Family Recipes Cookbook

The cookbook I never got around to finishing…

Chicken Stock 12/28/2013

Filed under: CrockPot/Slow Cooker,Fall,Karin DeArmas,Reijo Pitkanen,Soups,Winter — kdearmas @ 1:40 AM
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We like to make our own stock with tons of flavor and lots of chicken fat and butter. We use the stock in many many recipes, including basics like rice or more complex soups. It’s the main reason we do Beer Can Chicken, to make stock.

We start with Beer Can Chicken.

Once the chicken is cool enough, strip off all meat and store for future recipes. I’m still developing those, including a work-in-progress Southwestern Chicken Chowder. We recently got a Food Saver for better storage of the extra chicken.

  1. After you’ve stripped off and stored the meat, take a cleaver and halve the carcass and the thighs to get the marrow exposed during cooking. Do the same thing with the wings. Split the rib cage. There is not real right way to do this.
  2. Put all bones, skins, and fat into a crock pot.
  3. Pour leftover beer and one more full beer into the pot.
  4. Add about a one quart bag of leeks, onions, and ends-and-stems of everything we’ve collected. We save all ends and stems of vegetables like carrots, onions, leeks, celery, etc. We store them in the freezer until it’s time to make a stock.
  5. Cover with water
  6. 6-8 hours on lowest setting, maybe 10 hours depending on what’s left on the bones.

Next day:

  1. Strain into a stock pot to remove most solids (all the chunky stuff). You are left with a very cloudy liquid.
  2. Reduce, reduce, reduce to your taste.
  3. To clarify, add egg whites, then strain them out.
  4. Use fine strainer to funnel into bottles for storage. We save 360 Vodka (which is a very decent and reasonably priced Vodka) bottles with the Grolsch-type tops for stocks.
  5. Fat plug optional: Butter on top floats and seals the neck, kind of like a wax plug. This helps preserve your stock from getting air into it. Good for if you intend to keep the stock for some time. Not needed if you intend to use stock quickly. If you want to do a fat plug: Quarter/half stick melted and poured on top of stock once it’s in the bottle.
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Julia Child’s Beef Bourguignon 09/30/2013

This is pretty much Julie Child’s Beef Bourguignon recipe. Which I love.  And would make more often if it weren’t so damned complicated to follow. Then one day I was making it and realized the recipe itself isn’t that complicated or difficult, just the way it’s written in the book is so damn hard to follow. Then I remember I’m dealing with Bitch Julie (who I love, but I hear her screeching voice in my head every time I get frustrated by one of her instructions). It’s not that she isn’t an amazing chef and provides detailed instructions. It’s that it’s so freaking hard to just extract one recipe from her book without having mastered all the previous ones. You have to flip back and forth and look stuff up. No wonder that crazy lady who wrote Julie & Julia is crazy.

So I decided to re-write the way the recipe is written and provide my instructions on how I make it less frustrating and confusing to make this. Because Beef Bourguignon is amazingly delicious and should be made more often. It’s also delicious as left overs so the time put into it usually guarantees you two additional nights of not having to cook. I am not trying to improve upon Ms. Julia in any way (how could I?) but only provide enough forethought should you decide to tackle this recipe. Oh, and remind myself what to do in 4-5 months when I try this again.

A few rules I follow:

  1. Don’t try this if you don’t have a dish washer. Unless you love washing dishes by hand. The only way to do this is to use lots and lots of dishes.
  2. Start with a clean kitchen and an empty dishwasher. You will need it.
  3. Prep all your ingredients in advance. ALL. Every garlic mashed, every tablespoon of flour put out in its own little bowl. Every onion and carrot sliced and put in their own bowls. Herb bag prepped ahead of time. Beef dried (do not forget to dry the beef or you will hear Bitch Julia screaming at you when it doesn’t brown like it’s supposed to). Butter sticks cut up in the right amounts for each step. Everything set out in neat little bowls ready to grab at just the right moment. Yeah, it uses a lot of dishes. Hence rule #1. But it will be so worth it.
  4. Clean up as you go! Normally I’m not like this. But in this case, take every bit of downtime in this recipe to clean up. Otherwise you will have a disaster of a kitchen just when you’re ready to pour that glass of wine and relax before the final steps of the recipe. Which ruins the mood of accomplishment you get when you make it through this recipe.

