M. Andrew Gordon

Archive for the ‘Beef’ Category

Last Minute Substitutions Yield Grand Results

In Beef, Main Dish, Soups and Stews, Uncategorized on March 2, 2011 at 9:40 pm

As I awoke on Sunday morning, I had a hankering for a richly spiced stew, possibly a curry or perhaps some Moroccan-inspired flavors.  That Lena would be coming back from running a 10K in the snow also made a hearty stew seem like a great idea.  Lamb stew really got me intrigued but when I went to the grocery store (I didn’t feel like making a special cross-town trip to a butcher), all of the lamb seemed excessively priced for the cuts available.  Enter the first substitution: boneless beef sirloin filets for lamb.  At this point, my thoughts began to drift back into the curry realm, and I started salivating thinking about beef rendang.  But I am nothing if not stubborn and I decided to try out the beef in a Moroccan-styled stew.

As I started chopping onions and cutting meat, I had every intention of serving this stew over rice.  But when I realized that I had several potatoes taking up space on the shelf, I decided that I’d try my hand at gnocchi.  Substitution number two turned out to be a smart one, as the soft, doughy gnocchi were the perfect accompaniment to this stew.

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Leftover Brunch

In Beef on February 22, 2011 at 11:10 pm

On Monday morning, thanks to George Washington having been born on the 22nd, I was left not driving to work but staring into the refrigerator in search of breakfast.  Or maybe it was brunch.  A container of leftover oxtail stew needed to be eaten.  And there was half of a day-old baguette on the counter.

There it was, before my very eyes.  A savory french toast – two pieces of bread with a layer of oxtail stew between, soaked for an hour in eggs and milk – fried and topped with a poached egg.  It was damn good, but I’m sure I’ll never have anything like it again.

Thai Beef with Green Beans and Shitake Mushrooms

In Beef, Main Dish on May 20, 2010 at 8:27 pm

A thing of beauty

There are times I make a meal for myself and recognize the absurdity of an entire dish and pause, thinking that perhaps it is just too ridiculous to write about.  For instance, sometime this winter I was at a dinner party with some friends and my brother had brought some smoked trout as an appetizer.  Come the end of the night, there is a little bit left and it was going to get thrown out.  I couldn’t very well let that happen, so I bagged it up and took it home, putting it in the refrigerator and going to bed, forgetting all about the trout.  Two days later, I was looking to make breakfast when I suddenly remembered the smoked trout.  I quickly chopped a potato and roasted it; cooked up some onion; and combined it all with the trout in an omelet.  Genius.  It was delicious.  Something I am putting in my back pocket for a brunch in the future.  But it was the very way in which the dish came together that had me thinking it was absurd.  Who has smoked trout just sitting around?

So it was, the other night I had some left over filet mignon (absurd, right?) that I wanted to make into dinner.  I also had some green beans and shitake mushrooms in the refrigerator.  Dinner came together so quickly, with so little thought, and tasted so damn delicious, that I was left with little choice but to write about it.  Everything about it was good – a nice ratio of vegetable to meat, a dose of heat and spice, and a sweet and sour glaze from the fish sauce and honey.   Since I still think it is absurd that anyone would have leftover filet mignon waiting around, I wrote this to reflect using raw beef.  This would also be good over rice.

Maybe some time I’ll make that smoked trout omelet again and write the recipe for it…

And then the idea hits me: A regular column, if you will, on Just Add Bacon: Absurd Leftovers!  I have been thinking about shaking things up here for a while, so it fits right in with my current thinking.  And, I’ve made no attempt to hide my unabashed love for using leftover ingredients in a second or third dish, as evidenced by my February post on leftovers.  So there it is, an announcement of a new, regular feature here.  The Absurd Leftover recipe which will seek to reposition some leftover into an entirely new meal.  As a matter of fact, I believe there is one waiting in the wings already.

Thai Beef with Green Beans and Shitake Mushrooms

  • 4 ounces filet mignon or other tender cut of beef
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 1 clove garlic, diced
  • 1 small chile pepper, sliced thin
  • Half small red onion, sliced thin
  • ½ pound green beans, cut into one-inch pieces
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce
  • 1 teaspoon rice wine vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • 2-3 dashes, hot sauce
  • ¼ pound baby shitake mushrooms
  • 1 tablespoon sesame seeds
  • Salt and freshly cracked black pepper
  1. Light grill to medium-hot heat.  Season beef with salt and pepper.  Cook until medium-rare or to taste.  Let cool slightly and slice thin.
  2. In large skillet, heat sesame oil to over medium-high heat.  Add garlic, chile pepper, and red onion.  Cook, stirring constantly, for one minute.  Add beans and stir into oil.
  3. Combine fish sauce, rice vinegar, honey, and hot sauce.  Add to beans and shake pan to distribute sauce.  Add mushrooms and cover, shaking pan frequently.  Cook for five minutes.
  4. Add beef and toss to combine.  Add sesame seeds, season with salt and pepper.  Serve immediately.

The Layered Meatloaf

In Beef, Main Dish, Side Dishes on December 8, 2009 at 7:43 pm

This is an ostentatious presentation of a meatloaf, that venerable brick of meat that has die-hard followers and fanatic disbelievers.  Myself; firmly in the category of loving a good a meatloaf.  I stress good because meatloaf can suffer horribly if it is made poorly.  And I apologize, Mom, but the old adage about loving only mom’s meatloaf does not hold true.  There are other good meatloaves out there beside yours.

This could be made in a traditional manner but of course the cooking time would have to be longer to compensate for the density.  And oddly enough, while all my attempts at layer cakes have failed miserably, this was pretty easy to assemble.  But if going traditional, the blue cheese and cheddar spiked mashed potatoes would not be the worst thing you could serve along side the meatloaf.

