - Beef Ragu with Mashed Plantains (Slow Cooker Love)
Plantains in Perth - Beef Ragu with Mashed Plantains (Slow Cooker Love)

Last time I travelled to New York, I fell in love with plantains. Head over heels. In every guise that I ate them. I have spent the two years since mourning their absence in my life. Hopefully checking out tales of plantain sightings in Perth from the definite to the more vague. None were fruitful (ha!) Then one day a few weeks ago, I walked into The Nanna Shop, and there they were in all their (at the time) green glory. I bought some without thinking. Without concern that I’d never pay $7.99 a kilo for bananas or potatoes – but here I was paying that for plantains. I finally could relive some of the dishes I had loved whilst travelling. I started with simple tostones – twice fried plantain chips. Just as crispy and salty and delicious as I remembered! Then I did a bit of a search for more plantain recipes both online and in my Cuban and Peruvian cookbooks. I came across a Dominican recipe for plantain gnocchi with a beef short rib ragu on the Saveur website. Not much one for the price of beef ribs, I decided to use that recipe as a flavour guideline and mix it up a little to make my life much easier by switching to a slow cooked blade roast. So no removal of bones, no straining the vegetables out of the sauce, everything just cooked and eaten together. It also meant changing the plantain gnocchi with yuca flour to mashed plantains with white rice – skewing things a bit further to the Cuban style of serving. I’d love to experiment with a plantain gnocchi one day (although yuca flour is probably well out of the equation!)

The flavours here an big and punchy. The meat has a decent heat kick – feel free to add more or less cayenne depending on how hot you like things. There’s a subtle acidity from the vinegar and tomato paste, but it’s well tempered by the big beefy flavour and the creamy crème fraiche added just at the end. The plantains should be yellow, this means a slightly sweeter mash that has an almost limey brightness to it. The rice and tomato salsa are fairly standard additions, adding bulk, texture and freshness. I loved this meal. So much. The beef here then lasted for a subsequent 4 meals, including a hungover quesadilla morning for four.

And I was delighted to learn that they still had plantains on offer this weekend just gone, so I am restocked again. This time I bought enough that I might even be able to hold off until a few go black and try them that way!
Plantains in Perth - Beef Ragu with Mashed Plantains (Slow Cooker Love)
Plantains in Perth - Beef Ragu with Mashed Plantains (Slow Cooker Love)
Plantains in Perth - Beef Ragu with Mashed Plantains (Slow Cooker Love)
Plantains in Perth - Beef Ragu with Mashed Plantains (Slow Cooker Love)
Plantains in Perth - Beef Ragu with Mashed Plantains (Slow Cooker Love)
Plantains in Perth - Beef Ragu with Mashed Plantains (Slow Cooker Love)
Plantains in Perth - Beef Ragu with Mashed Plantains (Slow Cooker Love)

Beef Ragu with Mashed Plantains

(barely adapted from Saveur)
2kg beef blade roast, fat layer removed and discarded
2 tbsp. rice bran oil
2 brown onions, diced
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 carrots, diced
3 sweet paprika, diced (sub 1 red capsicum)
2 tsp. salt
2 tbsp. smoked paprika
1 tsp. black pepper
2 tsp. dried basil
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp. cayenne
3 tbsp. tomato paste
½ cup balsamic vinegar
2 cups beef stock
200mL crème fraiche
2 yellow plantains
White rice for serving
Tomato salsa (2 fresh tomatoes, 2 spring onions, handful of coriander and flat leaf parsley finely diced and tossed together)

Heat the base of your slow cooker to medium high and add a slick of oil. When the oil is hot, brown the blade roast on all sides, around 3 minutes per side. Remove to a plate. Turn the heat down to medium and add the onions, stirring here and there until translucent, around 5 minutes. Add the garlic, carrots, paprika and salt, and cook a further 10 minutes, or until the vegetables soften. Stir through the smoked paprika, pepper, basil, thyme, cayenne and tomato paste. Add the vinegar and beef stock, stirring to pick up any bits stuck to the bottom.

Bring the liquid to a boil, then place the beef back in gently. Place inside the slow-cooker, cover and cook on low for 8 hours, or until the meat is falling apart.

When the meat is ready, prepare the plantains. Without peeling, cut the plantains into cylinders around 4cm long. Place in a shallow glass bowl, add ¼ cup water cover with plastic wrap and microwave for 5 minutes, or until the plantains are soft. Remove the peel, then mash the plantains with the water remaining in the bowl. Season with a little salt.

