Archive for the ‘beef’ Category

When I made this Beef Bourguignon a few days ago it was one of those disastrous days in the kitchen. We’ve all had them: you burn yourself (in my case my right and left hands in separate incidents); you spill stuff (a canister of sugar and then water on my camera which, by the grace of God survived); and the recipe you are making just doesn’t want to cooperate. Being the klutz I am the spills and burns came as no surprise, but having one of Ina Garten’s recipes fail on me was just down right shocking.

The directions called for a few minutes on the stove top before an hour long trip into a low oven. After the requisite 75 minutes, I removed the Bourguignon from the oven, and while I knew the cooking time was on the short-side for chuck, I was expecting moist, tender, melt-in-your mouth cubes of beef. After all, this was an Ina recipe. But instead of a dish with juicy chunks of beef in a complex and flavorful wine sauce, I was met with wine soup studded with tough, chewy, pieces of meat. It tasted like it was destined for the dog bowl. Could this be? Had one of Ina’s recipes failed me? I could not resign myself to such a harsh reality so I wrangled the pot back onto the stove top (with my right hand, which wasn’t burned quite as bad) and let it simmer over ultra low heat for another three hours. After a day where everything went wrong, I thought the Bourguignon was doomed. But no, three hours later, the beef was perfectly tender and delicious.

Beef Bourguignon
Adapted from Ina Garten

  • 1 tablespoon good olive oil
  • 8 ounces dry cured center cut applewood smoked bacon, diced
  • 2 1/2 pounds chuck beef cut into 1-inch cubes
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 pound carrots, sliced diagonally into 1-inch chunks
  • 2 yellow onions, sliced
  • 2 tsp. chopped garlic (2 cloves)
  • 1/2 cup Cognac
  • 1 (750 ml.) bottle good dry red wine such as Cote du Rhone or Pinot Noir
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves (1/2 teaspoon dried)
  • 2 tsp. butter
  • 1 pound frozen whole onions
  • 1 pound fresh mushrooms stems discarded, caps thickly sliced


  1. Preheat the oven to 250 degrees F.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a large Dutch oven. Add the bacon and cook over medium heat for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the bacon is lightly browned. Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon to a large plate.
  3. Dry the beef cubes with paper towels and then sprinkle them with salt and pepper. In batches in single layers, sear the beef in the hot oil for 3 to 5 minutes, turning to brown on all sides. Remove the seared cubes to the plate with the bacon and continue searing until all the beef is browned. Set aside.
  4. Toss the carrots, and onions, 1 tablespoon of salt and 2 teaspoons of pepper in the fat in the pan and cook for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onions are lightly browned. Add the garlic and cook for 1 more minute. Add the Cognac, stand back, and ignite with a match to burn off the alcohol. Put the meat and bacon back into the pot with the juices. Add the bottle of wine plus enough water to almost cover the meat. Add the tomato paste and thyme. Bring to a simmer, cover the pot with a tight-fitting lid and place it in the oven for 3-4 hours or until the meat and vegetables are very tender when pierced with a fork.
  5. Add the frozen onions. Saute the mushrooms in 2 tablespoons of butter for 10 minutes until lightly browned and then add to the stew. Bring the stew to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Season to taste.

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This recipe from Martha Stewart came to me via this blog. I am always on the lookout for inexpensive recipes to add to my repertoire, and this meal delivers, feeding four for about $12 (plus pantry items). Like any good Chinese takeout, this is even better the next day. The recipe, listed below, is modified to reflect how I prepared it.  Sorry about the horrendous photography – it was after dark when I made this.


  • 1¼ lb. beef flank steak (sliced thinly across the grain)*
  • 4 Tb. soy sauce
  • 1 Tb. cider vinegar
  • 3 Tb. apple juice
  • ½ tsp. untoasted sesame oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp. grated fresh ginger
  • 4 tsp. canola oil
  • 1 Tb. corn starch
  • 2 heads broccoli, trimmed, with florets separated into bite sized pieces
  • 1 scallion, sliced
  • sesame seeds, for garnish

* Pop the beef in the freezer for an hour or two before slicing, it makes it easier to slice thinly


  1. In a large, shallow bowl, mix soy sauce, apple juice, sesame oil, grated ginger, vinegar, sugar, garlic, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Add meat; toss to coat. Let marinate 15 minutes. Transfer meat to a plate; reserve marinade.
  2. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over high heat. In two batches, cook meat until lightly browned, turning once, about 2 minutes per batch. Remove meat. Add 1/2 cup water to pan; stir up browned bits with a wooden spoon. Pour contents of the pan into the reserved marinade; whisk in cornstarch.
  3. In same skillet, fry broccoli in remaining teaspoon oil over high heat until bright green and crisp, tossing often, 2 minutes. Add 1 cup water; cook until broccoli is tender, 6 to 8 minutes.
  4. Stir marinade, add to pan, and bring to a boil. Cook, stirring, until thickened, 30 seconds. Return meat to pan; toss to coat. Season with salt and pepper. Serve over brown rice or Asian noodles topped with sesame seeds and scallions.

Ingredients all came from the pantry besides beef and broccoli

The thinly sliced steak takes just one minute per side. Remove and sautee the broccoli

Add back in the sauce and beef and you’re done!

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Tri-Tip Roast

This was my first shot at cooking a tri-tip roast. I am not a huge fan of pot roasts and braised meats, and other than beef tenderloin, I have not had a lot of luck with oven roasts. I didn’t have $50 to shell out for a slab of beef, so I picked up a tri-tip which was on sale – $7 and change for a 1½ lb. piece of meat! Not bad! I didn’t have propane for the grill and most every recipe I found online was for some sort of grilled southwestern or Asian roast (I had other non-compatible side dishes in mind), so I had to wing it. I think it turned out pretty good! I plan on making it again soon, so I will post a picture later.


  • 1½ lb. tri-tip roast, trimmed
  • 1 tsp. dried thyme
  • 1 tsp. dried basil
  • 1 tsp. dried marjoram
  • 1 tsp. dried mustard
  • ½ c. red wine
  • 1 tb. olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste


  1. Rub the tri-tip with salt, pepper, thyme, marjoram, mustard, and basil. Put roast in a ziplock bag and refrigerate overnight.
  2. About 4 hours before cooking, add red wine to the bag.
  3. Preheat oven to 450.°
  4. Drizzle olive oil in a large roasting pan. Cook roast at 450° for 15 minutes.
  5. Reduce oven temperature to 350° and cook beef for another 20-25 minutesm or until the meat reaches 140° for medium rare.
  6. Remove roast from oven and tent with aluminum foil. Allow to rest for 10-15 minutes and then slice thinly across the grain.

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