January 26th, 2015

Korean-style Beef Short Rib Tacos

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I don’t know too much about Korean food, but on the rare occasions that I dine on dishes like Bibimbap or Galbi Jjim at one of the homespun Korean eateries here in Nashville, I always experience this brilliant palate awakening. The spices, sugar and chili pepper heat, fermented vegetables and grilled meat hit on all the taste buds: Sweet-salty-sour-bitter-umami.

Envigorating!

And I chide myself: Why don’t I eat here more often? Why don’t I try to cook like this?

The truth is, I tend to cook in my culture-comfort zone–which is a mish-mash of Italian-French-Southern-New American whatever! But today’s post reflects a little expansion beyond that zone.

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It’s not authentic Korean, to be sure. The seasoning of the meat–soy-ginger-garlic-sesame—falls in line. Lashing it with the sweet-sour crunch of pickled red cabbage and grassy fresh cilantro fits too–although it’s much tamer than traditional Kim-chi. And, eating it wrapped in a griddled corn tortilla makes it more like Mexi-Korean fusion.

No matter. The result is simply delicious.

Kogi BBQ, a food truck in the Los Angeles area, gets the credit for originating the cleverly filled tacos over 6 years ago. It’s an idea that has caught on across the country–and inspired all manner of taco fusion treats.

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My prompt started back in December, when I had purchased–and overbought– some boneless beef short rib for a big family meal. (which was a classic French preparation.) I put the extra meat into the freezer, knowing that I’d soon have the chance to use it in a different flavor profile:

Tacos inspired by Kogi, for our community potluck.

I did a little research, and put together my plan.

First: the marinade. Easy to make–what is key is allowing enough time for it to permeate the meat. Six to eight hours, if you start in the morning. A 12 hour-overnight would be even better. Don’t worry if you can’t locate an Asian pear. I used an apple that I already had! The texture and mild sweet fruit taste gets communicated into the mix.

Note: if you cannot, for whatever reason, get short rib then I recommend flank steak. These Korean-style beef tacos at Cooking Light use it to great advantage—marinated and grilled.

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Next: The Sear and the Braise. It’s important to get a nice rich brown finish on the beef. The marinade goes far in that regard, caramelizing as you sear the meat. Once you’ve accomplished that, you smother the strips in deglazed juices from the pan, along with the remaining marinade.

Cover and place into a low oven and forget about the meat for the next two to three hours.

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What emerges, after that time, is succulent beef, steeped in garlicky gingery tastes.
You really don’t need a knife to shred the meat for the filling–pick it apart with a fork.
Save all those braising juices, too.

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I didn’t have the time needed to make Kimchi, which is about a week. Instead, I whipped up a quick pickled slaw, using red cabbage and red onion. In short order, it provided a snappy sweet-sour topping.

Finish the taco with some cilantro and a stripe of Sriracha sauce.

Gosh, these were good.

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KOREAN STYLE BRAISED BEEF SHORT RIB TACOS
3 pounds boneless beef short ribs
marinade and braising mixture
vegetable oil

The Marinade:
1 Gala apple or Asian Pear, cored and chopped
1 small onion, peeled and quartered
4-6 cloves garlic, peeled
2 inch piece fresh ginger, peeled
3/4 cup low sodium soy sauce
1/2 cup mirin
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup water
3 tablespoons sesame oil
a few pinches red pepper flakes

Place the apple, onion, garlic, and ginger into the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade. Pulse the ingredients together.

Add the soy sauce, mirin, brown sugar, water, and sesame oil. Process until smooth.

Place the meat into a non-reactive bowl or container. Pour about 1/2 of the marinade over the meat (reserving the rest for later use in the recipe.) Make sure the meat is well coated. Sprinkle with red pepper flakes. Cover and refrigerate–marinating overnight is best.

The Braise:
Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
Place a large skillet or pot on medium heat. Add 2-3 tablespoons vegetable oil.
Remove the beef from the marinade and brown the pieces a few minutes on each side.
Place the browned pieces into a shallow baking dish.
Pour remaining marinade over the beef.
Cover with aluminum foil and oven-braise for 3 hours.
When done, the meat will be juicy and fork-tender.

When the meat is cool enough to handle, break it up into small pieces for the tacos. Pour braising juices over the meat. Keep warm until ready to assemble the tacos.

Makes 2 dozen 6 inch tacos

“PICKLED RED” RED CABBAGE AND RED ONION SLAW
1/2 head red cabbage
1/2 large red onion
1/2 cup rice wine vinegar
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon salt

Slice the cabbage as thinly as possible and place into a mixing bowl.
Slice the onion as thinly as possible and add to the cabbage.
In a separate bowl, whisk the vinegar, sugar, and salt together.
Pour over the slaw and let marinate for 20 minutes.

