Friday, January 16, 2009

Grass-fed, organic beef cooked low and slow and fru-fru potatoes: It's what's best for dinner!!

Just like a steamy cup of Milo( malted cocoa) and that infamous ritual robe can evoke a fuzzy sense of security on a cold winter's night, so too, can a pot of beef cooked low and slow and not forgetting a crispy potato topping, capture that efficacious effect. Yes, patience is truly virtuous when adopting this mode of cooking. Intense rich gravies, juicy rumps and tender loins are but a few of the many rewards when" slaving over a hot stove." In this case your "pot runneth over" with flavor and goodness and who knows who will join you at the dinner table! I can assure you that even a raucous "obligate carnivore" ha! ha! or even a meat loving motor head for that matter will be on his/ her best behavior just to get a piece of this pie no matter how fru fru!

Here the cook will be graded if you will on this slow cooking method and the love put into the dish and not the intramuscular white fat content found in grain-fed beef which is all the rave with certain restaurateurs and others and frankly may very well be the cause of modern health concerns. For me the slogan"more fat, more flavor" which is revered by so many is far from the truth! I can assure you that you will achieve the same "ta da" with a minimal ingredient list and grass-fed organic beef because here the beef actually taste the way beef is supposed to taste!

A condensed translation for my Afrikaans and Dutch readers:

Net soos n' warme koppie Milo en n' rituaale kamerjas op n' koue wintersaand, so sal n' heerlike en stadige gekookte organiese biefstuk bredie jou troos. Hierdie stadige metode is n' beloning vir enigeiemand wat bereid is om die heeldag voor n' stoof te slaaf. Bo alle twyfel, hierdie ryk en lekker vleissous is waar jy sal gradeer word en die slagspreuk "meer vet meer geer" is nie rerig n' waarheid nie, nie vir my nie. In elk geval, vee wat gras vreet is meer gesond vir ons as vee wat graan vreet. Ten slotte, daar is talle ander bestaandele wat vir jou geer kan verseker maar vir my is liefde die vernaamste. As daar niks liefde is nie, hoef jy nie moeite maak nie.

Beef cooked low and slow in a rich gravy with crispy fru fru potatoes

The potato topping is crispy and has a hint of lemony spicy goodness.
As you bite into it, it just melts in your mouth! The beef is as tender
as can be and that rich gravy will have you singing for more!

This is also known as a "bredie" in South Africa. ( Snyboontjie bredie)

Slow cooked beef, fresh green beans and crispy star shaped potatoes over fragrant basmati rice and mustard seeds.

What are these? They are not what you think they are!

Stuffed with roasted and then pickled beets in a creamy garlic Parmesan sauce

These are actually pear-shaped potatoes ( made from mashed potatoes)

Please use organic ingredients when possible

  • 2 big onions, thinly sliced
  • 2 lbs organic grass-fed stewing beef, cut into cubes, washed and drained in a colander
  • olive oil
  • 1 whole ball garlic pounded
  • roasted bell pepper seeds
  • 1-2 dried red chilies
  • about 5 big potatoes( I made fancy cutouts, but you can just peel and slice thick rounds)
  • some crack black
  • 2 T balsamic vinegar
  • lemon pepper ( I make the lemon part from scratch, will show in another post)
  • kosher salt
Saute the onions and the garlic in 2 T olive oil until caramelized. This has to be really golden in color but not burnt. Add the beef, roasted bell pepper seeds, chilies and kosher salt and then cook until the meat is tender( about 2 hrs). Keep stirring and add water if the meat looks like it is going to burn. The meat has to reach a deep golden color. Then add the balsamic and a few turns of crack black and cook for 5 more mins more , making sure that there is enough water for the rich gravy to develop. turn off the hot plate and leave to cool. While the meat is cooking, peel the potatoes and slice into thick rounds or cut with a cookie cutter for the fancy shapes. Boil the potatoes until just tender with a little kosher salt and then drain.
Grease a casserole dish with olive oil, spoon the beef mixture into the dish and pack the potato slices on top. Brush the potatoes with olive oil, sprinkle with lemon pepper and bell pepper seeds and bake in a 375 degree convection oven for a further 20 mins or until the tops of the potatoes are golden.

For the green bean version:
Follow the same procedure as for the cubed beef casserole but add the green beans to the cubed beef mixture in the pot and cook further until tender( another 20 mins). Bake the star shaped potatoes in the oven, with olive oil and the lemon pepper and bell pepper seeds until crispy 375 degrees for 25 mins and then just place on top of the meat and green bean mixture when you are ready to serve.

