Provencale Beef Stew

On November 14, 2011, in Recipes, by Chris Baccus
4

In 1993 I took a French Bistro Cooking class that was taught by one of the chefs from The Heathman Restaurant & Bar.  It was my first cooking class that led to many other classes that summer.  Oddly, the thing I remember most about this particular class was my “helping” with cleanup and rinsing a Heinkel chef knife and placing it in the dishwasher. The instructor freaked out on me and scolded me for putting a fine kitchen knife in the dishwasher. She was right, but as a 21 year old guy whose parents idea of a quality knife was a Ginsu knife set, I had no idea.

 

Fortunately, I walked away that evening with a quality beef stew recipe that also serves as the foundation for a great macaroni gratin dish too (more on that recipe tomorrow.)

 

Daube De Boeuf A La Provencale (Provencale Beef Stew)
Serves 6-8

3 lbs. stew meat (beef round or chuck)

Marinade:
4 carrots, peeled and cut into thick ‘half moons’
3 onions, coarsely chopped
6 garlic cloves, peeled
1 rib celery, thickly sliced
4 sprigs fresh parsley
3 bay leaves
1 Tbsp. fresh thyme, or 1 tsp. dried
1/3 cup brandy
1 bottle robust red wine (Cote du Provence, Cote du Rhone, Minervoise or Languedoc)
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 tsp. whole black peppercorns
2 whole cloves

3 Tbsp. butter
3 Tbsp. olive oil
1 lb. mushrooms
2 Tbsp. tomato paste
grated zest and juice of 1 orange
salt and pepper

The day before serving the stew, in a large non reactive bowl, combine the marinade ingredients.  The peppercorns and cloves may be tied in a cheesecloth to remove before serving, if desired.  Toss well.  Cover and refrigerate for 24 hours, stirring occasionally.

Drain and reserve the liquid from the meat and vegetables.  Remove the meat from the vegetables.  Transfer the liquid and the vegetables (and the cheesecloth, if using) to a large non reactive casserole.  In a large skillet, melt the butter and olive oil over high heat.  When foam begins to subside, add half the meat.  Sauté, tossing, until browned all over, about  5 minutes.  with a slotted spoon, transfer the meat to the liquid and vegetables in the casserole.  Repeat with the remaining beef.

Stir the tomato paste into the casserole.  bring to a simmer over medium heat.  Reduce the heat to very low and simmer, skimming occasionally, until the meat is very tender, about 3 hours.  While the meat is cooking, in the same skillet in which the meat was browned, add the mushrooms and sauté over high heat until lightly browned, about 5 minutes; set aside.  When the meat is tender, (discard the cheesecloth, if using) stir in mushrooms, orange zest and juice, and salt and pepper to taste.

The recipe can be prepared 2 to 3 days in advance and refrigerated.  Reheat before serving.

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Beef Ragu Chiantigiana

On October 9, 2011, in Recipes, by Chris Baccus
0

Beef Ragu Chiantigiana

Ragu is a maligned word in the pasta world.  It usually conjures up the idea of a highly acidic $3 pasta sauce. The word ragu is derived from the French word ragoût, from ragoûter, that means to revive the taste.  This recipe is here to revive the name ragu back to its roots of being a slow cooked meat and vegetable sauce that is rich in flavor.

Beef Ragu Chiantigiana
Serves 4

1 lb ground beef
1 Tbs olive oil
1/2 tsp salt
Fresh ground pepper to taste
1 medium carrot, finely chopped
2 ribs of celery, finely chopped
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp chopped fresh rosemary
1 Tbs chopped fresh sage
1 tsp dried marjoram
1 cup Chianti or other dry red wine
1 1/2 cup pureed tomatoes
1 cup beef stock
2 Tbs unsalted butter
1 lb pasta
Freshly grated Parmesan Reggiano

Heat olive oil in a pot over medium-high heat. Place ground beef in pot and season with salt and pepper. Brown meat all over for about 5 minutes. Transfer meat to a bowl.  Do not rinse pot.

Add carrot, celery, and onion and saute until soft and lightly browned about 10 minutes.

Return meat to the pot and add garlic, rosemary, sage, and marjoram and saute briefly until fragrant. Add 1/2 cup of wine and stir, scraping up bottom bits of pan. Let the wine reduce until almost gone, about 5 minutes. Reduce heat to low. Add the tomato puree and simmer the ragu, uncovered for 1 hour. As it cooks add a 1/4 cup of beef stock every 15 minutes, letting it reduce after each reduction.

After the hour is over, add the remaining 1/2 cup of red wine and cook for another 15 minutes letting the wine cook off. Taste and adjust salt and pepper seasoning.

Immediately before serving, blend in the butter; toss with the pasta. Serve with shaved Parmesan.

