Category: Meat / Poultry

Warm Cheddar Bacon Dip

Use celery sticks to scoop up this Warm Cheddar Bacon Dip. The cheese needs to be soft enough to blend into the sour cream but not oozing. The contrast of the warm dip and cool celery is pleasant, the aroma of the bacon, cheese and chives enticing, and the crunch of crisp celery completes this snack or appetizer. Don’t wait for a party to serve this; have some ready for the kids when they get home from school!

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Shred the cheese with a hand grater or food processor.IMG_3069

Combine the sour cream, Cheddar cheese, bacon, chives, hot sauce and salt in a medium-size, heatproof bowl. Warm the cheese mixture in the microwave for a few seconds. Just enough to soften the cheese. Stir to combine.

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Cut the celery on the bias.

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Cutting on the bias creates a “scoop” for holding the dip.

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Warm Cheddar Bacon Dip

Use celery sticks to scoop up this Warm Cheddar Bacon Dip. The cheese needs to be soft enough to blend into the sour cream but not oozing.

  • Author: Trish Lobenfeld
  • Prep Time: 20 mins
  • Total Time: 20 mins
  • Yield: 2/3 cup 1x
  • Category: Appetizer

Ingredients

Scale
  • 3 ounces shredded Cheddar cheese
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 1 ounce minced crispy bacon (1 thick slice of bacon)
  • 3 tablespoons minced chives
  • several dashes hot sauce, such as Franks Hot Sauce, or Tobasco Sauce
  • pinch of Kosher salt
  • 20 two-inch trimmed and cleaned celery stalks, cut on the bias

Instructions

  1. Combine the cheese, sour cream, bacon, chives, hot sauce and salt in a heat-proof bowl until creamy, about 25 seconds.
  2. Serve with celery.

 

Beef Tacos with Lime Sour Cream

In our area, it’s hard to get a good taco. No offense to fast food establishments or many of our local restaurants but the flavor profile is very generic. Interestingly, when I perused taco recipes, I was surprised to see so many using generic chili powder, maybe that’s why they all taste the same. These Beef Tacos with Lime Sour Cream use my unique seasoning blend for maximum flavor.

I used a combination of my go-to spices: ancho chili powder for its warm smoky characteristics, cumin, coriander and Mexican oregano because you can’t make tacos without these traditional ingredients and for a little heat, chipotle powder.

There are many garnishes to choose from. I like to put shredded cheese over the top of the tacos and let it melt and then drizzle a sauce, like the lime sour cream recipe included here. I might top one with salsa crudoone with guacamole, and another with chopped scallions and pickled jalalpenos. If you can’t decide or want to mix it up, put little dollops of a few toppings on your plate to have something different with each bite!

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Method

Heat the oil in a four-quart Dutch oven or heavy-bottomed saucepan over high. Place the beef and salt in the hot oil and with the tip of a wooden spoon break it up into crumbles. Cook until the beef is no longer red.

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Stir in the onions and garlic, cover and sweat for five minutes. Add the ancho chili powder, cumin, coriander, oregano and chipotle chili powder, stir and cook for 30 seconds.

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Stir in the tomatoes and water, bring to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer, cover and cook for one hour, stirring occasionally to prevent the beef mixture from sticking to the bottom of the pan.

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Use a 1/4 cup measure to scoop the taco mixture onto each tortilla. Fold and put on a plate or platter.

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Sprinkle the top with shredded cheese and melt in the microwave for 15 seconds or in the oven. Drizzle with the lime sour cream sauce and garnish to your liking.

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Whisk together and pour into a squeeze bottle.

 

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Beef Tacos

I used a combination of my go-to spices: ancho chili powder for its warm smoky characteristics, cumin, coriander and Mexican oregano because you can’t make tacos without these traditional ingredients and for a little heat from chipotle powder.

  • Author: Trish Lobenfeld
  • Prep Time: 30 mins
  • Cook Time: 1 hour 5 mins
  • Total Time: 1 hour 35 mins
  • Yield: 6 portions 1x
  • Category: Beef

Ingredients

Scale

Lime Sour Cream
1/4 cup sour cream
zest of one lime
pinch of Kosher salt

Beef Tacos
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 pounds ground beef
2 teaspoons Kosher salt
1 small onion, minced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons ancho chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon dried oregano, preferably Mexican
1/8 teaspoon ground chipotle chili powder
1 can (15 ounces) fire-roasted tomatoes
1/4 cup cold water
12 six-inch round soft tortillas, wheat or corn

Garnishes: shredded cheese, such as Monterrey Jack or Cheddar, lime sour cream, chopped cilantro, chopped scallions, pica di gallo, chopped pickled jalapenos, sliced black olives, avocado slices sprinkled with lemon juice and salt, shredded iceberg lettuce sprinkled with salt, guacamole or anything else you like.

Instructions

Lime Sour Cream

Whisk the sour cream, lime zest and salt together.
Put in a squeeze.

Beef Tacos

Heat the oil in a four-quart Dutch oven or heavy-bottomed saucepan over high. Place the beef and salt in the hot oil and with the tip of a wooden spoon break it up into crumbles. Cook until the beef is no longer red.

Stir in the onions and garlic, cover and sweat for five minutes. Add the ancho chili powder, cumin, coriander, oregano and chipotle chili powder, stir and cook for 30 seconds.

Stir in the tomatoes and water, bring to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer, cover and cook for one hour, stirring occasionally to prevent the beef mixture from sticking to the bottom of the pan.

Use a 1/4 cup measure to scoop taco mixture onto each tortilla. Fold and put on a plate or platter.

