Chimichurri

Chimichurri is one of our favourite sauces for beef – or chicken or pork – and this classic recipe is right down the line.

As well as serving as a side, there is something quite wonderful about marinating a piece of rump steak in this before you grill.

With more Chimichurri by the side of course.

If you haven’t made/had this before, read the ingredients and please consider!

Ingredients

1/2 cup red wine vinegar
1 tsp salt
4 garlic cloves, very thinly sliced
1 eschallot, finely chopped
1 red jalapeño finely chopped
1/2 cup minced fresh coriander
1/4 cup minced fresh flat leaf parsley
2 tbsp finely chopped fresh oregano
3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

Method

  1. Combine the ingredients.
  2. If marinating meat, marinate over night.

Italian Meatballs with Tomato Sauce

Serves: 4

I’m not sure how you couldn’t love meatballs and I’m especially unsure how you couldn’t love these ones: with the herbs, the cheeses, the pine nuts (and some extra pistachios we added) and more grated Parmesan to serve, they’re awesome.

Prepare the meat mixture in the morning, head out to lunch and come Saturday night, open a bottle of red, put some music on and enjoy some truly excellent meatballs and sauce.

Seriously, they’re excellent.

Ingredients

3/4 cup olive oil
1 red onion, finely chopped
2/3 cup pine nuts, roughly chopped
3 garlic cloves, crushed
40gm parsley, roughly chopped
5g basil or rosemary, roughly chopped
2 tsp fennel seeds
2/3 cup fresh breadcrumbs
1 cup ricotta cheese
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese (plus extra to serve)
Grated zest of 1 large lemon
1 egg
500gm minced pork or beef

Sauce

2 x 400gm tinned tomatoes
1/2 cup red wine

Method

  1. Heat half the olive oil in a saucepan and cook the onion and pine nuts over a low heat until the onion is soft and the pine nuts are golden brown. Add the garlic and cook for a few minutes more and then set aside to cool.
  2. Put the herbs, fennel seeds, breadcrumbs, ricotta, Parmesan, lemon zest and egg in a bowl and add the mince. Add the cooled onion mixture, season well with salt and freshly cracked pepper and mix until all the ingredients are combined. Set aside the mixture to rest in the fridge for at least an hour or overnight.
  3. Roll the meatballs about the size of a walnut and flatten slightly to make it easier to cook on both sides.
  4. Heat the remaining olive oil in a large saucepan and fry the meatballs until golden on both sides; do two batches if necessary in order to avoid overcrowding. Remove and set aside.
  5. For the sauce: Add the tinned tomatoes and wine to the saucepan over a medium heat, breaking up the tomatoes. Season with salt and pepper and simmer for 10 minutes. Gently add the meatballs to the sauce and reduce the heat to a gentle simmer. Cover and cook for another 10 minutes.
  6. Serve with a good sprinkling of Parmesan and some fresh basil leaves.

Italian Sloppy Joes

Serves: 4

As a child of an American mother, Sloppy Joes were something I grew up with.

Essentially mince on toast, spiced with a packet of mix usually from McCormicks, an American food company.

I’ve never had it any other way and every trip back to the States has included a hunt for a dozen packs to bring back home to Australia.

Sloppy Joes are a real American comfort food and served on a toasted bread roll, you really can’t ask for anything more comfortable.

I’d considered doing my own Sloppy Joes though like messing with a Big Mac, I feared messing with what I knew and loved best.

Until tonight….

This recipe is Sloppy Joes right down the line.

The ‘Italian’ twist ironically steers it closer to the packet mix version I have always had. Add a toasted bread roll and you’re home.

I guess it is just slightly spiced mince on toast and I know that in itself isn’t amazing.

I hope however that my boys come to love Sloppy Joes as much as I do and that it becomes part of their childhood like it was mine.

Ingredients

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped, plus 1 extra halved
500gm beef mince
350ml passata
1 cup beef stock
2 tbsp coarsely chopped oregano
2 tsp brown sugar
1 tsp dried chilli flakes
1 tsp fennel seeds
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
4 large bread rolls, halved
2 buffalo mozzarella balls, thinly sliced

Method

  1. Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over a low heat and saute the onion and garlic until golden. Add the beef, breaking up and cook until browned and any liquid evaporated.
  2. Add the passata, stock, oregano, sugar, chilli flakes and fennel seeds, season to taste and simmer, stirring occasionally until thickened: an hour or so. Stir in the vinegar and season again to taste.
  3. Meanwhile, preheat a grill to high and toast the rolls cut side up. Rub the toasted side with the garlic halves, top with the mozzarella cheese and grill until melted.
  4. Spoon the meat mixture over the toasted rolls and enjoy.

Bistecca alla Fiorentina with Salsa Dragoncello (Steak Florentine with Tarragon Sauce)

Serves: 2

I am a big fan of dressing up steak and we generally have at least one steak butter on hand for a moorish dinner of steak and potatoes. (You simply cannot go past Café de Paris butter if you are new to it all!)