TACO ASSEMBLY
warm beef in braising juices
pickled red slaw
1 bunch fresh cilantro, leaves picked and coarsely chopped
24 6 inch corn tortillas
Sriracha hot sauce

Place a skillet on medium heat. Brown the tortillas on both sides–about 1 minute a side.
Spoon in the beef. Top with pickled red slaw, fresh cilantro, and a squirt of Sriracha hot sauce.

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Posted in Gluten Free, Meats/Poultry, Recipes, Sandwiches | 16 Comments »




November 30th, 2011

Fancy Shepherd’s Pie

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Living with a vegetarian restricts my intake of red meat. This is not a complaint–trust me. I consider it a benefit. I’m an omnivore who is happy–and better off– not consuming the vast quantity of beef that many Americans do. And, with just two in our household, it doesn’t make sense for me to buy those great hunks needed for pot roast, meat loaf, and the like.

But, cooking for our Third Thursday Community Potluck is a different matter. No restrictions! Here I get the chance to Go Big and Meaty, should I choose. From time to time, I splurge, and cook up a cauldron of something wonderful and stew-ish. Because it’s so infrequent, I enjoy the process, lengthy as it can be, and really savor the results.

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For our most recent potluck gathering–a week before T-Day–I indulged in stewy-splurge. I made a supa-sized batch of Shepherd’s Pie, fancy-pants style. Onions, carrots and parsnips, oven-roasted to a caramel sweet, were folded in with tender chunks of beef, browned and simmered in an enamel cast-iron pot.

Not so fancy, you say?

Not until this step–

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Potatoes seasoned with chives and paprika were whipped light and buttery—then piped in a mound of pretty rosettes, sealing in the stew. The whole she-bang went into the oven for a final blast, emerging puffed and golden and utterly irresistible.

Oh, yeah.

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Another fancy note, regarding the green you see flecked in the pot. This is “Par-Cel” a parsley-celery hybrid that one of our local farmers was selling last week. Have you ever seen–or used it before? I couldn’t resist something so new. I was surprised at how it tasted: Indeed a true hybrid–possessing both fresh parsley and celery leaf flavors. It was a nice addition, plunged into the pot at the end of cooking time.

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FANCY SHEPHERD’S PIE

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STEP ONE: THE BEEF
5 lb. Boneless Chuck Roast, trimmed and cut into cubes
4-5 cloves Garlic, minced
1/4 cup Olive Oil
4 T. Balsamic Vinegar
1 1/2 t. Kosher or Sea Salt
1 t. Black Pepper
a few sprigs of fresh Thyme
a couple of sprigs of fresh Rosemary
2 Bay Leaves
1 T. Olive Oil
2 T. Flour

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Place cubed meat into a mixing bowl. Stir in minced garlic, olive oil, and balsamic vinegar. Sprinkle salt and pepper. Strip the sprigs of thyme and rosemary and stir into the meat. The meat should be well coated. Add bay leaves. Allow to marinate for at least 4 hours, or overnight.

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Heat the stew pot on medium. Add olive oil. Add meat, a few pieces at a time. Do not crowd. Brown the meat on all sides, and remove–putting into a separate bowl. Continue the browning process. When all the meat is browned, toss with 2 T. flour.

Return to the flour-coated meat to the pot and cook gently–toasting the flour. Stir in water to cover, scraping up browned bits from the bottom and sides of the pot. Cover and simmer for at least an hour. Meat should be fork tender.

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STEP 2: ROASTED ROOT VEGETABLES
1 lb. Carrots, cleaned and sliced on the diagonal into pieces
1 lb. Parsnips, cleaned and sliced on the diagonal into pieces
2-3 medium Onions, sliced lengthwise into 1/2″ strips
Olive Oil
Salt and Black Pepper
Par-cel, or Fresh Parsley Leaves, or Celery Leaves

Spread out vegetables on a baking sheet and lightly coat with olive oil. Season with sea salt and black pepper.

Roast in a preheated 400 degree oven for 20 minutes, until pieces are softened and caramelized. Remove from heat.

When the beef is tender, add the vegetable to the pot. Stir in chopped Par-cel (or parsley, or celery leaves) Taste for seasoning.

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STEP 3: WHIPPED CHIVE POTATOES
4 lb. Russet Potatoes, washed, peeled, quartered
1 stick Butter, cut into pieces
1 bundle fresh Chives
Salt and Black Pepper
1 c. Milk
Paprika

pastry bag fitted with a star tip

Place potatoes into a large pot of lightly salted water and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, and cook until potatoes are tender when pierced with a knife tip.

