Tag Archives: beef

Crock Pot Beef with Broccoli

I love Crock Pot days because the aromas wrap around you like a blanket as soon as you enter the house. The perfect welcome from cold nights and long days at work.

Asian flavors are my secret to creating interesting dishes with the Crock Pot. Otherwise, the typical pot roast or beef stews just get a little old. But soy! Sugar! Sesame oil? Now you have something different.

This slow-cooker version of the classic cheap Chinese dish recreates the thick, dark gravy but doesn’t give you the chewy texture you get from beef strips stir-fried with broccoli. Instead, the beef is fork tender and full of hours worth of flavor.  Warm and satisfying from your nose to your toes.

I ended up cooking the broccoli separately and serving it over the rice, but the recipe has you cook it with the beef. I simply didn’t get home in time for this step.

Crock Pot Beef with Broccoli

Ingredients (serves 4)

  • 1 lb. boneless beef chuck roast, sliced into thick strips
  • 1 c. beef stock
  • 1/2 c. soy sauce
  • 1/3 c. brown sugar
  • 1 T sesame oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 T cornstarch
  • 2 heads worth of broccoli florets
  • Cooked rice (I used brown rice)

Place beef in Crock Pot.

Combine in small bowl the stock, soy sauce, brown sugar, oil and garlic. Pour over beef. Cover and cook on low, 6-8 hours.

In a cup, combine cornstarch with 2 T cooking liquid until smooth. Pour over beef and stir to combine. Add broccoli, cover and cook on high an additional 20-30 min. or until broccoli is cooked.

Serve over hot rice.

I topped mine with chopped scallions for an extra bite – highly recommend it. And a few sprinklings of sesame seeds.

Enjoy, friends! xoxo


Crock Pot Beef Short Ribs with Ancho Chiles and Polenta

In the past, the best beef short ribs I made involved searing the ribs, then slowly braising them in the oven, in a bath of red wine, beef stock and spices. The result was tender, falling-apart meat with a rich broth. The new me recreated the same delicious tastes with my Crock Pot – no searing or browning necessary.

I dusted the beef short ribs (these cost about $2.50 per package!) with salt, pepper and ancho chile powder, then threw them into the Crock Pot with some onion, garlic, leftover coffee, a few leftover diced tomatoes, dried chiles and beef stock. You really can use whatever you have leftover in the kitchen – carrots? Potatoes? Celery? Parsnips? Mushrooms? Add them!

I started making this meal with a published recipe, then realized I was changing so many thing that it was nothing like the original creation. So I suppose I can call this all my own.

Crock Pot Beef Short Ribs with Ancho Chiles


  • 2 whole dried ancho chiles, or other chile
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2 T pure maple syrup
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 2 T Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 or 1/2 can diced tomatoes, with juices
  • 1/2 c. brewed coffee
  • 6 lb. beef short ribs
  • 2 T ancho chile powder (I got mine at Fresh Market)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 c. beef broth (chicken broth would be fine)

Sprinkle short ribs with salt and pepper, then dust with ancho chile powder on all sides. Place in slow cooker. Follow with onion, garlic, maple syrup, lime juice, Worcestershire sauce, tomatoes, coffee and beef broth. Nestle dried chiles into the mixture. Turn slow cooker on low and cook for 8 to 8 1/2 hours.

When the short ribs are nearly done, use a spoon to skim off some of the fat. Taste for seasoning.

I made mine with quick-cooking polenta, which was delicious.

To serve, scoop polenta on plates, then top with short ribs, spooning juices over the top. Add parsley for color.

Hearty, deep with flavor and completely satisfying.

Beef Bourguignon

If Julia Child had tried this recipe, she would have thrown her 5-hour, Level Advanced boeuf bourguignon straight out the window. I can’t tell you the number of expletives that slipped through my lips as I bit into my first piece of tender, juicy meat, or licked the remains of a sauce rich with bits of bacon, wild mushrooms, black pepper and good red wine. I literally ran my finger over the plate to get every last bit.

This miraculously chic dish came from the cast-aways of my beef tenderloin extravaganza. That’s right – the more fatty, tissuey ends of the massive beef tenderloin. I sliced them thick and prepared them as Ina Garten would use a filet of beef mignon. The result was culinary magic.

I made a few changes to the recipe – for instance, using frozen pearl onions (who has that kind of time?) and reducing the amount of bacon (I didn’t have enough on hand).

