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Archive for the ‘Beef’ Category

As Sitelle and I live a few hundred kilometres apart, it’s always a treat when we get together for dinner.  We had the pleasure of dining together last week, and I knew I wanted to cook something easy and fun involving the grill, as I was cooking for a small crowd (my parents and her fiancé joined in on the party!)   We started with her tasty kuri squash soup and ended with my favourite dessert of all-time, raspberry glacee pie. All in all it was a lovely escape from the hectic life of a medical clerk!

Shish kabobs are one of my favourites – and with all the gorgeous fresh produce (ripe cherry tomatoes! perfect yellow zucchinis! fresh red onions!) at the farmer’s market in Ottawa, I couldn’t help but be inspired. Who doesn’t love meat cooked by fire (not to mention veggies cooked by fire)??

I love the hint of rosemary in the marinade as it keeps the meat tasting fresh. Whenever I make these kabobs, I usually try to use a high-end cut of meat.  The marinade will tenderize the beef regardless, but as the recipe calls for little beef, it’s always special to splurge on the high-end nicely marbled cuts.  Feel free to mix up the type of veggies – the combination below is the classic choice in my family.

If you are feeding vegetarians too, it’s easy to simply leave off the meat on a skewer or two.  I usually have leftover veggies after threading all the skewers balanced with beef and veggies anyways.  With these extra veggies, I cook them on a separate skewer or simply in a large basket for the BBQ.  Charred vegetables make for great leftovers!

Classic Beef Shish Kabobs

The kabobs got eaten before I was able to snap a post-grilling pic, but here they are assembled and ready for the grill

Classic Beef Shish Kabobs

Serves ~6

Ingredients

For the marinade

3/4 cup olive oil

3/4 cup red wine vinegar

1 clove garlic, pressed

2 tsp. granulated sugar

1 tbsp. finely chopped fresh rosemary

1/2 tsp. freshly ground pepper

1 lb top sirloin steak, trim the fat and cut into 1-inch cubes

For the kabobs

2 red onions, cut into large wedges

24 cremini mushrooms, stems trimmed

2 zucchinis cut into large rounds

24 cherry tomatoes

2 peppers, cut into large 1-inch chunks

2 tbsp olive oil

Freshly ground pepper and salt, to taste

6-12 metal skewers (or if using bamboo, soak in water for half an hour)

Directions

To make the marinade: In a bowl, stir together the olive oil, vinegar, garlic, sugar, rosemary, and pepper.  Place the beef cubes in a large sealable plastic bag and pour in the marinate. Seal the bag and marinade at room temperature for at least 1 hour or preferably overnight in the fridge.

About half an hour before you want to start grilling, combine the vegetables with the oil and seasonings.  Toss gently to combine. Place the beef in a bowl and discard the marinade.  Thread the beef and vegetables on the skewers, dividing them evenly, until the skewers are filled.  Start and end with a vegetable on your skewer as often the grill isn’t as hot near the edges.

Prepare a hot fire in a grill – either over hot coals or high propane. Place the skewers on the grill directly over the heat.  Cook for 3-4 minutes, then turn the skewers with tongs. Continue cooking for 3-4 minutes more for medium-rare or longer for well-done.  The veggies should be cooked but firm and nicely charred, while the meat should give easily when pressed.

To serve, slide the beef and veggies off the skewers onto a platter and enjoy.

Bon appetit!

– Catherine

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Moroccan flavours are some of my favourite to cook with, although I don’t have much experience other than a few restaurants here and there and recipes I’ve tried at home. One day, I’d love to try Moroccan food in Morocco – but in the meantime, I’ve left it to my imagination.

This time, I’m sharing a recipe for a wonderful rich and warm stew made with beef. It is a wonderfully simple recipe, the kind that will tease you all day long if you make it in a slow cooker.

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Ingredients – 3-4 servings

-1 tbsp oil + more for browning meat
-1 onion, diced into 1.5 cm pieces
-2 tsp cinnamon
-2 tsp cumin
-1/8 tsp nutmeg
-1/2 tsp chili flakes or cayenne pepper
-pinch salt
-2 cloves garlic, crushed
-1 sprig fresh or dried rosemary
-1 cup hot beef or onion broth

-2 lb beef cut into 1-2 inch pieces
-3-4 carrots cut into large chunks
-1/2 rutabaga cut into large chunks
-10-12 dried pitted prunes

Directions

In a frying pan, heat a small amount of oil over medium-high heat. Brown meat for 3 minutes on each side.

