Archive for the ‘Braised Meats’ Category

…Out Like a Lamb

Stewed lamb shoulders

Stewed lamb shoulders

farmfresh veggies

farmfresh veggies


Cold and dreary at times, these last weeks of winter beg for excuses to turn on the oven and hang in the kitchen. Pick one of those meals our Moms heated the whole house with. Shepherds’ pie is a dish that can be as difficult or as easy as you wish. Sometimes best composed entirely of leftovers, today we present one drawn up from scratch. Do not limit your pie to the ingredients here, add your favorites – corn, lima beans … Chopmeat, also, can be used in place of the stewmeat. It will be necessary to add some wine or stock to the chopmeat to make the gravy. While we photograph the dish with wine, this is great served with iced cold beer. Good Stuff!

Stewed Lamb Shepherds’ Pie

1 pound lamb shoulder steaks or other stewmeatPlated hot with big red wine

1 large onion, coarse chopped

3 cloves garlic, chopped

3 stalks celery, coarse chopped

2 carrots, coarse chopped

1 cup red wine or hearty beer

3 cups stock (chicken, beef, lamb, no matter)

2 bay leaves

2 cups shelled green peas (frozen will work)

3 pounds red new potatoes

1 stick butter, softened

Brown the lamb well in a small amount of oil in a high sided pan or pot with a cover. Remove and add vegetables to the hot oil. Cook well, add wine, bring to a boil and reduce shortly. Add stock, bring to a boil and reduce heat. Return stewmeat to the pot, add bay leaves, cover and place in a 300 degree oven for 2-3 hours, until the meat is quite tender. Remove from oven, remove meat from the stew and separate away the bones. Strain the liquid and return to the pot. Skim off the fat and return meat to the pot. Thicken with a slurry of water and flour until quite thick. Add the peas and reserve.

While the stew cooks make the mashed potato crust. Boil 3 pounds red new potatoes until tender. Strain and mash. Season well with salt, pepper, and 1 stick of butter. Allow to cool somewhat before working half of the potatoes into the bottom of a large nonstick pan. Be sure to work well up the sides and to try to keep a uniform thickness. Add the stew, also easier to work with if slightly cooled. Spread the remainder of the potatoes over the top. Bake at 375 degrees for 30 – 45 minutes until golden brown and quite hot in the middle. Serve soon and often. Good Stuff!


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Spring in Your Step

Boiled with stock and spices

Cooked vegetables and cabbage laid n bottom of roasting pan.

Winter has nearly ended, and it never really began! Nevertheless, this month we will celebrate the beginning of spring and the celebration of St. Patrick’s Day with Mickey Valcich, Grand Marshall. It is an honor well deserved. In recognition we will be preparing Corned Beef and Cabbage with Brown Irish Soda Bread. Corned beef is called such because it was originally beef that was packed in salt, salt kernels roughly the size of corn. The beef would then be boiled to rehydrate and rinse the salt off. Today the beef brisket we buy for corned beef is already salted and rinsed and is ready to be boiled for presentation. This recipe has been adapted from the MFD recipe passed down by word of mouth over the years. Particularly the presentation method lends itself to an easy parade day, just pop it in the oven and pop a cold one. Good Stuff!

Corned Beef and Cabbage

4 pounds corned beef brisket

1 pack spices (included with beef)

4 bay leaves

2 Tablespoons pickling spice (optional)

1 head cabbage, cut into wedges

4-5 potatoes, cut into wedges

2 carrots, cut into thick slices

2-4 ribs celery, cut into chunks

1 quart, more or less, water or stock to cover vegetables in roasting pan

1 beer

On the day before service, place beef, spices, any juice from beef package, beer and water into a large pot. Bring to a boil and reduce to simmer. Cook over low heat, covered, for 3-4 hours. Until fork tender but not falling apart. Remove meat from pot and place in refrigerator to cool. Strain the juice and return to pot. Boil potatoes, carrots, and celery until fork tender as well. Remove from pot and arrange in roasting pan along with wedges of cabbage. Place all in refrigerator to cool. Also chill the juice. Next day, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Slice corned beef and spread over the vegetables in roasting pan. Add enough juice to cover all vegetables. Cover and reheat in oven until boiling well and cabbage is tender, about 1 and ½ to 2 hours. Remove from oven and leave covered while preparing bread, below.