Shred the beef with two forks, then gently stir through the crème fraiche. Serve with plain white rice, tomato salsa and mashed plantains

Plantains in Perth - Beef Ragu with Mashed Plantains (Slow Cooker Love)
Plantains in Perth - Beef Ragu with Mashed Plantains (Slow Cooker Love)
Plantains in Perth - Beef Ragu with Mashed Plantains (Slow Cooker Love)
Plantains in Perth - Beef Ragu with Mashed Plantains (Slow Cooker Love)

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Still Cold at Night - Beef, Pear and Red Wine Casserole

Still Cold at Night - Beef, Pear and Red Wine Casserole
Still Cold at Night - Beef, Pear and Red Wine Casserole

There are blossoms on my mango tree. And a few on the blueberry shrub. Spring is definitely in the air. Intermittently. It’s supposed to be thunderstormy and rainy again any day now. Despite being around 24C yesterday. And nights are still cold. So slow-cooked foods and casseroles are still well and truly on the cards. Rich flavours that warm you up are still part of my cravings.

This beef and pear stew combines sweet and savoury in a fairly subtle way.The cinnamon and ginger waving a friendly hello to the sweetness of the pear and the red wine in a way that made me then go on to cook a full mulled-wine flavoured stew. More on that soon. Everything is cooked in the one pot, veges and all so it's the complete package.

Whip me up a bowl, I'll be sitting under a blanket on the couch. At least for a few more weeks.
 Still Cold at Night - Beef, Pear and Red Wine Casserole
Still Cold at Night - Beef, Pear and Red Wine Casserole

Still Cold at Night - Beef, Pear and Red Wine Casserole

Beef, Pear and Red Wine Casserole

800g beef chuck, diced
1/3 cup plain flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1 tsp paprika
Oil to fry
3 baby carrots, diced
1 red onion, finely diced
1 large red capsicum, diced
2 buerre bosc pears
1 bay leaf
3 anchovies
1 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp ground ginger
1 cup red wine
1 cup beef stock
¼ cup capers
1 small zucchini, large diced
Cooked brown rice to serve

Preheat your oven to 175C

Combine the flour with the salt, pepper and paprika. Whisk to mix it well.

Heat a coverable dish that can go on the stovetop and in the oven (such as a tagine) over medium-high heat and add a thin layer of oil. Dust the beef chuck pieces in the flour mix and brown on all sides. Do it in batches so you don’t crowd the pan. Remove the beef and set aside.

If the pan is dry, add a tablespoon of oil. Add the onion and cook until translucent, around 5 minutes. Then add the capsicum and carrot and cook until softened, a further 5-10 minutes. Stir through the anchovies, cinnamon and ginger until the anchovies have ‘melted’.
Pour in the stock and red wine, bring to the boil then add the bay leaf, pear, capers and the beef.

Cover, and place in the oven for 45 minutes. Remove from the oven, then add the zucchini. Return to the oven for 15 minutes.

Serve with brown rice.

Still Cold at Night - Beef, Pear and Red Wine CasseroleStill Cold at Night - Beef, Pear and Red Wine Casserole

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Slow Cooker Love - Chinese 5 Spice Osso Bucco

Slow Cooker Love - Chinese 5 Spice Osso Bucco

Where do you stand on bone marrow? I know it tends to be a fairly divisive kind of food. Personally, I love it. Sucking the marrow out of the shank on a lamb roast is one of life’s joys (that I have to take turns with Lance on). It’s so rich and delicious. If you have a family that requires sharing the marrow, osso bucco is a perfect way of everybody getting some bone marrow, without forking out for just marrow bones and paying just for the bones. Osso Bucco is generally a fairly cheap cut of meat, as quite a few of the slow-cook meats are, but it is so delicious.

Traditionally, osso bucco is cooked in Italian style flavourings. Tomato and oregano and garlic. This dish is a little different in that it uses Asian style spices instead. It’s a bit sweet, a bit spicy and still totally rich and soul-satisfying in the way that all good casseroles should be. This is a prep and forget kind of dish, once you’ve got everything in the pot, it can be left alone to cook itself. Don’t let the longish list of ingredients put you off, they’re mainly flavouring ingredients that just get stirred together. The coriander gremolata adds a fresh hit against the richness. I wouldn't skip this. I've added a recipe for orange braised kale that goes well, but isn't necessary for the dish.

If you don’t like bone marrow, you can remove the bones and shred the meat into the sauce before serving. I did this for a dinner party and then Lance and I stood over the kitchen island and sucked out the bones.

I’ve also made this exact dish with a large cubed sweet potato in place of the mushrooms. Also worth doing.

