Archive for the ‘meat’ Category

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anita’s meatloaf

March 17, 2020

Did you ever mean to type “meatloaf” but you type “meatload” instead?

I think this is why most people don’t like meatloaf.
Not because of a typo.
Because most meatloaf is just a meatload. Dense, dry, almost painful to eat. Flavorless. Just a load of meat. Without oats or breadcrumbs to bind, veggies to add textural interest, moisture in the form of some condiments inside the loaf, and onions and garlic for flavor, meatloaf can be downright unpleasant.

This meatloaf is different. It is everything I like – sweet, savory, and filling. The meat is kept moist by condiments. Of course, you can use a classic ketchup, but I love the complexity of barbecue sauce, apricot jam, worcestershire sauce, hot sauce, or mustard.

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my version:

– saute carrots on a med-high heat
– after a while, add minced onions, sour apples, peppers, or whatever you have
– when caramelized, add garlic. turn off the heat when everything is caramelized.
– separately, in a large bowl, add
+ a pound of ground chicken to a half a pound of pork or very fatty beef (like 75/25)
+ a large egg or two small eggs
+ breadcrumbs (maybe a half-cup or so; can use oats, gluten-free cracker crumbs, or anything similar)
+ apricot jam, unsweetened applesauce, mustard, or barbecue sauce to taste. more than you’d think, around a half-cup
+ something savory, like a few drops of fish sauce or worcestershire sauce
+ a handful of dried fruit (apricots, raisins, whatever) and chopped nuts (whatever you have, pistachio or almond)
+ spices – lots of garlic powder, smoked paprika, ground black pepper – or get creative!

my mom’s version:

“I don’t actually have a recipe for the one I make at home frequently…..it’s just a lb. of ground chicken (I like it better than turkey), an egg, about a cup of bread crumbs, about ½ to 1 c. of BBQ sauce to which I add a few chopped dried cranberries and commonly a couple of pinches of smoked paprika. – all of which I mix with sautéed and cooled: ½ large or 1 medium finely chopped onion (sautéed until translucent), 1 or 2 finely chopped celery stalks, and a few finely chopped carrots. I do it differently depending on what I have in the house. In the past I’ve substituted Saucy Susan for the BBQ sauce and I’ve added sautéed sweet potatoes. I bake it in a moderate oven for about 40 min. If I have bacon in the house, I’ll lay that on top before baking.” -Anita

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WHAT TEMPERATURE?

325 = ina garten, alton brown

350 = ellie at food network, betty crocker, spend with pennies, the neelys, brown eyed baker

375 = paula deen

400 = mar-mar-stew-stew, the kansas beef council

425 = bobby flay

if you like a soft meatloaf, go with a lower temperature. if you like a crust, go for a higher temperature. as you can see, everyone has a different preference, and there is no “wrong” temperature for a meatloaf!

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MEATLOAF TIPS:
– DON’T OVERMIX! #1 easiest way to mess up a meatloaf. think of it like a burger – it’ll get weird if you smush it too much.
– let it rest after pulling it from the oven, like a steak or any other meat. cutting it too early will encourage the juices to leave, making a dry meatloaf.
– like the crust the best? form the meatloaf free-form on a baking sheet. you get crust on the top and sides, too! make sure to bump up the oven temp to 400.
– hate the crust? make it in a loaf pan, and leave the heat low, like 325.
– watching your calories? DON’T go with 100% lean turkey meat without at least a little fat, or it will come out dense. you can still make a very healthy meatloaf with just a bit of beef.
– if you’re making it super lean, you can soak bread in milk or veggie stock, and use that instead of breadcrumbs to bind the loaf. that will help keep it from drying out.
– think of texture when you’re planning the veggies. roasted sweet potato adds moisture, nuts and seeds add crunchy textural interest. caramelize some carrots, and leave some less cooked for the consistency.
– don’t skimp on the sauteed veggies! they add moisture, flavor, and texture!
– pan-fry slices of leftover meatloaf for an amazing sandwich.
(tips from my own experience, and bread-soaking tip from the today show)

WHAT IF I DON’T LIKE SWEET?
– instead of apricot jam, use mustard, worcestershire, a little fish paste and hot sauce, or another savory condiment. leave out the dried fruit.
– substitute carrots and apples with more savory vegetables, like fennel, cauliflower, grated cabbage, or mushrooms.
– use savory spices. this recipe is totally flexible, and just as good with cumin and chipotle as with smoked paprika and thyme, or hot chilis and green onions. get creative!