Pear- shaped baked potatoes:

  • 1 lb floury potatoes
  • 1 egg plus an egg yolk
  • 3 oz grated Parmesan
  • 3 T fresh chopped cilantro
  • some bell pepper seeds
  • some raw spaghetti to represent a stalk
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 3 cloves chopped garlic
  • 1T grated Parmesan
  • 1 extra beaten egg
  • some panko
  • some flour

Peel and cook the potatoes until tender 7 mins. Do not forget to salt the water with a little kosher salt. Drain and mash thoroughly. While the mashed potato is still hot, gingerly add the all the beaten eggs, 3oz Parmesan, bell pepper seeds and the cilantro. Divide into 12 portions on a tray and refrigerate for an hour. Flatten each portion on the palm of the hand, place one teaspoon of the beets in the center and then close this filling tightly.
Shape these portions into a pear shapes , dust with flour, dip in the beaten egg and then the panko, stick a small piece of spaghetti into the potato for the stalk and refrigerate for another 30 mins.
Drizzle with olive oil and bake in a pre-heated 375 oven until golden( about 25 mins.)

Creamy Parmesan sauce:

Cook the cream and the, 3 cloves of chopped garlic until reduced down just a little and then add the Parmesan and cook until creamy about 10 mins. Spoon over the baked pear shaped potatoes.

Pickled beets

  • 1 jar organic small dice beets/ or you can roast 2 in the oven
  • chopped green chili
  • 2 chopped shallots
  • 1 T balsamic
  • 3 T rice vinegar
Prepare the beets by draining all the red liquid and add to the chopped shallots and the green chili. Add the vinegars and a little kosher salt and set aside.

I never make all these dishes on one day. One dish per day!

Please enjoy!
Nazarina A.

Chicago Sun-Times


Elra said...

Speechless! They don't just look beautiful, they are superb.
Oh you fooled me there, I though it was real pear. Very clever and talented Naz!

Tiaras and Tantrums said...

your cooking is like art!

Anonymous said...

Seriously speechless... I am so happy you are back but back with a cooking vengeance.. haha joking I meant that in a funny way.

Oh my gosh.. you are Rocking the cooking boat ... I thought it was a pear too... You are so talented Naz!

Kitchen Flavours said...

Wow simple irrestiable recipes... Iam drooling over. Love the beats with cheese...

If you are intrested you can send this elobrated and yummy meal to Healthy Family Dinners... More about this event can be found at Hope you like it.

Gavan aka The Healthy Irishman said...

Where do you come up with these recipes? Man they look good. You're a clever little thing aren't you?
Hope all's good.

Gavan aka The Healthy Irishman said...

BTW I left you a response from your comment today. Funny girl :)

Teresa Cordero Cordell said...

Nazarina, the pear shaped potatoes are amazing! You had me fooled. I made a flower with sliced potatoes once. Baked them in the oven and then served them topped with potato salad. You are so creative. Good job.

Vegetation said...

Wow! It all looks incredible, but I am especially loving the pear shaped potatoes, they sound amazing!

Summer said...

First time for me on your! i love your artistic recipes and photos...really impressive. :)
i will be coming here often. have a great day!

Lorraine @NotQuiteNigella said...

That first paragraph was so descriptive it made me hungry. As for those pears, they're amazing!

Amanda said...

Oh my gosh, these look amazing! I MUST try that beef dish!

Dawn said...

Amazing! I hope your hubby appreciates you and your incredible cooking talents.
Yes, your cooking is like art, but it also is eye candy! LOL

Food For Tots said...

You are so so so creative!! I can believe what I see.

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

Wow, everything looks fantastic and delicious! These mock pears are terrific!



chefectomy said...

Tremendous and I really love the food styling you did in these photos. I didn't realize you lived in South Africa. Very cool. Have been twice and love it!


mikky said...

I am enjoying looking at your creations, how awesome!!! :)

Jacqui said...

Potatoes stuffed with beets and a creamy sauce, heaven on a plate in my opinion.

Jo A. T.B. said...

Wow Nazarina,

These dishes are just scrumptious, I love how you can make the same recipe in different ways! You sure are some cook!

I've often thought about opening my own restaurant, with my Asian, American backround, and pefecting some Italian, and Mexican dishes too.

Your presentation is excellent, your mother and grandmother are so proud I'm sure! I told Ochi, that I often would think of my Japanese mother when preparing dishes, what a beautiful perfectionist she was in everything she did. She taught me well, as you so have been taught.

