MEXICAN SOFRITO

I wanted to use what I had on hand so made a Mexican version of my Beef Ragu.  Naming it was an entirely different story! 

I found tons of words to replace ragu like goulash, pot-au-feu, gumbo, suey, cassoulet, chowder… You get the idea, but I couldn’t find a word in Spanish.  Finding a word for word translation of RAGU was challenging. 

Turns out there isn’t a DIRECT word for translation so I read until I found an acceptable translation for this Mexican version of my Beef Ragu recipe. The word soffritto is still Italian, but I found the same word with a single f and single t (sofrito) used for Puerto Rican and Latin American recipes.  Close enough for me! 

A Ragu is meat based with a little sauce added.

MEXICAN SOFRITO ala SLOW COOKER
1 small yellow onion, finely chopped
5-6 cloves garlic, sliced paper thin
4 slices bacon, chopped
2 ½ -3 pound chuck roast
1 tablespoon House Seasoning (see below)
28 ounces crushed tomatoes, with cumin and chili powder to taste
1 large can chopped green chiles
¼ cup chopped cilantro
1 cup beef broth
3 tablespoons tomato paste
1 large carrot, peeled and grated
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper
Cotija cheese

  • Spray a large slow cooker with non-stick cooking spray.
  • Arrange the onions, garlic, green chiles and bacon pieces in the bottom of the slow cooker.
  • Generously season roast with FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper on both sides.
  • Arrange roast on top of the onion mixture.
  • Sprinkle the carrots on top of the roast.
  • In a medium bowl, blend together the tomatoes, tomato paste, beef broth, red wine vinegar and cilantro.
  • Pour over the roast.
  • Cover and cook on low 8-10 hours until the beef is EXTREMELY tender and falls apart.
  • Skim any fat from the top.
  • Use 2 forks to shred the beef.
  • Stir beef into the sauce.
  • Adjust seasonings.
  • Re-cover and cook for another hour to allow the flavored to meld together.
  • Serve with corn tortillas and top with Cotija cheese sprinkles.

This is an adapted version of my Beef Ragu recipe.

PINEAPPLE CHILI MEATBALLS

This recipe makes 70 meatballs making it perfect for a crowd, tailgating party, church potluck or freeze in batches for quick weeknight meals.

HONEY GARLIC GLAZED MEATBALLS
2 pounds ground beef
1 cup PANKO bread crumbs
2 LARGE eggs
3/4 cup milk
2 teaspoons each FRESH sea salt and black pepper
1/2 cup finely diced Vidalia onion
3 LARGE cloves garlic, finely minced
1 tablespoon butter

SAUCE
1/2 cup Smucker’s Pineapple Preserves
1/3 cup Sweet Red Chili Sauce
6 ounces orange juice
3 tablespoons Teriyaki sauce

  • Spray baking racks with non-stick cooking spray and place on baking trays. Set aside.
  • Whisk together the milk and eggs in a large mixing bowl.
  • Add bread crumbs, onion, salt and pepper, stirring to combine.
  • Crumble ground beef over milk mixture and combine well.
  • Shape into ping pong size balls.
  • Place each meatball on a baking rack.
  • Baked uncovered 12-15 minutes until cooked through.

While meatballs are baking start sauce.

  • Whisk together all the ingredients and bring to a SLOW boil.
  • Reduce heat and simmer 5 minutes more.
  • Add meatballs to sauce, gently turning to coat.
  • Cook for 5-10 minutes.

HONEY GARLIC GLAZED MEATBALLS

This recipe makes 70 meatballs making it perfect for a crowd, tailgating party, church potluck or freeze in batches for quick weeknight meals.

HONEY GARLIC GLAZED MEATBALLS
2 pounds ground beef
1 cup PANKO bread crumbs
2 LARGE eggs
3/4 cup milk
2 teaspoons each FRESH sea salt and black pepper
1/2 cup finely diced Vidalia onion
3 LARGE cloves garlic, finely minced
1 tablespoon butter
3/4 cup jalapeno ketchup
1/3 cup honey
3 tablespoons BRAGG’s liquid aminos

  • Spray baking racks with non-stick cooking spray and place on baking trays. Set aside.
  • Whisk together the milk and eggs in a large mixing bowl.
  • Add bread crumbs, onion, salt and pepper, stirring to combine.
  • Crumble ground beef over milk mixture and combine well.
  • Shape into ping pong size balls.
  • Place each meatball on a baking rack.
  • Baked uncovered 12-15 minutes until cooked through.

