Categories
Beef Soups

Rich and Delicious Homemade Pho

If you’re a pho lover, you know it’s all about the broth. We’ve all probably been to pho restaurants that left us utterly speechless (in a good way) and other restaurants that left us wondering if someone just tossed some ingredients in store-bought broth. Everyone knows the really quality pho isn’t just a noodle soup with toppings in run-of-the-mill broth. When it comes to truly amazing pho, the broth is everything. It is the STAR of pho show, not a supporting side character. 

I’m not gonna lie, this broth takes a long time to cook. But I promise, it’s totally worth it. There are a lot of shortcut recipes out there for pho broth, but there’s really no substitute for a homemade bone-based pho broth. Don’t settle for using store-bought broth to make pho. I beg you. Instead, spend a day making this divine broth at home. Maybe even double the recipe so that you can freeze some for the next round of at-home pho. Once you taste it, the payoff will be obvious.

Ingredients:

Broth:

5 lb. beef bones 

2 onions, quartered

10-12 cloves of garlic, smashed

4 1-inch knobs of ginger, peeled

5 whole star anise

5 whole cloves

2 cinnamon sticks

1 cardamom pod

1 Tbsp. coriander seeds

12 cups of water

⅓ c. fish sauce

2 Tbsp. sugar

Salt to taste

Pho Additions:

8 oz. thin rice noodles

½ lb. very thinly sliced sirloin 

White onions, thinly sliced

Toppings to share:

Thai basil

Bean sprouts

Green onions

Jalapenos 

Lime slices

Chili sauce

Important: you will need to prepare the pho broth the day (or two) before you plan on serving it. 

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. 

To begin, you will need to boil the beef bones so that they are clean and will result in a clear, clean-tasting broth. In a large stockpot, cover the bones with water and bring to a boil. Allow them to simmer for 20 minutes. Drain and rinse bones thoroughly. Clean the stockpot.

Line a large baking pan with foil and place the bones, quartered onions, garlic, and ginger on top of the foil, allowing for space between the items. No oil is necessary for this step. Bake for 45 minutes. 

Heat the stockpot over medium heat high and add the spices. Stir for 2 minutes, or until they are fragrant. Remove from the heat and set aside. When they are cool enough to touch, wrap them in a piece of cheesecloth, securing it with twine to make a spice sachet. 

In the same stockpot, add the roasted bones and aromatics from the baking sheet. Make sure to include any leftover liquid and brown bits. Add 12 cups of water to the stockpot, along with the spice sachet, fish sauce, and sugar. 

Bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for up to 8 hours. Skim the surface of the broth as fat and/or foam rises to the top. Before serving, pour the broth through a mesh strainer into a clean glass bowl or pot. Taste and add salt to taste. 

To assemble the pho, place the noodles, sliced onions, and sliced beef in large bowls. Pour the broth over the top (this cooks the beef). Garnish with your desired topping, e.g. Thai basil, beans sprouts, lime, etc. Enjoy hot!

Categories
Beef

Authentic Chile Colorado

Chile Colorado is definitely near the top of the list of my favorite beef-based meals, and it’s all thanks to the utterly divine, deep-red chile sauce that brasies and tenderizes the flavorful beef to perfection as it cooks.  This Mexican version of beef stew is incredibly delicious, and it’s simpler to make than you might think. 

While some people think this magical stew is named for the state of Colorado, it is actually named for the vibrant, deep red color of the dish. Since Colorado means “colored red,” this meal’s moniker is not just a clever name. Chile Colorado is absolutely gorgeous, and makes an impressive meal to serve to Mexican food-loving friends and family – alongside fresh tortillas, Mexican rice and beans, and any of your favorite toppings. Muy delicioso!

Ingredients:

2-3 lbs. shoulder or butt roast, cut into bite-sized cubes

1 Tbsp. olive oil

1 large onion, chopped

3 cloves of garlic, minced

5 dried ancho chiles

5 dried guajillo chiles

4 c. chicken or beef broth

3 Tbsp. flour

2 bay leaves

3 tsp. Mexican oregano

1 tsp. smoked paprika

2 tsp. Cumin

Juice from one lime

1 Tbsp. cornstarch

1 Tbsp. water

Salt and pepper

Red pepper flakes (optional: for extra spice)

Serve with:

Mexican rice and beans

Fresh tortillas

Chopped cilantro

Sliced green onions

Sliced radishes

To make the chile, remove the stems from the dried chiles and rinse them in cool water. Place them in a saucepan, along with the broth, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium low and simmer for 15-20 minutes, or until the chiles are soft and fragrant.