In a large pot, heat 1 tbsp oil. When ready, add the onion and sauté for 3-4 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add all the spices and stir, cooking for a further few minutes. When onion is soft, add the garlic, the meat, and the chopped vegetables. Stir and cover with lid. Cook for 10 minutes, stirring every few minutes.

Bring the cup of broth to a boil, and then either transfer everything to a slow cooker and cook on low for 4-8 hours with the broth, or cook over the stove, with the lid on over low heat for the next 30-45 minutes, until the meat is very tender.

Before serving, add the prunes, and cook for a further 5-10 minutes.

Season with salt and pepper – and enjoy!

-Sitelle

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I’ve been waiting for some inspiration in the last year in order to bring you some new recipes on Gourm(eh), and I’ve finally admitted to myself the reason that it’s been a slow time in my culinary adventures. The truth is, it’s not very exciting to cook for oneself. One thing that I’ve really enjoyed, however, has been long-distance meal-planning with my significant other, especially because it’s so exciting to see that despite distance, food is still able to bring us together and we often send messages back-and-forth of ideas and questions about how best to prepare things, and what produce has been good lately at the market or grocery store. Yes I’ll admit, Hamilton is a bit ahead of Ottawa, but we’ve got some good things here too now! It’s not nearly as nice as a meal together, but it will do if it’s all we’ve got for now!

I’m telling you this because this recipe was inspired by his own a few weeks ago. A tomato sauce with beets! I had one pound of delicious ground beef from my CSA box, new young leeks, fresh oregano and beets, so I decided to attempt some meatballs with spaghetti and a spicy beet tomato sauce. The spicy sauce is well-balanced by the sweet beet base, and it goes very well with flavourful beef.

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Ingredients – 4 servings

Meatballs

1 lb ground beef, extra lean
2 young leeks, cleaned and minced
1 tbsp fresh oregano, chopped
3 tbsp bread crumbs
1 tsp dried rosemary, crushed (I like to pound mine in a mortar and pestle)
1 tbsp dijon mustard
1 egg
dash salt and pepper
olive oil

Spicy beet tomato sauce

1 onion, diced
2 young leeks, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp dried basil
1/2 – 1 tsp dried chili flakes (to taste)
1 beet, diced into small pieces
1  good tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 can diced tomatoes (796 mL or 28 Oz)

Spaghetti or other pasta, enough for 4 (according to package)

Parmesan, for garnish

Directions

Mix all ingredients for meat balls except olive oil and egg in a bowl with hands until everything is well mixed, then add the egg. Form into small balls in the palm of your hands, and place on a plate drizzled with olive oil. Roll the meatball in the olive oil so it is coated, and repeat until you have made all the mixture into meatballs. Depending on the size, you should get 20-30 meatballs. Set aside in refrigerator while you prepare the sauce.

For the sauce, dice the onions first, and heat up the olive oil in a frying pan over medium heat. Cook the onions for a few minutes, then add the minced leek. Cook for a few more minutes and then add the garlic, chili flakes and basil. Stir until the onion is soft and everything is fragrant. Add the beet, and then the tomatoes and balsamic vinegar. Bring to a strong simmer and then reduce the heat and cook for 15-20 minutes, while you prepare the meatballs and the pasta.

For the meatballs, heat a small amount of olive oil over medium-high heat in another frying pan. Once the oil is hot, cook the meatballs, turning them carefully so all sides brown. Cook for another 10-15 minutes, until they are cooked through (you should not see any pink inside).  Set on a paper-towel lined plate once cooked.

Bring a large pot of salted water to boil, and cook pasta to your liking. Pour a ladle-full of water into the beet sauce to make it a little saucier if you like. Serve the meatballs tossed in the sauce, over the pasta, with grated parmesan and enjoy!

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One of the things I miss in Toronto is nearby cross-country ski trails.  There is nothing I like better on a sunny winter day than to strap on my skis and enjoy winter.  Home for the holidays, I took full advantage of the nearby proximity of Gatineau and skied half a dozen time with friends and family.  The weather cooperated (only on Christmas was it below -20!) and the skiing glorious, as Ottawa had received over half its  average annual snowfall before the New Year.  

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One of my best skis so far this season was with Sitelle and her partner.  We trekked about 16 km in the south end of Gatineau, going up and up and up the 15 to the MacKenzie King Estate before gliding gently home on the parkway.  The scenery was idyllic, with the snow glistening on tree branches.  We managed to work up a large appetite – luckily my family had planned a large prime rib roast for Sunday dinner. 

