Category Archives: Meat

Turkey Bolognese

There is nothing more comforting than settling in to a hot plate of pasta with meat sauce on a Sunday night. The problem is, depending on how you make that sauce, the meal doesn’t have much nutritious value. Luckily I came across a delicious recipe a few weeks ago where the typical ground beef/veal/pork mixture is replaced with lean ground turkey. Combined with the various vegetables and served with a leafy green salad and whole grain pasta, this ends up being a delicious and healthy meal. Probably the part with the most calories will be the garlic bread you serve with the pasta (which let’s face it…is a must!).

Ingredients:
10 slices turkey bacon (6 ounces), finely chopped
1 large onion, finely chopped
3 carrots, finely chopped
2 celery stalks, finely chopped
Coarse salt and ground pepper
2 lb. ground turkey (97% lean is preferred)
¾ cup dry white wine, such as Sauvignon Blanc
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 Tablespoon dried oregano
1 can (6 ounces) tomato paste
1 can (14 ½ ounces) reduced-sodium chicken broth
½ cup half-and-half
¼ cup chopped parsley

Directions:

1.    In a 5-quart Dutch oven or heavy pot, cook bacon over medium until crisp, 10 minutes. Add onion, carrots, and celery; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally until vegetables are tender, 8 to 10 minutes.
2.    Add turkey; cook, breaking up meat with a spoon, until no longer pink, 8 to 9 minutes. Add wine and garlic; cook until wine has almost evaporated, 10 to 12 minutes. Add tomato paste and oregano, cook stirring occasionally, until lightly browned, 7 to 10 minutes.
3.    Add broth and half-and-half; bring to a boil over high. Reduce to a simmer, and cook until sauce is thick and creamy, about 30 minutes more. Sprinkle in parsley and stir. Serve with grated Parmesan cheese.

Yields 6 cups

Adapted from Everyday Food, Emeril Lagasse

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Italian-American Meatloaf

I have a great love for the American classic meatloaf. I often find that some people love it and some people hate it. This most likely all depends on your childhood memories of such a dish. For me, my Mom made great meatloaf. She would use Heinz Chili Sauce and cook it with carrots and potatoes. The next day I would bring a cold meatloaf sandwich on wheat bread to school for lunch (and get mocked by my classmates for eating “dog food.” What did they know…they were eating Lunchables!).

My go to place for meatloaf in a restaurant is C.F. Folks in Dupont Circle. But, for many years I’ve long been on the search for the perfect meatloaf recipe that I can make at home. One that creates a good gravy, stays moist, has a little something special in it but not too much stuff. Meatloaf became popular in Depression era America because you could take a small amount of meat and make it stretch by combining it with all types of ingredients. Some people put a hard boiled egg inside the meat. Others use panko crumbs for a different type of crunch. I’ve even had meatloaf stuffed with wedges of Cheddar cheese.

I like the recipe below because it uses Italian seasoning, classic ingredients, and has a deliciously tomato-y sauce. There’s no reason to mess with tradition, serve this meatloaf with mashed potatoes and steamed broccoli.

Ingredients:

1 ½ pound ground beef
1 ½ pound ground veal
1 cup milk
1 cup Italian bread crumbs
¾ cups finely grated Parmesan or pecorino Romano cheese
2 tablespoons minced garlic
1 medium sized onion, diced
2 eggs
2 tablespoons dried oregano
½ tablespoon dried red pepper flakes (add more or less depending on your preference)
½ cup chopped flatleaf parsley
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
Olive oil, for greasing
1 15 oz. canned plum tomatoes, crushed
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 large carrot, diced
1 large stalk celery, diced

Preparation:

1.    Preheat the oven to 350˚F.
2.    Put the beef and veal into a bowl and knead them together.
3.    Pour the milk into a bowl and soak the bread crumbs, it will create a paste-like substance. Add the soaked bread crumbs to the bowl with the meat and work them together as though you were kneading the dough. Add the cheese, garlic, onion, eggs, oregano, red pepper flakes, and parsley. Season with salt and pepper and knead again until well incorporated.
4.    Oil a large roasting pan with the olive oil. Form the meat mixture into a large loaf in the center of the roasting pan. [Note: I formed 2 separate loaves, in order to freeze one. I think this also guaranteed a juicier meatloaf.]
5.    Stir the plum tomatoes, tomato paste, and 1 cup of water together in a bowl and pour the mixture evenly over the meatloaf. Scatter the carrots and celery in the pan around the loaf.
6.    Put the pan in the oven and bake until a skewer inserted in the center of the loaf comes out warm, about 1 ½ hours (begin checking it for doneness around 1 hour 15 minutes, especially if you are making 2 loaves). If the loaf begins to look dry while cooking, ten it with aluminum foil. Remove the pan from the oven and let it cool slightly.
7.    Slice the meatloaf in to servings, put 1 serving on each plate and spoon pan gravy and vegetables over and around the meatloaf.