This recipe is a step up and really is the center of a wonderful meal.

Any number of sides you could serve from chargrilled asparagus with chilli and toasted sesame seeds, a potato gratin, a green salad or all of the above.

However you do it, this will get Saturday lunch talking and kick off an afternoon of wine, laughter and promises you’ll never keep.

I can’t wait.

Ingredients

1kg piece porterhouse steak on the bone (T-bone with loin attached)*
⅓ cup extra virgin olive oil (with extra to brush)
1 tbsp each chopped thyme and rosemary
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced

Salsa dragoncello
6 hard-boiled eggs
2 slices day-old ciabatta or sourdough, crust removed, torn into 2cm pieces (makes 1 cup)
2 tbsp red wine vinegar
2 tbsp chopped tarragon leaves
6 anchovy fillet, chopped
1 ½ tbsp baby capers, chopped
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil

Method

  1. Heat your grill on a high heat.
  2. For the salsa: Halves the eggs and scoop out the yolks (you don’t need the whites for the dish). Place the yolks in a bowl and mash with a fork.
  3. Place the bread in a separate bowl with the red wine vinegar and 2 tbsp of warm water. Mash together until the liquid has been absorbed. Add the egg yolks, tarragon, anchovy, capers and oil and stir to combine. Set aside.
  4. For the steak: Brush the steak with the extra oil and season with salt. Reduce the the heat of the grill to medium-high and then cook steak for 15 minutes each side for medium rare. (If using an alternative cut, cook until medium rare.)
  5. Whilst cooking, place thyme, rosemary, garlic and olive oil in a shallow dish with freshly ground pepper and a couple pinches of salt. Place the cooked steak in the dish, cover with foil and set aside in a warm place for 15 minutes, turning once.
  6. To serve, cut steak away from the bone on either side, then slice the fillets. Spoon some of the salsa on top and serve with a drizzle of the resting juices.

 

*Ask your butcher ahead of time for this.

Jamie Oliver’s Insanity Burger

Makes: 4 big`burgers

A while back, we passed the all important step of understanding that for any burger to be amazing, it has to start with amazing, fresh mince.

Not the variety you get from the supermarket and certainly not the lean stuff you might otherwise use in a mince.

Instead, you need a quality cut of steak (chuck or similar), you need to see it minced in front of you on a coarse grain and you need to cook it within 24-hour.

This and this alone will set you on the path to a superb burger.

There are then plenty of directions and approaches you can obviously take and a fried green chilli burger we cooked last weekend only scratches at the surface of where you can go.

For me however, nailing the quintessential, classic burger was a bit of a must before venturing off in these many possible directions: nailing a burger with ketchup, American mustard and good egg mayo.

I previously typed up Neil Perry’s classic burger as simply that: a classic. And it really is a classic in every sense of the word.

This Insanity Burger then is like taking what is already a classic sportscar and really seeing what you can do with it. Pushing the outer limits of the handling, engine and design.

Hand on heart, it deserves the name Insanity Burger.

Nail this burger and you will have successfully passed Level 1 of the burger game; free to play the next level and start down whatever direction you choose.

Just make sure you get your mince right.

Ingredients

800gm freshly mince chuck steak
Olive oil
1 large red onion, finely sliced
White wine vinegar
2 large gherkins, sliced
4 brioche burger buns, halved
8 rashers of smoked streaky bacon
4 tsp American mustard
Tabasco Chipotle sauce (Woolworths and Coles have it)
4 thin slices of Red Leicester cheese (ditto)
4 tsp tomato ketchup

For the burger sauce

¼ of an iceberg lettuce, finely chopped
2 heaped tbsp egg mayonnaise
1 heaped tbsp tomato ketchup
1 tsp Tabasco Chipotle sauce
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp brandy or bourbon

Method

  1. Divide the mince into four and roll into thick, patties, 2cm wider than your buns.
  2. In a bowl, dress the onion with the vinegar and a pinch of sea salt.
  3. For the burger sauce, combine the ingredients in a bowl.
  4. In a pan over a low heat, cook your bacon to the point of crispiness.
  5. Heat your grill as high as possible, rub your burgers with a bit of oil and grill; after 1 minute flip and brush each cooked side with ½ tsp of mustard and a dash of Tabasco. After 1 minute more, flip and repeat.
  6. Cook for another minute or two and then place two pieces of crispy bacon on top and then the cheese. Grill until the cheese melts; grill the buns at the same time.
  7. To build the burger, add a quarter of the burger sauce to the bun base, add the cheesy burger, a quarter of the onions and the gherkins. Add 1 tsp of ketchup on top and close.
  8. You passed!

Beef and eggplant moussaka

Serves: 6

Based on a recent cooking show Nat and I watched, I gather that moussaka is regarded as a bit ho-hum in the UK.

Just like Pad Thai is for us in Australia.

In Australia however, Greek food isn’t a mainstream staple and moussaka isn’t something you pick up from the corner store. Greek food is a treat.