I know that I said beef tenderloin should be a once-a-year kind of thing. But whoa, friends, am I rethinking my resolution.

Updated Beef Bourguignon


  • 1 (3-pound) filet of beef, trimmed, or 3 pounds of beef tenderloin
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, for seasoning plus 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons good olive oil
  • 1/4 pound bacon, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 1/2 cups good dry red wine, such as Burgundy or Chianti
  • 2 cups beef stock
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 sprig fresh thyme
  • 1/2 pound frozen pearl onions
  • 8 to 10 carrots, cut diagonally into 1-inch-thick slices
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 pound wild mushrooms (I used cremini), sliced 1/4-inch thick

With a sharp knife, cut the beef crosswise into 1-inch-thick slices. Salt and pepper the filets on both sides. In a large, heavy-bottomed pot (I used my Dutch oven) on medium-high heat, sear the slices of beef in batches with 2 to 3 tablespoons oil until browned on the outside and very rare inside, about 2 to 3 minutes on each side. Remove the fillets from the pan and set aside.

In the same pot, saute the bacon on medium-low heat for 5 minutes, until browned and crisp. Remove the bacon and set it aside. Drain all the fat, except 2 tablespoons, from the pot (or leave it…meh). Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds.

Deglaze the pot with the red wine and cook on high heat for 1 minute, scraping the bottom. Add the beef stock, tomato paste, thyme, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Bring to a boil and cook uncovered on medium-high heat for 10 minutes. Strain the sauce and return it to the pot. Add the frozen onions and carrots and simmer uncovered for 20 to 30 minutes, until the sauce is reduced and the vegetables are cooked.

With a fork, mash 2 tablespoons butter and the flour into a paste and whisk it gently into the sauce. Simmer for 2 minutes to thicken.

Meanwhile, saute the mushrooms separately in 1 tablespoon butter and 1 tablespoon oil for about 10 minutes, until browned and tender.

Add the beef slices, the mushrooms, and the bacon to the pan with the vegetables and sauce. Cover and reheat gently for 5 to 10 minutes. Do not overcook. Season, to taste, and serve immediately with crusty bread to mop up the sauce.

Le sigh. I don’t have any other good pictures, but let your minds wander…

I’ve already waxed on about how yummy this dish is. And it was kind of fun to make on a day when you have some time to devote to your kitchen creations.

Enjoy, friends!

Beef Tenderloin with Shallot Parsley Butter

Christmas dinner is all about extravagance in my house. Because it was just me and Grant this year – up in the mountains – I didn’t want to do a whole roast, but still wanted red meat. So I made my very first beef tenderloin, which turned out to be the most delicious, tender, juicy and fabulous thing I’ve ever made for Christmas.

I adapted the recipe from Cook’s Illustrated. They spent $1,200 testing the expensive tenderloin cut prepared various ways, so I felt OK spending $50 (on sale!). I bought one massive tenderloin that I had to hand-trim to get the tender mid-section ready for cooking. The center cut of the loin – called “Chateaubriand” – is roughly the middle third of the whole beef loin. The other ends have more fat and connective tissue – all of which I saved to make beef bourguignon later in the week.

Cook’s Illustrated is brilliant for a couple reasons: salting the meat and letting it rest 1 hour before cooking (you can see the salt start to draw out the juices, enhancing the flavor); roasting and THEN browning on the stove top (no “gray line”); and cooking in butter (drool).

This was one of those recipes that I was nervous about the whole way through – thinking I didn’t cook it long enough or did this/that wrong. But it came out perfectly and presented a true value of quality and quantity.

Beef Tenderloin with Shallot Parsley Butter

Ingredients (serves 4)

  • 1 beef tenderloin (2 lbs), center-cut, trimmed of fat and silver skin
  • 2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 2 T unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 T canola oil

Using kitchen twine, tie roast crosswise at 1 1/2 inch intervals. Sprinkle with salt and let stand at room temperature for around 1 hour. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 300 with oven rack in middle.

Pat roast dry with paper towels and sprinkle evenly with pepper. Spread butter all over the surface. Transfer to wire rack set in backing sheet. Roast until center of meat registers 125 degrees on your meat thermometer, flipping roast halfway through.

Heat oil in large, heavy skillet over medium-high until smoking. Place roast in and sear until well browned on all sides, 1-2 min. per side. Transfer to carving board and spread 2 T flavored butter (recipe below) over top of roast. Let rest 15 min. Remove twine and cut meat into 1/2 inch slices. Serve with remaining butter.

