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Asian Inspired Beef Short Ribs

beef short ribsI never knew there were so many braised short rib recipes on the web and it seems a good portion are dedicated to slow cookers.  I eyed a package of two meaty-looking beef short ribs and couldn’t wait to get home and decide how to cook them.  I did not want a typical braise with wine and tomatoes.  Instead, I yearned for something more Asian-infused.  Ribs come in a few styles (English cut, flanken cut, kalbi cut) and the ones I chose resembled the kalbi (traditional Korean cut).   Koreans love their meat.  Continue Reading →

Aussie Meat Pies

Aussie meat pieMeat pies in Australia and New Zealand are what apple pie is to North America – iconic. Years ago John and I visited Australia and everyone kept telling us to try the Aussie meat pies.  Not one to turn down an opportunity to see what all the fuss was, we tried our very first meat pie from a roadside convenience store in Rosebud.  Wow!  I’ve had meat pies before but none could have prepared me for the down-to-earth flavor sensation of this national dish.  Must have been the gravy-like meat mixture that had us hooked as we tried at least six different locations offering meat pies and all were downright scrumptious!  They’re a favorite at sporting events (football and rugby) and construction sites.  It’s the perfect snack food for on the run.

Makes 10 to 12 pies
adapted from Tobie Puttock

500g medium ground beef
1 onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 to 2 tablespoons fresh rosemary, finely chopped
1 cup beef stock
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 tablespoon tomato paste
4 strips of bacon, chopped
ready rolled pie pastry

meat sauceCook bacon with garlic, rosemary, and onion over medium heat. Let this simmer, stirring occasionally, until onions are soft and translucent (8 – 10 minutes). Turn heat up to medium-high and add ground beef. Stir to break up chunks. Lower heat to medium and once the meat is cooked, add tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce and stir to combine. Then add about a cup of beef stock. Bring to a boil and turn heat down to low (gentle simmer). While this is simmering, take cornstarch and mix it with a bit of water and pour this over the beef. Simmer until the meat sauce has thickened and has a gravy-like consistency. Remove from heat and allow meat sauce to cool.

pastryPreheat oven to 400f. Lay the pastry on a lightly floured surface and cut out 3-inch circles. Grease a muffin pan and gently place the pastry dough inside the pan. Fill with meat sauce.  Top with a pastry circle and pinch edges or use a fork to press edges to seal. Place pies on a baking tray and bake 20 to 25 minutes or until golden.  To remove from pan, run a knife around the edge and pop out the meat pie.  The Australians serve their meat pies with ketchup.

The Culinary Chase’s Note:
Make sure the meat sauce is cool otherwise it will make the bottom of the pie crust soggy.  These are good the next day and can be reheated or served cold.  Enjoy!

Inside Out Burger

inside out burger by The Culinary Chase America is considered the true home of the hamburger, but chopped beef had been a staple of Eastern European cuisines for centuries.  German immigrants from Hamburg arrived in America in the 19th century bringing their Hamburg-style beef with them.  Burgers are all about the toppings and this recipe focuses on the topping you can’t see.  The idea behind an inside out burger is to sandwich ingredients within the beef patty and when you take a bite, the stuffing is uncovered.  Talk about a taste sensation!

Serves 4

1 1/2 lbs. medium ground beef
1 onion, thinly sliced
cremini mushrooms, sliced
1 cup Gruyère cheese, grated (or any mixture of hard or semi-hard cheeses)
4 slices bacon, cooked
bread and butter pickles
hamburger buns

Divide beef into 4 even chunks.  Divide those chunks in half and form patties.  Using all fingers, grab a generous pinch of Gruyère cheese and place on one half of the patty. Place the other half on top. Using your fingers, crimp and seal the edges closed – you don’t want the cheese exposed. Repeat for remaining patties.  Place in refrigerator until ready to use.  Keeping the patties cold before cooking helps them to stay together and stay as juicy as possible.

