Noodles and Beef

Oxtail Soup (aka, elixir of life)

The pups and I have been sick for a couple days. Today my sickness reached a feverish crescendo that I had to leave work and come home.  Time to get serious.

This will sound like hippie nonsense to most of you, but I firmly believe that food is medicine.  Usually I make yellow thai curry when I’m sick, but I needed something much stronger.

So I asked mom.

Seriously?  That sounds too easy, mom.  I’m sure it’s amazing, but I instinctively added a few things and doubled the recipe to feed four bodybuilders.

Ingredients

  • 5lbs of oxtails
  • 1 cup (flower + salt + pepper + garlic powder) mix for dredging
  • 12 cups of chicken stock
  • ½ cup Soy Sauce
  • 1 head of garlic, mashed and minced
  • 1 red onion, diced
  • 1 shallot, diced
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 tbsp red chilli flakes
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 4 tbsp of MSG
  • 6 heads of bok choy, chopped coarsely

Tools

  • Dutch oven

Very sorry for my casual recipe writing.  Still figuring this out.

Bring olive oil to high heat in your dutch oven.  While you wait for this to warm up, dredge your oxtails in the flour/salt/pepper/garlic powder mixture.  When the oil is shimmering, place the oxtails into the pot to brown.

Evenly brown all sides, then remove from pot.  Do it in batches if you have to, it is important they get crispy.  They should look like this (see above).

Saute garlic, shallots, onions, tomato paste, red pepper flakes, bay leaves, and MSG.  Cook until the onions are translucent, then add a cup of chicken stock.  While this boils, use a wooden spoon to scrape the burnt bits from the bottom of the pot.  Add remaining chicken stock and the browned oxtails.  Bring to boil, then reduce to a light simmer.  Cover and cook until the meat falls from the bone.  (About four hours).

Noms.

When the meat is falling-off-the-bone tender, add your chopped bok choy and cook until soft.

Serve by itself or with brown rice.

(photo of finished dish at top).

Found a $25 iwatani table burner in Japan town, which means shabu shabu for dinner!

Ingredients for broth: Chicken stock, kombu, bonito flakes, soy sauce, oyster sauce, mirin, unfiltered sake, garlic, shallots, ginger.

Saute garlic, ginger, and shallots in sesame oil until golden, add all other ingredients. Boil for 15 minutes then strain the solids out. Broth will be very rich, so dilute with water until you’re happy.

Boeuf Japon (or, my modern take on beef bourguignon using Japanese ingredients)

I had some extra meat from last night’s beef bourguignon and I wanted to try a modern take on the French classic.  The original is an incredibly fussy recipe, lots of nuanced technique that takes two days to complete…so of course I love doing it.

Deconstructing the original recipe, we see that the foundation technique is braising (fry and stew meat), the braising liquid is alcohol with stock (wine and chicken stock) seasoned with a trinity (mirepoix).  It would be trivial to swap the braising liquid and trinity for something more exotic.

Buta no Kakuni (豚の角煮) is a classic Japanese dish of pork belly braised in shoyo, mirin, dashi, and sake.  It’s a personal favourite of mine and the ingredients would make easy substitutions for my modern take on beef bourguignon.

Ingredients (or what I think are pretty clever substitutions)

  • 4 pound chuck roast, silver skin removed and cut into 1″ cubes
  • 1 pound pork belly
  • 2 large carrots
  • 1 pretty big piece of fresh ginger
  • 1 red onion
  • 1 shallot
  • 1 garlic head, cloves separated, unpeeled, and crushed
  • 1 ~4″ piece of kombu
  • 1 packet of bonito flakes
  • 6 sprigs of thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 cups nigori sake
  • 2 cups mirin
  • 1 cup low sodium soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons of oyster sauce
  • 2 tablespoons of tomato paste
  • ¼ cup MSG
  • 10oz beef stock (or chicken stock, whatever)
  • 6 tablespoons of gelatin
  • Sesame oil as needed
  • Butter to taste

Tools

  • Dutch oven
  • large skillet
  • oven preheated to 300°F
  • cheesecloth
  • cooking twine
  • patience

I’m not really good at writing recipes from scratch, so I’ll try walking you through my process.

