Tag Archives: Beef

Ossobuco Alla Cipriani

Ossobuco is a classic Milanese dish that is made with slices of veal shanks that are braised in a tomato based broth until they are tender enough to be eaten with a fork. The name ossobuco translates to ‘bone with a hole’ because the cut of veal shows the circular cross section of the shank surrounded by meat.

This ossobucco recipe is from Harry’s Bar in Venice, which is famed for it’s invention of the Bellini and classic Italian food that have attracted the likes of Ernest Hemingway, Orson Welles, Humphrey Bogart and many others.

We tried this recipe on Sunday night and it was fantastic.


Harry’s recommends for you to ask your butcher for the hind shanks because they are meatier and more tender than the front ones and not to remove the membrane that surrounds the meat.

Ossobuco Alla Cipriani recipe adapted from The Harry’s Bar Cookbook


  • ½ cup olive oil
  • 6 1 ½ – 2 inch slices of veal shank
  • salt
  • pepper
  • flour for dredging
  • 3 celery ribs, finely chopped
  • 2 small carrots, finely chopped
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • ¼ lb mushrooms, finely chopped
  • ½ cup dry white wine
  • 1 ½ cups canned crushed tomatoes
  • 2 to 4 cups hot chicken stock or beef stock

For the gremolada:

  • 1 tsp lemon zest
  • 1 garlic clove, pressed
  • 2 tbsp chopped flat leaf parsley
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh basil
  • 1 tsp chopped fresh rosemary


Heat ¼ cup of the olive oil over medium heat in a heavy bottomed casserole or Dutch oven large enough to hold the veal slices in a single layer (it’s very important to keep them in only 1 layer).

Season the veal with salt and pepper and coat the pieces with flour, shaking off any excess.  When the oil is hot, add the veal pieces and cook over medium heat, turning once, until they are browned.  Try not to let the veal curl up at the sides.  Remove veal from the pan and set aside.

Pour off the fat from the pan and add 3 tablespoons of olive oil.  Heat the oil over medium-high heat and add the celery, carrots, onion and mushrooms.  Cook the vegetables, stirring frequently, until they are soft – about 15 minutes.

Turn up the heat, add the white wine, and boil, stirring constantly, until the wine has evaporated.  Stir in the crushed tomatoes and 2 cups of the hot stock.

Carefully arrange the veal slices in the casserole dish in a single layer and spoon the vegetable mixture over them.  If the liquid does not cover the meat, add more stock.  If you need more than 4 cups of stock to cover the meat, then you should transfer everything to a smaller casserole dish.

When the liquid comes to a boil, lower the heat, cover the casserole tightly, and simmer gently for 2 to 2 ½ hours or until the meat is very tender when pierced with a fork.  Uncover the casserole during the last 30 minutes of cooking to reduce the sauce a bit.  (Alternatively, you could bake in the oven at 350F for the same length of time0.

While the meat is cooking, chop the ingredients for the gremolada and combine them.

Ten minutes before serving, remove the meat to a deep serving platter and keep it warm.  Boil the sauce to reduce it a bit more if it’s very thin.  Stir in the gremolada and simmer for a minute or 2.  Then spoon the sauce over the meat.  Serve with Risotto or other accompaniment.


Japanese Beef, Tofu and Noodle Soup

If you are looking for an interesting soup that’s healthy, but still full of flavor then you’ll love this Japanese beef, shitake mushroom, tofu and noodle soup.

The broth in this soup gives the soup such a strong meaty flavor that you don’t actually have to use much beef in the actual soup, and can fill it up with healthier ingredients like mushrooms and tofu instead, which as also much more affordable.