Nothing quite beats a little yorkshire pudding with roast beef.  We discovered this recipe from Brian Turner via food.com that looked quick, simple, and delicious.  The only modification we made was to add in a little rosemary to the mix. And we certainly weren’t disappointed.  The Yorkshire Puddings were divine – crisp on the outside and delightfully fluffy on the inside.  I’ll certainly be looking for my next excuse to make Yorkshire Pudding sometime soon! 

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Yorkshire Pudding

(serves ~6)

 

Ingredients

– 1 cup plain flour

– 1 cup egg

– 1 cup milk

– salt to taste

– 2 Tbsp chopped fresh rosemary

Directions

Preheat the oven to 425F. Put a teaspoon of oil/butter/beef drippings in each of several muffin tins until the fat is really hot and beginning to smoke (about 1-2 minutes). Meanwhile combine the rest of the ingredients and beat to form a batter of the consistency of double cream.

Working quickly to keep the muffin tins as hot as possible, pour in the batter, making sure to avoid overfilling.  Put the tin back into the top of the oven as soon as possible.  Bake for about 20-25 minutes until the Yorkshire Pudding is puffed up and crisp.

– Bon appetit!

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Having another home in West Africa means I have added a whole new repertoire of recipes, West-African style, to my cooking – and I’m really excited to share them on gourm(eh).

Cooking in Gambia is a totally different story than here. Imagine cooking mostly one-pot meals over an open fire, or if you are fortunate enough, an improved cookstove. It a communal experience, and the saying ‘many hands make for lighter work’ is fitting as the work is hard, and most often done in groups.

I found it interesting that my taste buds actually adjusted while living there: a dish I did not like at first became one of my favourites by the end – and this was actually the case with a number of dishes. Domoda, however, was always at the top of my list from the beginning!

Domoda is a rich groundnut (peanut)-based stew, a favourite of mine from Gambia and Senegal.

Ingredients – Dinner for 6
2 purple (spanish) onions, diced
1.5 lb cubed stewing beef or 6 chicken pieces
1 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 Tbsp (heaping) tomato paste
2 cloves garlic, germ removed
2 bouillon cubes (I like to use chicken)
1 tsp peppercorns
2 cups just peanut smooth peanutbutter
Juice from one lemon
1 scotch bonnet pepper (very spicy) or 1 jalapeno pepper
3 carrots, peeled and then cut into thirds or quarters
1 eggplant, washed and quartered
1 cup squash cubes (any kind – butternut or acorn for example, peeled)
salt to taste
water
1.5 cups uncooked rice, medium grain

Directions
In a heavy-bottomed pan with a lid, heat oil over medium-medium high heat. Brown the beef, reduce the heat, and add the onions until they are translucent. Then add the tomato paste and stir. Cook for another 3 minutes stirring occasionally. If you have a mortar and pestle, pound the peppercorns and then add the garlic and the bouillon cubes until you get a smooth paste. If you don have a mortar and pestle, just chop everything finely and mix by hand.

Add the seasoning mix to the meat, stir, and then add the vegetables and the whole (washed) hot pepper. Cover with water, stirring well to incorporate all the tomato onion mixture. Increase the heat and bring to a simmer. Once it simmers reduce heat to medium low and let simmer for 30-40 minutes.

Meanwhile, remove a cup of hot liquid and pour into a large bowl with the peanutbutter. Stir well with a fork until the peanutbutter is all incorporated. Stir this into the pan with everything else, and stir well so everything is evenly mixed. Add the lemon juice. Let the mixture simmer uncovered until you have a stew-like consistency. If you find the vegetables still need more time but there is little sauce left, just cover the pot.

When it is almost ready, cook rice according to package instructions.

To serve, ladle stew over rice. You can squeeze the hot pepper on your spoon a tiny bit to get spicy juices out thereby tailoring how spicy your own plate is – and then share the hot pepper with the others. Just remember scotch bonnets are VERY spicy!

Alright, bonne appétit.
-Sitelle (Alias Ya Ndey)

Pumpkin

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A few of my family and friends have begun to complain about the lack of Canadian cuisine on a blog partially dedicated to Canadian food!  I plan to remedy this over the next few months, but for now, I leave you with a recipe for tourtière, a delightful Quebecois dish.

True tourtière lovers are passionate about this dish – some even refusing to call certain meat pies tourtière if they are not “authentic” enough.   I myself am not fussy about the recipe as long as it is perfectly moist!  There is nothing more disappointing after smelling this dish than to take your first bite and despair at its dryness.   Luckily, my grandmother’s recipe is the antithesis of dry tourtière – deliciously moist and full of flavour, there is everything to love about this meat pie.

