Archive for MEAT

Braised Oxtail Soup

Don’t let the name of this dish turn you off.  Oxtail, as the name describes, was commonly the meaty part of the tail of an ox.  Nowadays, they are cut from the tails of cattle.  Oxtail is quite meaty, but it requires a long and slow braising to tenderize the tough meat.

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You can cut the cooking time down several hours by using a pressure cooker.  I prefer braising the oxtail long and slow, however, which helps to develop an incredibly rich broth.

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Look for oxtail with a lot of meat and not much fat.  Rinse the oxtail then trim off as much fat as you can.  This is what I trimmed off from 5 packages of oxtail (with about 4 oxtails per package).

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The richness of your broth starts by browning the oxtail.  I did this in batches so that I could turn each oxtail over to ensure even browning.  Browning creates amazingly delicious flavor compounds that ultimately gives the resulting dish an extremely rich, deep flavor.  Don’t skip the browning process; trust me.

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The next step to developing that incredibly rich flavor is to brown your aromatics.  Do this BEFORE adding any liquid.

Add onions, garlic and black pepper to the pot.  Do this when you have just one layer of oxtail in the pot.  Set the rest of the browned oxtail aside for now; you’ll add it back to the pot in a few minutes.  Cook the onions just to the point where they become a golden brown and begin to caramelize.

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Now the magic begins.  Add the rest of the oxtail back into the pot then pour in enough water to completely cover the oxtail.  Place a lid on the pot and cook over medium-low heat.  If you decide to braise the oxtail long and slow, plan ahead as this will take several hours — I braised mine for about 5 1/2 hours over a slow boil.

A note about boiling meat:  As meat boils, a foamy substance forms on the surface.  This is called scum.  The scum is denatured protein.  It is harmless, and eventually the foam breaks up and disperses into the stock.  Although harmless (and flavorless), the scum leaves the broth gray and cloudy.  Every so often, skim the surface, removing the scum.

Every 30 minutes or so, at about the same time you skim the scum off the broth, check to ensure the level of liquid stays above the meat.  Add enough water to maintain the level of liquid above the oxtail.  Keep doing this for the first three hours.

After hour number three of braising, add my secret ingredient (shhh…don’t tell anyone):  half a bottle of marsala wine.  Marsala wine adds deep, savory notes to the broth.  After adding the wine, if the level of liquid is still not above the meat, add more water.  Continue to cook over medium-low heat for another two hours.

After five hours of braising, taste the broth.  Add salt and pepper, to taste.  Instead of salt, I like adding a few tablespoons of Dashida seasoning.  If you can’t find Dashida (a Korean beef-flavored powdered seasoning), use beef bouillon.  Taste and adjust the seasonings to your liking.

Add your favorite vegetables during this last 30 minutes of cooking.  Sometimes I add potatoes and carrots, or squash (a favorite).  Baby bok choy is another favorite.  Squash cooks quickly, so add it last to prevent overcooking them.  Baby bok choy cooks in just a few scant minutes, so add them at the very end, just before serving.

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Serve over hot white rice with a good amount of broth and ENJOY! 🙂

Give my recipe a try.  I think you’ll like it.

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Braised Oxtail Soup
 
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Author:
Serves: Serves 4-6
Ingredients
  • 15-20 pieces of oxtail, excess fat trimmed off
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2 tablespoons chopped garlic
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • Water, enough to completely cover the oxtail
  • ½ bottle marsala wine, about 2 cups
  • 4 tablespoons Dashida seasoning (or powdered beef bouillon)
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 4 medium squash, peeled and cut into large pieces
  • 12 baby bok choy
Instructions
  1. Brown the oxtail in batches over medium-high heat (brown one layer of oxtail at a time). Set the browned oxtail aside.
  2. Add the onions, garlic and black pepper to the pot. Cook until the onions begin to caramelize.
  3. Return all of the oxtail to the pot. Add enough water to cover the oxtail. Cover the pot and reduce the heat to medium-low; simmer for 5½ hours, skimming the scum off the surface periodically. Keep the water level above the meat throughout the braising.
  4. After three hours of simmering, add the wine to the pot. Simmer for 2½ more hours.
  5. Add the Dashida. Taste the broth then add salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Add any vegetables last, cooking until the vegetables are done to your liking.
Serve and ENJOY!

 

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Chicken Chalakiles

Chicken Chalakiles is one of my favorite Chamorro comfort foods.  It’s a soup made with chicken, onions and garlic, thickened with toasted ground rice, and made even more rich with the addition of coconut milk.

Chalakiles can be served as your main dish or as a soup served before your entrée.