Pour cooked potatoes into a colander. Drain well and return to the pot. Under low heat, toss the potatoes in the pot to cook off any remaining water.

Place warm potatoes into a big mixing bowl. Using a stand or hand-held mixer, beat the potatoes until the lumps are broken down. Beat in the butter. Season to taste with salt, black pepper. Beat in chives. Slowly add milk, continuing to whip the potatoes until they become creamy and somewhat fluffy.

Spoon whipped potatoes into a large pastry bag fitted with a star tip. Pipe rosettes allover the top of the beef stew. Continue to mound the potato rosettes.

Sprinkle with paprika and bake in a 350 degree oven for 30 minutes—until stew is bubbly and potato topping is puffed and golden.

Serves a Potluck Crowd!

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Third Thursday Potluck friends surround the feasting table.

Posted in Casseroles, Meats/Poultry, Recipes, Soups/Stews | 23 Comments »




November 24th, 2009

And The Winner Is…

another beefy hero

Recently, Whole Foods and Le Creuset co-sponsored a pre-Thanksgiving fundraiser at our Second Harvest Food Bank. For a mere $5.00 donation to Second Harvest, you got to sample quite the array of T-Day mainstays and sides, as cooked up by the Whole Foods catering department.

Tasty stuff, too–including free-range heritage bird and gravy, green bean casserole, potatoes au gratin, sour cherry and pecan pies.

And, you got a raffle ticket–for which, Le Creuset donated a 5 1/2 qt. Dutch Oven as The Prize.

The luck of the draw: I won the raffle! I couldn’t believe it. Happy, happy. I was so tickled by this, I felt like a big goofy kid. Sometimes, it’s really nice to win.

The Le Creuset store manager, Joseph, let me pick out the color. I had get the Fig. Isn’t it gorgeous? This is my second raffle win in as many years (in the spring of ’08 I won 2 blueberry bushes in a drawing at our farmers market) so, I guess you could say that I’m on a roll…

the raffle prize

And, I must say that this wondrous Dutch Oven came into my possession at the most timely of moments–our Third-Thursday Community Pot Luck Dinner was coming up, and I had wanted to make some winey-frenchy-stewy dish using beef rump roast I purchased from Walnut Hills Farm. The recipe is part Boeuf Bourguignon, part Boeuf à la Mode–we’ll call it Boeuf à Ma Mode..(that’s beef, my style)

in the marinade

The heavy enameled cast iron pot went right to work, marinating the meat overnight.

Marinade (for about 5 lbs. Beef Roast)
2 cups Red Wine
1/4 cup Olive Oil
4 cloves Garlic, crushed
several sprigs fresh Thyme
Salt and Black Pepper

Mix up these ingredients and pour over the beef. Marinate overnight in the refrigerator, turning the meat at least once, after several hours.

browning the meat

The next day: Remove the beef from the marinade—save the marinade—and brown it well on all sides. While it’s browning, you can get your veggies ready.

Boeuf à Ma Mode
Marinated Beef
2 Shallots, chopped
2 large Onions, diced
3 ribs Celery, small dice
4 Carrots, small dice
2 Bay Leaves
Reserved Marinade
2+ cups Red Wine
2+ cups Vegetable or Beef Broth
1 lb. Cremini Mushrooms, chopped
2 T. Butter
Salt and Black Pepper
2 Tablespoons Dark Roux
Fresh Thyme and Rosemary

sauteeing the vegetables

Sauté the vegetables in the browned drippings left by the meat–add a little more olive oil, if needed. These sturdy ones will go far in forming a rich flavor foundation for this stew, and will actually cook down so far —over time with the meat—as to almost disappear.

add broth

After you return the meat to the pot, pour in the wine and broth, and toss in the bay leaves.

Then, just cover, turn the heat down low, and forget about it for four hours. In the meantime, you can get your mushrooms ready.

mushrooms

Brown the mushrooms in butter, salt, and black pepper in a separate pot. Enhance with red wine.

When the meat is tender, remove it from the pot and cut into bite-sized pieces. (discarding any fat or gristle.)

Thicken the stock with your roux, stir in mushrooms and meat. Simmer and serve.

This rich savory stew served a lot of folks at the Third-Thursday dinner.

pot of beef tips

Delicious spooned over noodles or rice, this beautiful beef stew also makes a special, hearty meal when served with this colorful roasted winter vegetable medley. A real winner!

beefy hero

Posted in Meats/Poultry, Recipes, Soups/Stews | 9 Comments »