Sprinkle with shredded cheese and melt in the microwave on high for 15 seconds or in the oven for two minutes.

Drizzle with lime sour cream sauce and garnish to your liking.

Keywords: tacos, ground beef, soft tacos, beef tacos

 

 

Meatloaf with Spicy Ketchup

Meatloaf is versatile. Use ground meat or poultry and simply change up the herbs and spices or add in some vegetables and you create an entirely different flavor profile. Try this recipe for Meatloaf with Spicy Ketchup.

Bread crumbs, originally used as a filler when meat was rationed during WWII or to stretch a meat dish on a limited budget, are still worth adding in a small amount because they absorb juices during cooking and keep the meatloaf moist.

Meatloaf can take many forms. Free form, stuffed into a loaf pan, individual mini meatloafs; or make meatballs. Mini meatballs are great hors d’oeuvres, serve with a dipping sauce. The possibilities are endless.

I like to make individual free-form meatloaves, which get a nice crust on the top and the sides. I use a scale, an inexpensive one with a needle dial that is more than sufficient. Weighing and shaping each meatloaf ensures they cook evenly and everyone gets the same portion size.

Meatloaf and meatballs freeze well. Place on a tray and put in the freezer. Once frozen, wrap tightly and return to the freezer. Don’t thaw before using, cook the meatloaf frozen and add the frozen meatballs to a sauce.

This is a basic recipe, which yields five and one-half pounds of the mixture. This can be made into 11 seven-ounce mini meatloafs, 40 two-ounce meatballs, one or two large meatloafs, or a combination. I’ve also included a spicy ketchup sauce for glazing the meatloaf during the last ten minutes.

Sauce

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Whisk together the ketchup, mustard, Worcestershire sauce, ancho chili powder, cumin, coriander, oregano and chipotle powder. Try this with a hot Dijon mustard, such as Inglehoffer, for an extra kick.

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Meatloaf

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Crack the eggs into a large mixing bowl, add the milk and beat until frothy.

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Stir in the breadcrumbs, onion, cheese, mustard, herb seasoning, garlic, salt and pepper.

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Add the meat to the bowl.

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Knead the breadcrumb mixture and meat together until thoroughly combined.

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At this point, I take a spoonful and panfry it to check on seasonings an important step in recipe development and an easy place to make adjustments.

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And I’m always happy to have a nosh! No changes needed – wish I had cooked a bigger piece…

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Forming

 

Mini meatloaves: 7 ounces

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Meatballs: 2 ounces

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Place on the lined baking tray and bake.

These pictures are to show you the various shapes. Don’t cook on together!

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Mini Meatloafs

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Baking

The optimum internal temperature for a cooked meatloaf or meatballs is 165 degrees F.

Remove the meatloaf 10 minutes before the end cooking time, around 155 degrees F internal temperature, and generously brush the spicy ketchup over the top and sides.

Rest the meatloaf 10 minutes before slicing to allow the meat to set.

Large Meatloaf – about 2 to 2 1/2 pounds

  • Fresh: 300 degrees F for one hour
  • Frozen: 350 degrees F for 20 minutes, lower the heat to 300ºF and continue baking for 40 minutes

Mini Meatloaf – 7 ounces each

  • Fresh: 300 degrees F for 25 minutes
  • Frozen: 350 degrees F for 15 minutes, then 300 degrees F for 30 minutes

Meatballs – 2 ounces each

  • Fresh: 350 degrees F for 12 minutes
  • Frozen: 350 degrees F for 20 minutes

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Meatloaf with Spicy Ketchup

Meatloaf can take many forms. Free form, stuffed into a loaf pan, individual mini meatloafs; or meatballs. Mini meatballs are great hors d’oeuvres, serve with a tasty dipping sauce.

  • Prep Time: 20 mins
  • Total Time: 20 mins
  • Yield: 5 1/2 pounds meatloaf mix 1x
  • Category: Meatloaf
  • Method: Baking

Ingredients

Scale

Spicy Ketchup
1 cup ketchup
2 tablespoons hot Dijon mustard, such as Inglehoffer
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 ½ teaspoons smoked paprika
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon dry oregano
1/8 teaspoon chipotle powder

Meatloaf
3 large eggs
1/2 cup milk
1 cup breadcrumbs
3/4 cup grated onion
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons coarse mustard
1 tablespoon Italian herb seasoning
2 teaspoons minced cloves of garlic
1 1/2 teaspoons Kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
2 pounds ground beef (15% fat)
1 pound ground pork
1 pound ground veal

Instructions

  1. Spicy Ketchup
  2. Whisk together the ketchup, mustard, Worcestershire sauce, ancho chili powder, cumin, coriander, oregano and chipotle powder.
  3. Meatloaf
  4. Crack the eggs into a large mixing bowl, add the milk and beat until frothy.
  5. Stir in the breadcrumbs, onion, cheese, mustard, herb seasoning, garlic, salt and pepper.
  6. Add the meat to the bowl and knead together until thoroughly combined.
  7. Forming:
  8. Weigh the mixture for whatever size and shape you want:
    1. Large meatloaf: 2 pounds
    2. Mini meatloafs: 7 ounces
    3. Meatballs: 2 ounces
  9. Place on a baking tray bake in preheated oven.
  10. Baking:
  11. Large Meatloaf – about 2 to 2 1/2 pounds
    1. Fresh: 300 degrees F for one hour
    2. Frozen: 350 degrees F for 20 minutes, lower the heat to 300 degrees F and continue baking for 40 minutes
  12. Mini Meatloaf – 7 ounces each
    1. Fresh: 300 degrees F for 25 minutes
    2. Frozen: 350 agrees F for 15 minutes, lower heat to 300 degrees F for 20 minutes
  13. Resting
    1. Rest for 10 minutes before slicing. This allows the meat to set.
  14. Meatballs – 2 ounces each
    1. Fresh: 350 degrees F for 12 minutes
    2. Frozen: 350 degrees F for 20 minutes

Notes

The optimum internal temperature is 165 degrees F.

