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Posts Tagged ‘Grass-fed Beef’

Beef Bourguignon | Relishing It

Happy New Year, friends!  I hope your holidays were wonderful.  Ours certainly were, as we traveled back to North Dakota and were able to spend time with much of our family.  The older I get the more I cherish this time.  Things returned to normal this week with the kids going back to school.  I love the holiday season, and letting it go can be a little bit hard for me.  And so it goes.

Beef Bourguignon | Relishing It

We came back to a much colder and whiter Minnesota than the one we left. In fact, the day we departed for ND, I was hustling about taking the recycling out with bare feet and wasn’t a bit bothered by it.  Wow, things have since changed.  We’re back to normal January weather with all of it’s wind chill glory (that’s sarcasm, folks). So, you can guess that I have warm comforting food on my mind.  Forget the New Year health fanatics with their cold smoothies and cold salads.  This girl needs warmth.  Don’t fret though, this is definitely health food– full of grass-fed beef and hearty vegetables.

Beef Bourguignon | Relishing It

This beef bourguignon has been a favorite in our house for years and I’m only now getting around to sharing it with you.  The shame!  You’ll love it. It’s simple and full of earthy flavor.  Of course, there is a fair amount of red wine in it that works it’s magic with the beef.  Remember the homemade beef broth I posted somewhat recently?  You’ll definitely want to use that in this recipe.  And as for the wine, there is no need to spend a lot of money on a bottle.  A basic table wine will suffice, something somewhat dry. Something you’ll enjoy sipping on while you cook or when you eat, there will be a bit leftover.  As always, buy good quality grass-fed beef.  As with most stews, this one gets even better the next day, but chances are you won’t have any leftovers.  It’s delicious.  Hope you enjoy!

Beef Bourguignon | Relishing It

The Recipe: Beef Bourguignon

(serves 4 or so)

olive oil

About 1 1/4 – 1 1/2 pounds of grass-fed beef stew meat, cut into bite-sized pieces

1/2 white onion, diced

5 garlic cloves, minced

1 quart homemade beef broth or purchased

2 cups dry red wine (table wine works well here)

2 cups water

1 large sprig fresh rosemary, chopped or 2 teaspoons dried

1 teaspoon dried thyme

1 dried bay leaf

6 large carrots, peeled and cubed

7 medium yukon gold potatoes, cubed

1 1/2 tablespoons room temperature butter mixed with 1 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour (gluten-free flour can be substituted)

12 ounces frozen green peas

12-15 frozen pearl onions

2-3 tablespoons freshly chopped parsley, to garnish

salt and pepper, to taste

In a large Dutch oven or heavy-bottomed kettle, heat about 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium-high heat.  Sprinkle kosher salt and black pepper over the beef and add half of it to the hot pan.  Do not move it– let a nice dark golden color develop before flipping it over to brown the other sides.  Remove the caramelized meat from the pan and add the second batch, adding more olive oil if necessary.  When the second batch is done, remove that as well.

Add the diced onion and garlic to the hot pan.  Add a splash of beef broth if there are some darkened pieces that need some attention.  There is so much flavor in those pieces!  Continue to cook and stir  for a couple of minutes until the onion is somewhat softened, adding more broth if necessary.

Return the meat to the pan and add the remaining beef broth, red wine, water, rosemary, thyme, and bay leaf.  Add a bit of salt and pepper, too.  Bring to a near boil, then reduce the heat to a small simmer for about 2 hours.

When the beef is tender, add the potatoes and carrots to the pan and increase the heat to medium.  When the carrots and potatoes are fork tender, about 20-25 minutes, add the flour/butter mixture.  This will thicken the stew ever so slightly.  Gently, stir it in well.  Then add the peas and pearl onions and cook for another 3-5 minutes, or until the onions are warmed through.  Taste and adjust seasonings.  Don’t be scared to add more salt.  Serve with chopped fresh parsley.  Buttered crusty bread is a must with this meal. Enjoy!

Thanks for stopping by Relishing It!

Laurie

 

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Homemade Beef Broth | Relishing It

Well this week has flown by.  My little boy has been sick for a few days, so my usual routine has been interrupted.  I absolutely don’t mind the interruption, and like having him home with me all day again, but I just hate it when my little ones are sick.  Since he hasn’t been eating a whole lot (sore throat), I’m so thankful to have frozen broth at the ready for both the ease and the nourishment that it can give to him.  I guess this is as good a time as any to post this recipe, then.

