Beef cheeks are hard to find, so I substituted stewing beef. Coconut cream is thicker than coconut milk and is available canned. Shaoxing cooking wine is sold at Asian supermarkets, not the liquor store. Hawker Bar adds pickled cucumber as a garnish to give the dish some acidity. Serve with coconut rice.
Prep time: 1 hour, 30 minutes
Ready in: 4 hours, 30 minutes (plus overnight marinating)
Canada’s eclectic culinary scene is rooted in its cultural diversity, yet every year on St. Patrick’s Day everyone suddenly becomes Irish. Pubs overflow with patriots donning green, knocking back Irish stouts and belting out Celtic classics. But beyond the shamrock fever, March 17 also prompts an annual appreciation of Ireland’s hearty comfort food. This Irish stew deviates a little from the traditional recipe, with its inclusion of root vegetables and the suggested option of using beef in place of the classic lamb, but it has many of the same elements, is easy to make, reheats well and can be ready in 90 minutes.
Prep time: 30 minutes
Ready in: 1 hour, 30 minutes
500 grams (1 pound) Yukon Gold or other baking potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced
1 cup carrots, diced in 1-inch pieces
1 cup parsnips, diced in 1-inch pieces
1 cup Jerusalem artichokes, diced in 1-inch pieces
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
500 grams (1 pound) ground lamb or beef
1 tablespoon garlic, chopped
2 cups onions, chopped
1 teaspoon dried thyme
2 cups chicken stock
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
3/4 cup grated cheddar cheese
2 tablespoons parsley, chopped
Add potatoes to a pot of cold water. Bring to a boil over high heat and boil for 3 to 4 minutes or until crisp-tender. Remove potatoes with a slotted spoon, drain and reserve.
Add carrots, parsnips and Jerusalem artichokes and boil for 6 minutes or until crisp-tender. Drain and reserve, seasoning both potatoes and vegetables with salt and pepper.
Heat oil in a skillet over high heat, then add lamb or beef. Season the meat with salt and pepper and sauté until it loses its pinkness (about 3 minutes). Add garlic and sauté 1 minute longer. Remove meat and garlic from skillet and add more oil if needed. Add onions and sauté for 3 minutes or until edges are tinged with brown.
Add boiled carrots, parsnips and Jerusalem artichokes and toss together. Stir in thyme, chicken stock, Worcestershire sauce, tomato paste and balsamic vinegar. Return the meat to the pan and cook over medium heat until sauce is reduced and meat is cooked through (about 10 minutes). Season if needed.
Butter a casserole dish and add half of the potatoes. Spoon in meat mixture and top with remaining potatoes. Sprinkle cheese and parsley on top.
Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until top is crusty and brown.
Shepherd’s pie was originally a Scottish dish made with ground lamb, but I prefer the beef version. Although it can be made with leftover roast beef, it never has the same body or taste. When you’re chopping the vegetables, try to make them all the same size (about 1/4- to 1/2-inch dice) for even cooking and attractive appearance. Although the ingredient list looks long, this is a simple dish to make – and flavourful.
We were served this roast at room temperature, but it could also be hot. If juniper berries are unavailable add a tablespoon of gin.
A rich, full-bodied cabernet sauvignon would be splendid with this beef dish, its faint mint and black-olive notes resonating with the herb crust. But the choices are broad. Beppi Crosariol
Try this marinade with a lesser-known cut of meat: 1½ pounds (750 grams) of hanger, bavette or tri tip or 1 pound (500 grams) of flat iron.
When buying steaks, keep in mind that one pound (500 grams) feeds about three people well.
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon chopped garlic
2 teaspoons chili powder
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Cover steaks with marinade. Leave the steaks unrefrigerated for 30 minutes to soak up some flavour. Just before they hit the grill, sprinkle them with kosher salt.
Grill for about 10 minutes per inch and let them rest for five minutes before cutting. The thickness of the steaks is the key to the cooking time.
These steaks are only tough if they are sliced incorrectly. For tender, juicy eating, they must be cut against the grain.
Serve with salad, grilled potatoes and grilled onions.
Cabernet sauvignon, the king of red wines, was made for steak. Full-bodied, it’s packed with blackcurrant flavours that complements the meat’s gamier overtones while packing a solid punch of astringent tannins that mellow magically with the juicy fat. But you can't go too far wrong with most big reds, including malbec from Argentina, a country where grilled beef borders on religion. - Beppi Crosariol
Rhubarb is the star in this simple Middle Eastern stew. This recipe doubles well. Serve with rice.