Shallot and parsley butter

Combine all of the below:

  • 4 T unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 shallot, minced
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 T parsley, minced
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper

Served simply with a side salad and roasted potatoes…almost too decadent for a quiet dinner for two…oh, who am I kidding?

We ate roughly half that night and I saved the rest for steak sandwiches the next night: crusty baguette split, then slathered with more of the shallot-parsley butter and topped with baby greens (or arugula), shaved Parm-Regg and thinly sliced steak (I gently reheated it at 200 degrees, so it was still medium-rare in the middle).
I have never had a steak sandwich so tender! Usually they are kinda hard to bite into. But this was too good.
Whew! I’m sweating just from remembering this. I highly recommend one splurge in your year – beef tenderloin at Christmas.
Enjoy, friends! xoxo

Indian Beef Lettuce Cups

I’m always looking for new, healthy ways to eat beef. I don’t particularly care for ground beef: I think Five Guys is horrible, I prefer turkey-sausage meatballs and  I hate Sloppy Joes.

Mixing beef with complex Indian flavors helps me appreciate this cheap form of red meat. Sizzled together and wrapped in lettuce or, as we did, cabbage, it is a quite nice meal (and a nice leftover lunch for myself).

My only regret is that I don’t have some of the ingredients the recipe asks for (curry leaves, brown mustard seeds), so instead I used a little curry powder, cumin seeds and yellow mustard seeds. If you have the luxury of exotic spices, please use them … and share with me!

I adapted this from Spice Goddess.

Indian Beef Lettuce (or Cabbage) Cups

Ingredients (serves 2-3):

  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 tablespoon minced ginger
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup dried curry leaves (I substituted 1/2 tsp curry powder)
  • 1 tablespoon garam masala
  • 1 teaspoon black mustard seeds (I used yellow)
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon cardamom seeds
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • A pinch of salt
  • A pinch of red pepper flakes
  • 6 to 8 green cabbage leaves
  • Lemon wedges, for garnish
In a skillet set over medium-high heat, add the oil. When it’s hot, add the ginger and onions and cook until softened and beginning to turn golden, about 3 minutes. Add the curry, garam masala, mustard seeds, cumin seeds, red pepper flakes and cardamom seeds, and cook for 20 seconds. Add the ground beef, sprinkle with salt and stir to break up any chunks. Continue to cook until the beef is cooked through, about 8 minutes.Meanwhile, place a stovetop steamer over medium-high heat and bring to a boil (I just brought some water to boil in a wide pan). Add the cabbage leaves and steam (or simmer) until bright green and tender, 2 to 3 minutes. Place them on a platter and spoon the beef on top. Garnish with lemon wedges (which are great squeezed over the top).

Enjoy, friends! xoxo

Korean-style Beef with Toasted Rice and Fried Egg

Toasted rice is usually what happens when I lose track of time and remove my rice from the burner too late. But here, the rice is intentionally toasted, giving it a nutty flavor and crunch that sticks to your teeth. It’s a good sensation, along with the thin strips of beef, wild mushrooms and wilted spinach.

And oh, let’s not forget the fried egg on top. We all know I have a soft spot for any recipe that incorporates this beauty (I have breakfast pizza in mind for the weekend).

This dish is lovely in preparation and presentation. It’s quite a show – quickly frying, then transferring to bowls warming in the oven, then back to fry something new. All the while you’re building layers in your rice bowl. Layers that the egg yolk will soon soak in to. And you’ll top it all off with a crunchy little pickled salad that adds an acidity and freshness you need to balance the other flavors. Genius!

I adapted mine from the Cook’s Illustrated “Cooking For Two” magazine.

Korean-Style Beef with Toasted Rice and Fried Egg (adapted from Cook’s Illustrated)

Ingredients (serves 2)

Pickled vegetables:

  • 1/2 c. mung bean sprouts
  • 1 carrot, peeled and then peeled into ribbons or grated
  • 1/2 cucumber, peeled, seeded and cut into 1/4-inch slices
  • 1/2 c. seasoned rice vinegar

Combine the above ingredients, pressing veggies down so submerged in vinegar. Cover and refrigerate for 30 min. Drain vinegar before serving.