Homemade Beef Broth | Relishing It

Making broth isn’t a new concept, but it seems as though the foodie/health world has rediscovered it lately.  There’s a good reason for that.  Making broth is simple and it offers so many healthy benefits that store-bought versions simply do not.  They also taste so much better.  Make a homemade broth and then do a taste-test with a store brand.  I have.  The difference is stunning.

Homemade Beef Broth | Relishing It

Homemade Beef Broth | Relishing It

For my beef broth, I start with finding some good, properly-raised beef.  You know I’m a grass-fed beef advocate.  So, I suggest you find some grass-fed beef bones (you’ll want a mix of marrow bones and some with a bit of meat on them) to make the healthiest, most nourishing broth possible.  Soup bones can easily be found at a good co-op or grocery store, your local butcher, or from the farmers market. They’re cheap.  Sometimes they’re even labeled “pet bones”– which is kind of odd.  But trust me, they’ll make a rich broth that you’ll love.

Homemade Beef Broth | Relishing It

The other ingredients you likely already have at home– carrots, celery, onion, garlic, cider vinegar, and some dried or fresh herbs.  It’s a simple process that involves roasting the bones and vegetables first– to really amp up their flavors– then simmering on the stove for hours with water, herbs, and vinegar.  The vinegar is added to, supposedly, draw out some of the minerals from the bones.  I’ve read conflicting information on this, but I finally decided that since I love the flavor it imparts, I’m going to go with it.  Simmer this broth as long as you can.  The longer you do, the more nutrients it will draw out of the bones.

Homemade Beef Broth | Relishing It

The flavor will be good after three hours, or so– but shoot for 8 or even 24, if that’s a possibility for you. Also, after simmering for about 2-3 hours, I remove the bone with meat on it, and trim the cooked meat off. I put the bone back into the broth and save the meat to use another time. At this point it hasn’t been overcooked, but it has still added plenty of flavor to the broth already. If you don’t want to bother, just leave it in the broth for the duration of the time. As long as you hit that three-hour mark, the broth will taste amazing! Use it in soups like this Paprikash that is one of our family favorites. Fill your freezer up with both this beef broth and this chicken broth for quick, healthy soups this winter.

Homemade Beef Broth | Relishing It

The Recipe: Homemade Beef Broth

(makes a few quarts)

about 6 pounds of good quality, preferably grass-fed, beef bones (some containing marrow and some containing a bit of meat)

about 3 carrots, halved

2 celery stalks, halved

1 large onion, quartered

1 garlic bulb (that’s the entire thing), halved and not peeled

3 dried bay leaves

1 teaspoon dried thyme

1 tablespoon black peppercorns

handful of fresh parsley, rough chopped

2 tablespoons kosher salt, or more to taste

6 tablespoons apple cider vinegar (I use Bragg’s)

Preheat oven to 400°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper (for easy clean-up). Place the beef bones, carrots, celery, onion, and garlic on the pan with a bit of olive oil and a sprinkle of salt.  Roast for about 40-45 minutes, or until the beef and vegetables have a bit of color. Remove from oven.

Add the beef, vegetables, and any juices (leave the grease behind) to a large kettle.  Top it with the bay leaves, thyme, peppercorns, fresh parsley, cider vinegar, and enough cold filtered water to cover it all.

Bring everything to a high simmer so that it’s almost boiling, but not quite.  Then reduce the heat with the lid ajar to just a low simmer that is barely bubbling and let it cook away for as many hours as you can.  Three hours for sure, but shoot for more, if you can. If wanting to use the meat from the meaty bone (and you should– it’s great for quick meals and/or snacks), remove from bone after about 2-3 hours, put the bone back in the pot.

After you have finished simmering the broth, remove the large pieces with tongs and strain the liquid through a cheesecloth.  This will give you a nice clear broth. At this point you can put it in jars (or BPA-free plastic quart-sized containers) leaving about an inch of head-space (the liquid will expand as it freezes) or leave it in a large pot and refrigerate until completely cold (this will take hours, so overnight works well) and pour into jars afterwards. This makes removing the top layer of grease a cinch. Once that has been completed, throw a lid on it and freeze.

Thanks for stopping by Relishing It! Have a great weekend.