Instead of a double crust, I often oft for a lattice, which is far prettier and makes for lighter dinner fare.  While many people use broth to moisten their pie and spices such as cinnamon and cloves to spice it, this recipe’s secret ingredient is cream of mushroom soup.  It adds just the perfect amount of creaminess, while retaining the richness in flavour.  This recipe makes enough for two pies, so we traditionally savour this dish on Christmas Eve, freezing the second one to enjoy a few weeks later!

Tourtière

(makes two 9-inch deep crust pies)

 

Ingredients:

1 1/2 lbs lean ground beef

1 1/2 lbs lean ground pork

1 small onion, minced

1/2 cup HP sauce

1 cup chili sauce

1 10-oz tin of cream of mushroom soup

1 Tbsp dry mustard

3 Tbsp Worcester sauce

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Pastry for 2 9-inch double crusts or a lattice 

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Beaten egg white

 

Directions:

Brown meat and onions.  Drain fat, add remaining ingredients, and cook over medium heat for 45 minutes. (If you taste test at this point, don’t worry if the flavour is slightly odd – as it simmers, the flavours will mellow and meld together beautifully).  Cool meat mixture.

Meanwhile, roll out pastry to fit pie plates.  Divide meat mixture evenly between the two pies, and top with pastry (or lattice).  Pierce pastry with fork to create steam vents.  Brush the pastry with beaten egg white.

Bake at 400 F for 20 minutes.  Let pies cool slightly and enjoy!  Delicious served with pickled mustard relish or fruit chutney.

To freeze pies: cool, wrap, and freeze for up to three months.  To serve, thaw overnight in fridge and reheat before serving.

Bon appetit!

– Catherine

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When I was a kid, my parents enrolled me and my sister in the Nancy Greene Ski League. The two of us would spend our days whooshing down the ski hills at Camp Fortune, while my parents would escape into the backwoods to go cross-country skiing. After a long day of skiing, our entire family would enjoy a few rituals: clementines and Toblerone in the car on the way home and Shepherd’s pie for dinner. Our family was content eating President’s Choice’s Shepherd’s Pie — until it was featured in the Ottawa Citizen as one of the top 10 food items filled with saturated fat. Needless to say, we quickly (although sadly) abandoned our Saturday night favourite.

Our family tried to find a store-bought alternative – but inevitably, the Shepherd’s pie would be a little dry or the potatoes would be lacking any flavour. Since I love Shepherd’s pie, I decided to invent my own version. Inspired by my grandmother’s tortiere recipe, I developed the following last winter and have yet to look back. The secret is the cream of mushroom soup: it keeps the ground beef ever so rich and creamy.

This recipe makes 1 13×9-inch Shepherd’s pie – although I often divide it into two. The larger of the Shepherd’s pies (9×9 baking dish) goes straight into the oven, while the second (in a banana loaf pan) goes straight into my freezer for a future delicious dinner. This is the very essence of comfort food on a cold winter’s eve!

Shepherd’s Pie
(serves 12)

Ingredients
MEAT FILLING
1 1/2 to 2 pounds lean ground beef
1 large onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 ribs celery, finely diced
2 large carrot, peeled and finely diced
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 large splash Worcester sauce
1 large dollop Heinz Chili sauce
1 teaspoon thyme
Salt and Pepper to taste
1 large can kernel corn, drained

MASHED POTATOES
8 large potatoes, peeled and cut into quarters/sixths
2 tablespoons butter
Large splash of milk
Salt and Pepper to taste

Your favourite cheese (Mozerella, Cheddar, and/or, Parmesan)

Directions
Saute the meat, onions, garlic, celery, and carrot together until the meat is browned and the veggies are cooked through. Drain off any extra fat. Stir in the mushroom soup, Worcester, chile, and thyme, and simmer uncovered for 5-10 minutes to reduce the sauce. Season to taste with salt and pepper (if so desired, add more heat with Tobasco and more tomato flavour with the Chile sauce). Stir in the corn.

Meanwhile, boil the potatoes in a large pot of boiling water. Drain once the potatoes are cooked. Mash the potatoes with the butter and milk, adding more milk if necesasry. Season with salt and pepper.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Transfer the meat mixture to a 9×13 baking pan. Gently spread the mashed potatoes overtop. Bake for 20 minutes or until the meat mixture begins to bubble. Sprinkle as much grated cheese overtop. Bake for a further 5 minutes, until the cheese is melted. Broil until the cheese is bubbly.

Bon appetit!

– Catherine

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