 Slow Cooker Love - Chinese 5 Spice Osso Bucco
Slow Cooker Love - Chinese 5 Spice Osso Bucco

Slow Cooker Love - Chinese 5 Spice Osso Bucco

Slow Cooker Love - Chinese 5 Spice Osso Bucco

Chinese 5 Spice Osso Bucco

4 osso bucco
2-3 tbsp coconut flour (can sub cornflour)
Olive oil
½ cup rice vinegar
½ cup honey
½ cup rice wine (from Asian grocers)
1 ½ tbsp. five spice
1 tbsp ground ginger
2 red chili, finely minced
1 tbsp salt
1/4 cup raw sugar
1 tbsp oyster sauce
500mL water
1 onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 capsicum, diced
300-400g button mushrooms, quartered.
Steamed brown rice

Coriander Gremolata
1 bunch coriander
2 tbsp hazelnut meal
Zest one orange

Preheat the oven to 150C

Season the osso bucco with salt and pepper, then dust in coconut flour. In the base of a lidded casserole or tagine that can go on the stove and in the oven, heat a layer of oil to medium high heat. Brown the osso bucco on both sides – around 3 minutes per side. Remove to a plate.

Add the onion to the same pot and cook the onion for 10 minutes, stirring often until caramelised. Add the garlic and capsicum and cook another 5 minutes, until the capsicum has softened. In a bowl, whisk together the rice wine, rice wine vinegar, five spice powder, ground ginger, oyster sauce, chilli, salt, sugar and water. Add this liquid to the pot and turn the heat up to high. Bring to the boil, then add the osso bucco back to the pot. Scatter the mushrooms around the osso bucco in the casserole. Add the lid, then put it in the oven and cook for 2 hours, or until the meat falls off the bone.

Meanwhile, pulse the coriander, hazelnut meal and orange zest in a processor, then put in a container in the fridge until ready to serve.

Remove the meat to a plate and cover to keep warm. Put the casserole back on the stove top and simmer the sauce on medium heat for 15 minutes, or until the sauce has reduced by half and is syrupy. Serve each osso bucco with some freshly steamed brown rice and a generous ladle of the sauce. Sprinkle the gremolata on the top.

Slow Cooker Love - Chinese 5 Spice Osso Bucco
Slow Cooker Love - Chinese 5 Spice Osso Bucco

Orange Braised Kale

1 orange, peeled and segmented
Juice one orange
¼ cup stock
2 tbsp butter
1 Tuscan Kale bunch

Cut the leaves off the ribs on the kale, then shred. Heat the butter in a frypan over a medium-low , then add all other ingredients and stir well. Cook, uncovered for 15 minutes or until the kale is soft, and the liquid has reduced to almost nothing.

Slow Cooker Love - Chinese 5 Spice Osso Bucco
Slow Cooker Love - Chinese 5 Spice Osso Bucco
Slow Cooker Love - Chinese 5 Spice Osso Bucco
Slow Cooker Love - Chinese 5 Spice Osso Bucco
Slow Cooker Love - Chinese 5 Spice Osso Bucco
Slow Cooker Love - Chinese 5 Spice Osso Bucco

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Resolution Follow Through - Cornbread Waffles

So, remember how making more cornbread was part of my late-recognised New Year’s Resolution? Well, I’m extending the definition of cornbread to include these cornbread waffles. We received a waffle maker as a wedding present, and I don’t use it anywhere near as much as I should do. Waffles are awesome. Sweet and savoury, I love them all. I currently am in love with these specific cornbread waffles. I love the savoury/sweetness that using cornmeal automatically adds. They taste chewy and dense but light and waffly all at once. We don’t really do the savoury waffle thing very much in Australia, but I am a champion of it. So here you’ll see it served with BBQ beef. So. Unbelievably. Good. This makes a pretty big batch. Way too much for the two of us for dinner. I wrapped the remainder in single serve portions of foil and froze them, then toasted them as required in the toaster. I took some down to Molloy for a group getaway and they made the most delicious breakfast with hickory bacon and creamy scrambled eggs. 

Cornbread Waffles1 cups plain flour¾ cup cornmeal 2½ tsp baking powder ½  tsp bicarb soda ½ tsp salt ½ tsp pepper ½ tsp smokey paprika½ tsp sweet paprika 1 cup ricotta 2 large eggs 1 cup milk½ cup water 4 tbsp melted butter 2 tbsps finely chopped herbs (I used parsley, basil and coriander) Butter for the waffle iron Preheat the oven to 150C to keep cooked waffles warm. Whisk together all the dry ingredients in a big bowl. In a smaller bowl, whisk the ricotta and eggs until smooth. Add the milk, water and melted butter and stir to combine.
 Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix gently until no flour remains. Fold in the herbs.
 Heat the waffle iron and brush with melted butter. Add the required amount of waffle batter for your size iron. Mine makes small heartshaped ones, so I only need 2 tbsps or so of mixture per waffle. As you can see in the photos above, I was incredibly messy! Cook 5-8 minutes or until crispy and golden. Remove to a plate and put in the oven to keep warm while you cook the remainder. Serve with BBQ shredded beef and roast tomatoes and grapes. Or bacon and eggs and maple syrup. Or just a drizzle of maple syrup and an extra cracking of pepper