Laurie

 

 

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Healthy Stuffed Cabbage Roll Soup | Relishing It

It’s early November and the first winter storm of the season just rolled through Minnesota.  I generally try to have a positive tone when I share my thoughts here, but this… sucks.  No time to acclimate to lower temperatures over a few weeks, no light dusting of snow that melts away in the sun.  Nope.  Winter is here and I’m not ready for it yet.  Thankfully, we got the leaves raked (barely) and taken to the compost pile, the summer furniture is tucked away in the shed, and my small garden has been cut down.  But still, this is ridiculous.  Last winter was grueling, to say the least.  I want more crunchy leaves on the sidewalks and more bonfires with our neighbors.  I want more outdoor runs without the worry of slipping on ice. I realize that I’m going to have to wait months for these simple pleasures again.  And I will wait patiently and enjoy them all-the-more when they arrive.  There.  Now I’m feeling a little bit better.

Healthy Stuffed Cabbage Roll Soup | Relishing It

Healthy Stuffed Cabbage Roll Soup | Relishing It

For now, I will pour myself into doing the things that I love to keep my mind off of the frigid temperatures.  Today it’s warm soup and fresh bread.  This stuffed cabbage roll soup is a favorite in our house.  It has all the wonderful flavors and textures of stuffed cabbage rolls with less work.  It’s hearty and filling– total comfort food.  But, it’s also healthy.  Like, really healthy.  It’s loaded with whole foods–grass-fed beef, fresh cabbage, canned tomatoes, brown rice, and zingy fermented sauerkraut.  I love to eat cabbage year-round– it’s an underrated vegetable, in my opinion.  Not only is it good for you, it has a long refrigerator life.  This is much more than a soup– almost a stew.  Feel free to add more broth or tomatoes if you like it a little less thick.  I think it’s perfect as is, but especially fantastic with a dollop of sour cream or plain yogurt on top and a sprinkle of fresh dill or parsley.  I hope you give it a try.  Enjoy!

Healthy Stuffed Cabbage Roll Soup | Relishing It

Healthy Stuffed Cabbage Roll Soup | Relishing It

The Recipe: Healthy Stuffed Cabbage Roll Soup

(serves 4)

1 pound grass-fed ground beef

3/4 cup dry long grain brown rice

1 small white or yellow onion, diced

2 garlic cloves, minced

2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more if needed

cracked black pepper

1 quart chicken broth, preferably homemade

2 cups crushed canned tomatoes (or a 15 ounce can–Muir Glen Organic is great)

2 cups homemade tomato sauce (or a 15 ounce can — again, go with Muir Glen)

3 cups, thinly shredded cabbage ( I used 1 somewhat smallish one)

1 teaspoon fresh thyme

1 bay leaf

1/4 cup packed chopped fresh parsley

2 cups homemade sauerkraut or store-boughten, preferably fermented

sour cream or yogurt, dill or parsley for garnish

Begin by rinsing the brown rice.  Then add it along with 1 1/2 cups of cold water and a pinch of salt to a large sauce pan.  Bring to a boil, then cover and reduce heat to a simmer and cook until the rice is tender and the water has been absorbed, about 40 minutes.  Keep a watchful eye or you may burn the rice.  You can always add more water and drain any extra, if you’re worried about that happening.

In a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat, brown the ground beef.  Drain the grease, if there is any and add the onion and garlic to the pan along with 2 teaspoons of kosher salt and some cracked black pepper.  Cook the ground beef/onion mixture for just a few minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onion softens a bit.

Add the crushed tomatoes, tomato sauce, chicken broth, chopped cabbage, cooked brown rice, fresh thyme, and bay leaf to the Dutch oven.  Cook for about 30-40 minutes over low-medium heat, or until the cabbage has wilted and is tender.  Add the sauerkraut and freshly chopped parsley and cook for another 5 minutes, or until the sauerkraut has warmed.  Remove bay leaf before serving.  Top with sour cream or plain yogurt and fresh dill or parsley.  Leftovers may become somewhat thick from the rice absorbing more liquid– it can be thinned out with more tomatoes or broth.

Thanks for stopping by Relishing It!

Laurie

 

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Homemade Spaghetti Sauce with Mushrooms and Garlic | Relishing It

I’ve mentioned here before that my husband and I were high school sweethearts.  We’ve been together for many years, and if there is one dish that describes “us”, it is this spaghetti sauce.  We’ve been making it together for as long as I can remember.  And even though it has gone through a few subtle changes over the years (because I certainly wasn’t canning my own tomatoes in my dorm room), it has remained much the same as it did those many years ago.  Many of you have been asking for this recipe, so I figure it’s time to to finally write it down and share it.  I mention on here fairly frequently that one dish or another is a family favorite.  But this one is the family favorite.  If the kids get to choose a meal, this is what they pick.  Valentine’s Day rolls around, and this is what we have.  It’s a bit odd, because this dish is ordinary, yet very special to us.