Japanese Beef, Tofu and Noodle Soup recipe adapted from Noodles by Murdoch Test Kitchen Staff

Serves 4 -6


  • 10g (1/4 oz) dried sliced shiitake mushrooms
  • 100 g (3 ½ oz) dried rice vermicelli
  • 2 tsp oil
  • 1 leek, halved and sliced
  • 1 L (4 cups) chicken stock
  • 1 tsp dashi granules dissolved in 500 ml (2 cups) boiling water
  • 125 ml (1/2 cup) soy sauce
  • 2 Tsp mirin
  • 1 ½ Tsp sugar
  • 90 g (2 cups) shredded chinese cabbage (wong bok)
  • 1/2 cup frozen peas (optional)
  • 1/4 cup shredded carrot (optional)
  • 300 g (10 ½ oz) silken firm tofu, cut into 2 cm (3/4 in) cubes
  • 600 g (1 lb 5 oz) rump steak, thinly sliced
  • 4 spring onions (scallions), sliced on the diagonal


Soak the shiitake mushrooms in 125ml (1/2 cup) boiling water for 10 minutes.

Soak the vermicelli in boiling water for 5-7 minutes, or until soft.  Drain the noodles.

Heat the oil in a large saucepan, add the leek and cook over medium heat for 3 minutes, or until softened.

Add the chicken stock, dashi broth, soy sauce, mirin, sugar, and mushrooms and their soaking liquid.  Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 5 minutes.

Add the cabbage and simmer for a further 5 minutes.  Next, add the peas, carrot, tofu and beef and simmer for 5 minutes, or until the beef is cooked but still tender.  Divide the noodles among the serving bowls and ladle in the soup.  Serve garnished with the spring onion slices.

Steamed Wontons

I will never forget the first time I stayed at my boyfriend’s parents house in Brisbane and his mom made these amazing steamed won tons using a bamboo steamer in a wok.  I had never seen anything like it but was surprised to learn how easy they are to make once you get the hang of how to stuff and pinch a wonton together.  I made these for some friends who came to visit one weekend and they loved them so much that they both bought bamboo steamers so they could make them at home too.

If you don’t have a bamboo steamer, I highly recommend that you invest in one – they are $20 or less and they are great for won tons and steaming other things like vegetables, fish, etc….the possibilities are endless.


  • 1 lb (about 500g) ground beef
  • 1 packet of square or round wonton wrappers
  • Fresh ginger, finely chopped
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • ¼ cup sunflower seeds
  • 2 green onions, chopped
  • 1 egg
  • steamed rice (optional filler for the wontons if you want to make a lot on a budget!)


Mix all of the ingredients (except the wonton wrappers) with your hands in a bowl until evenly mixed through.

Place a wonton wrapper in the palm of your hand and brush a tiny bit of water around the edges with your finger.  Spoon one spoon full of the mixture into the center of a wonton wrapper.

Pinch the edges of the wonton wrapper together at the top so that no beef is exposed.

Heat water in the bottom of the wok on high heat.  Spray each level of your bamboo steamer with cooking spray.  This is very important because the wontons will stick to the bottom and cause a mess if you don’t.  Arrange the won tons in each level of the bamboo steamer.

Stack the levels of the bamboo steamer and top with the steamer lid.  Allow the wontons to steam for about 20 minutes or until the meat in the wonton is no longer pink.

Serve with plum sauce or sweet chili sauce.

FFwD: My Go-To Beef Daube

Daube in French means stew cooked in wine, which is exactly what this classic French dish is – beef stew cooked in red wine.  This was perfect for the freezing weather that we’ve been having recently and made the whole house smell like a Sunday roast dinner.

The key to this dish is getting a good cut of beef.  I went with 3.5lbs of beef chuck roast that were freshly cut by the butcher in slightly larger pieces (2 to 3 inch cubes) than stew meat, per Dorie’s recommendation.

You start by sautéing about 8 strips of regular bacon, then brown all of the chunks of beef in a little oil combined with the bacon grease.

After the bacon and the beef pieces were all browned, I removed them from the pot and set them aside.  Then, I added the chopped Spanish onion and 6 shallots and sauteed them until they were tender and translucent.

I added chopped carrots, parsnips, and the bottom of a halved head of garlic (with most of the husk removed, leaving just enough for it to still hold together) to the mix and stirred them until coated with the oil and onions.

At this point I was supposed to add some brandy to loosen the browned bits that had stuck to the bottom of the pot, but I ended up using red wine because it was just too cold to go buy brandy at the liquor store.  It worked just fine.