MIX IT UP:
– caramelize onions in cider vinegar or a splash of apple juice or honey for sweetness – or add a pinch of baking soda to get them to caramelize faster, according to cook’s illustrated
– go with a theme for the seasoning. curry powder, cashews, and apples? thyme, dijon mustard, and sausage? roasted poblanos, jalapenos, bell peppers, and chili powder for a four-pepper meatloaf? moroccan spice blend? peanuts and sweet potatoes? oregano, thyme, basil, and a little spaghetti sauce? the only limit is your imagination!
– replace some of the ground chicken with ground turkey. replace the ground pork with ground beef or sausage. replace some of the chicken with sauteed mushrooms.
– cook’s illustrated turkey meatloaf calls for a half-cup of grated Parmesan and 3T melted butter mixed into the turkey meat for texture and flavor – but they say never use 99% lean meat, as it will become “pasty” or “mushy and compact” when cooked – they recommend 85% lean

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How does your family make their meatloaf?

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easy shawarma-spiced roasted chicken

January 16, 2020

Simple go-to weeknight roasted chicken recipe.

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons olive oil
salt to taste
pepper to taste
1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs, trimmed

just combine the spices, mix with the oil, pour over chicken, and bake your favorite way

I like getting the oven pre-heated (425 or 450; any lower and the chicken will bake pale and won’t roast,) starting the cast-iron over med-high heat, and scorching the skin until it shrinks up a bit.
Then I flip the thighs, and finish off in the oven. Depending on the size of the thighs, you may only need 10 to 15 minutes in the oven!

adapted by friedsig from Rhoda Boone via bon appetit

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They say to serve with pita, a cucumber-tomato salad with red onion, and a simple tahini-yogurt sauce. I ate it with my fingers, dipped in a tahini-yogurt-lemon-garlic sauce similar to her recipe here. The spices were very subtle – nothing a picky eater would reject – not spicy, or strongly spiced – just a little something different to mix up your roasted chicken routine. For my taste, I would probably double the spices next time, and definitely add the cucumber-tomato salad. And, hey, if you’re too broke or too lazy to eat it with pita, just say you’re being gluten-free and paleo and keto! I’m not broke; I’m just “watching my macros”!

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beef rendang (indonesian / malaysian coconut beef)

January 9, 2020

This is a big YES! One of the best beef dishes I know. Just a warning that if you use a cheap, lean beef roast, this might take three to five hours of simmering to become “fork-tender”. The beef was tough after being simmered for only an hour, so I gave it another two hours, and it started to really soften up like brisket. If your meat is lean, try doing this in your slow-cooker. (I don’t own a slow cooker, so I just used a big dutch oven style pot, and it was fine!)

Spice Paste:
3/4 cup grated coconut (I used less, because I used a thicker style of coconut strip instead of a grated coconut)
15 dried chillies (I used about eight and I’d definitely 100% recommend a few more. 15 probably sounds right.)
10 shallots, sliced (I used one. Shallots are expensive.)
4 cloves garlic, sliced (I used five or six to compensate for less shallots.)
1 inch ginger (20 g), sliced
1 inch galangal (20 g), sliced (I omitted this)
1 inch turmeric (10 g), sliced
2 stalks lemon grass, sliced (I used dried old lemongrass and the flavor was not strong.)
4-6 bird chillies, optional

chunk of beef, 1-1.5lb., sliced into one or two inch chunks

1 stick cinnamon, about 2-inch length
3 cloves
3 star anise
3 cardamom pods
tamarind paste or pulp
6 finely sliced kaffir lime leaves (I left these out and they were fine.)
rock sugar or palm sugar (or regular sugar)
6 T toasted coconut (I used larger dried coconut strips, toasted in an unoiled skillet)
1 c coconut milk, plus 1 c water poured into the coconut milk can to use the solids
(optional) one turmeric leaf tied into a knot (I used one from my plant and the flavor was great. Recommended.)
salt to taste

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1. Blend spice paste ingredients. You can use a mortar and pestle, blender, food processor, or, if you have to, the side of your knife.