Remove the meatloaf 10 minutes prior to the end cooking time, about 155 degrees F internal temperature, and generously glaze top and sides and cook for another 10 minutes.

 

Hamburger / Cheeseburger

cheeseburger

Nothing makes me happier than a good hamburger or cheeseburger, preferably charcoal grilled or from a super hot frypan.

Ground Beef

The cuts commonly used to make ground beef are the the working muscles, such as the front and rear shoulder muscles. These muscles have more fat, collagen and connective tissue and are more flavorful than leaner cuts that come from the loin and rib.

Chuck (16-22% fat) and round (10-15%) were the cuts of choice until saturated fat became the scapegoat for almost every malady know to mankind.  Sirloin (5-10%fat) was then added as a lower fat option. Sirloin is not a universal choice for all ground beef recipes, however, because of the low fat content it can be very dry and overly firm when cooked to well done. It’s an excellent choice for steak tartar or a very rare burger.

Typically, you wouldn’t cook chuck or round using a direct heat method such as grilling/broiling or panfrying; they are too tough. Grinding the meat tenderizes it, shortening collagen and connective tissue into tiny pieces that normally require long cooking time at low temperatures with a flavorful liquid. Ground beef can be formed into patties, loaves or used loosely in a sauce. Grinding also lets us undercook the meat for a tender and delicious rare or medium-rare burger

I love a good hamburger, sometimes a cheeseburger. I’m a bit pedestrian when it comes my burger compared to all the varieties that abound these days. I love bacon, but NOT on my burger! I love blue cheese, Brie and all sorts of gourmet cheeses, but NOT on my burger. I love sautéed onions, chili, fruit, salsa and all the other concoctions people are piling onto burgers these days, just NOT on my burger! I’ve been to Bobby’s (Flay) Burger Palace, Five Guys and Danny Meyer’s Shake Shack and I skip the house specialties with the special sauces.

A good bun, cut in half and lightly toasted is an other essential. Cover the bottom of the bun with French’s mustard, a generous helping of chopped onion (red or white), crispy lettuce leaves (iceberg or Romaine), plump, juicy tomato slices seasoned with salt and pepper, a perfectly cooked burger (medium-rare to medium with crispy edges), pickle chips and close it up with the top bun.

Start with a good bun, cut in half and lightly toasted.

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Cover the bottom of the bun with French’s mustard or any condiment of your choice.

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Add a generous helping of chopped onion (red or white), or caramelized onions or ….

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Add some crispy green lettuce leaves.

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Top with tomato slices seasoned with salt and pepper.

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Heat a pan over very high heat. Pour in a dollop of peanut oil and spread it around the bottom.

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Season both sides of the burger with kosher salt and ground pepper and place the it in the pan. Listen for that sizzle! Cook for three minutes.

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Flip and press down to flatten a little. The juices contain fat, which will crisp the outer edges. Cook for two minutes.

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Flip again for one minute and again for one minute more – now it’s time to add cheese if you’re making a cheeseburger.

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A perfectly cooked burger, medium-rare to medium with crispy edges is my preference. Cook for a minute or two less for rare or a minute or two more for well done. Place on top of the dressed bun and add a few pickle chips.IMG_2785Close it up with the top bun and consume!

These remains are the sign of a perfect burger, one where the juices run down your hand and every bite has all the fixings!

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Ingredient of the Month: Ground Beef and a Hamburger Recipe

cheeseburger

There’s nothing quite as satisfying as a good hamburger or cheeseburger. This recipe is written for one. Multiply for as many as needed.

  • Prep Time: 15 mins
  • Cook Time: 10 mins
  • Total Time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: 1 burger 1x
  • Category: Beef
  • Method: Panfry

Ingredients

Scale
  • 1/4 pound ground chuck or round per person
  • 1 tablespoon peanut oil
  • kosher salt
  • ground pepper
  • toppings of your choice

Instructions

  1. Start with a good bun, cut it in half and lightly toast.
  2. Cover the bottom of the bun with a sauce of your choice.
  3. Add a generous helping of chopped onion (red or white), caramelized onion, or sautéed onions and peppers.
  4. Top that with something crisp and leafy, such lettuce leaves, kale or cabbage.
  5. Adorn that with plump, juicy tomato slices seasoned with salt and pepper.
  6. Set a perfectly cooked burger, which has crispy outer edges and a juicy center, on the dressed bun.
  7. Top it off with pickle chips or pickled jalapeños.
  8. Start with a good bun, cut in half and lightly toasted.
  9. Cover the bottom of the bun with a condiment of your choice.
  10. Add a generous helping of chopped onion (red or white), or caramelized onions or sautéed onions and peppers.
  11. Add some crispy and crunchy leafy greens.
  12. Top with tomato slices seasoned with salt and pepper.
  13. Place a pan over very high heat. Pour a dollop of peanut oil and spread it around the bottom.
  14. Season both sides of the burger with Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper and place the it in the pan. Listen for that sizzle! Cook for three minutes.
  15. Flip and press down to flatten a little. The juices contain fat, which crisp the outer edges. Cook for two minutes.
  16. Flip again for one minute and again for one minute more – now is the time to add cheese if you’re making a cheeseburger.
  17. A perfectly cooked burger is juicy with a beautifully seared exterior with slightly crisped edges. Cook for a minute or two less for rare or a minute or two more for well done. Place on top of the tomatoes.
  18. Add a few pickled chips or pickled jalapeños.
  19. Close it up with the top bun and consume!