While the chiles are cooking, heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Quickly toss the beef cubes in flour, salt and pepper and add to the skillet. Cook until the beef is browned. Remove the meat from the pan and set aside on a plate. Make sure to leave the oil and browned bits in the skillet. Add the onion and garlic to the skillet and cook until they are softened, about 2-3 minutes. Remove from the heat.

Place the chile and broth mixture into a blender, along with the onions and garlic, and blend until the chile sauce is smooth.

Add the chile sauce back to the large skillet, align with the meat and bay leaves, oregano, cumin, and smoked paprika. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to low, cover, and cook for 1.5-2 hours, or until the meat is fork tender. 

A few minutes before serving, combine the cornstarch and water in a small bowl to make a slurry. Pour it into the skillet, along with lime juice, and allow the chile to simmer for 5 more minutes so that the sauce will thicken. Season with salt to taste. 

Serve in a bowl as a stew, or with rice and beans, fresh tortillas, and your favorite toppings.

Categories
Beef

Beefy Slow-Cooker Meatballs with Wilted Arugula

Ahhh, the magical slow cooker. It’s one of my favorite ways to cook during the winter. Usually on the weekends in the middle of winter, I’m pretty unmotivated to do anything but watch movies under blankets. And what’s better than spending just a few minutes making a meal and then smelling the wonderful scents of it cooking all day while you’re watching said movies? It really makes you look forward to dinner. 

These beefy slow cooker meatballs not only smell divine while they’re cooking, they taste divine when you finally get to eat them. The addition of arugula takes these traditional meatballs to a new level and is enhanced by the extra peppery taste only arugula can offer. These are a perfect winter meal when paired with pasta, served on a baguette as a meatball sandwich, or all alone. 

Meatballs:

⅓ c. seasoned breadcrumbs

⅓ c. Parmesan cheese, grated

2 garlic cloves, minced

3 Tbsp. basil

1 egg 

1 lb ground beef

¼ tsp. salt

¼ tsp. pepper

Sauce:

1 Tbsp. olive oil 

1 small onion, finely chopped

4 garlic cloves, minced

1 28 oz. can crushed tomatoes

2 Tbsp. basil

1 Tbsp. oregano

1 tsp. red pepper flakes

Salt and pepper to taste

2 c. arugula

Combine all ingredients for meatballs in a large bowl and mix together thoroughly with clean hands. Form meatballs in your hands and set aside on a tray.

Heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onions and cook for 3-4 minutes, or until translucent. Add garlic and cook for one more minute. Pour the garlic, onions, and oil into the slow cooker. Then, add crushed tomatoes, basil, oregano and red pepper sauce into the slow cooker. Finally, gently place the meatballs into the sauce.

Set the slow cooker to low and cook for 4-5 hours. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Drop arugula into the slow cooker and allow the leaves to wilt for 10 minutes. Serve with your favorite type of pasta, on a sandwich, or alone as an appetizer. 

Categories
Beef

Made with Love Swedish Meatballs

It seems that everyone on the internet is out there searching for copycat recipes for IKEA’s Swedish meatballs. I may get a barrage of hate messages for this, but while I enjoy IKEA meatballs as much as the next guy, they certainly are not King of All Meatballs. Not even Swedish meatballs. I can almost feel the side eye glances through the computer, but I stand my ground. 

Truly delicious Swedish meatballs are made with loving hands and contain all-natural ingredients and are bathed in a creamy, rich sauce. These meatballs taste absolutely delicious served over pasta, mashed potatoes, or rice, and take less than 30 minutes to make. You can whip these up faster than making the drive to IKEA, guaranteed. And just think . . . you’ll save yourself a carload of random items you may or may not use in the future. 

Ingredients:

1 lb. organic ground beef

1 egg

¼ c. panko breadcrumbs

1 medium shallot, finely chopped

1 clove of garlic, minced

1 Tbsp. parsley, finely chopped

Pinch of nutmeg

Pinch of salt and pepper

1 Tbsp. olive oil

3 Tbsp. butter

2 Tbsp. flour

2 c. beef broth

1 c. heavy cream

1 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce

2 tsp. Dijon mustard

Salt and pepper to taste

Mix together ground beef, egg, breadcrumbs, shallots, garlic, parsley, nutmeg, salt and pepper in a bowl. Using your hands, mix together thoroughly and then form meatballs. 