For beef bowls:

  • 1 c. rice (I used long-grain), rinsed
  • 1 c. water
  • 4 oz. flank steak, or any other steak good for a stir-fry, sliced against the grain into 1/8 inch strips
  • 1 T soy sauce
  • 4 tsp vegetable oil
  • 4 oz. shiitake mushrooms, stems removed and sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 5 oz. (one box) baby spinach
  • Kosher salt and pepper
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1.5 tsp toasted sesame oil

Place two oven-safe serving bowls on baking sheet in oven and heat to 200 degrees.

Bring rice and water to boil in a large nonstick skillet over high heat. Cover, reduce heat to low and simmer until rice is tender, 15-18 min. Uncover lid and crank heat to medium-high and cook until rice is golden brown in spots and emits a toasty smell, about 7-9 min. Divide rice between two warming bowls and return bowls to oven.

Wipe out pan and heat 2 tsp oil until just smoking. Meanwhile, toss beef with soy sauce, then add to hot skillet. Add mushrooms immediately and cook until beef is cooked through, 3 min. Divide into bowls; return bowls to oven

Add 1 tsp oil to skillet over medium heat and add garlic, cooking until fragrant, 30 seconds. Stir in spinach until wilted, about 1 min. Season with S&P to taste, then divide into the bowls.

Wipe out skillet again and add last 1 tsp oil. Return to medium-high heat until hot, then crack in two eggs on opposite sides of the pan. Sprinkle with S&P. Cover and cook until the whites are set, 2 min.

Remove bowls from oven and slide one egg on top of each. Drizzle each with sesame oil and top with pickled vegetables.

When you pierce the yolk, it runs down through all the layers of goodness and is just lovely.

While I spent time reading a book, drinking wine and making this, Grant slaved away outside making the giant trellis pictured below, which will soon be covered with hummingbird vines, wisteria, jasmine and honeysuckle. Handyman. And gardenman.

Enjoy, friends! xoxo

Beef short ribs with cheddar polenta


These braised short ribs completely make up for my short-rib failure this past spring. Not only were they absolutely delicious, but way less high-maintenance than the previous recipe.

Seared and then braised with ancho chile powder, Worcestershire sauce and onions, the dish develops a rich broth to go with fall-off-the-bone meat. It pairs perfectly with a flavorful cheesy polenta made with garlic and thyme.

I used an Emeril Lagasse recipe, although I changed it a bit based on consumer reviews and my own tastes (for example, it does not need a whole gallon of water. We’re not making soup!). I recommend making this for Sunday supper because it cooks for three hours.


2-3 lbs. beef short ribs

2 T ancho chile powder

2 T olive oil

1 T soy sauce

1 dried ancho chile

1 medium yellow onion, sliced

4 cloves garlic, smashed

6 T Worcestershire sauce

6 T light brown sugar

2 T kosher salt

8 c. water


Season both sides of the ribs with chile powder and refrigerate at least one hour, or overnight.

Preheat oven to 350.

Heat large Dutch oven over medium. Add oil and sear ribs on all sides, in batches, if needed. With all ribs in the pot, add soy sauce, ancho chile, onion, garlic, Worcestershire sauce, brown sugar, kosher salt and water. (Note: I added a glug of red wine, just because.) Bring to a simmer and adjust the seasonings to taste (add more salt). Cover and transfer to the oven. Cook until the ribs are tender and fall from the bones, 3 to 3 1/2 hours. Skim fat off top (or cool, put in fridge and remove fat the next day – this only gets better a day later!)

Meanwhile, make polenta:

1 1/2 c. water

2 c. milk

2 tsp. minced garlic

1 bay leaf

2 tsp. chopped fresh thyme

1 1/2 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp black pepper

1 c. fine-grained corn meal

4 T unsalted butter

1/2 c. grated sharp cheddar cheese

1/4 c. grated Parmesan cheese

In a large saucepan, combine water, milk, garlic, bay leaf, thyme, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil and whisk in corn meal. Reduce heat to low and simmer, stirring often with a wooden spoon, until it thickens, 20-25 min.

Add butter and stir until melted. Add cheeses and stir well. Adjust seasonings to taste, remove bay leaf.

To serve, on big plate or even a large bowl, scoop big portions of polenta, then add a couple beef ribs and finish with the beef broth. Sprinkle with parsley for garnish.

This made about six servings for dinner, with a small salad and bread on the side. Perfect for entertaining, or when you need something comforting on a cold day.

Enjoy, friends! xoxo