Category Archives: Red meat

Arroz con carne: an adventure in Meatland

There is a very, very slim line between juicy meat and tough, chewy mess. We all probably know that from one experience or another. I must say, though, that I feel like I’ve had my fair share of “tough times.”

Today, I’d been planning a crock pot recipe for you. Rejoice, you crock pot-less readers of mine! This recipe is delicious, simple, and really, really tasty. A small caveat for you though: those of you who don’t like it spicy should skip or massively cut down on the chipotle puree you put into the sauce.

This dish, though, is quite nice…it comes out soft, moist, tender, and just spicy enough to kick your mouth into action. The rice beneath it  soaks up all that lovely, delicious gravy, and…it’s just delicious. I served it with some roasted broccoli, and it made for a very tasty meal.

If you decide you don’t want to go through all the work of cutting up an eye of round roast, just buy as much chuck roast, puree up the sauce and stick it in the crock pot. Easy as pie!

Pheasant’s arroz con carne

10 oz eye of round roast (or similar non-marbled cut), heavily chilled

4 whole tomatoes, cored and seeded

3 tbsp beef or chicken broth, or tomato juice

1/2 c thinly-sliced onion

3 cloves garlic

3 tbsp canned enchilada sauce (or bottled salsa)

1/2 tsp cayenne pepper

1/4 tsp cumin

1/4 tsp garlic powder

1 tbsp chipotle puree (or adobo sauce)

Puree together all the ingredients but the meat. Taste and adjust for salt.

Thinly slice your meat. You want it somewhere between average deli roast beef slices and about 1/3 centimeter. The thinner the better.

In a 10-12″ skillet with a lid, pour in the sauce and put the meat pieces in, making sure to cover each piece in the sauce. Add a little beef broth to thin it out if need be, but it’s unlikely.

Set the pan to medium-low. Bring it to a simmer and let the meat go for 3-4 hours, checking occasionally for tenderness. The liquid should never quite come to a boil, but it should have the occasional bubble.

Once your meat is done, dish it up over some rice, and enjoy! 




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Filed under Ethnic, Red meat

The greatest beef sandwich I’ve ever eaten

I really, really, really dislike cold sandwiches. There’s really no way to put it gently. The mushy bread, and all sorts of  cold filling makes it really unpleasant for me. Hot sandwiches, on the other hand…hot sandwiches are something I can get down with. Anything with flavorful, warm ingredients accompanied by crunchy, crusty bread is definitely on my good side!

To start with, there are a few things to know about this recipe:

  • It isn’t fast if you do it all by hand, but it will definitely pay off. You can always thinly slice the meat using a food processor attachment, or even buy it pre-made if your grocer or butcher offers it, but I prefer to pick a hunk of good meat with little fat to slice thinly and marinate.
  • If you’re in a hurry, or just looking for an easy way to tweak the recipe, use leftovers! Flavorful pot roast, leftover grilled chicken or even steak, provided your knife is sharp enough to slice it thinly, would be amazing flavor additions
  • Don’t skip the roasted garlic spread. I swear, it will make these sandwiches SO much better (although they’re pretty good as-is, better is always better, right?)
  • Although you can use toasted French bread, or even regular sandwich bread for this recipe, a lightly-flavored artisan bread, with a thick crust and rugged crumb, will do these sandwiches their best for taste and presentation. M and I just headed to our local QFC and picked up a nice rosemary and olive oil loaf from their “artisan” line. It was great!
  • This recipe serves two (very hungry) college students, but you can easily double it for family meal night.

More than anything else, don’t be afraid to experiment. Sandwiches are meant to be delicious and hold whatever’s in the fridge. Make use of leftovers and change this up to form whatever amazing sandwich you can think of!

Shaved beef sandwiches

8 oz eye of round roast, completely frozen

1 medium yellow onion

2 large crimini mushrooms, cleaned

1 clove garlic

2 reserved cloves of garlic from my amazing roasted garlic recipe

2 tbsp sour cream (I used fat free and it was great)

2 tbsp olive oil, divided

Lettuce, tomato and cucumber for topping (optional)

Cayenne, paprika, salt and pepper to taste

First things first: take your roast out and let it thaw on the counter for about an hour and a half. When it’s just beginning to sweat, where the outer layer of meat is softened but the inside is still frozen solid, take a sharp knife and begin shaving. I know it’s a tedious process, but the end result is well worth it. Each shaving should be thin enough that you can see light through it. Yes, you read that right. Good food takes time.

Once you’ve shaved the entire hunk of beef, place the shavings into a bowl with one tablespoon of olive oil, and spices to taste. Toss it all, cover with plastic wrap, and let it sit while you finish everything else.