While meatballs are baking start sauce.

  • Melt butter in a LARGE sauce pan.
  • Add garlic, cooking until aromatic.
  • Whisk in the ketchup, honey and liquid aminos.
  • Bring to a SLOW boil.
  • Reduce heat and simmer 5 minutes more.
  • Add meatballs to sauce, gently turning to coat.
  • Cook for 5-10 minutes.

CHILI TAMALE PIE

CHILI TAMALE PIE
1 1/2 pounds ground beef
1 small red pepper, chopped
1 small onion, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 tablespoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed well
2 1/2 cups mild enchilada sauce
1 can shoepeg corn, drained
12 corn tortillas
2 cups shredded cheese (cheddar and Jack)
1 Jalapeno pepper, optional

  • Preheat oven to 375°.
  • Spray 2 quart baking dish with non-stick cooking spray.
  • Start browning ground beef in large skillet over medium high heat.
  • Add onions, garlic, chili powder and salt cooking 5 minutes or so, stirring often.
  • Add beans and half of the sauce, bring to a boil.
  • Reduce heat, cover and simmer 10 minutes.
  • Add corn and return to simmer 5 minutes.
  • Remove from heat.
  • Spread half of the remaining sauce in the baking dish.
  • Top with 4 tortillas, overlapping as needed.
  • Top with half the cheese followed by half the filling mixture.
  • Add 4 more tortillas.
  • Repeat layering with 1/2 cup cheese and remaining filling.
  • Top with last 4 tortillas, remaining sauce, remaining cheese and jalapenos if using.
  • Grease one side of a sheet of foil and place greased side on top of baking dish.
  • Bake 20 minutes.
  • Uncover and bake 5 more minutes.

CHOPPED STEAKS

These are super quick and deliciously flavorful making them great for weeknight dinners!!

CHOPPED STEAKS
1 1/2 pounds lean ground beef
2 eggs
1/4 cup minced shallots
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup crushed saltine crackers
FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper
avocado oil

  • Preheat oven to 400°.
  • Combine everything except the meat until well blended.
  • Add the meat and mix well.
  • Shape into 4 patties.
  • Heat oil over medium-high heat.
  • Add patties and sear until browned.
  • Flip and move pan to the oven for 15-20 minutes.
  • Transfer steaks to platter and tent with foil.

GRAVY
2 tablespoons butter
8 ounces sliced mushrooms
1/4 cup minced shallots
1/4 cup minced Italian Parsley
2 tablespoons WONDRA flour
2 cups beef broth

  • Add butter to the pan you cooked the steaks in.
  • When butter is melted add shallots and mushrooms, sauteing 8-10 minutes.
  • Sprinkle flour over the onion mixture and stir well.
  • Add broth and blend well.
  • Cook 3-5 minutes until desired thickness.

NOTE:

  • Hubby hates mushrooms. So, many times I omit the mushrooms and double the shallots or add green onions and it tastes just as great!
  • If gravy doesn’t thicken as much as you would like, add a small amount of cornstarch slurry.

BALSAMIC BROWN SUGAR BRISKET

BALSAMIC BROWN SUGAR BRISKET

4-5 pound beef brisket
3 tablespoons avocado oil
3 red onions, halved and thinly sliced (4-6 cups)
1 whole bulb garlic, cleaned and minced
2 bay leaves
1 1/2 cups beef broth
1/3 cup QUALITY balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon champagne vinegar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
2 teaspoons onion powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper

  • Preheat oven to 325°.
  • Generously season brisket with FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper.
  • Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a dutch oven.
  • Add brisket and sear each side until browned, about 4 minutes per side.
  • Remove brisket and set aside.
  • Add remaining oil to pan.
  • Add onions, garlic and bay leaves. Cook stirring often, 5-10 minutes, until fragrant and onions have softened.
  • In a bowl whisk together the beef broth, vinegars, brown sugar, onion powder and garlic powder.
  • Transfer the onion mixture to a roasting pan.
  • Top with brisket.
  • Pour broth mixture over brisket.
  • Cover and cook 2 hours.
  • Flip meat over, recover tightly and cook another 2-2 1/2 hours until fork tender.
  • Transfer meat to cutting board and loosely cover with foil, resting 10 minutes.
  • Slice meat against the grain and put on platter.
  • Using a slotted spoon arrange the onions around the brisket, discarding the bay leaves.
  • Skim fat from pan juices and discard. Pour juices over the onions and brisket.

HERB BUTTER & LONDON BROIL

LONDON BROIL began as a preparation process of marinating and then searing or broiling the meat at a HIGH temperature, NOT a cut of meat.  The process became so popular that eventually grocery stores began selling top round under the name “LONDON BROIL”.  Top-round steak, is sometimes sold as “London broil” or “Flank steak” is the traditional cut of beef used for London broil because it takes so  well to marinades.

HERB BUTTER & LONDON BROIL

1 (2 pound) London broil top-round steak
FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper
1/4 cup avocado oil
Juice of 1 lemon
3 tablespoons packed dark brown sugar
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
4 cloves garlic, minced

  • In a medium bowl, whisk together oil, lemon juice, brown sugar, Worcestershire, and garlic.
  • Generously season entire London Broil with salt and pepper.
  • Rub oil mixture all over meat. Place on baking sheet.
  • Let sit at room temperature for an hour. (it can also be refrigerated over night)
  • Preheat broiler.
  • Brush off garlic then place steak on a sheet pan.
  • Place pan on middle rack in the center of the oven and broil 10 to 15 minutes (depending on desired doneness), until top is charred.
  • Flip and broil 10 to 15 minutes more (depending on desired doneness), until internal temperature reaches 125° for medium rare.
  • Let rest 10 minutes before carving.  It is VERY important that you carve AGAINST the grain!
  • Serve with herb butter.

NOTES:  Any leftovers dice up very nicely into pieces for chili.

HERB BUTTER
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 tablespoon FRESH chopped parsley
2 teaspoons FRESH chopped chives
Zest of 1/2 lemon
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon FRESH ground black pepper
Pinch crushed red pepper flakes

  • In a small bowl, mix butter with herbs, lemon zest, salt, and red pepper flakes until smooth.
  • Refrigerate until ready to use.

SWEET & SOUR CABBAGE ROLLS

SWEET & SOUR CABBAGE ROLLS
8 WHOLE cabbage leaves
1 tablespoon avocado oil
1 large Vidalia onion, diced
1 cup carrot sticks
1/2 cup sliced red pepper
1/3 pound ground sirloin
1/3 pound ground pork
1 tablespoon FRESH chopped thyme
FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper
3 tablespoons tomato paste
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
3 tablespoons PURE maple syrup
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 3/4 cups tomato sauce
1 cup shredded Mozzarella cheese

  • Preheat oven to 350°.
  • Stack leaves in a large dutch oven and cover with boiling water.
  • Cover and bring to a boil for 4-6 minutes until cabbage is JUST tender enough to be pliable.
  • DRAIN and cool leaves on towel.
  • In a large skillet heat oil.
  • Brown beef and pork JUST until crumbly.
  • Add onion and saute’ 5 minutes.
  • Add carrots and peppers, sauteing a couple minutes more.
  • Add tomato paste and stir to coat.
  • Add Worcestershire sauce, vinegar and syrup, stirring to mix well and stirring often.
  • Bring to a simmer.
  • Remove from heat.
  • Spoon 1/4-1/3 cup of mixture into each cabbage leaf rolling and tucking in the edges.
  • Arrange rolls in baking dish seam side down.
  • Top with tomato sauce, cover and bake 20 minutes.
  • Add mozzarella and return to oven uncovered until cheese melts and rolls are heated through.
  • Let stand 5 minutes before serving.