Spaghetti Sauce with Mushrooms and Garlic | Relishing It

Spaghetti Sauce with Mushrooms and Garlic | Relishing It

A couple of things need mentioning.  As I’ve said, I can my own tomatoes.  I use roasted roma tomatoes for this sauce.  I love how thick and rich they become, compared to regular tomatoes with their abundance of water.  This sauce can be made with any variety of tomatoes, though I’ve settled on roasted romas as my favorite.  The key here is to know what to do if your sauce has extra liquid in it that you don’t necessarily want. Watery spaghetti sauce is, to be honest, gross.  Too much liquid, and it just doesn’t cling to the pasta.  My point, is that you should do your best to find some good quality canned roasted tomatoes.  Muir Glen is my recommendation, if you don’t can your own.  Canned San Marzanos are also another excellent choice.  Whatever type of tomatoes you choose, crushed or whole, etc– give them a few pulses in a food processor to break them up (or use your hands) so they aren’t chunky.  If the sauce is too watery near the end of the cooking time, remove the lid and let it reduce a bit.  Adding another dollop of tomato paste will also help.

Homemade Spaghetti Sauce with Mushrooms and Garlic | Relishing It

One more thing,  I normally don’t use fresh basil in this sauce– instead I pull a bit out of my freezer that I’ve preserved for the winter.   In the summer, when my basil is plentiful, I chop it and freeze it in muffin tins and ice cube trays.   Then I vacuum seal it.  When I need a bit of basil in the winter, I  just pull one out and pop it into whatever it is that I’m making.  I love this method.  So, if you happen to have a freezer full of the same, use it!  If you don’t, I’ve tested it with fresh basil, so you will know how much to use– feel free to add more, if you like.  Just please don’t used dried– the flavor is not even comparable.

Homemade Spaghetti Sauce with Mushrooms and Garlic | Relishing It

This sauce has a wonderfully earthy flavor from the herbs, garlic, and the crimini mushrooms.  It’s a complex array of flavors that I heighten by using a bit of anchovy.  As I’ve mentioned before, don’t be scared to use it.  It adds such a nice umami flavor.  The other integral ingredient is the bay leaf.  The almighty bay leaf, in my opinion.  It adds such a unique flavor that this sauce relies upon.  When the sauce is finished simmering, swirl in a tablespoon or two of good olive oil– it’s the perfect finish to the sauce.  I hope you and your family enjoy this dish as much as we do.

Homemade Spaghetti Sauce with Mushrooms and Garlic | Relishing It

The Recipe: Homemade Spaghetti Sauce with Mushrooms and Garlic

(serves 4-6)

2 pounds grass-fed ground beef

1 medium white onion, chopped

1 large bulb of garlic, peeled and roughly chopped  (yes, the entire bulb!)

1 quart roasted roma tomatoes, crushed

1 dried bay leaf

1 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper

5-6 teaspoons kosher salt

1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano

2 heaping tablespoons finely chopped fresh basil (about 17 large basil leaves)

1 tablespoon double-concentrated tomato paste

1/2 teaspoon finely chopped anchovies

8-9 ounces crimini mushrooms, thickly sliced

1-2 tablespoons good quality extra-virgin olive oil, for finishing ( California Olive Ranch, is my favorite)

Parmigiano-reggiano cheese and hot pepper flakes, for serving

In a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat brown the ground beef, then drain the fat.  Return the pan to the heat and add the onion, garlic, salt, and pepper to the beef.  Sauté for a couple of minutes until the onions are somewhat tender, stirring frequently.  Then add the crushed tomatoes, oregano, basil, tomato paste, anchovies, and bay leaf.  Stir.  Then finally add the mushrooms.   Reduce heat to medium-low and let simmer for about 30-40 minutes, covered.   Stirring frequently and carefully, as you don’t want the mushrooms to break apart.  Monitor the amount of liquid near the end of the cooking time.  Remove lid to reduce, if it seems too watery.  If it seems too thick, be patient– the mushrooms release a lot of liquid during the simmering time.  When it is done, remove the bay leaf and stir in 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil.  Adjust seasonings, if necessary.  Serve with freshly grated Parmigiano-reggiano cheese and hot pepper flakes, if desired.  Leftovers keep well in the refrigerator, or freezer.  Enjoy!