I make my Chalakiles the way my mom taught me — with freshly toasted and ground rice.  A quick and easy substitute is to use Cream of Rice instead. Toasting rice is easy.  Place the rice in a skillet over medium heat.  Cook until the rice turns golden brown, stirring constantly to prevent any rice from over-browning (and burning).

Let the rice cool for a few minutes then place in a food processor (I have a mini food chopper/grinder that works well).

Grind the rice into a mixture that looks like cornmeal.  A few large pieces of rice is okay; it will add texture to your Chalakiles once cooked.  Set the ground rice aside.

Place your chicken into a large soup pot.  You can cut the chicken to your desired size.  I diced them small here so that we could have more of a soup. My mom would use chicken drummettes or leave the chicken pieces whole if we served this as a meal.  She’d make it more on the soupy side as well so that we could also serve this with some steamed rice. Cook the chicken with onions, garlic, coconut oil and black pepper.

Once the chicken is cooked through and no longer pink, add chicken broth (or water and chicken seasoning), achote powder, and the ground toasted rice.

Bring the mixture to a boil; cook over medium heat for about 10 minutes (keep the pot uncovered).  Stirring occasionally to prevent the rice from settling and sticking to the bottom of the pot.

This is what the Chalakiles looks like after the rice is done.  The mixture is quite thick at this point, but will thin down once you stir in the coconut milk.

Stir in the coconut milk.  Cook for another couple of minutes, just long enough to heat up the mixture after adding the milk.  Remove from the heat.

If you want a thinner soup, either add more water or another can of coconut milk.  Taste and adjust the seasonings to your liking.

My recipe makes enough for a family of four plus enough leftover for lunch the next day. Serve and ENJOY!

 

Chicken Chalakiles
 
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A savory soup made with chicken and ground toasted rice.
Author:
Serves: 8 servings
Ingredients
  • 2 cups uncooked rice
  • 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into small pieces
  • 3 boneless skinless chicken thighs, cut into small pieces
  • 1 med onion, diced
  • 1 tablespoon chopped garlic
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons chicken seasoning*
  • 10 cups water*
  • 1 packet achote powder
  • 1 can (14-oz) coconut milk
  • Red pepper flakes, to taste (optional)


  • *Note: You can use chicken broth instead of water; omit the water AND chicken seasoning if using chicken broth.
Instructions
  1. Place the uncooked rice in a skillet over medium heat. Cook for a few minutes until the rice is evenly browned, stirring occasionally to ensure even browning. Let the toasted rice cool then grind in a food processor until you get the consistency of cornmeal. Set aside.
  2. Place the chicken, onion, garlic, coconut oil and black pepper into a large soup pot. Cook over medium heat until the chicken is no longer pink.
  3. Add the chicken seasoning, water, achote powder and ground rice to the pot. Stir to combine the ingredients then bring the mixture to a boil. Cook, uncovered, for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  4. Stir in the coconut milk; cook for a couple of minutes then remove from the heat.
Serve and ENJOY!

 

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Cheeseburger Biscuits

DSC_0011Cheese…seasoned ground beef…bacon…all baked in a fluffy biscuit (did I mention there was BACON?). 🙂

These little pillows of delight are delicious as a snack, appetizer, or served with your favorite soup or meal.

Give my recipe a try.  I think you’ll like it.

 

Cheeseburger Biscuits
 
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Fluffy biscuits loaded with cheese, seasoned ground beef and BACON!
Author:
Ingredients
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 2 tablespoons beef flavored Dashida
  • 10 slices bacon
  • 4 cups Bisquick mix
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 4 cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup mayonnaise (YES, mayo)
  • 1 cup Sprite (YES, sprite)
Instructions
  1. Brown the ground beef with the Dashida seasoning; set aside to cool.
  2. Cook the bacon until crisp. Crumble the bacon into small bits; set aside. Reserve about 2 tablespoons of bacon fat.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, mix together the cooked ground beef, bacon bits, Bisquick mix, baking powder, and cheese.
  4. Fold in the reserved bacon fat, mayo, and sprite. Mix GENTLY, just until all ingredients are incorporated (do not overwork the dough).
  5. Using a large ice cream scoop (I used one that holds ¼ cup), scoop out balls of dough, placing them on a baking sheet 1 inch apart.
  6. Bake at 450 degrees for 10 minutes. Note: The cooked biscuit will feel slightly soft when the baking time is finished; do not be tempted to cook them longer, however. You are most likely feeling how soft the biscuits are because of the melted cheese.
  7. Immediately remove the biscuits to a wire cooling rack.
  8. Serve warm.
Enjoy as a snack or with your favorite soup or meal.

 

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Hearty Beef Stew

Beef stew is a comfort dish that everyone should know how to make.  That and chicken soup — both are recipes you should have in your cooking repertoire.  It’s not that difficult to put a beef stew together — you just brown some meat and throw in some vegetables, right?  Wrong.

