Tag Archives: beef

5-Ingredient Slow Cooker Dinner Ideas: Slow Cooker Beef Bolognese

Ready to make the most comforting dinner with the least amount of effort? Then you’ll love this beef Bolognese. It only required five ingredients, plus a little salt and pepper! It’s the perfect, warming dish to make as the weather starts turning cooler — and is usually loved by all family members, even picky eaters. After a quick sauté of the onion and beef, simply throw all of the ingredients into the slow cooker and voila, you’re done. We like to choose a jar of our favourite store-bought marinara or tomato sauce, since it infuses so much flavour in one simple ingredient. If you would like to add the extra step of making your own, go for it. For the ultimate comfort dinner, serve the Bolognese over a big pile of your favourite noodles.

5-Ingredient Slow Cooker Beef Bolognese

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 3 to 6 hours
Total Time: 3 to 6 hours
Servings: 4

Ingredients:
1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 onion, diced
1 lb ground beef
1 x 750 ml jar marinara or tomato sauce
½ cup chicken broth or dry red wine
½ tsp sea salt and pinch of pepper

Directions:

1. Place a wide skillet over medium-high heat and add in the oil. Once heated, put in onion and cook for 3 minutes until translucent.

2. Add in the ground beef, break it up with the back of a spoon and allow to brown.

3. Then place the onion, browned beef, sauce, broth, salt and pepper in the slow cooker.

4. Cover and cook on low for 6 hours or on high for 3 hours.

Like Tamara and Sarah’s slow cooker beef Bolognese? Try their vegan pumpkin soup or their no-bake chocolate layered oat bars.

These Freezer-Friendly Russian Pelmeni Dumplings Are the Perfect At-Home Cooking Project

If you’ve ever visited a Russian restaurant, you’re probably familiar with pelmeni. Pelmeni are savoury dumplings stuffed with ground meat and onion. They can be served in a broth or on their own with a healthy helping of butter or sour cream. Regardless of how you choose to serve them, these dumplings make for a great cooking project. Make a big batch and split among friends or store in the freezer for those times when you’re running low on groceries.

Russian Pelmeni Dumplings

Prep Time: 30 minutes
Rest Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour, 5 minutes
Servings: Approx. 50 pelmeni

Ingredients:

Dough
1 large egg
¾ cup lukewarm water
2 ¾ cup all-purpose flour
½ tsp fine sea salt

Filling
1/3 cup grated onion, about ½ medium onion
100 grams ground pork
100 grams ground beef
¾ tsp fine sea salt
¼ cup ice water

1 bay leaf (optional)

Directions:

1. Whisk egg and water in a large bowl. Add flour and salt, stirring with a wooden spoon until dough comes together. Knead the dough either in the bowl or on a clean surface lightly dusted with flour, until it is smooth, about 5 minutes. Form into a disc then wrap tightly in plastic and transfer to the refrigerator to let rest for 30 minutes.

2. In the meantime, combine the onion, pork, beef and salt in a large bowl. Stir with a wooden spoon until thoroughly mixed. Add 1 tablespoon of ice water and stir vigorously until absorbed. Repeat this process with the remaining 3 tablespoons until no liquid remains.

Related: 15 Perogie Recipes That Are Pure Comfort

3. Lightly sprinkle a sheet tray with flour. Divide dough into two halves. Wrap one half and set aside. Roll out dough until it measures 1/16-inch thick. Using a 2 3/4 or 3-inch cutter (or overturned glass) cut out circles.

4. Place a generous teaspoon of filling in the centre of each circle. Fold the dough over itself to create a half moon. Press the edges tightly with your fingertips (if the dough does not stick to itself lightly brush the edges with water) then fold the edge upwards. Grab both ends of the half moon and draw them towards each other so they overlap. Press firmly to seal. Transfer to prepared tray. Repeat with remaining dough. Scraps can be rerolled to use up excess filling, but the resulting pelmeni will be tougher.

5. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the bay leaf, if desired. Cook pelmeni in boiling water until cooked through, 3 to 4 minutes. Pelmeni can be frozen on prepared sheet tray, then transferred to a tightly sealed zip top bag for storage. To cook from frozen, boil for 5 minutes. Enjoy!

Want more at-home cooking projects? These mini bagels and 12-layer chocolate cake will surely impress.