BEEF & CABBAGE STIR FRY

All this started because one of my favorite munchkins brought me a cabbage from her class. 😀 It was this straggly looking thing, but then it grew and grew and grew into a HUGE head that I was able to make 3 meals from 😀

BEEF & CABBAGE STIR FRY

1 Pound ground beef
1/2 sweet red bell pepper, chopped
3 cups Shredded Cabbage
1 1/2 cups shredded carrots
1 tablespoon avocado oil
1 medium Vidalia onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup Bragg’s liquid aminos
2 teaspoona Siracha (more or less depending on your preference)
2 teaspoon Ginger, minced
2 tablespoons QUALITY Honey
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon Sesame Oil
FRESH ground salt & pepper to taste

  • In a large frying pan heat the olive oil over medium high heat.
  • Saute the onions with the ground beef. Drain WELL.
  • Add in garlic, carrots & red peppers.
  • Whisk together the liquid aminos, Siracha, honey, vinegar, ginger, salt and pepper. Set aside.
  • When the beef is browned and the peppers and onions are soft, add in the cabbage
  • Once cabbage has slightly wilted, add in the soy mixture, mix well and allow to cook about 5 minutes, remove from heat.
  • Add in the sesame oil and toss well.
  • Serve over rice, mashed potatoes or by itself!
  • ENJOY!

RICOTTA MEATBALLS & GRAVY

A really flavorful and nice addition to this recipe is a batch of shallots or onions caramelized with mushrooms added to the gravy after the meatballs bake! YUMMY!

RICOTTA MEATBALLS

4 slices white bread, torn into small pieces
1/3 cup whole milk
2 pounds ground chuck
8 ounces deli ham, finely chopped
1 cup whole milk ricotta cheese
3 ounces FINELY grated pecorino Romano cheese
1/2 cup finely chopped yellow onion, squeezed dry of moisture
2 teaspoons – 1 tablespoon FRESH ground sea salt
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 teaspoon chopped fennel seeds
1/2 teaspoon FRESH ground black pepper
4 LARGE eggs
2 tablespoons avocado oil
1 batch beef gravy (recipe below)

  • Preheat oven to 450°.
  • Place bread pieces in bowl and pour in milk. Using your hands press bread into milk and let stand 5 minutes.

 

  • In a large bowl arrange meat with a well in the center.
  • Add the ham pieces, onions, ricotta cheese, romano cheese, ham pieces, eggs, fennel, bread pieces, salt, oregano and pepper to the well.
  • Gently and gradually incorporate all together without overtaxing.

 

  • Spray baking dish with non-stick spray or brush with avocado oil.
  • Pour gravy into baking dish.
  • Form meat into 1 inch meatballs and arrange in the gravy 1 inch apart, turning to coat.
  • Bake 30 minutes until meatballs are golden brown and are cooked through.

BEEF GRAVY

1⁄4 cup butter
1⁄4 cup flour
1 tablespoon Better Than Beef Bouillon
2 cups beef broth
FRESH ground salt and black pepper, to taste
1 teaspoon Kitchen Bouquet (optional)

  • Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat.
  • Add flour and whisk together, making sure to get all visible lumps.
  • Add salt and pepper to taste.
  • Cook over medium heat for 5 minutes or until mixture starts to turn light brown, be sure to stir constantly.
  • Whisk bouillon and beef broth together.
  • Reduce heat to low and SLOWLY add broth mixture, stirring constantly. It may spit & bubble so be careful.
  • Add optional Kitchen Bouquet.
  • Turn heat back up to medium.
  • Continue stirring until gravy boils and thickens.
  • Makes about 2 cups.

LOOSE MEAT BACON CHEESE BURGERS

LOOSE MEAT BACON CHEESE BURGERS

3/4 cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon Heinz Chili Sauce
1 tablespoon Frank’s Original Hot Sauce
1 tablespoon Avocado oil
1/2 Sweet Vidalia Onion, finely chopped
1 pound ground beef chuck
6-8 slices bacon, chopped, browned and drained of grease
FRESH ground sea salt & black pepper
1/2 cup finely chopped sweet pickles
6 slices cheddar cheese
12 pull-apart dinner rolls