Then I added the meat back in, covered it with the rest of the bottle of red wine and just enough water to cover the contents of the pot.  I brought it to a boil, and tossed in a sachet of rosemary, parsley, and thyme before covering the pot tightly with tin foil and its lid.  Then I put the whole pot in a 350F oven for 2.5 hours, stirring once.

While the stew was simmering in the oven I whipped up some mashed potatoes, which was the perfect partner for the stew.   The combination was incredibly comforting and filling.  This stew definitely just earned a spot on my ‘go-to’ list!

For more details on the recipe check out Dorie Greenspan’s Around My French Table and the other FFwD bloggers posts.

Latvian Piragas for Latvian Independence Day

My neighbor and fellow Couchsurfer wanted to have a potluck last Thursday and since November 18th is Latvian Independence Day (from Russia in 1918)  he decided to throw a Latvian Independence Day potluck! I admit that I had to first look up where Latvia is on a map before scouting for which recipe I would make.  For those of you who don’t know, it’s here:

I decided to make piragas as my dish since they were one of the first hits that came up on google when I typed in “Latvian Recipes” and they are pocket food (i.e., stuffed food such as ravioli, pierogies, samosas – I explained my love for pocket food in an earlier post).

Here’s the recipe:

Latvian Pirags recipe adapted from grouprecipes.com


  • 1 box Pillsbury hot roll mix
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 red onion
  • 1 clove crushed garlic
  • 2 Tbsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp dried dill
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 egg for egg wash


1. Saute the onion in 1 Tbsp of oil.  Add the garlic after the onion has softened.

2. Add the ground beef and season with pepper and dill.  Saute until fully cooked.

3. Drain excess fat & allow to cool.  I refrigerated mine over night to allow the flavor to absorb.

4. Preheat the oven to 325 F.

5. Make the yeast rolls according to the instructions on the pillsbury box.

6.  After the yeast rolls have risen to double in size take each roll and place a tablespoon of the beef mixture in the center.  Stretch and fold the dough over the top of the meat and pinch to seal.  I also used a fork the press the dough together.

7.  Wash all the piragas with egg wash and bake for 10-12 minutes.

8.  After removing them from the oven brush the tops with melted butter.

Here are some shots from the potluck:

The spread

Delicious Latvian meatball soup

Something similar to whole wheat pierogies

Toad in the Hole – British Version

This past weekend we hosted our friend Jonathan who was visiting from England and he was kind enough to introduce us to a dish that he grew up eating – Yorkshire pudding with sausages, also known as ‘Toad in a Hole’.

Even though the name of the dish was first recorded in the early 18th century, the origins of the name are still a mystery. It’s speculated that the name comes from the fact that the sausages look like a toad poking out of a hole.  I can’t say that that’s the first thing that came to my mind when we took this dish out of the oven, but the picture on the BBC’s recipe did actually look like it since they used a much narrower pan and stood the sausages upright.

Jamie Oliver's Toad in the Hole (This photo: jamieoliver.com)

After much research we settled on the BBC recipe with Jamie Oliver’s (British Chef) onion gravy recipe but adapted it a bit based on how Jonathan remembered that his mum makes it.

Timing is everything with this dish – and the key is to get the oil in the pan scorching hot before you add the sausages and batter.  You also have to keep the oven at 400F so you have to open the oven door as quickly as possible when bringing the pan out to pour in the batter and then when placing it back in the oven.  To ensure that we kept the oven at 400F we actually cranked it up to 425F right before we opened the door to pull out the pan.  We also kept the pan warm during the 30 seconds it was out of the oven by placing it on a gas burner on low heat.

Here’s the recipe – I recommend trying it on a cold night since it’s warm and filling.  Definitely serve it with the onion gravy and a side of peas!

Toad in the Hole recipe adapted from BBC


  • 115g/4oz plain flour
  • large pinch of salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 large free-range eggs
  • 300ml / ½ pint milk
  • 2 tbsp/30g fresh thyme or rosemary leaves
  • 8 good quality pork or beef sausages
  • 2 tbsp/30g Dijon mustard
  • 2 tbsp/30g of beef or pork drippings or white vegetable fat (we used half the drippings from the sausages & half bacon drippings)
  • knob of butter, to serve


1.    To make the batter, sift the flour into a large bowl. Add the salt and pepper.

2.    Make a well in the centre of the flour and crack in the eggs. Using a wooden spoon, gradually beat the eggs into the flour with a whisk and then with an electric hand held mixer on the lowest speed slowly beat in the milk until the batter is the consistency of double cream.