In a frying pan over medium heat add a splash of olive oil and sauté onion until golden brown. Remove and set aside. In the same pan, add a splash more olive oil and add mushrooms. Cook until light brown or to your liking. Remove and set aside.hamburger buns by The Culinary ChaseSeason patties with sea salt and freshly ground pepper and grill over medium-high heat (2 minutes per side for rare, 3 for medium-rare, 4 for medium, and 5 for well-done).  Resist the urge to press the burgers while they cook as this releases their natural juices (making for a drier patty) and the cheese will ooze out. IF USING A GRILL PAN: Heat pan over high heat on top of the stove. Cook the burgers the same as you would for the barbecue. Build the hamburger by placing one patty on the base of a hamburger bun followed by thinly sliced cheese (the heat from the burger will soften the cheese), pickles, bacon, mushrooms and onion.

inside-out hamburger by The Culinary ChaseThe Culinary Chase’s Note: The first time I made an inside out burger was 2 years ago when we lived in NY and I haven’t made a regular burger since!  I like my burgers thick and use a pound of ground beef for the two of us.  Get creative and use other toppings to stuff your burger.  Enjoy!

Steak Tartare

steak tartare by The Culinary ChaseSo you think you know your salt, do you? While there are mixed reviews about Salted: A Manifesto on the World’s Most Essential Mineral, I enjoyed reading it. Yes, there’s lengthy writing on the history, the many variations of artisanal salt available today, and it makes for a great reference manual, however I purchased it because I wanted to learn more about the original food preservative (centuries before refrigerators came into being). I’ve long been an advocate for throwing out table salt and replacing it with sea salt. Back in 2003 I bought The Tao of DetoxThe Natural Way to Purify Your Body for Health and Longevity and one of the things that really struck a chord with me was that industrially refined table salt that most people in the world use does more harm than good. Industrial salt has been stripped of its minerals, elements and other factors leaving a denatured salt that is 99.9% sodium chloride.  This process leaves table salt hardened and it remains in the body for a long time. The sodium, however, in Celtic sea salt is less concentrated and leaves the body quickly.  It also neutralizes and flushes out excess sodium from the body.  Ok, I’ll step down from my salt soap box…

Last weekend we were dining at a new restaurant and on their menu was steak tartare.  I had been planning to make this before and having tried it years ago I was intrigued as to how the restaurant would serve it.  Presentation-wise, it was perfect but the overall flavor was lacking something and I just couldn’t put my finger on it nor could our friends.  After making the tartare last night, I realized it was a combination of ingredients that were missing from the restaurant version.

Serves 2
adapted from Salted

240g (12oz.) lean beef tenderloin (well-trimmed)
1 1/2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
2 egg yolks
4 anchovies, minced
1 tablespoon capers, rinsed and chopped
1/2 teaspoon red wine vinegar
extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons finely chopped red onion
1 tablespoon parsley, chopped
pinch or two of Maldon sea salt flakes (topping for the yolks)
4 slices of baguette, toasted, for serving

Keep the beef refrigerated until ready to use. Slice the tenderloin thinly and chop until the meat is fine enough to mold. In a bowl mix beef with Worcestershire sauce, pepper, red onion, capers, vinegar, and mustard until well blended.  Add a splash of extra-virgin olive oil and mix.  If you don’t have a stainless steel cooking ring (this allows to lightly pack the ring with the beef mixture), you can use your fingers to shape the meat into rounds on two plates (no larger than 4-inches). Make a well in the center of each meat patty and place an egg yolk in each well.  Serve steak tartare with toasted bread slices.

The Culinary Chase’s Note:  The key to a successful and healthy steak tartare is to make sure the beef is very fresh and to use eggs that are also fresh.  When ready to eat, mix the egg yolk into the meat mixture and spread onto a baguette slice.  Add a tablespoon size of Dijon mustard to the plate for additional dipping.  Enjoy!

Asian-style Rice Noodle Beef Salad

Asian Style Rice Noodle Beef Salad by The Culinary ChaseOur Asian experience seems like a lifetime ago but whenever we have a dish that reminds of food from that side of the globe, it almost feels like we’re back there. Almost. I’ve made this Asian-style rice noodle beef salad many times in Hong Kong and Bangkok but last night, as we sat around the table, the aromas from the food immediately made us think of the past.  What’s your favorite food memory?