This Beef and Bean Chili Contains an Unsuspecting Secret Ingredient

Chili is the perfect comfort food: it’s delicious in cold weather (or any time), it feeds a crowd, it’s festive during sporting events, it’s spicy and stew-y, and now, it’s chocolatey too! We believe most chilis are missing this key, secret ingredient. Pairing cocoa with an already rich chili only deepens the flavours, adding more sweetness and bitterness, while creating a velvety texture.  

Hearty Beef and Bean Chili with Dark Chocolate

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 60 minutes
Servings: 4

Ingredients:
2 tsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 yellow onion, diced
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 tsp oregano
1 ½ tsp paprika
1 Tbsp chili powder
1 tsp cumin
½ tsp sea salt
Few cracks of pepper
1 lb ground beef
1 red or yellow potato, diced into 1 inch cubes
1 sweet potato, diced into 1 inch cubes
1 cup broth
28 oz can diced tomatoes
1 can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
3 ounces (75g) dark chocolate (70% or higher)
⅓ cup fresh cilantro, roughly chopped

Directions:

1. Place a large pot or dutch oven on the stove, heat to medium, toss in the oil and then sauté the onion until translucent, about 3 minutes.

2. Add in the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Toss in the spices and mix around so they get nice and toasted.

3. Add the ground beef, breaking it up with your spoon, so it’s in smaller pieces that can brown. Mix it around so it gets coated in the spices. There’s no need to fully cook it yet, since the beef will cook further when it simmers in a few steps.

4. Toss in the potatoes, broth, diced tomatoes, kidney beans and dark chocolate, and give the whole pot a big stir. Bring to a boil, then simmer for 35 minutes. Re-season with salt and pepper if needed. Serve with fresh cilantro on top.

For more comforting recipes, this winter greens mac & cheese and these slow-cooker ribs with a red wine sauce will save you on the coldest winter days. You can also try these slow-cooker curry recipes.

how to grill the perfect steak

How to Grill the Perfect Steak Every Time

When it comes to cooking steak, nothing beats the grill. It’s the combination of that slight char and simple seasoning that pushes us to cook outdoors — even when it isn’t summer grilling season.

If you’re going to brave cold temperatures for winter grilling or the high heat of the hottest months, it is a good idea to know how to make the most of a steak. What cut of meat should you buy? What grill temperature is just right? Does that lid stay open or closed? These sorts of questions are all that stand between you and a delicious, flame-kissed meal. For your perfect barbecued steak dinner, we’ve got you covered with this guide to mastering the grill. Luckily, we also believe practice makes perfect — that means steak should be on the menu all year round.

What Cut Should Make the Cut?

One of the best things about steak is that from the time it hits the grill to the time it lands on the plate isn’t too long – especially for those who prefer their steak rare. Steaks with nice marbling — those striations of white fat — cook up perfectly succulent. That is because fat means flavour. So when you’re looking at the butcher counter, opt for one of these:

Ribeye: Lots of marbling along with larger pockets of fat makes these steaks great for the grill. Preheat the grill with two burners on medium-high, and two that aren’t on at all – a two-zone fire. Sear the steaks for a few minutes per side to get those delightful sear marks, then move them to the “off “ side to finish cooking. Use a meat thermometer to ensure the perfect temperature of 125°F / 50°C. Rest for 10 minutes. The high heat will melt the fat and keep this steak super juicy.

Strip Loin: This cut, sometimes called a New York strip, is leaner than rib eye but still has plenty of beefy flavour. Season simply with salt and pepper, then sear them over direct high heat for 4 to 6 minutes per side. Rest before serving.

T-Bone: A classic cut, this is what we usually picture when we hear the word steak. Kind of like two steaks for the price of one, this cut is named after the T-shaped bone that divides the strip loin and a small portion of tenderloin. Cooking depends on the thickness. For T-Bones less than 1-inch thick, searing for a few minutes per side, then resting is enough. If the steak is over 1-inch thick start it slow, using indirect heat, on a grill set to 325°F / 165°C, until it reaches an internal temperature of 120°F / 148°C, then sear over high heat for a couple minutes per side for grill marks. Rest and serve topped with a knob of butter.

Flank Steak: This long, flat cut of beef is incredibly lean and an exception to the marbling rule. It should be cooked in a flash; too long on the grill can cause the meat to become tough. Think medium-rare, about 4 to 5 minutes per side over direct, high heat. A little help from an overnight marinade before hitting the grill is always a good idea. To serve, let the flank steak rest before slicing against the grain for tender strips of beef – ideal for tacos and sandwiches.

Skirt Steak: Similar to flank, skirt steak needs to be approached the same way. Marinate it before grilling to medium rare, rest and slice.