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Birthday Meals - Fig and Apple BBQ Pasta Sauce

My husband and I both tend to have birthday week, at least. Sometimes birthday month. We generally don't buy each other presents unless there’s something specific we find (this is true for all gift-giving occasions). Instead it becomes a week or so full of birthday-related activities. This year, his parents threw their annual party. The day of his birthday I met his boat after work and we had tapas and beers at Monk Brewery with a few friends and the next day I cooked him this for dinner for his Birthday + 1. I had told him I wanted to cook him something special for his birthday and he told me he doubted I could. Everything I cook was special. Bless him.

We are both big fans of ribs. Sticky, BBQ sauce smothered ribs. Preferably smokey. Along with my collection of hot sauces, I have a handful of different BBQ sauces in my pantry, too. I was thinking about how they all have a similar base flavour, and started contemplating what it was that makes a BBQ sauce taste like a BBQ sauce. Basically it’s a combination of sweet, salt and vinegar. The ‘sweet’ is usually fruity. And then it’s got some spice in there. Pretty simple, really. I knew I didn’t have enough time to come home from work and cook ribs (they are so much better slow-cooked), but I still wanted that sticky sweet sauce. I got it in my head to make a pasta, but didn’t want to just use a BBQ sauce from the bottle because they tend to be a bit ‘much’ in large quantities. The vinegar and sugar can take over.

I had been given a few sundowner apples from my parents’ after an orchard trip. I’m not the hugest fan of them to just eat, I find they can be a bit ‘floury’. I like my apples tart and crisp – like pink ladies, or fujis. But, I thought they’d make the perfect sweet base for a BBQ sauce. I added some figs, because I had some. You can always substitute another apple, or maybe a few nectarines or peaches seeing as they’re in season. To me, the sauce turned out perfectly and Lance swears up and down that it wasn’t BBQ sauce but was delicious. I asked him what it tasted like and what BBQ sauce tasted like. He repeated back all of the same flavours for both. What was ‘missing’ was it being further reduced to concentrate the flavours like the traditional condiment – but this was the reason I didn’t want to just use a bottled sauce in the first place. So, I am going to make this again, but cook it in my slow cooker for a few hours to reduce it further, then puree it to make a condiment BBQ sauce. And as a compromise, I am calling this a BBQ Pasta Sauce instead of just a BBQ sauce.

To make the pasta, I had some beautiful little yellow squash and zucchini, then some leftover roast beef that I shredded. Some pork or chicken would go well, too. Then I added a tonne of basil and flat leaf parsley at the end. I wanted it to be more of a vegetable than a herb.
This recipe has a lot of ingredients, but most of them are spices, so don’t get too overwhelmed by that. For me, they are all pantry staples. The mustard seeds and cumin seeds I measured before I toasted and ground them. If you have pre-ground spices, then you’d probably need a little less.

Fig and Apple BBQ Pasta Sauce
(serves 4-6)
2 shallots
4 cloves garlic
2 apples
6 figs
1 shot bourbon
2 tsp sweet paprika
2 tsp smokey paprika
1 tsp chipotle chili powder
2 tsp salt
1 tsp mustard seeds
2 tsp cumin seeds
½ tsp pepper
2 tbsp honey
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 cup water
½ cup apple cider vinegar

Assembling the Pasta
6 yellow squash, diced
1/2 zucchini, diced
1 cup shredded cooked beef
Bunch basil leaves, roughly torn
Bunch flatleaf parsley leaves, roughly torn
500g egg noodles

In a large, tall sided pan (I used my tagine pan) on a low heat, add the olive oil and when it’s warmed up, add the shallots and garlic and sautee for about 5 minutes until translucent. You don’t want to colour them, you want it sweet and soft. Then add the apples, figs, salt and bourbon. Stir well, then cover and leave to simmer around 10 minutes while you prep the rest.

In a dry pan, toast the cumin and mustard seeds for 15-30 seconds until the mustard seeds ‘pop’. Add to a spice grinder or mortar & pestle with the peppercorns and grind until fine. Add the two paprikas and chili powder to the spice mix. Mix together the water, Worcestershire sauce, apple cider vinegar and honey. Pour into the apple mixture. Add the spice mixture into the pan as well and mix everything really well. Cover again and simmer away for at least 20 minutes. The fruit should break down and go mushy turning into a delicious sticky sauce. Check for seasoning.

Meanwhile, place a pot of salted water on to boil for the pasta. Cook according to packet instructions. Add the squash, beef and zucchini to the sauce and cook until warmed through and the vegetables have softened – 10 minutes. Add the pasta when al dente, and the herbs, and stir through. Serve!