Heat the olive oil over medium high heat in a skillet. Add the meatballs and brown. Reduce the heat to medium and cook through. Remove the meatballs and set aside on a plate.

In the same skillet, melt the butter over medium heat and whisk in the flour, stirring up any bits of meat left in the skillet. Slowly add in the beef broth, whisking, and then add in the cream, continuing to whisk the sauce. Add in the Dijon and Worcestershire sauce and whisk again. Continue cooking the sauce for 5 minutes, or until it thickens up. Add salt and pepper to taste. 

Place the meatballs back into the skillet with the sauce and heat through, about 2 minutes. Serve with pasta, potatoes, or rice.

Categories
Beef

Rob’s Reverse Sear Steak

Have you ever had a steak that is so tender and so buttery that you cannot stop eating it? A steak that is so amazing that you don’t even notice all of the other food at the table, no matter how good the other side dishes are? A steak that brings out the ravenous, carnivorous animal in you?

I’m not a huge meat eater, but my other personality comes out when this steak is put onto the table. It’s truly irresistible. I have serious doubts about whether anyone on this planet would not want to devour this steak. I cannot even fathom a vegetarian not just sneaking “one little taste.” It’s that good. 

According to my brother-in-law, Rob, who is the master of all meats, there are two secrets to this divine creation: his magical steak rub and the reverse sear method of cooking the meat. Trust me, he’s right. This is the most glorious steak ever. Thank you, Rob, for sharing your divine secret. 

Ingredients:

16 oz. ribeye or sirloin

Steak rub

2 Tbsp. canola oil

2 Tbsp. butter

Preheat the oven to 225 degrees. Season steak liberally with steak rub on both sides. Place the steak on a baking sheet and cook for 45-55 minutes, or until the steak reaches the desired temperature, e.g. 125 degrees for medium rare.

Heat canola oil in a large cast iron skillet until it’s almost smoking. Add the steak and cook until a seared crust forms, about 1 minute. Flip and repeat on the other side. Reduce heat to medium low and add butter. When it is melted, spoon it over the steak a few times. 

Remove the steak from the heat and set it on a cutting board to rest for a few minutes before thinly slicing it against the grain. Season with flaky salt and pepper and serve.

Categories
Beef

Mexican Chorizo Meatballs

These certainly ain’t your mama’s meatballs. I’m not saying your mama’s meatballs aren’t bomb. I’m just saying these little Mexican-influenced spheres of perfection are unlike any meatballs you’ve tried, in the best way possible. For one thing, not many meatballs feature a majorly delicious combo of beef and chorizo with Mexican spices. Also, not many meatballs are made with fresh cilantro. Holy moly. 

These meatballs would be perfectly served as an appetizer at your next get-together. Yes, Covid, I’m looking at you. I am “patiently” giving you my arms-crossed, teacher stare. It’s time for you to go so that we can have parties again. Anyway, I promise if you serve these to your friends when the time comes, they will always RSVP a yes to all of your parties. But not just for the meatballs. They probably like you too.

Ingredients:

1 lb. ground beef

½ lb. Mexican chorizo

½ small yellow onion, finely chopped

4 cloves garlic, minced

1 egg, beaten

¾ c. breadcrumbs

¼ c. chopped cilantro

2 tsp. cumin

2 tsp. oregano

2 Tbsp. olive oil

Pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 450. 

Heat 1 Tbsp. olive oil in a skillet over medium high heat. Add the onion and cook for 3 minutes. Add garlic and cook for 1 more minute. Set aside and allow the onions and garlic to cool.

While you’re waiting, combine the egg, breadcrumbs, cilantro, cumin, and oregano. Add the beef and chorizo and mix together with your hands. Add the garlic and onions and mix together with your hands until everything is mixed together as uniformly as possible. 

Gently form the meatballs so that they are about 2 inches in diameter. All of the meatballs should be about the same size. Wipe out the skillet that you used for the onions and garlic. Heat 1 Tbsp. olive oil (or more, if needed) over medium high heat. Gently brown the meatballs on all sides for about 2 minutes. 

Remove the meatballs from the heat and place on a greased baking sheet. Bake for 10-15 minutes or until meatballs are cooked through.