Brown Irish Soda Bread

4 cups whole wheat flour

1 cup bread flour

1/3 cup rolled oats

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

2 1/2 cups buttermilk


Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Lightly grease two baking sheets. In a large bowl, stir together whole wheat flour, white flour, rolled oats, baking soda and salt. Gently mix in the buttermilk until soft dough is formed. Knead lightly and shortly. Divide dough into 4 pieces; form into rounded flat loaves. Mark each loaf with an ‘X’ and place on prepared baking sheets. Bake in preheated oven until golden brown, about 30 to 45 minutes. Serve warm with corned beef, boiled vegetables, and cold Smithwick’s. Good Stuff!

Corned beef and cabbage


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Get Noodled!

Rolled thin and cut wide


Spread on a towel to dry before cooking or freezing

Pennsylvania Dutch whole egg noodles. A noble phrase in the lexicon of American cookery. It can be surprising just how simple it is to prepare fresh pasta. The kitchenaid or tabletop mixer is a big help and then a pasta roller makes it that much easier. Neither is necessary. Serve these noodles hot, buttered, and sauced if you must. Good Stuff!


Egg Noodles

1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour

1 egg, beaten

1/4 teaspoon salt (or more to taste)

2 teaspoons oil (I use schmalz for flavor)

1 ++ Tablespoons cool water

Combine all ingredients with first Tablespoon water in  mixer or by hand until fully homogenized. Continue to sparingly add water until a tight damp dough is formed. Knead for ten minutes. Allow the dough to rest for twenty or more minutes, covered, before rolling. Roll out to a uniform thickness. This is determined by your taste, but slightly thicker noodles will be easier to handle and less delicate in the pot. We go to about 1/16 of an inch. Use little flour to keep the dough from sticking to you rolling pin and worksurface. Cut to any width with a pizza cutter or by dragging the tip of a sharp knife through the dough. Spread the noodles on a clean dry towel to airdry for twenty to forty minutes before cooking or freezing. Throw into boiling salted water for 3-4 minutes, slightly longer if frozen, drain, and butter. Serve with your family’s favorite garnish. Good Stuff!

With steaming beef stew and braised swiss chard

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Osso Buco

Fry the shanks, dredged in seasoned flour

Now add the parcooked potatoes

Spoon tender, packed with flavor, slow braised veal hindshanks equal osso buco. This recipe is for three small shanks, about 15-20 dollars. Let the meat come to room temp. Prepare a dredge of one cup flour, one teaspoon salt, one half teaspoon pepper. Mix well, over several minutes, repeatedly dredge the shanks in the flour mix to create a thick crust. Brown the shanks in a couple of Tablespoons of hot veal fat or olive oil. Monitor the top and bottom of your shanks, the top is the wide mouth of the marrow. Brown the top first and then leave right side up for the entirety of the cooking. If they are cooked upside down, the marrow will

Plated with braised boc choi

Out of the oven, finishing the sauce

fall out. Once browned remove and reserve. Sautee in the hot fat –

1 onion diced

3 ribs celery diced

1 carrot diced

6 cloves garlic sliced thin

Caramelize the vegetables well, deglaze with brown beer, red wine, vermouth, or water. Cook off the alcohol and return the shanks to the pan. Add veal stock or water to cover the shanks completely. Cover your braising pan and put into a 275 degree oven for three hours. In the meantime blanch your potatoes. We used baby purple potatoes from a local farm. Cook the potatoes about halfway, chill, and reserve.  Throw the potatoes in the braising pot for the last hour of cooking. Chop the herbs for the sauce.

1 Tablepoon fresh parsley

1 leaf fresh sage

1 teaspoon fresh thyme

1 teaspoon fresh rosemary

After the shanks are cooked, remove them and the potatoes from their liquor. Keep warm. Transfer liquor to a saucepot, remove the grease. Add chopped herbs, season with salt and pepper. Serve with braised greens of some sort, last night we had boc choi.


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