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 white onion
  • 1 lb pork
  • 1 ½ lb beef
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • ¾ cup bread crumbs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 whole egg
  • 1 egg yolk
  • ½ teaspoon thai chile paste
  • 1 teaspoon grated horseradish
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon chile powder
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons chopped rosemary
  • 3 russet potatoes
  • ½ cup blue cheese
  • ½ cup cheddar
  • ½ cup milk, or more to taste
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 8 strips bacon, crumbled
  • ½ red onion, thinly sliced
  • ¾ lb oyster mushroom, sliced
  • ½ lb cremini mushroom
  • 2 cans cannellini beans
  • ¾ cup chicken stock
  • 1 head garlic
  1. In medium skillet over low heat, sweat onions until very soft.  Be careful not to brown.
  2. Grind meats or if using pre-ground, mix together in large bowl.  In separate small bowl, combine melted butter, bread crumbs, and milk.  Let stand for 5 minutes.  In separate bowl, combine egg, yolk, chile paste, horseradish, mustard, chile powder, cinnamon, and chopped rosemary and whisk until well-mixed.
  3. Preheat oven to 350°F.  Combine the milk mixture and the egg mixture and pour over meat.  Using hands, work mixture until even, being careful not to overwork.  In lightly oiled cookie sheet, spread mixture into a thin, even layer.  Bake for 20 minutes.
  4. When cooled enough to handle, cut meatloaf into four even rectangles.  Move one rectangle to a clean baking sheet.  Spread the Mashed Potatoes on the top in a ¼ inch thick layer.  Place another layer on top and spread the Mashed Potatoes and bacon.  Repeat until you have four pieces stacked.  Spread the top with a thicker layer of mashed potatoes and sprinkle remaining bacon.  Bake for 10 minutes.  Optional, broil top until golden.

To make Mashed Potatoes

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.  Prick potatoes with fork all over and roast potatoes for approximately 75 minutes until soft.
  2. When cool enough to handle, cut in half and scoop flesh into medium pan.  Add butter, milk, and cheeses and mash until mixture is smooth and even.

To make Mushroom Bean Puree

  1. In large skillet, heat olive oil at medium heat.  Cook red onion until soft, about six minutes and add mushrooms.  Continue to cook for ten minutes.
  2. In food processor, combine one can of beans and roasted garlic.  Turn machine on and pour in stock until mixture is smooth.  Pour over mushrooms in skillet and add the additional can of beans.  Heat through and season with salt and pepper.

Beef Ragú with port and espresso

In Beef, Main Dish, Sauces on December 5, 2009 at 8:51 am

Somewhere along the line, I picked up a recipe that called for a red wine-espresso base for a beef ragú.  At this point I am not sure where it was, and I know I could look it up, but what fun would that be?  I’d rather make a few educated guesses and take my chances.

I decided to go with a center shank sirloin cut because of the convenient section of bone included.  Since I knew I would be leaving this in the slow cooker while I was at work, I figured the extra material in the marrow would only make the sauce more flavorful.  While I was tweaking this recipe, or what I remembered in my head, I thought I might as well try it with port instead, so in went the remainder of the 12 year old Tawny sitting in the liquor cabinet.  The rest is pretty straight forward, however, I feel I should say that I think it is worthwhile to be careful when buying tomatoes.  I am beginning to become a bit of a snob on these sorts of things and think it might be beneficial to spend a little extra on good canned tomatoes.  Too many of the cheaper options just taste tinny or metallic to me.

Sitting in the slow cooker all day allowed the beef to be falling-apart tender, perfect for a ragú, and the espresso lent a rich earthy note that was not at all obvious.  If you have ever have had any coffee rubbed steaks, it is a similar flavor.  The port gave the sauce a dose of sweetness and helped turn it a vibrant dark red.  For simplicity’s sake, this is definitely something I’ll keep in the rotation.

As for cooking the pasta, I tried a technique I had read about recently in which the pasta is cooked sort of like you would if making risotto, with frequent small additions of liquid rather than being submerged in boiling water.  I really liked the texture of the pasta this way, and although it is a little bit of a nuisance to continually stir the pasta while it cooks, it might just be worthwhile from time to time.

  • 1 lb center shank sirloin cut of beef
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Olive oil
  • ¼ cup port
  • ¼ cup water
  • 1 cup espresso
  • 1 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, diced
  • 3 tablespoons basil leaves, thinly sliced
  • 1 28-oz can San Marzano tomatoes, whole peeled
  • ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 8 oz pasta
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  1. Sprinkle salt and pepper over beef.  Heat oil in heavy skillet and sear both sides of the beef.  When browned, transfer beef to slow cooker.  Combine port and water and deglaze pan and pour into slow cooker.
  2. Add espresso, red onion, half of the garlic, half of the basil, and the tomatoes.  Cook on low for at least six hours until beef falls apart.  Break up beef and tomatoes.
  3. Heat several tablespoons of olive oil in a pan.  Add remaining garlic and cook until starting to brown.  Add pasta and stir to coat in oil, cook for about two minutes.  Add one cup of stock and bring to a boil.  When stock is nearly gone, add another ¼ to ½ cup, letting it cook off before adding more.  Cook until pasta is tender.
  4. Add red pepper and remaining basil to ragout.  Stir in pasta and serve.

Steak…It’s What’s For Dinner

In Beef, Side Dishes on September 30, 2009 at 1:21 am

Ah yes, steak.  You just can’t beat a good ol’ chunk of beef cooked on the grill (again, my apologies to my vegetarian friends).  As promised, here is a new recipe for the week.  And for those counting, it might actually be three: cocoa-dusted sirloin with gorgonzola; a quick side dish of brussels sprouts, and a definite new recipe in sweet potato fritters/pancakes.

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