Categories
Beef

Blanquette de Veau a L’Ancienne (Traditional French Creamy White Stew)

Years ago on a family visit to France, my amazing Grandma-in-law, Mami, introduced me to the best thing I ever tasted: blanquette de veau. Everything Mami made was the best thing I ever tasted even before that fateful meal, but blanquette de veau was one that made the angels sing inside my head and I knew that I had tasted the most precious gem of French cuisine. 

Naturally, I freaked out about how good it was and I couldn’t stop rambling on about how life-changing this beautiful white stew was for me. Mami was laughing in her sweet way, calling me her petite gourmande, and motioned me to join her in the kitchen. 

It was there she explained to me how to make this glorious warm pot of creamy heaven. She told me that in traditional blanquette, all of the ingredients must be a shade of white (white mushrooms, white onions, white sauce) and that you must never brown the meat or any of the ingredients so that they stay white. Then the blanquette must be served over white rice so that the whole meal is white, creamy and perfect. 

In my humble opinion, blanquette is the most shiny diamond of traditional French bourgeois cooking. For me, it’s the ultimate comfort food meal, not only because it fills my tastebuds with joy, but also fills my heart with the happiest of memories. 

Ingredients:

8 c. chicken broth

3 lb. veal of beef shoulder, cut into bite-sized cubes

1 onion, quartered

1 celery stalk, cut into four pieces

2 carrots, cut into halves

2 leeks, white parts only, halved and cleaned

5 cloves garlic, smashed

8 oz. white mushrooms, quartered

4 sprigs of thyme

4 sprigs of parsley

Salt and pepper

16 oz. pearl onions, peeled

2 Tbsp. olive oil

3 Tbsp. butter

2 Tbsp. flour

¾ c. heavy cream

2 egg yolks

Fresh parsley, for serving

In a large stockpot, combine meat, onion, celery, carrots, leeks, garlic, thyme and parsley. Bring to a boil, cover and simmer for 1.5-2 hours, skimming occasionally. When meat is tender (but not mushy), drain it through a strainer. Reserve the stock and discard the vegetables and herbs. 

In the meantime, boil the pearl onions for 3-5 minutes, or until tender and drain. In a skillet, heat oil over medium high heat and cook mushroom and onions until tender, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside.

In a small bowl, whisk together the cream and egg yolks. Set aside.

Wipe out the stockpot and melt butter (being careful not to burn it). Add flour and whisk together for one minute. Whisk in 3 cups of stock and cook for about 3 minutes. Whisk in the cream and egg mixture. Add the meat, mushrooms and onions and simmer for about 5 minutes. Season by salt and pepper. Top with parsley and serve over rice.

Categories
Beef Soups Uncategorized

Loaded Taco Chili

I don’t meet very many people who don’t love a warm bowl of chili in the winter. The nice thing about chili is that it can appeal to everyone if the ingredients are changed up a bit. Meat lovers, vegetarians, vegans, those who like spice, and those who don’t can all find a chili to enjoy. My version of loaded taco chili can be adapted to suit any of those tastes. 

This loaded taco chili puts a different spin on traditional chili by adding taco seasoning and refried beans, rather than traditional chili ingredients. The best part is that you get to put all of your favorite taco toppings on it. If you have ever visited my website, you know I am a serious taco fan. Apparently, even my chili has to resemble a taco. And another bonus is that this chili is simple and lightning fast to make. You can go from prep to table in 20 minutes!

Ingredients:

1 lb. organic ground beef (or turkey or meat alternative)

1 yellow onion, chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 green bell pepper, chopped

15 oz. can diced tomatoes

15 oz. can corn, drained and rinsed 

15 oz. can kidney beans, drained and rinsed 

15 oz. can refried beans

4 oz. can diced green chiles

8 oz. can tomato sauce

2-3 cups chicken broth

2 Tbsp. taco seasoning

Salt and pepper to taste 

Serve with:

Sour cream

Cheese

Jalapenos

Avocado 

Green onions

Cilantro 

Tortilla chips

Heat a large soup pot over medium high heat. Add ground beef and cook through, breaking up the meat as it cooks. If you are using turkey, you will need a little oil to cook the turkey. When the beef is cooked, add the onions and pepper and cook for 3-4 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for one more minute. Add the tomatoes, tomato sauce, corn, kidney beans, refried beans, chicken broth and taco seasoning. Bring to a boil. Then, cover and simmer for 15-20 minutes. 

Top with your favorite taco and/or chili toppings!