Thanks for stopping by Relishing It!

Laurie

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For the record, healthy eating is NOT the theme on Relishing It this week.  Don’t worry, I’ll return with several wonderful recipes next week loaded with seasonal produce.  But not this week.  For now, let’s just enjoy these fantastic sticky buns  from earlier, and today’s ridiculously good mini-burgers.  I am a bit of a burger connoisseur.  I know, I know.  I say that about a lot of things.  But the fact is, if there’s a dish I like, I try as many versions of it as I can.  It’s almost as if I need to approach it from every angle.  For burgers, I have my favorite combinations.  I enjoy the fancy ones with melted brie cheese just as much as I enjoy the not-so-classic with swiss and sauerkraut (which is incredible, by the way).  And the classic thick piece of raw onion on a plain burger with ketchup and mustard is heavenly.  I could go on and on.

These mini-burgers (I have a hard time calling them ‘sliders’, because it just reminds me of White Castle) with red wine shallot butter are one of my favorite glammed-up ways to eat a burger.  They are, quite simply, amazing.  More like, over-the-top amazing.  I could eat them everyday, but my clothes would not fit within a few weeks.  They’re perfect if you’re looking for a show-stopper for a Summer party.  You can make everything ahead of time, and once the guests arrive, just pop them on the grill.

One of the biggest flavors– and certainly the biggest time consumer– is making the incredible red wine shallot butter.  You reduce an entire bottle of red wine with one cup of shallots, for about an hour.  Once it’s reduced, you mix this into the whipped butter and chill it.  This butter is the key to the whole dish, and it’s so intense that you only need a little pat on your burger.  You’ll see in the photos that I tend to add a thicker slice, because I just can’t get enough of the flavor.  When you make the red wine shallot butter, you’ll end up having some left-over.  This is good, because it keeps well in the freezer and can be used later…perhaps on a steak for the weekend?

I flavored the grass-fed beef with onions and a fair amount of fresh thyme.  The thyme adds a wonderful earthiness and pairs perfectly with the red wine and shallots.  And yes, if you’ve looked ahead to the recipe, you’ll see there’s also butter mixed in with the ground beef.  It works here, because the grass-fed beef is so lean.  Trust me on this, it’s phenomenal.  Personally, I like these burgers in mini-form.  I made the sourdough buns in the photos, as well.  They ended up being a perfect fit.  Find whatever small bun you can, or make your own.  Just gather some friends and make these burgers, everyone will be happy.

The Recipe:  Grass-Fed Mini Burgers with Red Wine Shallot Butter

For the Burgers:

2 pounds grass-fed ground beef

1 stick unsalted butter

1 medium white onion, minced

1 3/4 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme

1 1/2 teaspoons freshly cracked pepper

1 egg, lightly beaten

1 1/2 tablespoons kosher salt

Freshly chopped parsley

Red Wine Shallot Butter

1/2 cup minced shallots

2 tablespoons granulated sugar

1 bottle of red wine (Merlot or Cabernet work great)

1/2 pound unsalted butter, whipped

To make the red wine shallot butter:  In a large saucepan, combine the shallots, red wine, and sugar.  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a medium simmer.  Continue to reduce for about an hour  until the mixture it is somewhat “syrupy”, but almost dry.  See photos.  Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature.  Mix into the whipped butter until homogenous.  Use parchment paper or plastic wrap to roll into logs and chill until firm.

To make the burgers:  Remove ground beef from the refrigerator for about 1/2 hour before mixing.  It’ll need to warm a bit to properly mix with the butter.  In a medium skillet over medium-high heat, add about 2 tablespoons of the butter and the onion.   Sweat them until they are translucent.  Remove from heat and cool to room temperature.  In a large bowl, add the thyme, pepper, egg,  salt, and onions.  Whip the remaining butter until smooth.  Add the butter and ground beef to the bowl and mix until just combined, being careful not to over mix (which can lead to a tough burger).  Form into patties and place on waxed paper and chill in the refrigerator for at least an hour.  Grill or fry the burgers and top with a slice of the red wine shallot butter and a sprinkle of parsley!

Source:  Adapted from Bar Lurcat, in Minneapolis, MN

Thanks for stopping by Relishing It!  Hope you all have a safe and fun holiday weekend!

