Monday, February 4, 2019

Classic American Beef Stew

This is my take on classic American beef stew: chunks of tender beef braised in a rich yet not heavy brown gravy sauce with sautéed onions, celery, carrots, potatoes and peas. The mushrooms are optional but the addition of a little soy sauce and fish sauce is a total must umami booster that I picked up from Kenji Lopez-Alt's excellent cookbook Food Lab and his blog Serious Eats. Now this is some serious comfort food!



Ingredients:
4-5 lbs. boneless beef chuck, trimmed and cut into 2" dice
Salt & pepper
1 cup flour
1/4 cup vegetable oil

1 large onion, diced

6 cloves garlic, chopped
3 stalks celery, sliced
8 oz. button or cremini mushrooms, halved or cut into thick slices (optional)
2 medium carrots, peeled and cut thirds
1 cup red wine
3 tbsp. tomato paste
1 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 tbsp. soy sauce
1 tsp. fish sauce
4 cups beef stock
6 cups water
3 bay leaves
8 sprigs thyme
8 sprigs Italian parsley

6 medium carrots, peeled and cut into large dice

3 lbs. Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut into large dice
1 tsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. black pepper
1 cup frozen peas

1. Place the diced beef chuck on a lined baking sheet and pat dry with paper towels. Season generously with salt and pepper. 

2. Place the flour on a large plate and add the seasoned beef, a few pieces at a time; coat on all sides and return back to the baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining beef until all the pieces are coated with flour. 

3. Heat 1/4 cup of vegetable oil in a large cast iron pot or Dutch oven over medium high heat until hot. Add the beef to the pan (do not overcrowd - cook in batches as needed) and sauté until the beef is well browned on all sides. Transfer the beef to a plate and cook the remaining beef until done. 

4. Bring the heat back up to medium high in the same pot with the drippings. Add the diced onion and cook for a few minutes until translucent. Add the garlic, celery, and mushrooms and sauté for 10 minutes or until the veggies start to brown. 

5. Add the reserved beef and its accumulated juices back to the pan and deglaze with red wine. 

6. Stir in the tomato paste, soy sauce, fish sauce, beef stock, water, 2 carrots (cut into thirds), bay leaves, thyme and parsley. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer and partially cover the pot. Simmer for 1 1/2 hours or until the beef is super tender. Remove the carrots, bay leaves, thyme and parsley stems from the pot and discard.

7. Add the remaining 6 diced carrots and potatoes to the pot and cook another 20 minutes or until the they are just tender and the sauce has thickened. Taste and season with 1 tsp. salt and 1 tsp. black pepper, as needed. Stir in the peas, turn off the heat and let sit for 5-10 minutes before serving.  


Diced carrots, celery, garlic, onion, parsley, and 2 carrots cut into thirds for the initial braising.


Diced Yukon Gold potatoes and quartered crimini mushrooms.


Beef chuck for pot roast.


Pat the cubed beef dry with paper towels and season well with kosher salt and black pepper.


Coat the seasoned beef with flour.


Tomato paste, soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, fish sauce and beef stock.


Brown the beef in batches and set aside on a plate.


In the pan drippings, sauce the diced onion.


Add the garlic, celery (and mushrooms, if using), and sauté until the veggies are lightly browned.


Return the beef and its accumulated juices to the pot and deglaze with red wine. 


Add the tomato paste.


Stir in the beef broth, water, soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, and fish sauce.


Add 2 carrots, bay leaves, thyme and parsley. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer and partially cover the pot. Simmer for 1 1/2 hours or until the beef is tender. Discard the carrots, bay leaves, thyme and parsley stems.


Add the remaining 6 diced carrots and potatoes to the pot and cook another 20 minutes or until the they are just tender and the sauce has thickened. Taste and season with 1 tsp. salt and 1 tsp. black pepper, as needed. Stir in the peas, turn off the heat and let sit for 5-10 minutes before serving. Dinner (or lunch, or breakfast) is served!