Serves 6

Note: The original recipe called for 1 pound pork, but since I rarely eat pork I just added ½ pound to the other 2 meats.

You can also add some sautéed mushrooms to the pan during the last 20 minutes of cooking.

This recipe also makes a delicious meatloaf sandwich the next day!

Adapted from Michael Lomanaco’s Nightly Specials.

A Delicious, Decadent Dinner Party

Clearly life has gotten in the way of State Dinner, since I haven’t updated in quite awhile. That said I figured my first post back should be one of delicious decadence. A few months ago I invited some friends over for a dinner party. I decided to make short ribs for the first time. Ever since making Julia Child’s Beef Bourguignon last summer I’ve been obsessed with browning meat and then braising them in the oven. I decided on this recipe of short ribs from the January 2002 issue of Bon Appétit because I love the flavors of Provence.  I served the short ribs with creamy garlic mashed potatoes and a great bottle of red Zinfandel.

For dessert I served my “famous” molten lava chocolate cakes. This is the easiest recipe, can be made ahead, and guests always find it soooo impressive! It’s super easy to multiply and nothing tastes more delicious.

Short Ribs Provençale

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons (or more) olive oil
6 pounds meaty beef short ribs
1 large onion, finely chopped
1 medium carrot, finely chopped
1 celery stalk, finely chopped
12 whole garlic cloves, peeled
2 tablespoons all purpose flour
1 tablespoon dried herbes de Provence
2 cups red Zinfandel
2 ½ cups beef broth
1 14 ½-ounce can diced tomatoes in juice
1 bay leaf
½ cup water
24 baby carrots, peeled
3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

Preparation:

Preheat over to 325°F. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in heavy large ovenproof pot over medium-high heat. Sprinkle ribs with salt and pepper. Working in batches, add ribs to pot and brown well, turning often, about 8 minutes per batch. Using tongs, transfer ribs to large bowl.

Pour off all but 2 tablespoons drippings from pot or add oil as necessary to measure 2 tablespoons. Add onion, chopped carrot, and celery and cook over medium-low heat until vegetables are soft, stirring frequently, about 10 minutes. Add garlic, flour, and herbes de Provence; stir 1 minute. Add wine and 2 cups brother; bring to boil over high heat, scraping up browned bits. Add tomatoes with juices and bay lag. Return ribs and any accumulated juices to pot. If necessary, add enough water to pot to barely cover ribs.  Bring to a boil.

Cover pot tightly and transfer to oven. Bake until ribs are very tender, stirring occasionally, about 2 hours 15 minutes.  (Can be made 1 day ahead. Cool slightly, then refrigerate uncovered until cold. Cover and keep refrigerated. Bring to summer before continuing).

Add remaining ½ cup broth and peeled baby carrots to pot; press carrots gently to submerge. Cover, return to oven and continue cooking at 350°F until carrots are tender, about 15 minutes. Discard bay leaf. Transfer short ribs and carrots to platter. Tent with foil to keep warm. If necessary, boil sauce to thicken slightly. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Pour sauce over short ribs. Sprinkle with parsley and serve with mashed potatoes.

Makes 6 servings

Molten Lava Cakes

Ingredients:
6 (1-ounce) squares bittersweet chocolate
2 (1-ounce) squares semisweet chocolate
10 tablespoon (1 ¼ stick) butter
½ cup all-purpose flour
1 ½ cups confectioners’ sugar (plus a little more for sprinkling)
3 large eggs
3 egg yolks
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preparation:

Preheat the oven to 425°F.

Grease 6 (6-ounce) custard cups. Melt the chocolates and butter in the microwave. Add the flour and sugar to the chocolate mixture. Stir in the eggs and yolks until smooth. Stir in the vanilla. Divide the batter evenly among the custard cups. Place in the oven and bake for 14 minutes. The edges should be firm but the center will be runny. Run a knife around the edges to loosen and invert onto dessert plates. Sprinkle with confectioners’ sugar and serve with raspberries.

Note: If you want to make this dessert ahead of time, make the batter, pour into custard cups and then cover with tinfoil or plastic wrap and store in the fridge for up to 1 day.

The beautiful flowers I bought for my dining room table.