The traditional recipe involves a technique called larding, where you thread thin strips of pork fat through the cubes of beef.  Modern beef is sufficiently marbled that larding is no longer required, but we still want the flavour of pork fat.  Bacon or salt pork works great for this, but with buta no kakuni on my mind I opted for pork belly.

Score the skin-side of the pork belly then cut into 1″ cubes and fry in a hot pan of sesame oil.  Wait for the oil to “shimmer” so you know it’s hot enough for frying, and don’t use a nonstick pan.  The residue that develops (called a fond) when browning meat is desirable here.

Our goal is to caramelize the surface of the pork belly, which looks like this:

Gorgeous.  

Toss the seared pork belly into your dutch oven when all sides are golden brown.  Then, using the reserved pork fat to brown your beef.

Use paper towels to dry the beef, then season with salt, pepper, and garlic powder.

Sear in batches, don’t crowd the pan, otherwise it won’t sear correctly as too much moisture will flood the pan.  Add the browned beef to the dutch oven and deglaze the pan with water to prevent burnt flavours from developing.  Scrape off any burnt bits from the bottom of the pan and add the deglazed pan sauce to the dutch oven.

While the meat is browning, let’s assemble the bouquet.  Inside a 24-square-inch cheesecloth, add coarsely chopped carrots, onions, shallots, ginger, garlic, thyme, kombu, and bonito flakes.  The flavours of these ingredients will pass through the cheesecloth while cooking without changing the texture of the sauce…if you like a heartier stew, you can skip this step.

Tie the bouquet closed and place it in the middle of your dutch oven, surrounded by browned beef and pork belly.

Now we add the braising liquids.  Sake, stock, soy sauce, oyster sauce, mirin, MSG, gelatin, and tomato paste.  The bouquet should be fully submerged by liquid, so add water if necessary.

Cover the dutch oven and place in oven at 300°F for 3 hours.

Your house will smell amazing during this time.

Carefully take the dutch oven out and bring it to a boil on your stovetop.  We want to reduce the sauce by half to concentrate the flavour.  You can speed this process up by removing the meat from the dutch oven.

Once the sauce is reduced, top with sauteed shiitake mushrooms and caramelized pearl onions.  Serve over udon noodles.

There you go.  Noodles and Beef.

nhwklrry asks:
Hello Noodles ... I live in the New Orleans/Baton Rouge area and I just seen your post about the gumbo pot pies. I was hoping you could go into a little more detail on how you cooked those please? 😆
image

My grandma is Creole.  She would always have a pot of gumbo ready for us when we visited.  A dark soup of mystery ingredients and meats plucked from her farm (and the side of the road) thickened with okra.  It was disgusting.

I struggled while planning my creole menu last week.  Gumbo was synonymous with creole cuisine, I had to include it.  Surely it was possible to make a delicious gumbo?  I began researching.

Gumbo is stock with vegetables, meat, seafood, and a thickening agent.  The dish was prepared with whatever was available.  In the south, you go form door to door with a giant soup pot singing for ingredients till you have enough for a gumbo; the stone soup of the South.

French settlers without access to ingredients like carrots or flour substituted new world ingredients like bell peppers and okra.  These substitutions turned a common stew into gumbo.

  • Instead of the traditional mirepoix (carrots/onions/celery) creole food uses the trinity (bell peppers/onions/celery).  
  • Instead of thickening a stew with a roux, they used slimy okra as a thickener.

I decided to use the French roux instead of Creole’s okra to thicken the gumbo.  I could get the smokey flavour of okra without its’ slimy texture by using chipotle peppers.  This sounded much tastier.  I started sketching out the recipe:

  • Holy Trinity: 2 red bell pepper, 1 red onion, 2 stalks celery
  • Aromatics: jalapeno, chipotle, garlic, bay leaves
  • 1lb andouille sausage, cut into small 1″ slivers
  • 1lb shrimp
  • 8 cups beef stock
  • paprika, garlic powder, ground pepper, salt to taste
  • Roux: flour and butter

This reminded me of a pot pie.  If I made enough roux and thickened the soup enough, it would basically be pot pie filling.  That sounded really good.  Instead of dirty rice, I’d put a puff pastry on top.  Delicious.