While not difficult to make, the order in which you cook your stew, and the seasonings and flavorings you add make the difference between a “WOW” and an “EHH” stew.

The first layer of flavor comes from browning good quality beef.  I like using a top sirloin, but any good lean beef (a bit of marbling is okay) will do.  Don’t just throw the meat into the pot and crank up the heat.  Think of this as building a masterpiece.  Right from the get-go, you’re building up the flavorful dimensions in this classic comfort dish.

Add the meat to the pot, along with some aromatics…in this case, garlic, freshly ground black pepper, salt, ground thyme and butter.  Give the mixture a stir then let the meat and aromatics cook for 5 minutes over high heat.  The browning of the meat also adds great depth of flavor, which is what you want.  Do not add the liquid right away or you’ll have boiled meat soup instead of a rich and hearty stew.

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After the meat is nice and brown, and you’ve begun to build you base flavor, it’s time to add the liquids.  A good beef stew uses some sort of wine.  I recommend using a good quality red wine, burgundy if you have any.  Don’t use the “cooking wine” you find in the salad dressing section of your grocery store.  A good rule of thumb for cooking with wine is to use wine you like to drink out of a glass.   Mix together some water, wine, and my secret ingredient (shhhh…don’t tell anyone), orange juice.  See the flavor combinations going on here?  I like adding orange juice to cut back on the strong flavor of the wine (my kids don’t like too much wine in my cooking).  Add the wine mixture to the pot.

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Now it’s time to create even more layers of flavor that will deepen with prolonged simmering.  Turn your heat down to low, place a lid on the pot, and go away for two hours.  Read a book.  Catch up on your favorite television shows.  Walk the dog.  Do something but do not uncover that pot.  Let the meat, liquid, and aromatics simmer happily, undisturbed.  In two hours, the meat will get nice and tender.

Right about the two hour mark, make the roux.  This butter-flour mixture works to thicken the broth and add a richness because of the butter.  Butta is betta.  ‘Nuff said.

Melt some butter in a small sauce pan then add a few spoonfuls of flour.  Cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly until the mixture begins to turn a golden brown.  Pour in some of the broth from the pot — about 1 to 2 cups will suffice — whisking constantly to prevent lumps from forming.  If the mixture seems too thick, add more broth until you get a relatively creamy mixture (the photo below, on the right, needs more broth).  Add the roux to the pot, stirring to dissolve the roux into the broth.  Add the additional beef broth.

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Add your vegetables to the pot.  All at once.  Go ahead.  Don’t be skurred.  Well, I take that back.  Add the root vegetables first (potatoes, carrots) and let them cook for a few minutes before adding any other vegetables that cook quickly, like onions and in my recipe below, brussels sprouts.

Turn the heat back up to high and cook for about 10 more minutes, or until the potatoes and carrots can be pierced easily with a fork.  I like using petite red potatoes because they are small enough that I just have to wash them then throw them into the pot.  You can cut them in half if you want to cut down on the cooking time, but after two hours of simmering, what’s another five minutes of cooking?

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Stir occasionally; the broth should be a nicely thickened gravy by now with the addition of the roux.  Taste the gravy; add salt and pepper to taste.  I like adding Dashida beef flavored seasoning instead of salt.

Serve with hot steamed white rice.  If you’re like me, you’ll need to drown your rice in some of the delicious gravy.

ENJOY!

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Hearty Beef Stew
 
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Author:
Recipe type: Stew
Ingredients
  • 3½ pounds top sirloin, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon chopped garlic
  • ½ teaspoon ground thyme
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup orange juice
  • 1 cup red wine (I recommend a burgundy)
  • 1 pound baby carrots
  • 1 bag (10-oz.) frozen brussel sprouts
  • 12 whole petite red potatoes
  • 1 medium onion, diced large
  • 2 cups beef broth
  • 4 tablespoons Dashida (or add salt, to taste)
Roux:
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 6 tablespoons flour
  • 1½ cups broth (use the broth from the stew)
Instructions
  1. Place the meat, butter, chopped garlic, ground thyme, black pepper and salt into a large pot. Cook over high heat until the meat browns, about 5 minutes.
  2. Add the water, orange juice, and wine; reduce the heat to low and simmer for 2 hours.
  3. After 2 hours, prepare the roux. In a small saucepan, melt the butter and add the flour. Stir constantly while cooking over medium heat until the mixture begins to brown. Whisk in the broth from the pot of stew. Turn the heat off; whisk the roux into the remaining broth in the pot.
  4. Add the beef broth; stir.
  5. Add the carrots, potatoes and onion. Let this cook for a few minutes then add the brussels sprouts.
  6. Return the heat to high and cook for 10 minutes or until the potatoes are easily pierced with a fork.
  7. Taste the gravy and add salt and pepper to taste, or add Dashida.
Serve with steamed white rice and enjoy!