2. Heat the oil in a stew pot, add the spice paste, cinnamon, cloves, star anise, and cardamom and stir-fry until aromatic. Add the beef and the pounded lemongrass and stir for 1 minute. Add the coconut milk, tamarind juice, water, and simmer on medium heat, stirring frequently until the meat is almost cooked. Add the kaffir lime leaves, kerisik (toasted coconut), sugar or palm sugar, stirring to blend well with the meat.

3. Lower the heat to low, cover the lid, and simmer for 1 to 1 1/2 hours or until the meat is really tender and the gravy has dried up. Add more salt and sugar to taste. Serve immediately with steamed rice. The leftovers are great frozen or packed away for the rest of the week.

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adapted from a few versions, mostly the rasa malaysia and serious eats versions

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If you eat beef, this should absolutely be on your list of special occasion dishes, to eat for birthdays or just to cheer yourself up during a long cold winter. The smell of beef rendang simmering, and the warmth of it on your stovetop, is powerful enough to beat back the winter blues. Sweet, sour, spicy, savory, creamy… this dish is everything. Perfect for a long, lazy January weekend.

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pan-roasted juniper and garlic brined pork chop

October 8, 2019

Pork chops are perfect seared off with just salt and pepper in a pan. However, if you want to boost the flavor of a pork chop with some sauerbraten-inspired spices, brining is an easy overnight treatment.

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Make the brine! Combine water with salt, sugar, a teaspoon of juniper berries, a pinch of whole black peppercorns, and a few cloves of raw garlic sliced in half. You can add a pinch of whole coriander seeds and allspice berries, and a few sprigs of thyme if you have them. I added some fennel seeds, too.

Heat in saucepan til simmering, then shut off heat.

When cool, pour over pork chops. refrigerate marinated pork chops 8-12 hrs.

The next day, preheat pan with grease or oil on stove top. If chops are thick, preheat oven, too, to 450.

Pan-sear dried chops over medium-high heat until pork chops develop some nice caramelization. Just a few minutes. turn up the heat if they turn gray instead of brown. If the chops are very thick, leave chops in pan and shove them in the oven for a few minutes or until they register at a temperature you’re comfortable with. Thin chops will easily reach a safe temperature on the stove in no time – don’t overcook.

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recipe by Brian Leth, from bon appetit, adapted here by friedsig

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The brine definitely flavored the pork chop. I would do this again. Served with cast-iron roasted fennel root and apple with caramelized onion and sage. Definitely tastes like fall. Sweet, comforting, and just complex enough. Has a subtle gin/sauerbraten flavor from the juniper and spices.

This adds some really nice German flavors to your Oktoberfest meal. Lower in sodium than knackwurst or brats, and (at least in my area) way more affordable. Don’t forget the Black Forest sweet-and-sour red cabbage or sweet-and-sour beet salad, German-style potato salad, and some good carbs like knäckerbrot and soft pretzels.

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lemon meatballs with tahini sauce

October 2, 2019

These meatballs are packed with middle Eastern flavor. Definitely not your everyday boring meatballs! Thanks to Shabnam of Cooking and Cooking for this recipe – click to check out her photos!

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MEATBALLS:

650 g extra lean ground beef
1/3 cup plain dry bread crumbs
1 medium onion, grated
3 garlic cloves, minced
vegetable oil
1 egg
1 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh basil
zest of 1 lemon
1/2 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 1/4 teaspoons ground cardamom
3/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
salt and pepper to taste

TAHINI SAUCE:
1/2 cup tahini
4 tablespoons lemon juice (or more depends on your taste)
salt
enough water to thin the mixture

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mix the meatballs, pan-fry, and bake at 350 until done.

separately, mix ingredients for tahini sauce. don’t cook it! just combine and eat!

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recipe by cooking and cooking

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I made a ton of alterations – no cilantro, no basil, pistachios instead of walnuts – and they were still good. Lately, I have been trying lots of vegan and vegetarian meatballs, like vegetarian buffalo “meatballs”, meatless wild rice and mushroom “meatballs”, and the disappointing polpette (Italian vegetarian “meatballs”). I have found that meatballs do stay together a bit better and are easier to cook all the way through. Usually, with meat, I like it medium rare. However, if your ground meat isn’t so fresh and the idea of a rare burger seems sketchy, pan-frying some meatballs is a great choice. (They came out well-done. Oops. Oh, well. Check ’em often.)