Filet Mignon: If you’re splurging and want an incredibly tender and thick steak, you can try a filet mignon, a cut of beef tenderloin. With only a little fat, this steak is subtle in flavour, but buttery in texture. It’s easy to overcook, so best for those who prefer their steaks medium or on the rarer side. Grill them using a similar technique to the Ribeye, and keep that meat thermometer handy.

Heat It Up

Cooking steaks is all about searing, so you want to get your grill hot, hot, hot.

Heat to at least 450°F before you put those steaks on to cook. This ensures the meat gets that delicious crust and stays tender on the inside.

When using infrared heat to cook your steak, side burners, reaching the right temperature takes less than a minute. You can go from craving a nice steak to searing in the juices for a restaurant-quality meal in mere minutes.

Open or Closed?

If you’re puzzling over whether your steaks are best grilled with the lid open or not, wonder no more. The simple answer is: keep it open when high-temperature searing.

Closing the lid turns your grill into an oven — great for roasting meats, slowly cooking thicker cuts, and cooking chicken, but not as ideal when searing. A closed grill will start to cook the top of your steak, so you’ll miss that sizzle when you flip it.

An open lid gives you more control and lets you keep an eye on things. After all, there’s nothing worse than an overcooked steak.

Grilling 101

You’ve selected your cuts, heated your grill and are eager to eat. There are just a few steps to follow to make your steak truly great.

Start by generously salting your steak and letting it come to room temperature before grilling. About a half hour is all that’s needed to let the salt do its work. Use kosher or coarse salt will bring out the best flavor. Add a little freshly ground pepper or dehydrated garlic for even more flavour.

For some additional flavour, think of getting smoky. Wood chips, like mesquite or Applewood, enhance beef without much effort. With an integrated wood chip smoker tray — adding that woodsy, smoky flavour is about as easy as turning the grill on.

It’s all about timing, but even the pros can stumble over how long each side of the steak needs to reach the perfect temperature. A good rule of thumb is you need about two to three minutes per side to reach rare for a ¾-inch steak. Four minutes will be close to medium and another minute or two per side for a well-done steak. Your best bet is to take the guesswork out of the equation by using an instant-read meat thermometer.

When flipping the meat, it’s best to use tongs. Barbecue forks will pierce the meat, letting all those delicious juices escape. Finally — and this is the hard part! — let it rest for about 10 minutes before eating. This gives those juices time to redistribute and will keep your steak tender and tasty.

Is It Done?

Cooking times may vary, but steak doneness temperatures are dependable.

For a rare steak, look for an internal temperature of 120ºF / 52°C. Medium-rare is around 135°F / 57°C. Medium steaks will read 140ºF / 60°C to 145ºF / 63°C and Medium-well between 150ºF / 66°C. A steak is well done at 160ºF / 71°C or more.

classic-brisket-sliced-with-sauce

An Easy, Tender Brisket Recipe That is Sure to Impress

Brisket is a staple dish for many Jewish celebrations, with recipes that can differ from family to family. While some families prefer a sweet sauce, others love savoury. Some use brine; some don’t bother. Some prefer to sear their meat before braising, while others put their brisket straight into the oven. No matter your family’s preference, the most important part of brisket is that it is cooked low and slow, which is the key to juicy, melt in your mouth meaty goodness.

My recipe is a crowd-pleaser, being a little sweet and a little savoury. It can be made with ingredients you likely already have in your pantry, but that doesn’t mean you can rush this no-fuss recipe. The key to great flavour is giving the brisket the time to marinate and then to cook. It takes about 20 hours from start to finish, so make sure you plan ahead when embarking on this Jewish classic.

brisket-cut

How to Make a Classic Brisket

Ingredients:
1/2 cup soy sauce
1 cup ketchup
1 cup water
1 cup apricot preserves
4-5 lb brisket
3 onions, quartered

classic-brisket-recipe

Directions:
1. Mix the soy sauce, ketchup, water, apricot preserves in a bowl. Pour into a roaster or casserole dish large enough to fit the brisket. Place brisket in roaster or dish and coat with marinade. Place onions in the dish. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
2. Remove brisket from the refrigerator. Preheat oven to 325F. Place in oven covered with lid or aluminium foil. Cook for 3 hours then remove foil. Continue to cook uncovered for 30 minutes.
3. Remove from oven and let cool on the counter. Once cool, place in refrigerator until completely chilled, about 1 hour. This will help slice the brisket. Skim the fat off the surface of the sauce and discard. Slice the brisket into thin slices and place back into the dish with sauce.
4. When ready to serve, preheat your oven to 350F. Place brisket with sauce back in the oven and cook uncovered until heated through about 30 minutes. Spoon sauce over slices every 10 minutes.