 

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Tater Tot Casserole

If you’re looking for a stick-to-your-ribs comfort dish, this one is it.  Tater tots, seasoned ground beef and cheese sauce are all baked into a casserole that will make your tummy and taste buds happy, happy, happy.

My complete recipe is located at the bottom of this post.  Give it a try.  I think you’ll like it. 🙂

Tater Tot Casserole

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Although the name of this dish is “Tater Tot Casserole,” the real star is the cheese sauce that ties it all together.  If you do an online search, you’ll find that quite a few tater tot casserole recipes call for cream of mushroom or chicken soup.

While I do like the canned condensed soup, I thought I’d make my own for this recipe, and I’m glad I did.  Not only can you control the quality of ingredients that go into the dish, you can also control the amount of sodium as well.

Start by placing vegetable broth into a large pot.  You’ll use this same pot to eventually make the cheese sauce, so make sure your pot is big enough to fit the sauce base and all of the cheese and other delicious ingredients that go into it.

Bring the broth to a boil over medium-high heat.

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Add chopped mushrooms, Dashida, garlic powder, black pepper, onion powder, and thyme to the pot.  Stir to combine, then place a lid on the pot.  Reduce the heat to medium and cook until the mixture returns to a boil.

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While the broth is simmering, whisk some flour and milk together.

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Pour the flour mixture into the boiling liquid, whisking as you pour so as to prevent lumps from forming.

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Turn the heat down to medium-low.  Cook for a couple of minutes to allow the base to thicken.  See, doesn’t this look better than the canned condensed soup?

It tastes better too. 🙂

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Once you’ve got the base done, you can finish up the cheese sauce.

Whisk in some milk.

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Add shredded cheese and sour cream to the pot.  Stir the mixture until the cheese melts.  Turn the heat off and place a lid on the pot.  Set the cheese sauce aside for now while you cook the ground beef.

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Brown lean ground beef in a skillet over medium-high heat.  Add onions, garlic powder and Dashida; cook for 5 minutes or until the onions become translucent.

imagePreheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Place a layer of frozen tater tots in the bottom of a DEEP baking dish.  A deep roasting pan works well.

Pack those babies in there!

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I don’t show it here, but add half of the cheese sauce to the pan, on top of the tater tots.

Add all of the ground beef to the pan, on top of the cheese sauce.

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Pour the remaining cheese sauce over the ground beef.

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Top with more tater tots.  Bake for 25 minutes, or until the tater tots are golden brown and crispy on top and the sauce is bubbly.

Serve and ENJOY!

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Tater Tot Casserole
 
Prep time
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Delicious comfort food combining the childhood favorite, Tater Tots, with seasoned ground beef and a creamy, cheesy sauce.
Author:
Recipe type: One Dish Meal
Cuisine: American
Serves: 8
Ingredients
Meat and Potato Filling:
  • 2 pounds lean ground beef
  • ½ small onion, diced
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 2 tablespoons Dashida (Korean beef flavored seasoning)
  • 1 large bag Tater Tots
Sauce Base:
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • ¾ cup chopped mushrooms
  • 2 teaspoons Dashida
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon onion powder
  • ½ teaspoon dried thyme
  • ¾ cup milk
  • ½ cup flour
Cheese Sauce:
  • 2 cups milk
  • 16 ounces shredded cheddar cheese (I like to use a Mexican cheese blend)
  • 1 cup sour cream
Instructions
Prepare the Sauce Base:
  1. Bring the broth to a boil over medium-high heat.
  2. Add the mushrooms, Dashida, garlic powder, black pepper, onion powder and thyme. Return the mixture to a boil.
  3. Whisk the milk and flour in a small cup or bowl. Pour the mixture into the boiling liquid, whisking as you pour to prevent lumps from forming. Reduce the heat to medium-low; cook for a couple of minutes to thicken the base.
Make the Cheese Sauce:
  1. Whisk the remaining milk into the sauce base.
  2. Stir in the shredded cheese and sour cream. Set the sauce aside.
Brown the Meat:
  1. Brown the ground beef in a skillet over medium-high heat.
  2. Add the onions and Dashida. Cook for 5 minutes or until the onions become translucent.
Layer the Casserole:
  1. Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Using a DEEP DISH pan, layer the casserole as follows:
  3. ~ Tater tots, half the cheese sauce, meat, remaining sauce, then tater tots.
  4. Bake for 25 minutes or until the top layer of tater tots are golden brown and crispy and the cheese sauce is bubbly.
Serve and ENJOY!

 

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