The tahini sauce is great. Not the sauce I would normally think of to eat with meatballs. The texture of the meat was good. I liked the nuts in the meatballs – reminds me of the pine nuts in Lebanese sausage. The turmeric and cinnamon in these quantities are almost sweet. These would be outstanding with all the herbs in them, because it did seem like it was missing something, but I’d still definitely make them again. This recipe is a keeper!

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lu rou fan (滷肉饭, Taiwanese braised pork belly)

August 23, 2019

One of the absolute best recipes of the year. Maybe the best pork belly of all-time? I love you, Woks of Life!

1 lb skin-on pork belly, cut into 1/2” pieces
2 teaspoons oil
1/2 oz. rock sugar (or about 2 1/2 teaspoons granulated sugar) (or less is fine, too!)
1 small onion or a couple of shallots, finely chopped
8 shiitake mushrooms, cut into 1/2” pieces
1/4 cup shaoxing wine
3 tablespoons light soy sauce
2 tablespoons dark soy sauce
2 cups water
4 hardboiled eggs, peeled (optional)

whole spices:
3 star anise
1 cinnamon stick
6 cloves
3 bay leaves
2 teaspoons Sichuan peppercorns
2 pieces dried tangerine peel
2 slices fresh ginger

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1. Bring a medium pot of water to a boil, and blanch the chopped pork belly for 2 minutes. Drain and set aside.

2. Heat the oil in a wok over low heat, and add the sugar. Cook the sugar until it starts to melt and then add the onions. Turn up the heat to medium high and stir-fry the onions for a minute. Add the mushrooms and stir-fry for another couple minutes.

3. Add the blanched pork, shaoxing wine, light soy sauce, dark soy sauce and water. Stir and bring the mixture to a boil. Once boiling, add the spices (which should be tied in cheese cloth), along with the peeled hardboiled eggs and turn the heat to the lowest setting. Simmer for 1 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking.

4. At this point the meat should be fall-apart tender. To finish the dish, remove the spice packet and turn up the heat to medium high to thicken the sauce, stirring occasionally. This process should take about 5-minutes. The sauce should be thick enough to coat a spoon, but there should still be plenty of it left. Serve over steamed white rice.

by Judy @ the Woks of Life

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These flavors are so complex! The chewy shiitake texture was amazing with the melty sweet pork belly. We ate a ton of this with hot chili oil and rice. The flavors build and layer with every bite! Although these are traditional “five-spice” flavors, it tastes completely different than a five-spice powder without the fennel. It’s really its own unique flavor. The sauce came out thin, since we used low-salt tamari instead of thick dark soy sauce, and a pinch of sugar instead of rock sugar. Still amazing, even without the thick, sweet sauce. Without question a highly recommended dish.

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lebanese sausages

June 17, 2019

1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon ginger
1 teaspoon sweet paprika
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon ground mahleb (I substituted star anise ground coarsely in a mortar and pestle)
~2.5 T red wine
1 lb minced pork, lamb, and/or beef (any combination is fine)
2 cloves crushed or minced garlic
~2.5 T lard, bacon grease, or duck fat
~1.5 T pinenuts
sea salt
Aleppo chili or other chili flakes, to taste

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Mash up ingredients. Don’t overmix, or it’ll be crumbly. Let the flavors meld together for about 24 hours. Form into kebabs or patties, or if you want sausage crumbles, break it up in the pan. I love these fried in cast iron. You can bake them, though, or even grill them!

I substituted pork, but I think these would be great with chicken, too (maybe just add a bit more lard, since chicken can be leaner than pork.)

recipe adapted from nine.co.au

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Possibly my favorite homemade sausage, although I also adore maple breakfast sausages and spicy homemade chorizo! The clove and anise meld into something special. I don’t usually have pine nuts in the house, but I did this time, and they were absolutely incredible in this sausage. I cut the pine nuts a bit, from 2.5T to 2T,