  • Preheat oven broiler.
  • Whisk together the mayonnaise, chili sauce and hot sauce. Cover and refrigerate until needed.
  • Heat the avocado oil in skillet over medium high heat.
  • Add the onion and ground beef. Season with the FRESH ground salt and pepper. Cook and stir until browned. Drain off excess fat if necessary.
  • Spread mayonnaise mixture on both sides of buns.
  • Remove from heat and stir in pickles and any remaining sauce.
  • Place bottoms of rolls on baking sheet and toast under broiler a couple minutes – WATCH that they don’t burn.
  • Remove baking sheet and turn oven down to 400°.
  • Spread the bottoms with cheese followed by the meat mixture.
  • Layer cheese on top of meat followed by the crumbled bacon.
  • Add tops to the burgers.
  • Bake 10 minutes until tops are toasted and cheese is melted.

NOTE: Also good with Frank’s Sweet Chili Lime Sauce.

SPICY PIMIENTO CHEESE BURGERS – BUNLESS BURGER series #5

When I was a kid I remember driving by McDonalds and seeing their sign claiming how many burgers they had sold. It ALWAYS seemed like an exorbitantly high number to me, but these days I do believe hamburgers are one of the most eaten fast food and BBQ sandwiches.

I’d never really thought about it, but got curious about the origins of the hamburger. It will probably come as no surprise that the hamburger can actually be traced back to Hamburg, Germany. Ironically you almost have to give the credit to Russia though. In the mid 18th century Hamburg was the largest port in Europe and the seaman brought the idea with them of their acquired taste of eating steak tartare from Russia. But, even Russia cannot lay claim as it was the Mongul nomadic warriors that brought steak tartare with them from central Asia to Russia to begin with. The legend claims that the warriors would tenderize their meat by placing it under their saddles during their long rides where the motion of the saddle would tenderize the meat to a pulp and they would then enjoy the meat raw. I can find no mention of who actually decided to cook the meat into a “burger”. But according to my research it was the German immigrants brought the cooked burger to us here in the states.  The first North American restaurant to offer up a hamburger steak on their menu was DelMonico’s in 1834 New York. Strangely enough the hamburger steak sold for 10¢, double the price of roast beef and even veal. Eventually, people became more familiar with hamburgers and the price dropped as it became more a food of the masses when it was placed on a bun with the added condiments, tomatoes, pickles and was sold on horse drawn lunch wagons, at diners and lunch counters instead of the elite.

The one thing that everyone seems to agree on is that a good burger has a good amount of fat to keep the burger moist. LESS is more when preparing a GOOD burger. LESS ingredients and LESS handling – lets the meat speak for itself. 😀

PIMIENTO CHEESE BURGERS
1 – 1 1/2 pounds ground sirloin
FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper
Pimiento cheese (recipe below)
melted butter

  • Preheat grill to high for direct grilling. Lightly spray the grill with non-stick cooking spray.
  • Divide the ground chuck into four equal portions, 4-6 ounces each.
  • Form each portion into a 3/4-inch burger and make a deep depression in the center with your thumb.
  • Brush both sides of the burgers with the butter and sprinkle liberally with salt and pepper.
  • Grill the burgers, turning once until golden brown and slightly charred on both sides and cooked to desired temperature, about 4 minutes each side for medium.
  • During the last minute of cooking, place a dollop of the pimiento cheese mixture on top of each burger and close the grill lid, cooking JUST until the cheese has melted, about 1 minute.
  • Place the burgers on the buns (if desired) and top with the bacon, sliced red onions, sliced tomatoes, your favorite pickles and lettuce as desired.

SPICY PIMIENTO CHEESE
12 ounces softened cream cheese
1 pound SHARP Cheddar cheese, finely grated
3/4 cup Duke’s mayonnaise
1 large Red Bell Pepper, washed, seeded, roasted and chopped fine
1 teaspoon QUALITY Worcestershire sauce
Juice of 1 lemon
1 tablespoon Frank’s original Hot sauce
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

  • Mix together the cream cheese, mayonnaise, Worcestershire sauce, lemon juice, cayenne pepper, hot sauce and salt until smooth.
  • Blend in grated Cheddar cheese.
  • Fold in bell pepper until well distributed.
  • Chill well.
  • Serve with crackers or on a burger.