Cut the crimini in half horizontally, so that they’re flat hunks of mushroom patty. In a ridged skillet, or in your panini-maker, place the mushrooms with about half of the remaining olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and allow to cook. Turn over once they’re rather browned on the bottom. While they cook, cut the onion into 1/2 inch slabs, as if you were making onion rings. If the pan is big enough, add them in with the mushrooms. Drizzle some olive oil and salt over them, and allow them to cook until they have nice blackened grill marks, or are a caramelized brown.

In the meanwhile, cut two thick slabs of bread from your loaf (ours were about 2 1/2 inches wide.) Turn them on their sides, so the crust side is pointing out instead of up and down, and cut them in half using a downward motion, to make two small sandwich loaves.

To make the roasted garlic spread: crack some pepper into a small bowl. Add in the roasted garlic and mash until smooth. Blend in the sour cream, and set aside.

Once all the vegetables are done cooking, toss your beef and place enough pieces in the pan that they aren’t crowded, but cook well. Turn, if you like, or if you prefer your meat rare, just move them from the pan once one side is nicely browned.

After the meat has cooked, turn up the heat to medium-high and find another heavy pan that will fit inside your skillet. If you have a panini press, use that. Place your mini loaves, cut side down, into the pan and add the weight on top so they brown nicely. You can repeat on the other side if you please, or just leave them browned on the inside.

Once you've cooked all the components, it's time to assemble!

Once everything has cooked, spread some of the garlic spread inside the toasted bread, followed by lettuce, tomato, cucumber, onion, mushroom and meat. Sandwich them together, pat yourself on the back, and go eat the best sandwich you’ve probably ever tasted!


Filed under Miscellaneous, Red meat

Traditional lamb stew

This is what dreams are made of.

I love lamb. Period. A lot of people don’t like the gamey flavor or the fatty nature of lamb, but I think it’s an absolutely beautiful meat. It’s tender, rich, and oh, so filling. There’s really nothing you can’t do with a few chunks of lamb shoulder and some low, slow cooking.

With that in mind, M gleefully threw a package of mysterious lamb meat into the basket while we were at Ranch 99 the other day. After stashing it in the freezer and mulling the options over for a bit, I looked outside, and we decided that lamb stew would be the best thing for our approaching winter season.

Seriously, pheasants, it’s been hailing like Mother Nature is trying her best to unload all her hail supply before the snow comes in for the season. It’s madness. Pouring rain, driving winds, and snow is predicted for tomorrow…snow. In November. We never get snow in November!

So, tonight, we’re hunkering down with a crackling fire and some piping hot apple cider to enjoy our evening, while this delicious, beautiful stew bubbles away. The best part? This is a crock pot recipe. Life doesn’t get much better than this.

Rainy Day Lamb Stew

1 to 1 1/2 lbs lamb (bone-in, trimmed of fat {which you reserved, yes?})

2 russet potatoes, cut into chunks

1 red onion, sliced thin

4 cloves garlic, sliced thin

4 Crimini mushrooms, quartered

2 carrots, cut into chunks

1 tbsp pepper, divided

1/2 tbsp salt

1 tsp dried thyme

3 sprigs rosemary, minced

1/4 c flour

3/4 c water

1/3 c port wine

In a medium frying pan, place two to three larger chunks of lamb fat on medium.

Place the flour in a small bowl, then mix it with salt and 1/3 tablespoon of pepper. Dredge the lamb in the flour, and, when the fat has adequately melted, crank up the heat to medium-high and sear the chunks, turning them periodically to sear all sides. Transfer the seared pieces directly into your crock pot. While the lamb pieces are searing, add the potatoes, carrots, garlic and mushrooms to the crock pot, using a ladle to mix everything up fairly well.

Once all the lamb is seared and transferred, turn down the heat to medium and place the onions in the pan. Brown them, making sure to get all the pieces well. Once they’re done, pour in the port and deglaze the pan. Add the rosemary and remaining pepper, then cook the wine down until it’s about reduced to half, then add the water, bring to a boil, and pour the onion-wine-water mix into the crock pot. Set it to low and let it go for 8 to 10 hours.

Before serving, skim off any excess fat from the stew.

Serving this with some hearty, crusty bread is good to soak up all the delicious, rich juices. This is definitely a hot, delightful dish for the winter season.

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Filed under Red meat, Seasonal, Winter

Tequila lime steak, and M’s new-found happiness

This post has two alternate titles: “Vegetables? What vegetables?” and “I like my steak blue rare…your point?”