3.    Strain and push any remaining lumps through a sieve. Stir in the thyme. Cover and leave to stand for 30 minutes, or ideally 3-4 hours in the refrigerator.

4.    Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas 6.

5.    Heat a large non-stick pan and cook the sausages over a medium heat until golden-brown all over. (If you do not have a non-stick pan add a little oil.) Turn off the heat and brush the sausages with the mustard. Set aside. (For more even heating, roast in the oven)

6.    Place the dripping or white vegetable fat into the thinnest metal ovenproof dish that you have and heat in the oven for five minutes or until the dripping is hot and hazy. Test the hotness of the oil by pouring a teaspoon of the batter into the dish.  If it instantly bubbles then the pan is ready.

7.    Quickly pull the dish out of the oven and place on the stove top over a burner on low heat to keep the pan hot.  (Turn the oven up to 450 to ensure the oven’s temperature recovers from opening the door)

8.    Add the sausages to the hot dish and pour in the batter as quickly as possible. Immediately return the dish to the oven and lower the temperature back down to 400F.

9.    Cook for 35-40 minutes until well-risen and golden-brown.  (Do not open the oven door to peek because the dish will fall!)

Onion Gravy recipe adapted from Jamie Oliver


  • 2 large red onions, peeled and sliced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely sliced
  • 2 knobs of butter
  • 6 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 level tablespoon good-quality vegetable stock powder or 1 vegetable stock cube
  • ¼ cup red wine


While the toad in the hole is in the oven, simply fry off your onions and garlic in the butter on a medium heat for about 5 minutes until they go sweet and translucent. You could add a little thyme or rosemary if you like. Add the balsamic vinegar and allow it to cook down by half. At this point, I do cheat a little and add a stock cube or powder. You can get some good ones in the supermarkets now that aren’t full of rubbish. Sprinkle this in and add a little water and the red wine. Allow to simmer and you’ll have a really tasty onion gravy.

For 20 tips on how to make Toad in the Hole check out this site.

FFwD: Hachis Parmentier

This week’s FFwD recipe, Hachis Parmentier (pronounced ah-she pahr-men-tee-ay) is the ultimate in comfort food which is just what I was in the mood for this week now that the colder weather has set in.  It’s the French version of the traditional shepherd’s pie, which uses a combination of beef steak and sausage in the filling.  The more ambitious recipe was to create your own beef broth by boiling the steak with herbs and a few veggies and then chopping the steak up to go into the filling with the sausage.   Thankfully, Dorie provided a nice shortcut (bonne idée = good idea) of using ground beef and store-bought beef stock for the filling.  She said it would taste almost the same if you added fresh parsley, thyme, and a little garlic to the mix.  Next time I promise I’ll make it the long way but it just didn’t happen this week.

Despite the difficult to pronounce name, there was nothing complicated about making this dish.  If you can sauté ground beef and sausage together with a little beef broth and make mashed potatoes then you’re all set!  I splurged on some Emmental cheese for the topping and got all the ingredients from our local Dekalb Farmers Market.  I topped the beef filling with a layer of mashed potatoes, then ½ cup of Emmental cheese, some shaved Parmesan, and a few pats of Irish butter and baked it in a 350° oven for 30 minutes.  The whole thing took about an hour  and 15 minutes from start to finish (with 30 minutes of that being oven time) and has 4 large servings.

When it came out of the oven it had a lovely cheesy crust on top of the potatoes that just screamed ‘EAT ME!’.  I didn’t take too many pictures of this before I had to just dive in and eat it, so apologies for the poor photos – it was just too good to wait! Just like a Cadbury Picnic Bar – it’s deliciously ugly…

Tip: be sure to put a cookie sheet lined with foil under the casserole dish because it will bubble over!