 

Curried Butternut Squash Soup with Chicken, Rice and Spinach

My pilates instructor and I talk about food quite a bit during our workout. It sounds funny, but when you get two people together who love food, it’s inevitable.We were talking about butternut squash last
fall, which lead to my making a curried butternut squash soup. By the next session we had both made the soup and she had the great idea of adding chicken and rice to the soup. I told her I was stealing her idea and went home and made curried butternut squash soup with chicken, rice and spinach.

I didn’t want to roast or poach a chicken, so I bought a store-roasted chicken and chopped up the meat.

Four cups chopped roasted chicken

Four cups chopped roasted chicken

I used the pasta method to cook one cup of rice, which yielded three cooked cups.

Three cups cooked basmati rice

Three cups cooked basmati rice

Finally I  tossed in ten ounces of fresh baby spinach.

Ten ounces fresh baby spinach

Ten ounces fresh baby spinach

This butternut squash soup with chicken, rice and spinach is a hearty meal and it always nice to repurpose a recipe.

Happy National Soup Month!

 

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Curried Butternut Squash, Chicken, Rice & Spinach Soup

Add these three ingredients to the Curried Butternut Squash Soup recipe for a hearty main-course dish.

Ingredients

Scale

Instructions

  1. Stir in the chicken, rice and spinach. Cook until heated through.
  2. Freezes well.

 

Slow-Cooked Brisket in Red wine

I learned to make brisket from my Mother-in-Law Ruth. We always had pot roast when I was a kid. I love this dish immediately; with it’s beefy flavor and tenderness. I’ve made many different versions over the years, and this slow-cooked brisket in red wine is simple and classic.

The slow cooker is my best friend over the colder months. A braise cooks low and slow and fills the house with a wonderful savory aroma. A large  7-quart slow cooker makes enough for leftovers for or the freezer.

This recipe is best made in advance. Cook and chill overnight, then defat the brisket by scraping the solid fat off the top. Slice the brisket and put into a roasting pan and cover with the sauce and vegetables.

To freeze, place the vegetables in a self-sealing freezer bag, wrap everything tightly, and pop into the freezer. Cook the meat from a frozen state. Thaw the vegetables and add for the last 30 minutes cooking time.

Slow Cooked Brisket in Red Wine

Line up all your ingredients and tools. Since first writing this post, I’ve stopped browning meat. I find it’s an unnecessary messy step.

Brown the Meat

Five-pounds front-cut brisket
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons Kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

Place the brisket on a tray or plate and season both sides with salt and pepper.

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Heat the oil in a 7-quart Dutch oven or stovetop-proof slow cooker insert over high heat. Add the brisket, fat side down and sear for five minutes. Flip it over and sear another five minutes. Return to the tray. I am using two 2 1/2 pound cuts and repeated the process. Don’t hesitate to set the timer to remind you when to turn the meat.

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Mis en Place

If this is a term you aren’t familiar with, it means everything in its place. To cook efficiently, it’s best to have all the prep work done in advance. No missing items and no last minute scrambling to chop something in the middle of cooking, which creates a calmer work environment.

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2 cups small diced onion
1 cup small diced celery
1 cup small diced carrot
4 minced garlic cloves
1 tablespoon dried thyme
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
2 cups dry red wine, such as a cabernet sauvignon or merlot
1 1/2 cups stock or water
6 carrots, peeled and cut into two-inch pieces
5 all-purpose potatoes, peeled and cut into approximately three-inch pieces

Add the onions, celery, carrots and garlic to the pan with the meat juices, stir  and sweat for five minutes, stirring once halfway through. Stir in the herbs.

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Pour in the wine and stock and bring to a boil for 10 minutes. This reduces the wine a bit and intensifies the flavor.

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Stir in the carrots and potatoes.

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Lay the brisket on top of the vegetables.

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Don’t forget those meat juices – pour them in!

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Cover with water or stock until halfway up the meat. Do NOT cover the meat with liquid. Slow cooking is all about an exchange of flavors between the vegetables and the meat in the cooking liquid. Both exude juices throughout the cooking process. Too much water results in a thin, weak sauce. Have patience and let the slow cooking process work to make an intensely flavored and tender dish.

 Set at a simmer for eight hours.

The key to slow cooking is low and slow. Low temperature, a very gentle simmer, just a few bubbles here and there, and slow cooking time. This method keeps the meat moist.

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Cool the brisket and refrigerate overnight.

Remove the hardened fat by scraping a spoon across the top. This was a particularly lean brisket, very little to remove.

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Remove the potatoes and chunky carrots to a plastic bag and seal tightly.

Thinly slice the brisket on the bias.

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Pour a couple of ladlefuls of sauce in the bottom of the pan.

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Lay the sliced brisket on top.

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Cover the with the remaining sauce and vegetables. Separate the vegetables from the meat if you are freezing.

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Freezing Instructions

Place a sheet of plastic wrap directly on top of the brisket to prevent oxygen from getting to it.

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Cover with foil the same way. Then lay the plastic bag of vegetables on top.

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Cover tightly with foil and freeze.