Categories
Beef Uncategorized

Nigerian Beef Stew

This Nigerian beef stew is a meal that you will dream about at night. It’s that good. Nigerian beef stew is made from clean and simple ingredients, but has an intense, rich taste full of savory, mouth-watering flavor that you will be craving on a regular basis. 

Let’s talk about the appearance of this meal. It’s vibrant, colorful, pleasing to the eye, and just looks like it’s fun to eat. It is very fun to eat indeed, because the flavors in this stew will blow you away. The tender on the inside, crispy on the outside beef melds perfectly with the deep red vegetables and savory spices to create a flavor you won’t soon forget. Try this, and I would almost promise that it will become part of your meal rotation. 

Ingredients:

Beef stew: 

1.5-2 lb. stew meat

2 c. beef broth

4 garlic cloves

1 large onion, quartered

2 tsp. curry

2 tsp. paprika

Salt and pepper

Fried beef:

½ c, vegetable oil

Stewed beef, drained

½ red onion, chopped

1 roma tomato, chopped

1 c. leftover liquid from stewing beef 

Stew base:

4 roma tomatoes, quartered

3 red bell peppers, quartered

6 garlic cloves

2 habanero peppers

½ red onion, chopped

12 oz. can of tomato paste

2 tsp. rosemary

2 tsp. paprika

2 tsp. curry 

3 bay leaves

Salt and pepper

Serve with: green onions, parsley, white rice and fried plantains

Combine all ingredients for the stewed beef in a crockpot. Set on low and cook for 4 hours or until the beef is tender. Remove the beef and put on a plate. Keep one cup of the liquid left in the crockpot. You’ll need this when you cook the stew base.

While the meat is cooking, combine all of the ingredients of the stew base in a food processor and process until smooth. Set aside.

Now, heat the vegetable oil in a large soup pot or skillet over medium high heat. To make the fried beef, cook ½ of the red onion and one tomato until they are soft. Add the beef and fry until it is brown on all sides. 

Add the stewing liquid to the fried beef and let it cook down for 3-5 minutes. Add the stew base and simmer on low heat for 20 minutes. Turn off the heat and let the stew sit for 5 minutes before serving. Make sure to take out the bay leaves before serving.

Serve with white rice and fried plantains. Top with green onions and fresh parsley.

Categories
Beef Uncategorized Vegetarian

Swiss Fondue Feast

For as long as I can remember, our family has enjoyed this fondue feast every Christmas Eve, and some of my very happiest memories are centered around this meal. Our family tradition of fondue feasts began in Vail, Colorado sometime in the early 1960s. My grandparents had bought a vacation home in the Alps-like village of Vail and frequently enjoyed eating in the Swiss and Austrian restaurants after skiing. They developed a love for fondue, and started the Christmas Eve tradition of serving fondue feasts at family gatherings. 

I have so many amazing memories of this meal . . . the most vivid memory is of me and my sister begging my grandpa every single year to just let us open one present after dinner. He always caved and let us open one present . . . and sometimes even snuck into the other room with us and let us open another one. Sixty years later, my family still lovingly adheres to this tradition, and likely will continue celebrating around this memory-making meal for generations to come. 

Although we enjoy this meal on Christmas Eve, it’s definitely appropriate for any wintertime occasion. This meal is guaranteed to make everyone smile and will result in creating unforgettable memories!

Ingredients and directions:

Cheese fondue:

1 clove of garlic

1.5 lbs. grated Gruyere or Emmental cheese

1 c. dry white wine

2 Tbsp. kirsch liqueur

Pinch of nutmeg

Before adding cheese to the fondue pot, cut the garlic clove in half and rub it all over the inside of the pot. Turn on the heat to medium and add the wine. When the wine is simmering, slowly add the cheese and stir until smooth. Add the kirsch and nutmeg. Stir again. Turn the heat to low and enjoy! I recommend serving with a baguette.

Beef fondue:

2 lb. sirloin

½ c. soy sauce

½ c. corn oil

3 cloves of garlic

½ c tomato juice

½ c. brown sugar

Salt and pepper to taste

Two days before cooking, cut the sirloin into bite-sized pieces in a glass container along with all of the ingredients listed above. Allow the meat to marinate in the refrigerator until it’s time to cook so that the flavor really sets in. 

To cook beef fondue, fill the fondue pot half way with corn oil. Turn the fondue pot to medium high. Using fondue forks, cook the meat in the pot until it is cooked to your liking. Serve with a sour cream horseradish dipping sauce (just simply mix raw horseradish with sour cream to taste).