Archive for category Beef/Lamb

4 Years of … Blogging?

Zucchini Noodles with Turkey & Beef Ricotta Meatballs | Gorging George

It’s anniversary day folks. And when I look back on the past year I have tons of fond memories; we’ve been busy, we’ve done tons, we have clearly cooked and eaten in that time and … I’ve posted once. Trust me, I wasn’t ignoring the blog on purpose. I thought about it nearly every time I entered the kitchen or became inspired by something food-related that I read. But I’m not going to make excuses. The past year has been amazing for me and my family in spite of the lack of blogging. Hopefully I can sometimes still make room for a post every once in a while.

Zucchini Noodles with Turkey & Beef Ricotta Meatballs | Gorging George

Zucchini Noodles with Turkey & Beef Ricotta Meatballs | Gorging George

Zucchini Noodles with Turkey & Beef Ricotta Meatballs | Gorging George

If I did have to give one reason for the slow down in recipe sharing, I would say it’s that food has become simplified in the house. There’s not much time for leisurely cooking, we can’t wait to eat until 8 or 9 like we used to when I was testing new recipes. There’s a tiny person that demands food. And she demands food that tastes good … so there’s also not a lot of room for error. So honestly, I’ve stuck to cooking staple recipes the past year. Ones we can get on the table fast and that will be slurped down without any complaints. We still try new recipes, but they are typically ones other people have written and shared.

Zucchini Noodles with Turkey & Beef Ricotta Meatballs | Gorging George

Zucchini Noodles with Turkey & Beef Ricotta Meatballs | Gorging George

However, I got one of those fancy looking spiralizers from my mother-in-law for my birthday last year. And now we can’t get enough of zucchini noodles. I just thought it was a weird fad that was sweeping Pinterest, so I ignored these long green zoodles for a while. But when I got my gift I tried it out right away. And holy crap guys: zucchini noodles are amazing. Don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t trade good pasta for anything. But we aren’t eating zucchini noodles as a substitute, we’re eating them because they taste great. Once I paired them with these moist, flavourful meatballs; now we rarely eat zucchini noodles with anything else.

Zucchini Noodles with Turkey & Beef Ricotta Meatballs | Gorging George

Zucchini Noodles with Turkey & Beef Ricotta Meatballs

Don’t have a spiralizer? Just serve the meatballs with your favourite long pasta. Shred some zucchini into the sauce if it makes you feel better. 

Meatballs

8 oz lean ground beef

8 oz ground turkey

2/3 cup ricotta cheese

1 cup panko bread crumbs

1/2 cup pecorino romano cheese, grated

1 egg

1 Tbsp sundried tomatoes in oil, drained & chopped

1 garlic clove, minced

1/8 tsp pepper

4 cups of your favourite marinara sauce

 

Zucchini Noodles

3-4 zucchini (I would use 1/person; not kidding)

olive oil

1 clove garlic, minced

kosher salt

Preheat oven to 400ºF. Prepare a sheet pan by spraying with olive oil (or you can cover with tin foil). Place all of the meatball ingredients into a large bowl. Mix gently to combine. Don’t overmix, or you’ll end up with tough meatballs. Form into approximately 32 meatballs, placing them on the sheet pan as you go. Bake the meatballs for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, spiralize that zucchini.

Heat the 4 cups of marina in a large sauce pan. Once the meatballs are cooked, gently dump them into the marina sauce. Simmer the meatballs and sauce together for an additional 10-15 minutes or until your ready to eat.

While your meatballs enjoy their tomato bath, heat a large, non-stick saute pan over medium-high heat. Once hot, add a scant Tbsp of olive oil to the pan, followed by the garlic. Let the garlic simmer for about 30 seconds, then add he zucchini noodles. Season generously with the salt (start with at least a tsp. You can add more if needed). Cook the noodles to your desired degree of doneness. I’m not going to tell you how to eat your noodles. Maybe you just want them warm with nearly all their crunch. Maybe you want those things so cooked you could slurp them down without chewing. I’m not here to judge. Important step learned after eating wet noodles: drain those zucchini noodles when they are cooked to your liking. Add them back to the pan or plate them.

Top bowl-fulls of zucchini noodles with meatballs and marinara. Sprinkle with more pecorino if you like. Or just devour.

Serves 4.