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Arugula, Green Apple, Golden Raisin, Dill & Sorghum Salad with Lemon Poppyseed Dressing

This recipe was inspired by a recent Gobble dinner kit I received. I switched to Gobble from Blue Apron on the recommendation of my boss because there's a lot less less prep involved and I can bust out a fresh meal for two in less than 20 minutes (yup, sadly it's true, but I don't make everything from scratch for dinner on weekdays cuz I still work full time and need to destress after those long daily commutes). The salad was the accompaniment for pan-seared salmon and was light, delicious and had just the right amount of tartness from the apple and lemon juice to make it a perfect pairing for the fish. If you can't find sorghum you can easily sub with bulgar wheat, couscous, pearled barley, quinoa, or even freekeh - an ancient grain (green durum wheat) that's becoming much more readily available these days due to its current reputation as the next bestest super grain on the market).


Serves 4:

Ingredients:
1 cup cooked sorghum (or bulgur, couscous, pearled barley, quinoa, freekeh)

4 cups arugula or any blend of your favorite salad greens
1/2 cup golden raisins
1 Granny Smith or other green apple, cored and cut into small dice
1/4 cup minced fresh dill
1/4 cup fresh Italian or flat-leaf parsley, coarsely chopped
4 scallions, finely sliced

1 lemon, quartered
Salt & pepper
Lemon Poppyseed Dressing (homemade or store-bought)

1. Cook the sorghum (or other wheat or grain) according to package directions; drain and set aside to cool. 

2. Combine the arugula, raisins, diced apple, minced dill, parsley, scallions and cooked sorghum together in a large bowl and toss gently to mix. 

2. Season with salt and pepper, then squeeze in as much of the lemon juice as you like, according to your taste. 

3. Add just enough of the lemon poppyseed dressing to coat all the ingredients and toss gently (I prefer to use my hands, to do this wearing disposable gloves).

Great served as a side to pan-seared salmon or other fish.


 A great accompaniment to pan-seared salmon.


Monday, January 14, 2019

Roasted Mustard and Spice Crusted Pork Tenderloin with Garlic, Shallot & White Wine Cream Sauce

This is my adaptation of the "Everything-Crusted Pork Tenderloin" recipe in Fine Cooking's Oct/Nov 2018 issue. It is a simple yet elegant dish that can be made for either a weekday meal or for a dinner with guests. 

Since I didn't have poppy seed in the pantry, I used Nigella seed instead (which has a similar texture), and granulated onion instead of minced dried onion. I also pan-seared the meat first (using the same pan to make the sauce with the drippings), and held it at a slightly longer roasting time at higher temperature of 450F instead of 400F.



Ingredients:

2 pork tenderloins
3 tbsp. Honey Dijon mustard (or 2 tbsp. Dijon mustard+1 tbsp. honey)

Spice Rub:

1 tbsp. granulated garlic
1 tbsp. granulated onion
1 tbsp. nigella or poppy seed
1 tbsp. toasted white sesame seed
1 tsp. kosher salt

4 tbsp. unsalted butter

8 cloves garlic, finely chopped (about 1/4 cup)
1 large shallot, finely chopped (about 1/4 cup)
2 cups low sodium chicken broth
2 cups dry white wine
2 tbsp. sherry or apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 tsp. black pepper
2 tbsp. finely chopped fresh parsley (preferably Italian or flat-leaf)

1. Place the oven rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 450F. 


2. Place a flat rack onto a foil-lined roasting pan or baking sheet and set aside. 


3. Add the spice rub ingredients together in a small bowl and mix well to combine.


4. Pat the tenderloins dry with paper towels and place onto a large piece of waxed paper or a platter. 


5. Rub the mustard over both tenderloins. Sprinkle the spice rub over the tenderloins to completely cover. 


6. Heat 1 tbsp. olive oil in a large skillet and saute the tenderloins, about 2-3 minutes per side, until lightly browned. 