Reheat

From the Refrigerator: Preheat the oven to  400ºF and roast for 40 minutes, or until the gravy is bubbling.

From the Freezer: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F and cook for 1 hour. Stir in the vegetables and continue cooking for 20 minutes more, or until the gravy is bubbling.

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Slow Cooked Brisket in Red wine

Braised Beef

A delicious slow-cooked brisket is great anytime. Make ahead and freeze for a special occasion.

  • Author: Trish Lobenfeld
  • Prep Time: 45 minutes
  • Cook Time: 8 hours
  • Total Time: 8 hours 45 minutes
  • Yield: 10 servings 1x
  • Category: Meat
  • Method: Braise/Slow Cooking

Ingredients

Scale

1 five-pound front-cut brisket
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons Kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
2 cups small diced onion
1 cup small diced celery
1 cup small diced carrot
4 minced garlic cloves
1 tablespoon dried thyme
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
2 cups dry red wine, such as a cabernet sauvignon or merlot
1 1/2 cups stock or water
6 carrots, peeled and cut into two-inch pieces
5 all-purpose potatoes, peeled and cut into approximately three-inch pieces

Instructions

Place the brisket on a tray or plate and season both sides with salt and pepper.

Note: Line up all your ingredients and tools. Since first writing this post, I’ve stopped browning meat. I find it’s an unnecessary messy step.

Heat the oil in a 7-quart Dutch oven or stovetop-proof slow cooker insert over high heat. Add the brisket, fat side down and sear for five minutes. Flip it over and sear another five minutes. Return to the tray. I am using two 2 1/2 pound cuts and repeated the process. Don’t hesitate to set the timer to remind you when to turn the meat.

Add the onions, celery, carrots and garlic to the pan with the meat juices, stir and sweat for five minutes, stirring once halfway through. Stir in the herbs.

Pour in the wine and stock and bring to a boil for 10 minutes. This reduces the wine a bit and intensifies the flavor.

Stir in the carrots and potatoes.

Lay the brisket on top of the vegetables.

Don’t forget those meat juices – pour them in!

Cover with water or stock until halfway up the meat. Do NOT cover the meat with liquid. Slow cooking is all about an exchange of flavors between the vegetables and the meat in the cooking liquid. Both exude juices throughout the cooking process. Too much water results in a thin, weak sauce. Have patience and let the slow cooking process work to make an intensely flavored and tender dish.

Set at a simmer for eight hours. The key to slow cooking is low and slow. Low temperature, a very gentle simmer, just a few bubbles here and there, and slow cooking time. This method keeps the meat moist.

Cool the brisket and refrigerate overnight.

Remove the hardened fat by scraping a spoon across the top. This was a particularly lean brisket, very little to remove.

Remove the potatoes and chunky carrots to a plastic bag and seal tightly.

Thinly slice the brisket on the bias.

Pour a couple of ladlefuls of sauce in the bottom of the pan.

Lay the sliced brisket on top.

Cover the with the remaining sauce and vegetables. Separate the vegetables from the meat if you are freezing.

Freezing Instructions

Place a sheet of plastic wrap directly on top of the brisket to prevent oxygen from getting to it.

Cover with foil the same way. Then lay the plastic bag of vegetables on top.

Cover tightly with foil and freeze.

Reheat

From the Refrigerator: Preheat the oven to  400ºF and roast for 40 minutes, or until the gravy is bubbling.

From the Freezer: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F and cook for 1 hour. Stir in the vegetables and continue cooking for 20 minutes more, or until the gravy is bubbling.

Notes

Mis en Place

If this is a term you aren’t familiar with, it means everything in its place. To cook efficiently, it’s best to have all the prep work done in advance. No missing items and no last-minute scrambling to chop something in the middle of cooking, which creates a calmer work environment.

 

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Swine Butchery Class

Saugatuck Craft Butchery, located in Westport, CT holds classes in butchery, sausage making and knife skills. Last Thursday I attended a swine butchery class.

When I arrived, half a pig was spread across the large wooden butcher’s table, all its parts labeled. The class started with a thorough discussion of sourcing, anatomy and a butchering demonstration. They cleared away the butchered pig and I was a little disappointed. I thought it was more hands on. Next thing I know, two new pig halves came out of the meat locker to the table and there were only seven students – WOW! What an opportunity.

Fat surrounding the kidneys is made into leaf lard for pastry making.

Fat surrounding the kidneys is made into leaf lard for pastry making.

We butchered the pigs exactly as the instructor had. It was an amazing experience. I got to remove the tenderloin and clean it “case ready.”

Next I got to remove the hock from the ham. That’s difficult. The skin is tough and no matter how sharp your knife, you need strength. The butchers make beautiful sweeping cuts, mine were hacks. Getting through that skin is challenging and then finding the joint and separating is problematic – I had to stick my fingers in a few times and feel around to find the joint.  I couldn’t see anything until it was completely apart. Once you see how it’s joined together, it makes sense and you can visualize where the knife should go – next time!

Untrimmed pork tenderloin from the demo. My hands were too slick to take pictures of mine.

Untrimmed pork tenderloin from the demo. My hands were too slick to take pictures of mine.

My last task was to use a hand saw on the rib cage separating the loin chops from the spare ribs. I kept bringing the saw too far back at first. Overall, I think everyone in the group had as much fun as I did and we learned a lot. There’s great finesse to butchering; it’s an art to disassemble an animal and not waste or destroy the flesh in the process.

Separating the rib chops from the spareribs with a hand saw.

Separating the rib chops from the spareribs with a hand saw. All the excess fat is made into lard.  This is also bacon.

