Category Archives: Beef

Beef Stew Struggles {CtBF}

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Full Disclosure:  Beef Stew challenges me.  On the surface, it’s perfect comfort food with much in its favor, but I usually only like it, never love it.  One thing I’ve figured out is that I don’t like stewed vegetables, especially potatoes, so I tend to favor recipes with just meat and gravy.  This week’s selection for Cook the Book Fridays from David Lebovitz’s My Paris Kitchen, Belgian beef stew with beer and spice bread (aka Carbonade Flamande), met these criteria, so I was excited to try something new.

To start, chunks of beef chuck are browned.  Next, diced onions and bacon lardons are sautéed.  The pot is deglazed with some water before adding a bottle of beer.  I tried to find a European-style amber, but the only amber at the store was Dos Equis so that’s what I used.  Finally, all the ingredients along with thyme, bay leaves, and cloves spent some time simmering.

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Now it’s time for the secret ingredient: pain d’épices.  What’s pain d’épices, you ask?  It’s a honeyed spice loaf, not too sweet and fragrant with a variety of warm spices: anise, cinnamon, allspice, ginger, nutmeg and cloves.  The scent reminded me of my favorite holiday cookies, Basler Läckerli.

It seems unconventional, but this stew is thickened with slices of pain d’épices lightly spread with Dijon mustard.  The slices are laid on top while it stews for a few more hours.  Periodic stirring encourages the bread to dissolve into the pot, transforming the thin beery broth into a thick flavorful gravy.

I served the stew over a bed of mashed potatoes.  The stew had the simple style I prefer with an unusual and enticing aroma and taste.  While I enjoyed this more than many other versions of beef stew, I still just liked-not-loved it.

Tricky to photograph -- it was more appealing in person

Tricky to photograph — it was more appealing in person

I enjoyed the leftover spice bread more.  I brought it to my sister’s.  It was a bit dry, but improved when we toasted it for breakfast.

Meanwhile, I’ve become obsessed with last time’s dukkah.  I made the dukkah-roasted cauliflower 3 times in the past two weeks. I also gave broccoli the same treatment.  Equally delicious.  And I used dukkah to coat fish fillets when I made Dorie Greenspan’s almond flounder meunière (or should I call it dukkah flounder meunière?)  I’m going to have to make another batch.

We just returned from a long weekend in Florida for a family celebration.  Here’s my favorite nature shot from the trip.  We saw this 15-to-20 foot alligator floating in the water beside the fishing pavilion when we took a walk at Arthur R. Marshall Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge.

Alligator

And closer to home, despite a snowstorm predicted for the weekend, spring is in the air.  This morning I caught half a dozen turtles sunning themselves on a log during my late-morning walk with Bella.  They made me smile.

Turtles

And this evening, we spied a beautiful full rainbow in the backyard!

Rainbow

If you want to know how my friends enjoyed their stew, check out their links here.  Due to copyright considerations, I don’t publish the recipes here.  You can find the stew on page 198 and the pain d’épices on page 293 of David Lebovitz’s My Paris Kitchen.  Or feel free to drop me a line and I’ll share with you.

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next-day beef salad {ffwd}

Next Day Beef Salad

I have a favorite recipe for a salad made from grilled steak, with a Cuban flair. It’s long been my go-to summer recipe when there’s leftover steak in the fridge. It looks like this week’s recipe for French Fridays with Dorie, Next-Day Beef Salad, introduces some competition all year long!

Next-Day Beef is a perfect way to create a second meal from leftover beef that doesn’t seem at all like leftovers. The meat is diced into small pieces and combined with a variety of fresh and piquant ingredients. Dorie invites us to play with what’s in our refrigerators, making this a doubly practical meal.

Staples for me

Staples for me

I stayed fairly close the written recipe, adding scallions, cornichons, capers, slivered olives, and grape tomatoes. For the peppers, I used a combination of candied jalapeños and peppadew peppers for a mixed dose of sweet and spicy. (As you might expect, I skipped the apple. You’re welcome, Howard.) All of this gets tossed in a mustardy mayonnaise and served on a bed of mixed greens.

Confetti

For once, I planned ahead, serving steak and baked potatoes one night, making sure there was enough leftover to test out the Next-Day Beef Salad for the next night. This made a light dinner served alongside a loaf of rosemary bread and a wedge of brie with mushrooms. Leftovers of the leftovers made a perfect lunch as well.

Bread And Cheese

I loved all of the ingredients, which are staples in my refrigerator. In some ways, it reminds me of the Cuban salad that I like, but with a completely different flavor profile. The only thing I’d change next time is to cut way back on the dressing. The end result was a bit too creamy for both our tastes. Just one tablespoon or two would have been plenty to bind it all together. I also think a simple vinaigrette would be another variation to try.

Leftover Meat

I’m thrilled to have a new option on the list of repurposing leftover beef. I’m sure I will be making this again.

To see what the other Doristas thought of their beef salads, check out their links here. We don’t post the recipes, but you can find it on page 260 of Dorie Greenspan’s book Around My French Table.