Hey I'll have to try your recipe with my venison tips! I'm sure your blend of spices will enhance to hide the gamey taste! So cool you know African language! :)

p.s. Is it cold your way! This morn we were minus 10 for the high -15 to -20 windchill. Way too cold!

Anonymous said...

Wow, those are incredible creations! I love the star-shaped potatoes and the potato pears too! My first time on your blog - love it!

Erica said...

wow! I agree- totally gorgeous My favorite are the pretty potatoes on top of the beef! Nice work!

Premyscakes said...

very innovative. i just luv them. First i thought it would be some sweet dish by seeing finished pic.

Sara said...

Wow, everything looks so beautiful. Those pears are so unique, and I bet they taste delicious.

Pam said...

Wow. The meat and potatoes dish looks hearty and delicious.

I really love the mashed potatoes shaped like a pear. They look tasty.

Lucy said...

Your mashed potatoes are simply amazing, an artist at play!!! ;-)

Grace said...

the pear-shaped potatoes are completely unique and absolutely spectacular! how did you ever come up with that? my pot runneth over with respect for your creativity and skills! :)

Jo said...

what gorgeous dishes! Wow are you creative and talented! Yummy :)

Snooky doodle said...

wow what delicious food ! you re so artistic. the pear shaped potatoes look so nice. You amazed me :)

MaryBeth said...

All I can say is WOW... You just seem to amaze me every time I visit. Your beef dinner looks so darn good. The pear shaped taters are awesome. Fabulous job Naz.

ochikeron said...

Hello Nazarina!!!

Your creation is always amazing!!! Pear shaped, I never thought about that idea!!! Very nice. Also, I like how you take photos, the lighting!

DEESHA said...

they look soo cute, I wish they were vegetarian..

Selba said...

Wow... a great idea to make potato into stars and pear shapes :)

Cakelaw said...

How cool - the potato and beef dish is so elegant, and the potatoes stuffed with beets are magnificent and unique. Just wonderful!

Barbara said...

Those potato "pears" are amazing, Nazarina, and I love the crispy star potatoes as well. Very creative — you are one "Giddy" foodie — what fun food, and beautifully presented!

Sagan said...

Wow. You're honestly amazing. And now I'm really, really hungry lol.

Darius T. Williams said...

SUCH creativity in this - OMG - looks great!

Bunny said...

Everything here is amazing! The mashed potato pears have me floored!!! Wonderful!!

Cakebrain said...

I love what you do with potatoes! The star shapes are cute and the pears are adorable too! My kids would love them...yet they're so elegant!

Soma said...

What an awesome place u have here! The pic are so beautiful & the food looks tantalizing. unique & creative way to serve plain old mashed potatoes!

I'll be back!

tallmisto said...

I want to daintily eat those pears and lick the plate clean. It looks so wonderful!

Star Forbis said...

Thanks so much for visiting my Blog and Laughing with me. Come back any time.

Yasmeen said...

You rock with your pretty presentations.I looove the flavor of slow cooked beef,its impossible here to find beef which is both Halal and Organic ,hence we usually cook with Halal lean cuts.

Navita said...

GOSH Nazrina...thts the pears...err,...potatoes esp...great idea..hve bookmarked u! :)

Shreya said...

Amazing! Must have been worth the effort taste-wise:-) Your recipes are so good...

Live.Love.Eat said...

YOU are incredible. I mean, wow. This looks amazing. And beautiful to boot!!!!!

Katie said...

Lovely photos & plating! Everything looks absolutely heavenly.

Rajani said...

hello from dubai, thanks for taking time out to stop by my blog and leaving your comments :)

your food looks super yum, how did you get those flowery shaped potatoes?? those are potatoes right? i can definitely do the pear shaped ones too with some veggie stuff inside. love your blog. so creative.

kimvee said...

I love how the rice is shaped into a star :) Everything looks delicious and healthy, I love it! :)

Sophie said...

This is such a cute idea :)! I love the potato pears!

Cynthia said...

You are an outstanding food artist!

Mrs. L said...

Those pear shaped potatoes are AWESOME looking. I agree with everyone, it's like art!

Vaala said...

I love your potato ideas. I've had this thing that potatoes are boring so I don't often cook them but after seeing your ideas I might be inspired to give them more of a chance! Do you use a cookie cutter for the stars?

Kitchen Flavours said...

Where r u? No updates from you dear.

Coffee and Vanilla said...

What a great idea! Beautiful :)

Sophie said...

These look so delicious! What an imagination! Wow, yum yum!!

Nemo @ said...

Absolutely amazing!!
Wow... gorgeous presentation idea :D
*mouth is watering*