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Yankee Beef Pot Roast

On October 3, 2011, in Recipes, by Chris Baccus
0

A simple pot roast for football Sunday

It’s football Sunday and with the Detroit Lions facing the Dallas Cowboys, it was going to be a day of sports and it was time for something basic. Something manly. Something like meat and potatoes. So I thawed a boneless beef chuck roast I bought on my last trip to Burgundy Pasture Beef Ranch and diced some vegetables.

Yankee Beef Pot Roast

Serves 4

1 boneless beef chuck shoulder pot roast (about 2 1/2 lbs)
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp black pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 cups beef broth
1 cup dry red wine
2 1/2 teaspoons dried thyme
2 potatoes, medium size cut into 1 inch cubes
1 onion, cut into 1 inch pieces
3 stalks celery, cut into bite-size pieces
2 large carrots, cut into 1/2 inch rounds

Combine 1/4 cup flour, salt and pepper in a 1 gallon freezer bag, placing beef into bag. Seal and shake to coat. Meanwhile heat oil in a stock pot over medium-high heat. Place beef into stock pot and brown evenly.

Remove the chuck roast after browning

Remove beef from pot and deg-laze with red wine. Scrape up beef bits and then add beef stock, thyme and remaining flour. Whisk to combine and return beef to pot. Let it come to a boil and then reduce heat to a simmer. Cover stock pot and cook for 2 hours.

Add the vegetables to pan and then simmer covered

Add vegetables after the 2 hour simmer. Continue simmering for 45 minutes or until vegetables and pot roast are fork tender.

Serve with fresh bread.

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Lemon Chicken Soup with Rice

On March 28, 2010, in Recipes, by Chris Baccus
0


This is not a chicken lemon rice soup like one orders at a Middle-Eastern restaurant. There is no cream in this recipe and hence lacks the thick, rich, creaminess of that style of chicken lemon rice soup; although, this version is much lighter and healthier. It has a nice flavor with the bay leaves, allspice and lemon juice. Add this with some sourdough bread and you’ll have an excellent Spring meal.

Lemon Chicken Soup with Rice
Serves 6

1 cup chopped chicken
6 cups low-salt chicken broth
2 bay leaves
4 tsp onion, very finally minced
1 carrot, peeled, halved, and chopped into small pieces
1 stalk celery, halved and chopped into small pieces
1/4 tsp ground allspice
Couple grinds of crushed pepper
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup cooked rice (brown basmati, texamati, etc)
2 tsp olive oil
juice of 1-2 lemons

Combine chicken, broth, bay leaves, onion, carrots, celery, allspice, pepper, and salt. Cook 10 minutes at a slow simmer. Add rice and simmer another 15 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in olive oil and lemon juice. Just start with juice from 1 lemon and taste. Add more as desired.

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Shepherd’s Pie a Party Pleaser

On November 9, 2009, in Recipes, by Chris Baccus
1

I made this for a gathering of over 20 people today, my sister in-law’s son Cooper turned one. The recipe was tripled for the party and really made for an easy meal for a large gathering. It also reminded me of how simple Shepherd’s Pie is to make. The meal takes about an hour to prep and cook, not bad and it looks like a lot more time went into it. The flavor of this recipe is very traditional in that there is nothing odd or gourmet about it; it’s just a simple, flavorful recipe.

Cheddar-Topped Shepherd’s Pie
Serves 8

2 pounds baking potatoes (about 4),
peeled and thinly sliced
Coarse salt and ground pepper
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
6 medium carrots, halved lengthwise,
quartered and thinly sliced
6 celery stalks, thinly sliced
1 large onion, chopped
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 cup flour
1/4 cup tomato paste
2 pounds ground beef chuck
1 cup whole milk
1 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese

1. Preheat oven to 450. Place potatoes in a large saucepan, and cover by 1 inch with salted water. Bring to a boil; reduce to a simmer. Cook until potatoes are easily pierced with a tip of a paring knife, 15 to 20 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, heat oil in a 5-quart Dutch oven or heavy pot over medium-high heat. Add carrots, celery, onion, and thyme. Cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are tender, 8 to 10 minutes. Add flour and tomato paste; cook, stirring, 1 minute. Add beef; cook, stirring occasionally, until no longer pink, 8 to 10 minutes. Add 1 cup water; bring to a boil, and simmer 1 minute. Set beef filling aside.

3. Drain potatoes; return to pain. Cook over medium, stirring, until liquid has evaporated and a thin film covers bottom of pan, about 1 minute. Remove pan from heat; add milk and 1 cup cheese. Mash until smooth; season with salt and pepper.

4. Pour beef filling into a 13-by-9-inch baking dish. Drop dollops of topping over filling; spread to edges with a spatula. Using a fork, make decorative peaks; sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup of cheese. Bake until topping is browned and filling is bubbling rapidly, about 20 minutes (if topping and filling were chilled, increase to 35 minutes.) Let stand 5 minutes before serving.

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