All scraps go into making a variety of sausages, which we tasted before the class. The kielbasa was my favorite. They make their own bacon and lard as well. Pig’s ears are turned into dog treats – they don’t waste anything.

These guys really like what they do, are friendly and knowledgeable; I look forward to sourcing my meat from them regularly.

Pot Roast

Before we get into the Pot Roast recipe, here are some tips on making a perfect braise.

A frequent mistake made in braise recipes is adding too much liquid at the start of cooking. This dilutes the sauce. It takes a little faith to put your meat and vegetables in the pot with only a cup of
braising liquid. It pays off in the end when you’re rewarded with a very flavorful sauce from an exchange of flavors between the vegetables, the braising liquid and the meat juices.

Pot roast is a large piece of meat, but don’t be tempted to add more liquid than I suggest. I have taken pictures to show you that the braising liquid increases early in the cooking process. Everything cooks thoroughly and the flavor is robust.

Pot roast is a very simple braise. Brown the seasoned meat and set aside. Sweat the onions, add large pieces of carrots and potatoes, some bay leaves and braising liquid.  Cook until tender.

Braised dishes are best if left to sit overnight. It intensifies the flavor and, since the meats used in braising are fatty, the fat sits on the surface and solidifies overnight, just scrape it off before reheating.

Slice the meat and place on a platter surrounded by the vegetables and cover with a little gravy.

Pot Roast Method

 

Season both sides of the pot roast with salt and pepper.

Heat the oil in a 7-quart Dutch oven or large saucepan with a cover over high heat. Add the seasoned pot roast to the hot oil and lower the heat slightly. Brown the top turn and brown the bottom.

Remove the meat and add the onions to the hot pot over medium heat. Cover and sweat for 3 minutes. Uncover, raise the heat a bit and sauté for several minutes until lightly browned.

Toss in the garlic and stir until fragrant, about 30 seconds.

Stir in the stock, potatoes, carrots, bay leaves, salt and pepper. Return the meat to pot, pushing a few vegetables aside to snuggle the roast in. This is where it takes a little faith. The amount of liquid is minimal.

Bring this to a boil, lower the heat to barely a simmer, cover and let cook for 2 1/2 to 3 hours or until fork tender. For a slow cooker set on low for 6 hours.

This picture shows the pot roast after 3 hours cooking (I used a slow cooker) – notice the increase in liquid at the halfway point.

Cool the roast, refrigerate overnight and then remove the fat. Reheat, slice and serve. The gravy thickens from the starch in the potato, no need to add flour.

Refrigerated overnight:

Fat removed before reheating:

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Pot Roast

  • Author: Trish Lobenfeld
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 7 hours
  • Total Time: 7 hours 30 minutes
  • Yield: 6 portions 1x
  • Category: Beef
  • Method: Braising

Ingredients

Scale

2  pounds chuck roast
1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 large onion, peeled and sliced lengthwise
4 garlic cloves, peeled and lightly smashed
1 cup stock or water
1 1/2 pounds red or white potatoes, cut into 6 lengthwise slices
4 large carrots, peeled into 4 inch chunks
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

Instructions

Season both sides of the pot roast with salt and pepper.

Heat the oil in a 7-quart Dutch oven or large saucepan with a cover over high heat.

Add the seasoned pot roast to the hot oil and lower the heat slightly. Brown the top turn and brown the bottom.

Remove the meat and add the onions to the hot pot over medium heat. Cover and sweat for 3 minutes.

Uncover, raise the heat a bit and sauté for several minutes until lightly browned.

Toss in the garlic and stir until fragrant, about 30 seconds.

Stir in the stock, potatoes, carrots, bay leaves, salt and pepper. Return the meat to pot, pushing a few vegetables aside to snuggle the roast in. This is where it takes a little faith. The amount of liquid is minimal.

Bring this to a boil, lower the heat to barely a simmer, cover and let cook for 2 1/2 to 3 hours or until fork tender. For a slow cooker set on low for 6 hours.

Cool the roast, refrigerate overnight and then remove the fat. Reheat, slice and serve. The gravy thickens from the starch in the potato, no need to add flour.

Sofrito Braised Country-Style Spare Ribs with Rice and Beans

 

I’ve been busy preparing for the onslaught of Eric’s friends for the Super Bowl. Dinner is Sofrito Braised Country-Style Spare Ribs Over Rice, Beans & Chorizo.

No one has a favorite team this year and I expect a rather low-key (no yelling or expletives) evening. They arrive around 4ish and expect noshes. I like to mix up the Super Bowl recipes and not always rely on salsa and chips and chili. Here’s a recipe for a quick and easy appetizer, Buffalo Wing Dip.

Check out some of these links for delicious dessert ideas!

Triple Chocolate Brownies

Apple Pie with Crumb Topping

Spare Ribs

Heat the oil in a 7-quart covered Dutch oven or heat-proof slow cooker insert over medium-high heat. Once the oil is hot (it quivers a bit), add the onion, cover and sweat for five minutes.

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Stir in the green pepper, tomatoes, salt and pepper flakes; bring to a boil, lower a bit and continue cooking until the liquid reduces about ten minutes.

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Add the garlic, sherry wine vinegar, coriander, turmeric, jalapeño and bay leaves, stir and cook for 30 seconds, just until fragrant. Pour in the stock and stir to combine.

Note: this is more liquid than I would normally use, but I want 2 cups of the flavorful liquid to cook the rice.

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Set the spare ribs in the sofrito and bring to a boil.