7. Transfer the tenderloins to the rack over the baking sheet. 


8. Roast the tenderloins for 20-25 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 140F. 


9. In the meantime, make the sauce: using the same pan you browned the pork in, melt the butter over medium-high heat. Add the chopped garlic and shallots and cook 5-6 minutes or until translucent and the butter just starts to brown. Add the chicken stock, wine and vinegar and bring to a boil. Cook for about 10-15 minutes or until the mixture has reduced by half. Add the heavy cream and black pepper and continue cooking over a high simmer, whisking frequently, until the sauce has thickened (5-10 minutes). Turn off heat and stir in the chopped parsley.


10. When the tenderloins have reached an internal temperature of 140F, remove them to a chopping board, loosely tent with foil, and let rest for 8-10 minutes (temperature after resting should be 145F, which is recommended for this cut of pork). Slice the tenderloins, plate, and drizzle with some of the sauce. 


11. Serve with the remaining sauce on the side. Great accompaniments for this dish are bulgar wheat with roasted garlic and fresh herbs, and sautéed broccolini. 


Chopped shallots, parsley and garlic, granulated onion, granulated garlic, Charnushka (Nigella seeds - you can also use poppy seeds), toasted white sesame seeds, Dijon mustard. 


 2 pork tenderloins.

 Slather the tenderloins on all sides with mustard.

 Roll the tenderloins in the spice rub until covered on all sides.


Saute the tenderloins in a hot skillet with 1 tbsp. olive oil until browned on all sides, then place on a rack over a foil-lined baking sheet and roast in a preheated 450F oven for 20-25 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 140F. Remove the tenderloins from the oven, tent loosely with foil and let rest 8-10 minutes.

In the meantime, make the sauce: melt the butter over medium-high heat. 

 Add the chopped garlic and shallots and cook 5-6 minutes or until translucent and the butter just starts to brown. 

 Add the chicken stock, wine and vinegar and bring to a boil. Cook for about 10-15 minutes or until the mixture has reduced by half. Add the heavy cream and black pepper and continue cooking over a high simmer, whisking frequently, until the sauce has thickened (5-10 minutes). 

 Turn off heat and stir in the chopped parsley.


 After the pork has rested 8-10 minutes, slice into 1/2" thick slices.

Great served with sautéed broccolini and bulgur wheat with green peas, roasted garlic, lemon and herbs.

Ladle some of the white wine sauce over the pork slices and serve the rest on the side. 



Thursday, August 9, 2018

Cantonese-Style Shrimp Salad with Mayonnaise, Chinese Hot Mustard & Sesame Dressing

For years I've been obsessed with the idea of cooking up and hosting a grand Chinese New Year banquet in the tradition of those 10+ course feasts that my grandparents used to make for the occasion back in Taiwan. Both my grandpa (Ah-Kung) and grandma (Ah-Ma) were fabulous home cooks, so emulating their dishes has always been a totally daunting task. Their main courses always included steamed whole fish with scallions, ginger and garlic, sautéed jumbo prawns in a sweet and sour sauce, sea cucumber (not my fav but considered a delicacy), sautéed mustard greens or other veggies with dried scallops, tea-smoked pomfret with a light mayonnaise dipping sauce, and an assortment of cold appetizers including sliced Chinese ham, sliced abalone or top shell, snails in a sweet soy glaze, drunken chicken, jellyfish salad, and thousand year-old eggs (Pidan). There were other dishes, of course, but I'll have to confer with my mom and sis for a more complete compilation. Anyhoo, during a recent bout of obsessive Googling for Chinese banquet appetizers, I found a reference to Shrimp Salad in Mustard Mayonnaise http://redcook.net/2008/02/11/chinese-new-year-banquet/ in blog called Red Cook: Adventures from a Chinese Home Kitchens that looked particularly scrumptious. The recipe is apparently Cantonese in origin and part of the appetizer assortment made by the author for his Chinese New Year banquet. However, he didn't post a recipe and I couldn't find anything like it on the web. Not to be deterred though, I used Red Cook's brief description of the ingredients (shrimp, mayonnaise, Chinese mustard, and sesame oil) as the basis for coming up with my own version, and here it is. It's ridiculously easy to make and really, really good, if I say so myself. I'm adding it to my appetizer list for my dream Chinese New Year banquet, hopefully to be realized sooner rather than later. 