5 Budget-Friendly Cuts of Beef and How to Cook Them

As grocery prices mount, it’s a bonus to find cheaper alternatives, especially when it comes to meat. One area where you can save big and find some great new favourites is by seeking out inexpensive cuts of beef, a typically higher-priced protein. These new cuts of beef are as delectable and easy to cook as some of your old standbys, but far more affordable. Before you head to the butcher this week, take note of what to ask for and how to cook it with this handy guide.

chuck-steak-in-pan

7-Bone Steak or Chuck Steak

Often thought of as the ground meat in a good burger, chuck steak is akin to a rib steak in its fattiness and makes an excellent, cheaper alternative cut. If prepared correctly, it provides the perfect balance of marbling and highly flavourful meat. Because it contains bones, you’ll also benefit from the richness they impart.

How to Cook: Best marinated to tenderize, this steak yields greatest results when grilled over high temperature just to medium-rare doneness – overcooking will lead to a chewy, dry steak.

Bavette Steak

Also called a flap steak, this cut comes from the bottom of the sirloin. This inexpensive option boasts major flavour and benefits from being marinated and scored as you would a flank steak.

How to Cook: After grilling it should be seared at a high heat for a short time and rested before slicing against the grain. A perfect cut for a steak salad, sandwiches or tacos.

Petite Filet with Wasabi CreamGet the recipe for The Pioneer Woman’s Petite Filet with Wasabi Cream.

Shoulder Tender or Petit Tender

The consequence of being difficult to cut from the animal, the shoulder tender is an underused piece of beef. Similar to filet mignon and pork tenderloin, only more flavourful, it’s a very tender cut of beef weighing about 8 to 12 oz. Like pork tenderloin, it occasionally has a silverskin that can be easily cut away.

How to Cook: Try it seared and finished in the oven, cut into medallions and grilled or cut into strips for a fast stir-fry. It’s best cooked no further than medium to maintain tenderness.

Merlot Steak

Perfect for grilling, broiling and stir-frying, the merlot cut is known for its flavour, but is also a lean steak, making it one that needs proper attention to avoid dryness and toughening.

How to Cook: It’s recommended to cook this cut over high heat for only a few minutes per side, which helps maintain flavour and tenderness. Like the shoulder tender, keep this steak below medium doneness.

oyster-steak-with-chrimp

Oyster Steak

The oyster steak’s higher fat content and exposure to air means bigger, beefier taste. It’s called oyster steak because this cut’s interesting fat pattern looks a bit like an oyster shell.

How to Cook: Deeply flavourful, this little 6 oz gem is another steak benefiting from higher temperature for a shorter period of time, about 3 minutes per side.

Get ready for barbecue season with our essential tips for grilling any cut of steak perfectly.

Traditional Acadian Christmas Meat Pie Recipe

There’s a new meat pie in town! We’ve all heard of tourtière, the French-Canadian spiced meat pie. But there’s another French-Canadian meat pie that is just as worthy of your love: an Acadian pie traditionally eaten at Christmas that hails from the Maritimes. I first heard of it through my cousin-in-law’s wife when we were sharing holiday eating traditions. When she said the words “traditional Christmas meat pie,” I had to know everything about it.

acadian meat pie

Not only did I get the recipe, but I also got to make the pie with her parents, Norma and Rufus, who are of Acadian descent and grew up in New Brunswick. We were going to cook her family’s recipe, handed down to her dad by his mother. Rufus has been making this same pie for decades in huge batches for family Christmas gatherings.

acadian meat pie 2

When we first began cooking I asked Rufus: “So this is kind of like tourtiere, right?” I received a firm lesson from Rufus that it is not. Tourtiere is a Quebecois dish, and we were making an Acadian meat pie. The flavours are different and, according to Rufus, better.  The meat is flavoured with onion and most importantly, summer savoury (the stuff from New Brunswick is best). Tourtiere uses ground meat and has a spiced taste from nutmeg, allspice and cloves that is totally different from an Acadian meat pie. Which one is better? They are both delicious in their own way, but I am a bit more partial to the Acadian meat pie since I learned it from a dad who has been carrying on this long Christmas tradition for his family.

acadian meat pie 3

A sincere thank you to Norma and Rufus for sharing their Christmas family recipe and traditions with me and our Food Network Canada readers. Maritimers are so friendly, aren’t they?