Stovetop Method: lower heat to barely simmer and continue cooking until the pork is fork tender, about two and one-half hours.

Slow Cooker Method: Set the slow cooker on low and cook until the pork is fork tender; check at six hours and adjust accordingly.

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Cool and refrigerate overnight. Skim the fat before reheating.

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Rice

Heat the oil in a small sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add the chorizo and sauté until golden brown, about five minutes. Remove to a paper towel-lined plate.

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Put the strained sofrito sauce and rice in a medium-sized covered saucepan. Bring to a boil and lower the heat to simmer, cover and cook for the recommended time on the package.

Note: Follow instructions on package for cooking in Microwave.

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Stir in the beans, chorizo and cilantro; continue cooking until heated through.

To serve: Spoon the rice mixture in the middle of the plate, top with the spare ribs and ladle sauce over the top. Serve remaining sauce in a gravy boat.

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Braised Sofrito Country-Style Spareribs with Rice, Pink Beans and Chorizo

Make this a day or two in advance to let the flavors meld.

  • Author: Trish Lobenfeld
  • Prep Time: 45 minutes
  • Cook Time: 8 hour
  • Total Time: 8 hours 45 minutes
  • Yield: 6 servings 1x
  • Category: Main Dish
  • Method: Braise

Ingredients

Scale
  • Spare Ribs
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 cups diced onion
  • 1 cup diced pepper
  • 2 cans (15 ounces) fire-roasted tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon Kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 10 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
  • 2 tablespoons sherry wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon ground coriander
  • 2 teaspoons turmeric
  • 1 jalapeño, seeded and minced
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 4 cups chicken stock (water or vegetable stock is fine)
  • 4 pounds boneless country-style pork spare ribs
  • Rice
  • ½ pound chorizo, skin removed and ¼-inch dice
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 cups strained sofrito sauce, return the vegetables to the pot
  • 1 cup long-grain white rice
  • 1 can (15 ounces) pink beans, rinsed and drained
  • ¼ cup roughly chopped cilantro

Instructions

  1. Spare Ribs
  2. Heat the oil in a 7-quart covered Dutch oven or heat-proof slow cooker insert over medium-high heat. Once the oil is hot (it quivers a bit), add the onion, cover and sweat for 5 minutes.
  3. Stir in the green pepper, tomatoes, salt and pepper flakes; bring to a boil, lower a bit and continue cooking until the liquid reduces about 10 minutes.
  4. Add the garlic, sherry wine vinegar, coriander, turmeric, jalapeño and bay leaves, stir and cook for 30 seconds, just until fragrant. Pour in the stock and stir to combine.
  5. Note: this is more liquid that I would normally use, but I want 2 cups of the flavorful liquid to cook the rice.
  6. Set the spare ribs in the sofrito and bring to a boil.
  7. Stovetop Method: lower heat to barely simmer and continue cooking until the pork is fork tender, about two and one-half hours.
  8. Slow Cooker Method: Set the slow cooker on low and cook until the pork is fork tender; check at six hours and adjust accordingly.
  9. Cool and refrigerate overnight. Skim the fat before reheating.
  10. Rice
  11. Heat the oil in a small sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add the chorizo and sauté until golden brown, about five minutes. Remove to a paper towel-lined plate.
  12. Put the strained sofrito sauce and rice in a medium-sized covered saucepan. Bring to a boil and lower the heat to simmer, cover and cook for the recommended time on the package.
  13. Note: Follow instructions on package for cooking in the Microwave.
  14. Stir in the beans, chorizo and cilantro; continue cooking until heated through.
  15. To serve: Spoon the rice mixture in the middle of the plate, top with the spare ribs and ladle sauce over the top. Serve remaining sauce in a gravy boat.

Notes

Make this for Super Bowl Sunday or any dinner.

Split Pea and Barley Soup

split pea and barley soup

As I was walking the dog, I was thinking about the split peas, barley and ham waiting to be made into soup. I was mentally thinking about the recipe and procedure. One thing that struck me was in all the years of cooking with dried beans I’ve never found a “foreign object” in them. The directions still recommend spreading the beans out and checking them followed by a good rinse before using.

Would you believe I found a little piece of wood among the lentils!

Little "foreign object."

Split pea soup is pretty basic. My preference is to precook the barley before adding to the soup. Put a cup of barley and 1 teaspoon kosher salt in a medium saucepan, cover completely with cold water by 2 inches and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to simmer and cook for 15 minutes. Keep an eye on the barley, the high starch content makes boiling over a possibility. Rinse thoroughly to get rid of more starch and add to the soup.

While the barley is cooking, dice onion and celery and mince some garlic.

minced onion and celery

Heat olive oil in the bottom of large Dutch oven or saucepan a pan over medium heat. Toss in the onions and celery, stir, cover and sweat for 5 minutes.

2 tablespoons olive oil

Cut about 2 pounds of ham into small cubes and about 8 carrots into coins. Add the peas, barley, ham, carrots, bay leaves, salt and pepper. Cover with 10 cups cold water and bring to a boil, lower the heat to a gentle simmer, cover and cook until the peas lose their shape. About 1 1/2 hours.

 cubed ham

minced garlic and bay leaves

Add the peas, barley, ham, carrots, bay leaves, salt and pepper. Cover with 10 cups cold water and bring to a boil, lower the heat to a gentle simmer, cover and cook until the peas lose their shape. About 1 1/2 hours.

all ingredients in the pan

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Split Pea and Barley Soup

split pea and barley soup

A quick and easy Split Pea and Barley Soup that makes a heart lunch or dinner.