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Grilled Bison Burgers

We’re in the height of summer – the days when I bask in the hot midnight sun; when I lounge around in tanks and shorts; when I spend nearly every sunny moment outside soaking it all in before the dreaded winter gloom returns. Like most other sane people, this is also when we cook nearly all our meals outside to stave off the heat of the oven & stove; the ones we actually cook anyways. These days we also like to turn to cold meals that only involve slight prep-work so we don’t break much of a sweat; then we can relax after work with cold drinks and the company of each other or family and friends.

Last night’s meal was one involving very little prep and then some time at the grill. Bison burgers served with grilled corn. We were gifted some bison from Kyle’s sister’s girlfriend a while back and have had it in the freezer for a few months. I can’t believe we haven’t devoured it all by now. Since bison is an incredibly tasty meat all on its own, we kept the seasonings and additions to a bare minimum when making the burgers. Something I suggest you do for most burgers unless you’re going for a specific flavour profile. This meat was good, so there was no sense in masking it’s flavorful tastiness with a bunch of extras mixed into it.

We did, however, load up on toppings. Choose what you like, but the combination we used really made for an excellent burger; even if the enormity of the burger disintegrated my gluten free bun in about 1 minute flat. Totally worth it. And so last night we thought of Grey (who gave us this delicious bounty of meat), as she travels across the country so far away. My partner in gluten-eating crime whenever we get together. We miss you lots and can’t wait for you to return home!

Grilled Bison Burgers (gluten-free & egg-free)

1 lb ground bison
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp fresh cracked pepper
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper (sometimes labeled “red pepper”)
a couple dashes Worcestershire – make sure it’s gluten free (therefore doesn’t not contain malt vinegar)
4 buns – any type you want, obviously using gluten free ones if you need to
Tbsp butter

Suggested Toppings
romaine lettuce
sliced tomato
sliced red onion
cooked bacon
sauteed mushrooms
swiss cheese
mayonnaise

Combine the bison and following 5 ingredients (salt through Worcestershire sauce) in a medium-sized bowl, being careful not to overmix the meat, as this will lead to tough burgers. Being as even as you can, make 4 patties out of the meat mixture. Yes four. We don’t mess around with burgers under 1/4 lb in this house. Let the patties come to room temperature as you prepare your grill to medium heat.

Spray your grill or the burgers with cooking spray and grill the bison patties for 6-7 minutes per side, flipping once. Don’t press down on your burgers either while you cook them – this just squeezes out all those delicious meaty juices, it doesn’t help cook your burgers at all, and really doesn’t make you look more cool while grilling. Let the burgers rest for about 5 minutes on a cooler side of the grill or off the grill before serving.

Before you turn off your grill, smear both sides of each burger bun with some butter. Then grill each bun, cut side down, for nearly 1 minute; until you have a nice buttery char on the burger. This is basically essential if you’re using gluten free buns, because otherwise they are not very tasty (unless you’ve hand-made you’re own. Then obviously I have zero idea what your buns taste like).

Top with any accompaniments you like, but we really do suggest “All of the Above.”

Serves 4.

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Tequila Lime Bison Tacos

Tequila Lime Bison Tacos | Gorging George

Tomorrow is Earth Day; and just like last year, I thought I’d share a dish that’s as local as I’m prepared to eat while living in the subarctic. I’m not saying that I wouldn’t love to eat locally, or that I dislike any of the food that we can get around here. But, as I pointed out before, this land is fairly barren 8 months of the year, with the exception of fresh-water fish and wild animals that roam the north. There’s no access to fruit and vegetables that were grown within a 100-mile radius of our home. So we combine produce from the southern States, Mexico, and South America with meat from Alberta and sometimes local fish and game.

So here is my closest approximation of a “Local Taco” – using only 1 local ingredient: Bison. And I’m okay with that. Bison is a delicious wild meat, that doesn’t have much of a gamey taste to it. Plus it’s fairly lean, making it a healthy alternative to beef from time-to-time. However, there is absolutely nothing else included in this taco that was grown or produced anywhere near where I live. I’ll take the compromise and walk to work as much as possible. Plus, we live in the Land of the Midnight Sun – which means for quite some time around the summer months, we have no need to turn on our lights. You’re welcome Mother Earth.

Tequila Lime Bison Tacos | Gorging George

Bison Steak Tacos

This marinade would work well with various proteins. So if Bison isn’t a local meat near you, you could substitute beef, pork, chicken, shellfish, or any fresh or salt-water fish – hell, I won’t even judge if firm tofu is a local ingredient for you. Just reduce the marinade time to 1 hour if you’re using seafood, as the lime juice will end up cooking it eventually if left too long. 