Acadian Christmas Meat Pie Recipe

Ingredients:
3 pounds beef blade roast, bone-in (or similar inexpensive cut)
3 pounds pork shoulder picnic roast, bone-in, skin removed (or similar inexpensive cut)
2-3 heaping Tbsp summary savoury
3 medium onions, chopped very fine
1/2 tsp dried ground ginger
6 pounds potatoes, peeled and cut into large chunks
Salt and pepper

Directions:
1. Cut the beef and pork into large chunks, about 2-inches in size.
2. Place the meat in a large heavy pot and add enough water to cover the meat. Stir in the chopped onions, summer savoury and ground ginger.  Bring to a boil and then lower to a sturdy simmer for about 2 to 3 hours or until the meat is tender and comes easily off the bone. Add water if the cooking liquid evaporates too much; the meat should remain covered with liquid when cooking.
3. Meanwhile, boil the potatoes and when fork tender, drain and mash. The potatoes should be finely mashed and have no lumps; the texture of the potatoes must be completely smooth for the filling to turn out correctly. Season the mashed potatoes well with salt and pepper.
4. Once the meat is cooked, use a slotted spoon to remove the meat from the cooking liquid.
5. Shred the meat. Remove any bone and large pieces of fat. However, keep some small pieces of fat for flavour and mash it into the shredded meat.  Set aside about one cup of the cooking liquid. Place the shredded meat back into the remaining cooking liquid. Season the meat well with salt and pepper. Simmer the meat and liquid for another 30 minutes.
6. Mix the mashed potatoes into the shredded meat, one large spoonful at a time. Incorporate each spoon of mashed potatoes well before adding the next. Once all of the mashed potatoes are incorporated, taste for seasoning. Add more salt and pepper if needed.  The meat and potato filling should be moist  – not too dry or too wet. If it seems too dry, add a bit of the reserved cooking liquid. The mixture should not be too wet. If there are pools of liquid in the mixture, it is too wet and the pie crust will be soggy.
7. Using your favourite pie dough recipe or purchased pie dough, roll out the dough and place in a pie pan. Fill the pie pan with the meat and potato filling. Do not over-stuff and pack down the filling. Cover the pie with a second piece of pie crust and crimp the edges, creating a seal. Cut steam vents into the top and brush the crust with an egg wash.
8. Bake in a preheated 350 F oven until the crust is golden brown, about 30 – 40 minutes.

Tips:
This meat pie can be served warm or at room temperature and can be enjoyed for breakfast, lunch or dinner over the Christmas holidays.
This recipe will make enough filling for approximately 8-10 pies.
If you’re not making that many pies,  freeze the filling and use it at a later time.
This recipe can be scaled up or down; however, the ratio of meat and potatoes needs to remain at 1:1.

Looking for more recipes? Try these great Acadian Recipes.

How to Grill Any Cut Of Steak Perfectly

As soon as the nice weather begins, Canadians ditch cooking in the kitchen and fire up the barbecue. The aromas and flavours of meat and veggies fresh from the open fire are intoxicating. And, when it comes to steak, nothing beats a perfectly cooked, well-seasoned, juicy cut. But this is easier said than done. It can be difficult to know what to buy at the butcher, how different cuts of steak vary and the best way to cook them.

With the stakes so high (pardon the pun, but these cuts can be expensive!), we’re giving you the ultimate guide to choosing and grilling steak this summer and beyond.

grilled-steak-and-papaya-salad

BBQ Steak Basics

1. Let steak come to room temperature before grilling: About 30 minutes before grilling, take it out of the fridge. This will allow the meat to cook evenly.

2. Get the grill super-hot: You want to get good sear on your steak for the perfect finished crust. Heat your grill to at least 450ºF before cooking.

3. Season with a bit of oil and lots of salt: Brush steaks with a thin layer of high-temperature oil, like grape seed or refined avocado. Then, don’t just sprinkle salt on your steak, season with reckless abandon. A thick slab of meat needs more salt than you think. Use kosher or coarse salt on both sides and apply until you can see it on the surface of the meat.

4. Use a thermometer: Unless you’re a veteran grill master with tons of experience cooking steak, it’s difficult to tell how well cooked the meat is just by touching it. Quit guessing and take the internal temperature with an instant-read of meat thermometer. To avoid burning the exterior if a steak is very thick, remove it from direct heat and finish cooking on indirect heat until it has reached your desired internal temperature.