Servings: 4 to 6
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Ready In: 2 hours 30 minutes
2 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper
2 pounds (1 kilogram) stewing beef cut in 1-inch pieces
2 cups chopped onion
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon turmeric
4 cups chicken or beef broth
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup coarsely chopped parsley, packed
1 cup coarsely chopped mint, packed
1 pound (500 grams) rhubarb cut in 1-inch lengths
1 tablespoon sugar or more to taste
Preheat oven to 325 F.
Heat oil in small Dutch oven or oven-proof pot. Season meat with salt and pepper. Working in batches, sear meat on each side until browned, about 4 minutes altogether for each batch.
Remove from pan. Reduce heat to medium and add onions. Sauté until softened about 2 minutes.
Combine cinnamon and turmeric and sprinkle in. Stir together and add chicken stock. Bring to boil, scraping any bits on the base and return meat to pot. Cover and place in oven. Bake for 1 hour.
Heat oil in a skillet over medium heat. Sauté parsley and mint for 1 minute, or until wilted and fragrant. Add into stew after one hour. Cook 30 minutes longer, then add rhubarb. Bake another 15 minutes or until meat is tender. (About 2½ hours in total.) Stir in sugar and adjust seasoning to taste.
This savoury dish is earthy, fragrant, bitter-sour and gently sweet. That throws down the gauntlet for a wine match. But the mighty grape is up to the challenge, I think, as long as you steer clear of wines with loads of oak, especially New World cabernet and chardonnay. My suggestion would be to joust with a full-bodied red from Portugal, Spain or, perhaps best of all, the Rhône Valley or Languedoc-Roussillon regions of France. They tend to be armed with solid acidity and herbal notes that should match hand-in-glove (or gauntlet) with the ingredients. Beppi Crosariol
This fondue is made without oil. The beef and seafood is simmered in flavoured stock – rather like a Mongolian hot pot. You can change the flavourings to your taste. If you prefer Italian cuisine, add capers, anchovies and more garlic. For some Spanish flair, add smoked Spanish paprika, leeks and almonds. Substitute cubed chicken breast for beef and chicken stock for beef stock, if desired. Or you can make it all seafood, cubing up chunks of halibut, monkfish, salmon or swordfish.
When you finish dipping, pour the stock into soup bowls, garnish with some chopped green onion and serve as soup. Sriracha is Asian hot sauce that has sugar and vinegar in it. (It is the Asian ketchup.) If you don’t have a fondue set, you can use a metal tray sitting over three votive candles and place the pot on top.
Servings: TwoPrep Time: 1 hour, including dipping saucesCooking Time: As long as it takesReady In: 1 hour
4 cups chicken or beef broth4 cloves garlic, peeled1 cup thinly sliced onion½ cup carrot, sliced in rounds2 tablespoons parsley sprigs2 tablespoons coriander sprigs, optional½ teaspoon Sriracha1 tablespoon fish sauce1 tablespoon thinly sliced unpeeled ginger12 ounces (375 grams) New York sirloin, cubed6 shrimp, shelled4 scallopsSalt and freshly ground pepper
Combine broth, garlic, onion, carrot, parsley, coriander, Sriracha, fish sauce and ginger in small heavy pot over medium heat. Bring to simmer and let simmer for 15 minutes, or until broth is flavourful. Reserve whole garlic cloves.
Pour into fondue pot and set over burner. Broth should be simmering. Season meat and seafood with salt and pepper.Spear ingredients with fork and cook in pot until done to your liking. Serve with sauces. Serves 2.Dipping Sauces:SPINACH AIOLI: Purée 1 cup packed spinach, reserved garlic cloves, ½ cup mayonnaise, 2 green onions, 2 teaspoons of lemon juice and one teaspoon chopped parsley in a food processor.
Season with salt and pepper.RED DEVIL SAUCE: ½ cup tomato sauce puréed with ¼ cup Sriracha, 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar and 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce.SWEET AND SPICY SAUCE: Combine ¼ cup water with 1 cup sugar in a pot over medium-high heat. Bring to boil and boil for 5 minutes or until slightly syrupy. Cool. In a food processor purée ½ red pepper, 2 cloves garlic, ¼ cup fish sauce, ¼ cup lime juice and ¼ cup sugar syrup.
Add more sugar syrup if sauce is too thick. Pour into bowl and garnish with finely shredded green onions and ginger. Reserve remaining syrup for another use.
Preferable options for this hot pot include silky Alsatian pinot gris or, better, musky gewürztraminer. These are substantial white wines that deliver up-front fruit and rich texture to counterbalance the piquant dipping sauces. Beppi Crosariol
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: 50 minutes
Ready In: 1 hour
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 cup sliced onion
½ teaspoon chopped garlic
1 pound (500 grams) lean ground beef
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1 cup canned peeled tomatoes, chopped with their juice
1 cup beef broth
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons HP sauce
4 ounces mushrooms, coarsely chopped (about 1½ cups)
1 cup frozen green peas
1 tablespoon chopped parsley
Add oil to a skillet on medium high heat. Stir in the onions and sauté until softened slightly, about 2 minutes.