Cooking equipment you have to have:

  • A casserole (like a Le Creuset)
  • A skillet
  • A large sauce pan: you can use this for cooking broth, then cooking the bacon, then the sauce, then the potatoes (I make various variations on my smashed potatoes); there is enough time between each step to clean the sauce pan so you can reuse it
  • A colander or sieve (preferably one that fits nicely over the large saucepan)
  • A slotted spoon
  • A sharp chef’s knife

Cooking utensils it’s very very nice to have:

  • A fat skimmer
  • A garlic press
  • Lots and lots of bowls.

Other items of note:

  • Ingredients: Don’t skimp. You are not going to go through all of this only to use sub-standard ingredients. Go organic (or trusted local) and grass-fed sustainably farmed beef.
  • KNOW YOUR OVEN! The recipe says it will take 3-4 hours for the beef to cook. My oven does it in 2. It says simmer the onions for 40-50 minutes, my stovetop takes 30. Don’t just throw it in for the 3-4 hours. Check every hour for tenderness to gauge your oven.
  • “Healthy” substitutes: You’re on your own. This is French cooking so I don’t know why you’d try to find lower calorie ways to do it. Otherwise don’t try it IMO. This dish is one of your rewards for regular healthy habits. Trying to reduce the calories of a dish like this probably means you shouldn’t be trying it at all.

Time commitment: I like to make this on a cold and rainy day and I pretty much commit my day to it. But so you know, here is how the time commitment breakdown looks:

  • 1 ½ – 2 hours of prep time before you even start cooking anything.
  • 45 min – 1 hour of initial cook time
  • 1-2 hour (depending on your oven) break (hint, this is when you start the clean-up process)
  • 15 – 30 min of next stage cook time
  • 1-2 hour break time (more clean-up time)
  • 30 minutes finish time to bring to table

Where I’ve deviated from Ms. Julia without her voice screaming in my head and without dire results, I’ve noted with an asterisks and the reason below.

I’ve grouped the ingredient list by two ways here. One is by type which is how you’d make your grocery list. Then I followed by grouping ingredients in the order they are used in the recipe.

Meat Vegetables Staples Herbs/Spices
6 ounces bacon* 1 carrot, sliced 2 tablespoons flour Salt and pepper
3 pounds lean stewing beef, cut into 2-inch cubes 1 onion, sliced 3 1/2 tablespoons olive oil ½ teaspoon thyme
2 cloves mashed garlic 3 cups red wine, young and full-bodied (like Beaujolais, Cotes du Rhone or Burgundy) A crumbled bay leaf
18 to 24 white onions, small* 4 cups brown beef stock* Herb bouquet (4 parsley sprigs, one-half bay leaf, one-quarter teaspoon thyme, tied in cheesecloth)
1 pound mushrooms, fresh and quartered 1 tablespoon tomato paste**
3 ½ tablespoons butter

Here’s how you’ll need the ingredients in order of the stages of the recipe:

Getting the casserole started Pearl Onions (or shallots) & Mushrooms Finishing the Sauce
6 ounces bacon* 18 to 24 white onions, small* ½ cup stock if needed
3 pounds lean stewing beef, cut into 2-inch cubes 1 ½ tablespoons butter (for onions) Salt and pepper
1 carrot, sliced ½ tablespoons oil (for onions)
1 onion, sliced ½ cup of stock
1 tablespoon olive oil Herb bouquet (4 parsley sprigs, one-half bay leaf, one-quarter teaspoon thyme, tied in cheesecloth)*
Salt/pepper 1 pound mushrooms, fresh and quartered*
2 tablespoons flour 2 tablespoons oil (for mushrooms)
2 tablespoons butter (for mushrooms)
3 cups red wine, young and full-bodied (like Beaujolais, Cotes du Rhone or Burgundy)
2 ½ to 3 ½ cups brown beef stock
1 tablespoon tomato paste**
2 cloves mashed garlic
½ teaspoon thyme
A crumbled bay leaf