  • Author: Trish Lobenfeld
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 2 hours
  • Total Time: 2 hours 30 minutes
  • Yield: about 3 quarts 1x
  • Category: Soup

Ingredients

Scale

1 cup barley
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 pound split peas, check for objects, rinse
2 cups diced onion
1 cup diced celery
10 cloves garlic, minced
2 pounds ham, cut into small cubes
8 carrots, peeled and cut into ¼-inch coins
3 bay leaves
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon ground pepper

Instructions

Put the barley and 1salt in a medium saucepan, cover completely with cold water by 2 inches and bring to a boil.

Reduce the heat to simmer and cook for 15 minutes. Keep an eye on the barley, the high starch content makes boiling over a possibility.

Rinse thoroughly to get rid of more starch and add to the soup.

While the barley is cooking, dice the onion and celery and mince the garlic.

Heat the oil in the bottom of large Dutch oven or saucepan a pan over medium heat. Toss in the onions, celery, and garlic; stir, cover and sweat for 5 minutes.

Stir in the peas, barley, ham, carrots, bay leaves, salt and pepper. Cover with 10 cups cold water and bring to a boil, lower the heat to a gentle simmer, cover and cook until the peas lose their shape. About 1 1/2 hours.

Notes

Skip the ham for a vegan/vegetarian recipe.

 

Potato, Leek, Turnip and Bacon Soup

This Potato Leek Turnip and Bacon Soup came together in an ad hoc manner. I noticed potato leek soup in the soup bar at the store. When I got home there were turnips in the vegetable bin. The bacon was a no brainer.

Method

 

Put the bacon in a cold large Dutch oven or saucepan pot over medium heat, cook, stirring occasionally until fat is rendered and the bacon is crisp. Remove to a paper-towel lined plate.

Pour off all but 1 tablespoon of the bacon fat and add the onions. Cover and sweat for three minutes; scrape the bottom to remove any flavorful tidbits.

Toss in the garlic and stir until fragrant, about 30 seconds.

Stir in the potatoes, turnips, stock or water, salt and pepper, bring to a boil, then lower the heat to a gentle simmer and cook until the vegetables are very tender; they should easily break apart when pushed against the side of the pan with a spoon. The timing will vary depending on the size of the potatoes and turnips.

Let the soup cool for about 20 minutes then purée in a blender, food processor or with an immersion blender until completely smooth. See our post on how to safely blend hot ingredients.

Reheat and top with chopped chives.

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Potato Leek Turnip and Bacon Soup

This Potato Leek Turnip and Bacon Soup came together in an ad hoc manner. I noticed potato leek soup in the soup bar at the store. When I got home there were turnips in the vegetable bin. The bacon was a no brainer.

  • Author: Trish Lobenfeld
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 1 hour
  • Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Yield: 2 quarts 1x
  • Category: Soup

Ingredients

Scale

6 ounces bacon, medium dice
4 leeks, white part only, root trimmed, thinly sliced
1 medium onion, peeled and thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, lightly smashed
3 Idaho potatoes, peeled and cubed
2 large turnips, peeled and cubed
8 cups stock or water
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
Garnish
chopped chives

Instructions

Put the bacon in a cold large Dutch oven or saucepan pot over medium heat, cook, stirring occasionally until fat is rendered and the bacon is crisp. Remove to a paper-towel lined plate.

Pour off all but 1 tablespoon of the bacon fat and add the onions. Cover and sweat for three minutes; scrape the bottom to remove any flavorful tidbits.

Toss in the garlic and stir until fragrant, about 30 seconds.

Stir in the potatoes, turnips, stock or water, salt and pepper, bring to a boil, then lower the heat to a gentle simmer and cook until the vegetables are very tender; they should easily break apart when pushed against the side of the pan with a spoon. The timing will vary depending on the size of the potatoes and turnips.

Let the soup cool for about 20 minutes then purée in a blender, food processor or with an immersion blender until completely smooth. See our post on how to safely blend hot ingredients.

Reheat and top with chopped chives.

 

Greek-Style Lamb Burgers

What’s better on a beautiful summer evening than burgers, grilled corn, and a mélange of roasted eggplant, zucchini, red bell peppers, red onions and cherry tomatoes tossed with cubes of fresh mozzarella and basil leaves. I’m making a Greek-style Lamb Burgers to celebrate EJL’s 62nd birthday!

 

Chocolate Cream Pie!

 

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Greek-Style Lamb Burgers

Greek-style Lamb Burgers with Kalamata olives, pine nuts, feta cheese, fresh herbs and garlic. In lieu of a bun, serve on grilled eggplant spread with humus!

  • Author: Trish Lobenfeld
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 8 burgers 1x
  • Category: Lamb
  • Method: Grilling

Ingredients

Scale

2 pounds ground lamb
1 cup finely chopped fresh herbs (parsley, oregano, thyme and/or mint)
1/2 cup pitted Kalamata olives, finely chopped
1/2 cup toasted pine nuts
2 garlic cloves, minced
zested peel of one lemon
1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
4 ounces goat cheese, crumbled

Instructions

Place the lamb, herbs, olives, pine nuts, garlic, lemon zest, salt, pepper and nutmeg in a large mixing bowl. Use your hands to combine all the ingredients.

Press the lamb mixture around the bottom of the bowl to make a roughly 1-inch thick layer and scatter the crumbled goat across the top. Gently fold a few times to incorporate the cheese.

Take 1/8 of the mixture and form a patty. Set on a tray and repeat until you have 8 burgers.

Refrigerate until 30 minutes before cooking; pan fry, broil or grill.