  • Puff pastry (just buy it from the store, much easier than making your own)

Gumbo Pot Pie, the recipe

Pre-heat over to 400-degrees.

In a large dutch oven (or stew pot) bring some olive oil to smoking and add the aromatics, stirring as they cook.  When the garlic is golden, add the holy trinity.

We want the natural sweetness of the bell peppers and red onions to come out, so we cook them at high heat until they caramelize.  (Red onions should be translucent, bell peppers should be soft and burnt).  This takes about 30 mins.

While your trinity is cooking, toss your andouille sausage with garlic powder, olive oil, paprika, ground pepper, and salt.  Spread evenly on a foil-covered baking sheet and put into the oven for 15 minutes.

Do the same with the shrimp. Toss, spread on tray, put in oven for 8 minutes (DON’T OVER COOK).

We roast the sausage separately to bring out its spicy flavour.  If you just toss it into the stew it will become bland.  We roast the shrimp separately because its easy to overcook them in a stew and we get a more complex flavour by roasting shrimp.

In a nonstick skillet, melt 2 cups of butter.  Once the butter is melted, slowly whisk in your flour.  Make sure the flour is completely incorporated into the butter before adding more.  This is your roux.  Let this cook a bit until it starts to smell nutty (about three minutes).  Add a cup of beef stock, whisking until completely incorporated.  Now add this roux to the pot with your trinity and add remaining beef stock.

Bring your (beef stock + trinity + roux) mixture to a boil, stirring obsessively to ensure consistent texture.  Use a wooden spoon to scrape off the burnt bits from the bottom of the pan.

Add your sausage and shrimp, bring to boil and reduce sauce until its reduced to a thick slurry.

While this is reducing, cut out circles of your puff pastry, just big enough to cover the top of the pie tray.  Place these circles of puff pastry on a buttered baking sheet and bake at 400-degrees for 15 minutes.

Spoon slurry into pie trays and top the pies with your half-cooked puff pastry.  You should probably put some butter on top of the puff pastry.

Now, toss those pies into the oven for 5-10mins at 400-degrees.  Remove when the puff pastry is golden and puffy.

ENJOY!

nhwklrry asks:
Hello Noodles ... I live in the New Orleans/Baton Rouge area and I just seen your post about the gumbo pot pies. I was hoping you could go into a little more detail on how you cooked those please? 😆
image

My grandma is Creole.  She would always have a pot of gumbo ready for us when we visited.  A dark soup of mystery ingredients and meats plucked from her farm (and the side of the road) thickened with okra.  It was disgusting.

I struggled while planning my creole menu last week.  Gumbo was synonymous with creole cuisine, I had to include it.  Surely it was possible to make a delicious gumbo?  I began researching.

Gumbo is stock with vegetables, meat, seafood, and a thickening agent.  The dish was prepared with whatever was available.  In the south, you go form door to door with a giant soup pot singing for ingredients till you have enough for a gumbo; the stone soup of the South.

French settlers without access to ingredients like carrots or flour substituted new world ingredients like bell peppers and okra.  These substitutions turned a common stew into gumbo.

  • Instead of the traditional mirepoix (carrots/onions/celery) creole food uses the trinity (bell peppers/onions/celery).  
  • Instead of thickening a stew with a roux, they used slimy okra as a thickener.

I decided to use the French roux instead of Creole’s okra to thicken the gumbo.  I could get the smokey flavour of okra without its’ slimy texture by using chipotle peppers.  This sounded much tastier.  I started sketching out the recipe:

  • Holy Trinity: 2 red bell pepper, 1 red onion, 2 stalks celery
  • Aromatics: jalapeno, chipotle, garlic, bay leaves
  • 1lb andouille sausage, cut into small 1″ slivers
  • 1lb shrimp
  • 8 cups beef stock
  • paprika, garlic powder, ground pepper, salt to taste
  • Roux: flour and butter

This reminded me of a pot pie.  If I made enough roux and thickened the soup enough, it would basically be pot pie filling.  That sounded really good.  Instead of dirty rice, I’d put a puff pastry on top.  Delicious.

  • Puff pastry (just buy it from the store, much easier than making your own)

Gumbo Pot Pie, the recipe

Pre-heat over to 400-degrees.