Getting the casserole started

  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
  2. Remove bacon rind (see below about bacon substitution)* Cut bacon into sticks 1 ½ inches long. Simmer bacon for 10 minutes in 1 ½ quarts water. Drain and dry.
  3. Sauté bacon in 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a flameproof casserole over moderate heat for 2 to 3 minutes to brown lightly. Remove to a side dish with a slotted spoon.
  4. Dry beef in paper towels; it will not brown if it is damp. Heat bacon fat in casserole until almost smoking. Add beef, a few pieces at a time, and sauté until nicely browned on all sides. Add it to the bacon on the side.
  5. In the same fat, brown the sliced vegetables. Pour out the excess fat.*
  6. Return the beef and bacon to the casserole with the onions and carrots and toss with ½ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper.
  7. Then sprinkle on the flour and toss again to coat the beef lightly. Set casserole uncovered in middle position of preheated oven for 4 minutes.
  8. Toss the meat again and return to oven for 4 minutes (this browns the flour and coves the meat with a light crust).
  9. Remove casserole and turn oven down to 325 degrees.
  10. Stir in wine and 2 to 3 cups stock, just enough so that the meat is barely covered.
  11. Add the tomato paste, garlic, herbs and bacon rind (see *1). Bring to a simmer on top of the stove.
  12. Cover casserole and set in lower third of oven. Regulate heat so that liquid simmers very slowly for 3 to 4 hours (KNOW YOUR OVEN!). The meat is done when a fork pierces it easily.

Pearl Onions (or shallots) & Mushrooms (While the beef is cooking, prepare the onions and mushrooms; I do this in the second hour of the beef cooking; if you’re oven actually takes the 3-4 hours, I recommend doing this in the 3rd hour)

  1. Heat 1 ½ tablespoons butter with one and ½ tablespoons of the oil until bubbling in a skillet.
  2. Add onions and sauté over moderate heat for about 10 minutes, rolling them so they will brown as evenly as possible. Be careful not to break their skins. You cannot expect them to brown uniformly.
  3. Add ½ cup of the stock, salt and pepper to taste and the herb bouquet.
  4. Cover and simmer slowly for 40 to 50 minutes until the onions are perfectly tender but hold their shape, and the liquid has evaporated. Remove herb bouquet and set onions aside.
  5. Wipe out skillet and heat 2 tablespoons oil and 2 tablespoons butter over high heat. As soon as you see butter has begun to subside, indicating it is hot enough, add mushrooms.
  6. Toss and shake pan for 4 to 5 minutes. As soon as they have begun to brown lightly, remove from heat.

Finishing the Sauce & Casserole:

  • When the meat is tender, pour the contents of the casserole into a sieve or colander set over a saucepan.
  • Wash out the casserole and return the beef, bacon, and onions/carrots to it. Distribute the cooked pearl onions (or shallots) and mushrooms on top.
  • Skim fat off sauce in saucepan (this is where a fat skimmer really comes in handy; otherwise use a spoon but it’s not as easy).
  • Simmer sauce for a minute or 2, skimming off additional fat as it rises (I actually do it for longer than 2 minutes but I like a slightly thicker sauce). You should have about 2 ½ cups of sauce thick enough to coat a spoon lightly.

– If too thin, boil it down rapidly.

–  If too thick, mix in a few tablespoons stock (this is why you keep about a ¼ – ½ cup stock in reserve).

– Taste carefully for seasoning.

  • Pour sauce over meat and vegetables.
  • Cover and simmer 2 to 3 minutes, basting the meat and vegetables with the sauce several times.

Serve in casserole, or arrange stew on a platter surrounded with potatoes (recipe and link to follow), noodles or rice, and decorated with parsley.

Substitutions and Comments:

­   *1: Original recipe calls for “One 6-ounce piece of chunk bacon” but I don’t generally have chunks of bacon in my fridge. I don’t think I’ve had catastrophic results just using 6 ounces of cut up bacon.

­   *2:  I have used pearl onions when available, which is what the recipe calls for. When I can’t get pearl onions, I have substituted shallots. I’ve had French people not notice the difference or even prefer the shallots.

­   *3: Seriously, you want to throw out delicious bacon fat? There’s a step later about skimming fat that’s perfectly appropriate but throwing out delicious bacon fat at this stage is heathen and you should be shot.

­   *4: If you make your own beef stock, great! If not, I recommend Better than Bouillon.

­   *5: I keep these handy for homemade tea and herb pouches. Reusable and washable.

­   *6: For mushrooms I personally like shitakes. But crimini are perfectly fine, too.

**Recipes like these that call for a single tablespoon of tomato paste are so annoying because then you have to open a whole can of tomato paste for only one tablespoon then figure out how to use the rest of it within a week or so before it goes bad. I plan on making a pasta sauce within three days to use up the rest of the tomato paste.