Laurie

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Paprikash.  Just saying it reminds me of being a little girl, coming in from playing in the snow to that amazing aroma of paprika wafting through our farmhouse.  My brother and cousins were there, of course, with the same frigid hands and red wind-blown cheeks.  This soup– more than any other meal– defined my childhood.  Paprikash is nourishing and delicious, but it’s so much more than that to me.  It’s family and friends.  Paprikash meant company was about to arrive, and that we kids had the freedom of the farm while the adults chatted the afternoon away.  It meant the comfort of having my parents, siblings, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins all together to share a communal meal.  And now, paprikash is nostalgia.  It’s a bit strange to write about it here.  It’s bittersweet because I loved those days, and know that I can never have them back.  I’m reminded of how very lucky I was to grow up in rural North Dakota– to see my extended family every week.  This soup reminds me of those family traditions.  I love traditions.  I also love this soup.

This is my version of paprikash.  Like nearly every mother, grandmother, and aunt in my hometown, I’ve developed my own take on this Hungarian soup.  The foundations are the same:  beef, onions, potatoes, and dumplings.  And they’re all enveloped by a thick, rich, beef broth.  It’s a hearty soup that has a profoundly deep, comforting, flavor thanks to sweet paprika.  This is the bowl you want to eat when the snow is falling outside your dining room window.

Now for a few pointers.  First, use good paprika.  I can’t stress this enough.  The paprika is the canvas upon which the rest of the soup is created.  Buy the best you can.  Second, the soup takes a bit of patience.  The beef needs time to become tender.  When it’s ready, you will know.  And if you’ve never made egg dumplings before, they may seem a bit odd or confusing.  They are almost paste-like.  Here’s the thing though– just get them in there.  Drop a bite-size portion into the hot soup, they’ll cook, and turn out beautifully.  Finally, just how good this soup turns out will depend on the salt.  The amounts I list below should be fine, but remember that every beef broth is different.  Some are much saltier than others, so you’ll want to taste, taste, taste, as you add ingredients.  Better to add more salt later, than ruin an amazing meal.  I really hope you make this soup.  There’s nothing else like it.

The Recipe: Paprikash

(Serves 6)

5 tablespoons olive oil

1 1/4 -1 1/2 pounds of grass-fed beef stew meat, cut into small cubes

1 large onion, chopped (about 4 cups)

5 tablespoons sweet Hungarian paprika

2 quarts homemade or good quality beef broth

2 pounds yellow potatoes or yukon gold, peeled and cubed

6 eggs, lightly beaten

1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus a bit more.

cracked black pepper

3 tablespoons freshly chopped parsley, plus more for garnish

In a large Dutch-oven over medium-high heat, add 2 tablespoons of olive oil.  When it is hot, add the cubed beef and a sprinkle of salt and freshly cracked pepper.  Stir the meat a couple of times, and cook for about 5-6 minutes.  Transfer the beef, along with it’s juices, to a bowl and set aside.

In the same Dutch-oven over medium-high heat, add the remaining 3 tablespoons of olive oil.  When it is hot, add the 4 cups of chopped onion.  Cook for about 10 minutes, stirring often, until they become golden brown and are very fragrant.

Still on medium-high heat, add 5 tablespoons of paprika to the browned onions and toast for about 30 seconds.  Add 2 quarts of beef broth, the reserved cooked beef and juices, 1 teaspoon salt, and cracked black pepper.  Bring to a boil.   Reduce heat to simmer.  Simmer on low-medium for about 2 hours, or until the beef is very tender.

When the beef is tender, raise the temperature to medium and add the cubed potatoes.  Cook for about 10-15 minutes, or until the potatoes are cooked through and tender, but not falling apart.

Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, using a large spoon, mix the lightly beaten eggs with the flour and 1 teaspoon salt.  It will form a sticky paste.  This is normal.  When the potatoes are cooked through, begin to add the dumplings one at a time.  Using a small spoon, gently “plop” a bite-sized portion into the hot soup.  You may want to use another spoon (or your finger) to help you.  It will sink at first, and then float to the top.  Repeat until all of the egg/flour mixture is in the soup.  The soup will look crowded, and you will need to “push” some of the dumplings out of the way to make room for more.  Once they are all in the soup, let them cook for another 5-10 minutes.  At this point, taste the soup.  Much of the flavor is dependent on the amount of salt.  Add more if necessary.  Remove from the heat and stir in the parsley.  Enjoy with a piece of crusty bread.  Please note that this soup is even better the next day!