In a large dutch oven (or stew pot) bring some olive oil to smoking and add the aromatics, stirring as they cook.  When the garlic is golden, add the holy trinity.

We want the natural sweetness of the bell peppers and red onions to come out, so we cook them at high heat until they caramelize.  (Red onions should be translucent, bell peppers should be soft and burnt).  This takes about 30 mins.

While your trinity is cooking, toss your andouille sausage with garlic powder, olive oil, paprika, ground pepper, and salt.  Spread evenly on a foil-covered baking sheet and put into the oven for 15 minutes.

Do the same with the shrimp. Toss, spread on tray, put in oven for 8 minutes (DON’T OVER COOK).

We roast the sausage separately to bring out its spicy flavour.  If you just toss it into the stew it will become bland.  We roast the shrimp separately because its easy to overcook them in a stew and we get a more complex flavour by roasting shrimp.

In a nonstick skillet, melt 2 cups of butter.  Once the butter is melted, slowly whisk in your flour.  Make sure the flour is completely incorporated into the butter before adding more.  This is your roux.  Let this cook a bit until it starts to smell nutty (about three minutes).  Add a cup of beef stock, whisking until completely incorporated.  Now add this roux to the pot with your trinity and add remaining beef stock.

Bring your (beef stock + trinity + roux) mixture to a boil, stirring obsessively to ensure consistent texture.  Use a wooden spoon to scrape off the burnt bits from the bottom of the pan.

Add your sausage and shrimp, bring to boil and reduce sauce until its reduced to a thick slurry.

While this is reducing, cut out circles of your puff pastry, just big enough to cover the top of the pie tray.  Place these circles of puff pastry on a buttered baking sheet and bake at 400-degrees for 15 minutes.

Spoon slurry into pie trays and top the pies with your half-cooked puff pastry.  You should probably put some butter on top of the puff pastry.

Now, toss those pies into the oven for 5-10mins at 400-degrees.  Remove when the puff pastry is golden and puffy.

ENJOY!

Inspired by innerbear’s meal prep dilemma, I made rice cooker dinner with random ingredients in my fridge.

Two salmon steaks, edamame, spinach, mushrooms, nori, green onion, sesame seeds, mirin, soy sauce, dashi, chicken stock, ginger, kim chi, ghee, garlic powder, MSG.

alphaqueer asks:

I just looked at your cutting diet post and I’ve got to ask a really naive question: what do you eat Monday through Saturday? To me, it just seems like meat and vegetables, which must get boring. Do you have some meal ideas/templates you could share?

Unless you can afford to eat out every meal, eating bulk-cooked meals gets boring quickly.  I’ve written before how I’ll convert a multi-course French dinner into a day of bulking meals…but that sort of cooking is really involved and time consuming.

My mealplan with pup is a little different.  He cooks a couple nights a week, and on Sundays I do bulk meals for both of us to last the remaining days.  

I usually get a few kinds of root veggies (rainbow carrots, beets, golden beets, shallots, etc) and roast them at high heat in a oregano/macadamia nut oil/salt/pepper/balsamic vinegar dressing.

Chicken and steaks are marinaded in a few different marinades for flavour variety.  Chicken breasts are roasted in the oven.  Steaks are prepared in a pan following this recipe.

I usually make adobo with the chicken thighs, or coq au vin if I have some red wine laying around.

Salmon I roast with ghee, garlic, raw soy sauce, and shiitake mushrooms.

I am out of control. Seriously. Now, thanks to Brian, infused coconut and cardamon and lime in rum.

Dinner. Grass fed New York steaks with some dry cured bacon and rainbow carrots.

Edit: Some folks asked for the recipe, so here it is:

  1. Heat olive oil till smoking
  2. Add two pieces of chopped bacon and mashed garlic, sautee till golden brown
  3. Add carrots around edge of pan
  4. Season steaks with salt, pepper and oregano
  5. Sear steaks fat-side-down till crisp, then sear meaty sides
  6. Cover till cooked to your liking (5 mins for medium-rare)
  7. Remove steaks from pan and tent with foil
  8. Add a cup of young port wine and chicken stock to pan, scrap the burnt bits from pan, and increase heat to high.
  9. Stir occasionally till the sauce has reduced to a slurry.  Finish with a quarter of whisked butter.
  10. Enjoy!