Dressing:
1 cup mayonnaise
2 tbsp. Chinese hot mustard (or 2 tbsp. water + 4 tsp. Chinese hot mustard powder)
2 tsp. sesame oil
2 tsp. honey or sugar

2 lbs. medium shrimp, shelled & deveined

Shredded Iceberg lettuce
Black sesame seeds
Lemon wedges

1. Combine all the dressing ingredients together in a bowl, stir well, cover and refrigerate until ready to use. 

2. Bring a medium pot of water to a boil then add the shrimp; simmer for a few minutes or until the shrimp just turn pink (do NOT overcook). Immediately remove the shrimp with a slotted spoon to an ice bath (large bowl of cold water with ice cubes) to stop the cooking. 

3. Pour the shrimp and iced water through a colander, shaking out as much water as possible and removing any ice cubes from the shrimp; pour the shrimp into a medium bowl. 

4. Toss the shrimp with the dressing, plate on a bed of shredded lettuce and serve; if not serving right away, cover and refrigerate.

5. Before serving, sprinkle the top of the shrimp with black sesame seeds. Garnish with lemon wedges on the side, if desired. 


For the dressing: Chinese hot mustard, mayonnaise, honey, and sesame oil. 


Poach the shrimp briefly until they just turn pink. 


Remove the shrimp to an ice bath to stop the cooking.  

Toss the shrimp with the dressing.

 To serve: line a plate with shredded lettuce.


Plate the shrimp on top of the lettuce and sprinkle with black sesame seeds.  






Monday, August 6, 2018

Quick and Easy Pork Chile Verde

Normally I would make my own sauce for pork chile verde by roasting fresh tomatillos, Anaheim & Poblano chiles and blending them with sautéed onions, garlic, jalapeños, and green bell peppers https://thegrubfiles.blogspot.com/2012/06/pork-chile-verde.html. But when I'm short on time, this is a super quick and easy way of making this dish that still yields delicious results. 


5 lbs. pork butt or shoulder, trimmed & cut into large cubes
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
4 scallions, chopped
1/2 bunch cilantro, chopped
1 fresh jalapeno, seeded and chopped
1 28-oz. can green enchilada sauce
1 4-oz. can diced green chiles
1 7-oz. can whole jalapenos
1 tbsp. tomato paste
4 cups water

Seasonings:
1 tbsp. ground cumin
1 tbsp. Mexican oregano
1 tsp. granulated garlic
2 tsp. ground coriander
1 tsp. black pepper
2 tsp. sugar
(Do not add salt because the canned enchilada sauce & chiles are salted)

Shredded Mexican cheese blend and chopped cilantro for garnish

1. Heat 2 tbsp. olive oil in a large, heavy pot or Dutch oven over medium high heat. Add the onions and saute until translucent, about 5 minutes.

2. Add the garlic and saute for 1-2 minutes until fragrant. Add the pork and cook until lightly browned. 

3. Add the scallions, cilantro and fresh jalapeno and stir to combine. Add the enchilada sauce, canned chiles, tomato paste and water and bring to a boil. 


4. Stir in the seasonings, reduce heat, partially cover the pot, and simmer for 2 hours until the meat is very tender, stirring occasionally.

5. Serve as-is or with rice and/or refried beans on the side. Garnish with shredded cheese and chopped fresh cilantro.

Chopped onion, scallions, cilantro, jalapeño, and garlic. 

Pork shoulder, cut into large cubes. 

Saute onion first about 4-5 minutes until translucent, then add the garlic and cook another 1-2 minutes  

Add the pork and cook until lightly browned.  

Add the chopped cilantro, scallion and jalapeño. 

Add the enchilada sauce, canned diced green chiles and canned whole green chiles. 


Stir in seasoning, bring to a boil, then partially cover and reduce heat to a simmer. Cook for about 2 hours or until the meat is very tender.