Stir in the garlic and beef , season with salt and pepper and sauté for 2 minutes or until the meat loses its pink colour. Stir in the mustard and cayenne.
Add the tomatoes, stock, bay leaf, Worcestershire and HP Sauce.
Bring the mixture to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 30 minutes. Stir in the mushrooms and peas and cook uncovered for 20 minutes longer, or until mixture is saucy. Add parsley and taste for seasoning adding, salt and pepper.
The ghost of Scotland's national poet will haunt a man for not suggesting "Scotch drink" with this hearty spread. And whisky – ideally with a splash of water or two ice cubes – would not be out of place. The malty richness, fruity overtones and smoky aroma of a lightly peated Scotch touch all bases for a home run. But if strong spirit seems too jarring, consider a malty Scottish brew, such as the excellent, moderately bitter Caledonia 80 or an oak-aged bottling from Innis & Gunn. Prefer wine? On the white side, an oaked chardonnay works for the mince, especially if it sits on a buttery mash. Red-wise, consider a syrah-based cuvee from southern France. Beppi Crosariol
There are few things more satisfying than the aroma of a stew bubbling gently in the oven. The most soothing of foods, stews are also one of the easiest to prepare. Plus, they freeze well, reheat beautifully and are even better after a couple of days.
Braising and stewing are interchangeable terms; both mean long, slow cooking in liquid, usually in the oven, to ensure even heat. The result is rich, saucy and tender. The quintessential peasant food – the rich got the best cuts and roasted them, the poor ended up with the tough ones – stews are a staple in all cultures. Today, stews are considered comfort food at its finest.
This Beef a la Provençal recipe similar to beef bourguignon, the classic beef stew cooked in red wine. It parts company with tradition when the garnish is whole cooked cloves of garlic and firm green olives instead of onions and mushrooms. Cook it the day before so that you can skim the fat. (The flavours deepen with the extra time as well.)
The best cuts for stewing are the tougher ones, which have more flavour and texture than tender cuts. A long, slow cooking in liquid makes them tender and tasty. More expensive meat does not mean better stews (tender cuts will dry out more easily). The best cuts for stewing are beef chuck, shoulder, shanks, brisket and short ribs; veal shoulder and breast; pork shoulder; lamb shoulder, shank and breast.
Choose the right pot. Too large a pot and the gravy will evaporate too quickly; too small and the meat will cook unevenly. Cubed stewing meat should be arranged in two layers, while one piece of meat should fit snugly inside the pot. A Dutch oven is perfect for braising as it goes from the top of the stove into the oven. If you don’t have a Dutch oven, start in a skillet and transfer to an ovenproof casserole for baking.
Pat the meat dry with paper towels so that the cooking oil does not spatter. Trim off most of the fat from the meat and cut the meat into uniform pieces for even cooking. Vegetables should also be cut to uniform size.
Heat a film of vegetable or olive oil on high heat until smoking, salt and pepper the meat and add a few pieces at a time. Don't crowd the pot while browning – the heat will be lowered, causing the meat to release its juices and produce steam, resulting in a greyish, flat stew.
Remove the meat with a slotted spoon and reserve. If all the oil has been soaked up, add more and reheat before continuing to brown.
After the meat is browned, lower the heat to medium and add aromatic vegetables and herbs to the pot to sauté. Add liquid, making sure there is enough to come halfway up the meat. Do not immerse the meat totally in liquid, or the gravy will be thin and tasteless.
Liquid can vary from beef stock to tomato juice to wine. Different liquids give different flavoured gravies. Don't use water – it makes weak gravy.
There are various methods of thickening stews, such as adding flour to the oil after the vegetables are browned and cooked until pale gold. Arrowroot or potato starch can be mixed together with water, then stirred into the stew when it is finished cooking.
Other methods include boiling down the stewing liquid to thicken naturally, which works well if you have a low-sodium or homemade stock to control the salt. And finally by puréeing the original vegetables cooked with the meat, then stirring back into the liquid.
Use gentle heat to cook the meat slowly; 300 F to 325 F is perfect for stews. Turning the heat up will not make the stew cook more quickly, and it will toughen the fibres of the meat. You’ll know the meat is cooked when it can be pierced with a fork – usually about 2½ to three hours for beef, 1½ to two hours for lamb and pork.
Vegetables such as potatoes, carrots and whole pearl onions can be added about 45 minutes before the meat is cooked. More tender vegetables such as zucchini, cabbage, mushrooms or peas are added about 15 minutes before the end of cooking time.