Thanks for stopping by.  I always look forward to hearing from you!  Come join SoupaPalooza at TidyMom and Dine and Dishsponsored by KitchenAidRed Star Yeast and Le Creuset 

Laurie

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So, how glamorous does meatloaf sound?  Personally, I thought Bat Out of Hell was a fine album, though I wouldn’t say he sounds glamorous.  Er, wait.  Wrong meatloaf.  Poor jokes aside, the dish generally doesn’t sound that elegant either, but this recipe makes me weak in the knees.  It’s one of those meals that I think about far too often.  The problem with most meatloaf– aside from the unappetizing name– is that it’s usually a bland brick that’s really only edible when covered in a pile of ketchup.  I always think of the grade school lunch variety.  This is a whole different experience.  Just look at that bacon!  And if you’re ready to move on from Thanksgiving leftovers, this hearty version is perfect. 

So what makes this meatloaf different?  What makes it special?  As always, it’s the ingredients.  Aside from the carrots, celery, and onions that form a good base, this dish relies on mushrooms for a complex earthiness.  There’s also cheddar to add more depth, texture, and a hint of saltiness.  And beer.  I used one of Radd’s home-brewed dark stouts, which worked nicely with the mushrooms and cheddar.  Finally, there’s the bacon.  Wow.  It makes the dish.  Not only does it add so much flavor, but it helps keep the meatloaf juicy.  Keeping this meal moist is key, so aside from the bacon, the milk-soaked bread is essential.

This meatloaf would be a wonderful centerpiece meal, accompanied by several sides, but– to be honest with you– I made it for sandwiches.  I was craving a to-die-for meatloaf sandwich and I got it.  I cut a nice thick piece and put it on a ciabatta roll, covered it with a bit of mayo and harissa and a mound of hot peppers.  Amazing.  I also found that it was incredible when paired with the homemade ketchup I made this Summer.  I’m not sure which one I like better, so I’m tempted to make another meatloaf just to find out.

The Recipe : Cheddar and Stout Meatloaf

Serves 8

2 tablespoons olive oil

2/3 cup chopped onions

3 cloves garlic, finely chopped

1/2 cup carrots, finely chopped

1/2 cup celery, finely chopped

3/4 cup crimini mushrooms, finely chopped

1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped

4 ounces french bread,  (about 2 1/2 cups, cubed)

1 cup whole milk

3/4 cup Stout ale

2 pounds grass-fed ground beef

2 large eggs, lightly beaten

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

2 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/2 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese

10 ounces thin-sliced bacon (about 9 pieces)

Heat the oil in a 10- to -12 inch skillet over medium heat.  Cook the onion, garlic, carrots, celery, and mushrooms until softened and just beginning to brown, about 6-8 minutes.  Add the stout ale and simmer until almost all of the liquid is gone, about 4-5 minutes.  Transfer to a large bowl and let cool.

Meanwhile,  in a shallow dish soak the bread and milk, flipping once, until soggy but not falling apart, 5-10 minutes, depending upon the freshness of your bread.  Gently squeeze the milk from the bread with your hands.  You will want the bread to be moist, but not drenched.  Finely chop the bread and add to the bowl of cooked vegetables.

Position rack to center of oven and pre-heat to 375°F.  Begin to add the remaining ingredients to the bowl of vegetables and milk soaked bread — ground beef,  eggs, salt, pepper, Worcestershire sauce, parsley, and cheddar cheese.    Use your hands and gently mix all of the ingredients until just combined — try not to compact the mixture as you do this.

Line the bottom of a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.  Put the meatloaf mixture on the pan and form a 10 x 4 – inch rectangular block (it will become loaf shaped as it bakes).  Wrap the meatloaf with the bacon in a diagonal pattern.  Leave a 1/2- inch over hang around the edges and tuck under the meatloaf.  Some pieces of bacon will need to be trimmed.

Bake until an instant read thermometer inserted into the center of the meatloaf reads 160°F, 50-60 minutes.  Then, broil the meatloaf 6-inches below the heating element until the bacon is brown and crisped, about 3 minutes.  Let rest for 10 minutes before serving.  Enjoy!

Source:  Adapted from Fine Cooking Magazine, Feb/March 2011

Thanks for stopping by today!

Laurie

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