The Ashes family introduced me to moussaka. It is one of their staples and they take it seriously.

To satisfy the breadth of palates in the family, the last time I did this en masse (there were eight of us eating), I did a turkey mince and beef mince number. Genuinely, the turkey mince was the slightly more interesting of the two, though either way, you cannot go wrong.

Live the good life, plan to go for a run tomorrow and find a bottle of red to open.

And cook this.

Ingredients

2 large (1kg) eggplants
Sea salt
½ cup olive oil
2 tablespoons olive oil, extra
1 large onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1 kg minced beef
1 x 400gm can tomatoes
½ cup tomato paste
¼ cup white wine
2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
2 tbsp chopped fresh mint
2 tbsp chopped pine nuts, toasted
2 tbsp sambal oelek
¼ tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp cayenne pepper
2 tsp ground hot paprika
1 tsp ground cumin
¼  cup grated parmesan cheese

Cheese sauce

100g, butter
½ cup plain flour
3 cups milk
¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese

Method

  1. Cut eggplants into 5mm slices, place on wire rack, sprinkle with salt, stand 20 minutes. Rinse slices under cold water, drain, pat dry with absorbent paper. Brush slices with oil, add to pan in batches, cook until browned on both sides; drain on paper towel.
  2. Heat extra oil in the same pan, add onion and garlic, cook, stirring, until onion is soft. Add beef, cook, stirring, until beef is browned. Stir in undrained crushed tomatoes, paste, wine, herbs, nuts, sambal oelek and spices, simmer, covered, about 25 minutes or until slightly thickened.
  3. Cheese sauce: Melt butter in pan, stir in flour, stir over heat until bubbling. Remove from heat, gradually stir in milk, stir over heat until mixture boils and thickens. Remove from heat, stir in cheese; cool 5 minutes.
  4. Place one-third of the eggplant over base of a greased shallow ovenproof dish, top with half the beef mixture. Repeat layering with remaining eggplant and beef mixture, ending with eggplant. Spread cheese sauce over eggplant; sprinkle with cheese. Bake, uncovered, at 180°C for about 45 minutes or until lightly browned.

Beef Bourguigonne Pie

Beef Bourguigonne Pie

Serves: 6

Sit down for this one.

For whilst it isn’t a quick production, it is simply off the charts in terms of everything else.

Seriously.

It is so decadent, so rich, so crazy good, you might only do it once though it will have been worth it.

If I tried to add it to this website’s Healthy category, I suspect the website would have overheated.

Though screw it

You’re doing this one and what a way to sign off the week!

Ingredients

3 tbsp olive oil
½ cup plus 1 tbsp flour
750gm boneless beef chuck, cut into 3cm pieces
3 slices bacon cut into 1cm pieces
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 medium leek, white and pale green parts only, halved and thinly sliced
1 medium carrot, peeled and finely chopped
½ cup flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
2 tbsp brandy or bourbon
4 sprigs thyme, leaves stripped
1 bay leaf
1 star anise pod
2 cups, chicken stock
1 cup red wine
5 tbsp unsalted butter
250gm (button) mushrooms, finely sliced
250gm pearl onions (we used quartered red onions)
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
6 – 8 sheets frozen puff pastry
1 large egg, beaten

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 200c.
  2. Heat oil in a large heavy pot over a medium-high heat. Season ½ cup of flour with salt and pepper, add the beef and toss to coat, shaking off the excess.
  3. Working in batches, cook the beef until browned all over: 8 – 10 minutes per batch. Transfer to a plate.
  4. Cook the bacon in the same pot, stirring often until browned and crisp. Add ¼ cup water and cook, scraping up the brown bits. Add the onion, carrot and leek, stirring until they start to soften: 5 minutes or so. Stir in the garlic and parsley and return the beef to the pot. Add the brandy and simmer until the liquid has almost completely evaporated.
  5. Add the thyme leaves, bay leaf, star anise, chicken stock and wine, season with salt and pepper and bring to the simmer.
  6. Mix 1 tbsp flour and 1 tbsp butter in a small bowl until smooth; stir into the meat mixture. Cover pot and braise in the oven until the beef is very tender: 1 – 1 ½ hours.
  7. Have a beer or a cold glass of white. You’re halfway there at least.
  8. Melt remaining 4 tbsp butter in a large pan over a medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms and pearl onions and cook, stirring until browned: 8 – 10 minutes. Stir in lemon juice and season with salt and pepper.
  9. Add the the mushrooms and onions to the beef stew, cover pot and return to the oven. Cook until the onions are very tender: 25 – 30 minutes. Remove the stew from the oven and allow to cool.
  10. Grease a large casserole/pie dish. Cover the insides with pastry to create a base, allowing for overhang to support the top of the pie. Fill with the stew. Drap pastry over the filling and complete the pie. Brush with the egg.
  11. Bake until the crust is deep golden brown: 30 – 35 minutes.