Steak Marinade
1 lb bison steak
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbsp lime juice – about 1 lime
2 Tbsp tequila
2 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp chili flakes

Pico de Gallo
2-3 roma tomatoes
1/2 jalepeno
1/2 white onion
juice from half lime
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper

6-8 corn tortillas
1 avocado, sliced
1/2 cup shredded Monterey jack cheese
sour cream

Slice the bison steak into thin strips, against the grain. Combine the steak and remaining marinade ingredients (garlic through chili flakes) in a zip-top bag. Marinade in the fridge for 2-4 hours.

About a half hour before you’re ready to cook the steak, prepare the Pico de Gallo. Dice the tomatoes, mince the jalepeno (remove the seeds and insides of the jalepeno if you want it less spicy), and dice the onion. Combine the vegetables along with the lime juice, salt & pepper together in a bowl and set aside.

Preheat a grill pan or heavy-bottom skillet over medium-high heat. Sear the half the bison on both sides for approximately 3 minutes a side (or less if you prefer the bison more rare) – remove the cooked bison to a plate and keep warm. Continue with remaining bison. Meanwhile cook tortillas according to directions.

When everything is cooked, serve the bison steak on corn tortillas with sour cream, pico de gallo, sliced avocado and shredded Monterey jack cheese.

Makes 6-8 tacos.

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Beef Stew

beef stew

A few weeks ago Kyle and I were out of town for just over a week. We got to visit family and friends, and do lots of shopping and eating. When we’re planning a trip out of our small city, I always anticipate the opportunity to try a number of new restaurants and eateries. While there are good places to eat where we live, the choices are few … which means when you can’t eat gluten, those choices become even slimmer. We thoroughly enjoyed all the different places we tried (I even had gluten free fish and chips after my cousin recommended Brit’s Fish & Chips – thank you Elizabeth!!) – however, after a few nights of overindulging, all I can think about is coming home and cooking up something comforting.

So during our 15 hour drive home, I brought up my craving for beef stew to Kyle more times than I’m sure he wanted to hear. All I could think about was the rich “gravy” that the beef and vegetables swim in, simmered for hours and full of umami flavour. About the tender carrots that take on a meaty taste after a brief simmer in the stew. And of course, about the tender beef, marbled with fat which melts into the meat, causing it to fall apart at the slightest suggestion and to melt beautifully in my mouth. Oh yes, you can bet that the first thing I made when I came home was a big ‘ol pot of stew.

Beef Stew with Bourbon & Carrots

I always serve my stew with buttery mashed pototoes; but for those who prefer egg noodles or rice, I am sure this would work with those as well. And the only veg I ever tend to serve with stew? A mound of minted peas, smothered in fruity olive oil. 

3 lbs chuck beef roast (beef shoulder)
1 Tbsp potato starch or sweet rice flour
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
Olive oil (for cooking – about 1-2 Tbsp)
2 small onions, diced
2 celery stalks, sliced
2 cups red wine
1/4 cup bourbon
2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
8 cloves garlic, smashed
1 Tbsp fresh rosemary, chopped
2 tsp fresh thyme, chopped
3-4 cups beef stock – * make sure it’s gluten free
4 carrots, peeled and sliced
1/2 cup parmesan cheese, grated
1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped (optional)

Preheat oven to 325°F.

Cut the beef into 1-2″ cubes, removing any silver skin. Toss the beef with the potato starch or rice flour, and the salt & pepper. Heat 1 Tbsp of the olive oil in a large dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the beef to the pot in batches (about 3-4) in order to brown 2 sides. Remove each batch to a bowl. You want a good char on the beef – if you try to turn it, and it’s stuck to the pan, it’s probably not charred enough. This should take about 3-5 minutes per batch. Set the bowl of browned beef aside.

Turn the heat of the dutch oven to medium. Add the onions and celery, and saute until the onion begins to soften, stirring frequently – about 5-8 minutes. Add 1 cup of the wine to the pan, and scrape up all the meaty, charred bits from the bottom of the pot. Then add the remaining wine, bourbon, and balsamic vinegar to the pot.  Add the garlic, rosemary, thyme, beef stock and browned beef to the pot – turn up the heat to high, and bring the stew to a simmer. Once it reaches this point, cover the dutch oven, then place it in the oven for 2 hours.

After 2 hours, stir in the chopped carrots, turn up the heat to 350°F and continue to cook the stew uncovered for another 30-40 minutes, or until the carrots are tender. Remove the dutch oven from the stove, then stir in the parmesan cheese. Serve over potatoes, noodles, or rice and sprinkle with parsley if desired.

Makes approximately 8 cups of stew.

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