I don’t know about you, but I can’t stand tequila as a liquor. It smells bad, it’s got an awful aftertaste, and whenever I drink it, I feel like I’m about to up-chuck into the nearest vomit-friendly receptacle. However, one night, M and I stood in front of the fridge, faced with a dilemma: we had one large steak, uncooked, sitting on the topmost shelf. How is that a problem, you ask? Well, economy being what it is, we try our best to make use of everything we buy, and red meat is no exception. In short, we didn’t want it to go bad, but couldn’t think of what to actually do with it. It was too small to feed two, but each of us would feel guilty if we ate it and the other ate something else. So, I did what any frugal chef should: I drowned the thing in spices and liquor, sliced it up thin as paper and made it into some of the best soft tacos we’d ever eaten.

M, however, was not satisfied. She took one bite of that steak and proclaimed it the best thing she’d ever tasted. I was inclined to agree, but balked when she asked me to do it again (on purpose, this time.) You see, I hadn’t actually measured anything out…to this day, I still don’t. You really can add any balance of spices you like with this steak, and it’ll still come out tasting pretty fine. The only thing you need to remember, pheasants, is to stick to the liquor amounts noted. I say this because, upon hearing how tasty the steak was, my mother insisted I make it for the family over the fourth of July weekend this year, which I did. However, also at her behest, I added wayyy more tequila than I’d ever thought necessary (my mom loves tequila.) It turned out much too strongly, and, although it was absolutely amazing the following day, I really love warm meat; I was sad that it wasn’t as tasty as I generally remembered. So, pheasants, go nuts with the spice measurements and making it your own, but I’d highly recommend not fudging on the amount of tequila.

So, what’s so great about this steak, you ask? Well, I’ll give you some adjectives; you can tell me whether or not they appeal to you. Here’s one: succulent. Here’s another: tender. Also, spicy, flavorful, punchy (from the lime and tequila mix) and just plain delicious. It’s great in a soft taco with sour cream, beans, onions and cilantro, but tastes just as good (if not better) cold, sliced thin and piled high on ciabatta with some avocado spread, fresh arugula or spinach, tomato and spicy chipotle sauce. This spice/liquor mixture might even go well on chicken, or lamb (laaaaaamb!)

We served tonight’s steak with some great low-cal garlic mash!

Tequila Lime Steak

1 steak, any cut, 1-2 pounds

1 medium lime

1 1/2 tbsp tequila (any kind…we’ve used Cuervo and Sauza; they taste the same)

1 tbsp garlic powder

1/2 tsp cayenne pepper

1 tsp sweet OR hot paprika

1/2 tsp onion powder

1/2 tsp cumin

1/2 tsp table salt

freshly ground black pepper

Juice and zest the lime into a small bowl, making sure you get every last bit of deliciousness lying within. Then, add in the spices, making sure to stir it well so there aren’t any clumps. Add in your tequila, mix it all up again, and dump everything into a zip-top plastic bag large enough to fit the steak. Insert the steak, zip the top and squish it all around until the steak is well-coated. Marinate it for at least two hours, or overnight if you like. Then, grill, broil or fry the steak to your liking, slice it up thin and serve it with tasty condiments.

Skinny Pheasant’s Low-Cal Garlic Mash

2 medium russet potatoes

1/2 tbsp butter

2 tsp garlic powder

2 tsp garlic oil

4 tbsp 1% milk

Chop the potatoes and boil them until tender. Then, strain them from the water, and add them to a large bowl. Add the butter, garlic oil and garlic powder; mash them until they’re at the consistency you prefer. Then, add salt slowly, tasting afterward to make sure it’s delicious. We added freshly-ground black pepper to it, too, to kick everything to the next level.

Servings: 2 ~ Calories: 180 ~ Fat: 7.5g ~ Carbs: 27g ~Protein 5g ~ Sodium: 769.5mg

Chipotle Sauce

1/2 cup mayo OR fat free yogurt

3 tbsp reduced fat sour cream

2 tbsp adobo sauce (you can find this in the can chipotle chiles come in)

fresh ground pepper

cilantro to taste

Mix this all up together, making sure it’s well-incorporated. Taste often to make sure it tastes the way you’d like it to.

The chipotle sauce goes absolutely fantastically with meats of any kind, and is so ridiculously versatile; spread it on sandwiches in place of mayo or mustard, dip fries or chicken nuggets into it…the possibilities are endless. (It’s also tasty on burritos or tacos of ANY kind.)

Questionable content: 

M loves her steak medium, and I enjoy mine blue rare…how do you prefer your steak, and does it jive with the preferences of your significant other?

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Filed under Red meat