 

“I Fall to Pieces” Beef Stew 11/25/2010

 

Serves 4

 

Beef Stew:

 

3 pounds Chuck roast, cubed

2 beef shank with marrow

2-3 tablespoons Korean red pepper flakes

1/2 cup bacon, cubed

1/4 cup carrots, brunoise

1/4 cup celery, brunoise

1/2 cup onions, bruinoise

1 tablespoon tomato paste

2 tablespoons flour

6-8 cippolini onions, peeled, halved

1 cup carrots, large chunks

2 sprigs thyme

1 bay leaf

4 cloves garlic, peeled

1.1/2 cups beef stock

3-4 cups red wine (dry)

 

1. Pat meat dry and season generously with salt, pepper and korean red pepper flakes, try not to weep as meat must be dry in order to brown properly

2. Fry bacon cubes till crisp, remove, pour off half the fat set aside, resist the urge to do a shot of bacon fat with bacon bits, it will do you no good.

3. Brown meat in bacon fat, do this in batches, you don’t want to crowd the meat, it needs space (sob), set the browned meat in a bowl so to catch any juices

4. Pour off a bit of the beef fat and add mirepoix (carrots,celery. onion), bay leaf & thyme, season with salt & pepper and sweat

5. Add tomato paste, push the mirepoix off to the side of the pan and make a little solo area for the tomato paste, push and prod it a bit till it starts to turn rusty in color, when that happens mix it all up together

6. Sprinkle flour over the veg and stir that a bit to cook the flour

7. Add in carrot chunks, cippolini onions and any bacon bits left over from your constant snacking. Stir that in as well

8. Pour a small bit of the beef stock in to the pan, just enough to get all the fond, really get in deep to get to the bottom of it all

9. Add beef chunks along with all of the juice that may have seeped out

10. Add remaining beef stock and whatever wine you have not guzzled along side the bits of bacon.

11. Cover, put on back burner and let it stew, simmer for about 3 hours..on low. Go out and get your nails done or go to best friends house, do something constructive, do not stare at it willing it to be done whilst drinking more wine or eating bacon.

12. It will be done when the meat is soft and welcoming, the marrow has oozed from the bones and the onions have disintegrated in to gooey sweet bits.

13. If you’ve got it in you.. this would be wonderful with buttery mashed potatoes…though you could add a few cube potatoes in about 2 hours in to the cooking time if you like.

 

Parsley Lemon Horseradish Gremolata:

 

1 cup chopped parsely

2 tablespoons lemon zest

1 tiny garlic clove, smashed to pieces

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 teaspoon korean red pepper flakes

3 tablespoons fresh grated horseradish

squeeze, lemon juice

fleur du sel

 

1. Combine everything but the fleur du sel.

2. Sprinkle a bit over bowl of warm stew, add flurry of fleur du sel..relax enjoy…

 

http://www.food52.com/recipes/2495_i_fall_to_pieces_beef_stew

 

Coffee and Soy Sauce Pot Roast 03/28/2010

Filed under: Adrienne DeArmas,CrockPot/Slow Cooker,Main Course — dearmasa @ 1:12 PM

3-4 lb. chuck roast (cheapest hunk of beef, with or without the bone)

1/2 c. soy sauce

1 1/2 c. espresso (if using coffee pot coffee, use more)

2 tbs. minced garlic

2 onions, thinly sliced

peppercorns to taste

This got HUGE thumbs up from the meat lovers… Given how easy it was to make, they can have it every week. Place half of the onions in the bottom of the crock pot. Put the meat in, add the garlic to the top of the meat. Pour the soy sauce and coffee over the meat. Top with the rest of the onions. Sprinkle peppercorns on top. Cook for 9 1/2 hours.

When done cooking, remove the meat carefully so it doesn’t fall apart in the crock pot, and set aside, on a plate for serving. Add cornstarch to the “au jus” for gravy OR serve as is, with a really yummy crusty bread for dipping.

For a next day meal, add water (not too much) to au jus for French Onion soup base…

 

Slow Cooker Adobo Beef 12/26/2009

Filed under: Adrienne DeArmas,CrockPot/Slow Cooker,Main Course — dearmasa @ 10:05 AM

    Ingredients

  • 1 small sweet onion, sliced thinly
  • 8 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 3/4 cup low sodium soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup vinegar
  • 3 pounds “stew beef” (e.g. the cheapest cut you can find – don’t use good/lean beef)

   Directions

Place beef in a slow cooker. Add remaining ingredients. Cook on Low for 6 to 8 hours. Serve on noodles or with crusty bread.

Note: adjust proportions of additional ingredients to the weight of the beef if you have more or less beef that 3 lbs.