beef

Pressure Cooker Braised Beef Shanks

‚ÄčIt is technically spring now and I am definitely ready for spring vegetables and grilled meat. However, today happened to be cold, wet, and un-spring-like, which is actually par for the course in Chicago. So, even though spring food has been on my mind lately, today felt like it required a comforting stew or meltingly tender piece of braised meat. But being a weeknight, there's not really time for the slow cooking of a proper braise. That's where the magic of the pressure cooker comes in.

Pressure Cooker Braised Beef Shanks

Moroccan braised beef and sweet potatoes

I suppose I could also call this a beef and sweet potato tagine, but is it a tagine if it's not prepared in the cooking vessel that also goes by the name of tagine? This reminds me of the whole paella discussion. In any case, it's a braised beef stew, not unlike good ol' American beef stew or the French stalwort, boeuf bourguignon, except this version is more heavily spiced with aromatic, sweet and earthy spices. It's quite delicious and great change of pace from the usual braised-beef-in-red-wine flavor.

Moroccan braised beef and sweet potatoes

Asian pot roast

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In my opinion, wintery Sundays in December exist so we can cook large, tough cuts of meat for hours, until they give up their toughness to reach their soul-satisfying destiny. I believe every culture has their own version of a long-simmered stew, braised meat dish, pot roast, etc. One of my personal favorites is a Korean dish called galbi jjim, braised beef short ribs. The flavors of this dish are soy and sugar. The end result is hearty, familiar, and a crowd-pleaser. However, I was not able to acquire the necessary short ribs in a timely manner. Instead, I picked up the ever-dependable, always available, chuck roast. This is one of my favorite cuts of beef, so I was not really disappointed. When cooked properly, you will be rewarded with an extremely flavorful and tender piece of meat.

Asian pot roast

Korean BBQ-style beef

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I call this Korean BBQ-style because, in my opinion, to have the real Korean BBQ experience, you have to use short rib (Kalbi). I'm not actually sure what cut of beef I am using here because it was labeled "sandwich steak." But, it looked nice and thin and figured it would marinate nicely in a Korean BBQ marinade. Meat that has been flavored this way is always a crowd-pleaser, whether it's a crowd of adults or a crowd of kids.

Korean BBQ-style beef

Grilled steak and grilled corn

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The long wait for summer to arrive for good ended this past weekend. It was the first weekend of extended outdoor activities. It was the first weekend of seeking shade from the hot sun. It was the first weekend for grilling. Now, I've already called on the services of my grill this spring and I know many who grill all year-round. But, it's not same as grilling, out in the hot sun, simultaneously battling the fieriness of the flames jumping toward you. 

Grilled steak and grilled corn

Rice noodle stir-fry with beef and broccoli

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I really like using rice noodles for a quick weeknight meal. They're super-easy to work with and super-fast to cook. Those two qualities can give you a lot of confidence when you know you need to get dinner on the table. It had been a while since I used them and I was just thinking I should use them more.

Rice noodle stir-fry with beef and broccoli

Weeknight fajitas

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I don't know about you, but I love Tex-Mex food! Sure, I enjoy and have appreciation for regional Mexican cuisine but there's a level of comfort in "south of the border" favorites such as burritos, ground beef tacos, a plate of nachos, and fajitas! Also, the weather was fantastic in Chicago today so I knew it was time to wake the grill out of its hibernation slumber and put it to work.   

Weeknight fajitas