Serves 4
250g rice vermicelli noodles
2 tablespoons fish sauce
1 to 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon chili powder
250g thinly sliced raw beef (tip: freeze beef for an hour and use a mandoline)
1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
yellow and red cocktail tomatoes, halved
handful of fresh mint leaves
handful of fresh coriander

1. Place noodles in a bowl and cover with boiling water. Stir occasionally for 10 minutes or until softened. Drain.

2. In a small bowl, whisk together fish sauce, lime juice, sugar and chili powder until the sugar dissolves.

IMG_17133. In a hot large non-stick pan, flash-fry the strips of beef. You may need to do this in several batches as you want the meat to brown slightly.  Overcrowding the meat will produce steam and a horrible shade of grey. Place browned meat in a large bowl and repeat process until all the meat is cooked.

4. Combine noodles, beef, onion, tomato, mint, coriander and the dressing in a large bowl and toss until combined. Serve salad on plates and drizzle over any remaining dressing in the bottom of the bowl.

The Culinary Chase’s Note:
A super easy dish to whip up with amazing punches of flavor. Enjoy!

Tuscan Braised Beef Short Ribs

Tuscan Braised Beef Short Ribs by The Culinary Chase

It’s hard to believe we’ve been back in Canada now three weeks…a slightly hectic time to say the least.  Settling into a routine has been hit and miss for me and is one of the reasons for not posting regularly.  It can be a challenge balancing the time I used to spend on my own while John was at work, to him now being home all the time.  We’re starting to find a rhythm that works for us incorporating fitness time together, focusing on the job hunt, social activities and me doing what I love to do best – cooking and networking.

We had a dinner party Saturday night with Wayne and Jenn…friends who we met four years ago.  They came to visit us in May while we were still in NY and yet our Saturday get together felt as though we hadn’t been away at all.  We’re so comfortable being around them and feel so lucky to have them in our lives.  An evening filled with laughter and thought-provoking conversation.  A good time was had by all.

Serves 4 to 6
adapted from Fine Cooking

4-1/2 lb. beef short ribs
3 tablespoons olive oil
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
2/3 cup diced carrots
2/3 cup diced onions
2/3 cup diced fennel
1 tablespoon fresh thyme
1 tablespoon minced garlic
2 teaspoons paprika
2 teaspoons ground coriander
2 or 3 anchovy filets
1-1/2 cups dry red wine
1 cup canned crushed tomatoes
1/2 cup beef broth (sodium reduced)
chopped fresh parsley

Preheat oven to 325f. In an 8-quart Dutch oven, heat 2 tablespoons of the oil over medium heat. Season the ribs well with salt and pepper. Add half of the ribs to the pot (or as many as will fit without overlapping), and cook, turning with tongs, until nicely browned on all sides (do the ends as well), 3 to 4 minutes per side. Transfer the ribs to a plate and repeat with the remaining ribs.

beef ribs by The Culinary ChaseAdd the remaining 1 tablespoon oil, carrots, onions, and fennel to the pan. Season with salt. Cook, stirring and scraping up any browned bits on the bottom of the pan, until the vegetables are soft and lightly browned, 6 to 8 minutes. Add the thyme, garlic, paprika, coriander, and anchovies, and cook, stirring, until well distributed and fragrant, about 1 minute.

Pour the red wine into the pot and cook, stirring to scrape up any browned bits on the bottom of the pot. Transfer all the ribs (and any juices that have accumulated) back into the pot. Pour 1-1/2 cups water, tomatoes, and beef broth over the ribs, arrange the ribs as evenly as possible.

Bring the liquid to a simmer, cover, and place the pot in the oven. Cook, turning the ribs with tongs about every 40 minutes, until they are fork tender, about 2-3/4 hours. (The meat may fall off most of the bones about midway through cooking; this does not mean that the ribs are fully tender).

braised beef ribs by The Culinary Chase

The Culinary Chase’s Note: Fork tender and flipping delicious! I served this with a creamy polenta.  Make this ahead of time and serve it the next day for an enhanced flavor.  Enjoy!