5. Rest the steak: Let your steak rest for at least 10 minutes on a warm plate before slicing. The meat needs time to recirculate its juices, and that can only be achieved through patience. Once you’ve come this far in cooking the perfect steak, it would be a shame to ruin it! Your steak will not get cold (this is where a warm plate comes in handy). When your time is up, slice against the grain for more tender slices.

Steak Doneness Temperatures

  • Rare: 120ºF to 130ºF
  • Medium Rare: 130ºF to 140ºF
  • Medium: 140ºF to 150ºF
  • Medium Well: 150ºF to 155ºF
  • Well Done: 160ºF +

With the basics mastered, it’s time to discuss some of the common cuts and how they differ.

The Best Cuts of Steak for Grilling

Ribeye (Rib-eye, Rib Eye) Steak: Sometimes called entrecote, it can be purchased with the bone intact or boneless. It’s a tender steak with plenty of delicious fat marbling. This cut has a big, beefy flavour and is supremely juicy. For this reason, ribeye is usually on the pricier side, making it perfect for special occasions.

Flank Steak and Skirt Steak: Both very affordable (though the popularity of flank steak has made it rise in price recently) and tasty steaks, but they require a bit more work than other cuts. Flank steak can be tough and chewy, however, marinating overnight and cooking only to medium-rare can help keep it tender. After marinating, grilling and resting, flank steak must be thinly sliced across the grain to remain tender. Skirt steak should be prepared the same way as flank steak: marinated, grilled to medium-rare, rested and sliced against the grain. Flank and skirt steaks are great for weeknights and entertaining large groups.

New York Strip Steak: This cut is also known as the strip steak, top sirloin, top loin and contre-filet. The meat has a finely-grained texture and rich, beefy flavour. Its medium fat content, decent marbling and tender texture (less so than ribeye, but this cut is also less expensive) make it an ideal steak for barbecuing.

Porterhouse Steak: This steak is also known as the T-bone, a bone-in steak that has two of the most prized cuts of beef in one tidy package. On one side, the tenderloin, and on the other, the ribeye. The tenderloin portion will generally cook a bit faster than the ribeye portion, but the bone helps to keep the meat juicy. The porterhouse is the perfect steak for high-heat barbecues and entertaining to impress.

Now that you’ve nailed barbecued steak 101, it’s time to fire up the grill and dive into a recipe. Grill guru Bobby Flay takes it from here with this summery Grilled Steak and Papaya Salad .

Ginger Beef

The Delicious History of Ginger Beef

There’s one iconic Canadian dish that’s a “must try” in Calgary, and you won’t find it at the steakhouse. Instead, head straight to Chinatown — the birthplace of sticky-sweet ginger beef. Here, you can savour a plate of crispy and golden battered beef swimming in a sticky, spicy sauce, often served over rice.

“It usually has deep-fried beef, ginger, peppers, carrots and onions, and is served in a sweet sauce that is a bit like General Tso’s,” says Lenore Newman, food historian and author of Speaking in Cod Tongues: A Canadian Culinary Journey. “I see it as an excellent example of the early mixing of Canadian and Chinese tastes.”

Food lovers have likely encountered this crunchy, satisfying dish in restaurants across Canada and abroad, but there’s nothing quite like eating “real deal” ginger beef in Calgary.

Ginger Beef

“Whenever I go to Chinatown in Calgary, ginger beef is in the back of my mind,” says Ryan O’Flynn, chef at Calgary’s acclaimed The Guild Restaurant and winner of the 2015 Canadian Culinary Championship. “It’s a staple. When the Chinese restaurants get ready for a busy night, they’ve got the 150 portions of ginger beef ready and probably 30-50 of everything else.”

Chinese food wasn’t always so popular in Cowtown. In the early- to mid-20th-century, Chinese-owned restaurants struggled to popularize Peking-inspired dishes, and instead served comfort fare like burgers, fries and grilled cheese sandwiches. In the 1970s, George Wong, chef at The Silver Inn in Calgary, was looking for ways to boost business and make his menu more appealing to Western patrons.

Playing with a recipe from Northern China and inspired by British pub grub, Chef Wong deep-fried shredded beef, and then simmered the crispy strips in a spicy chili sauce. He dubbed the dish “Deep fried shredded beef in chili sauce” and began serving it to patrons.

“It had that fast food flavour,” says Chef O’Flynn. “It’s kind of ingenious — George Wong was one of the first to adapt and push the boundaries in Calgary.”

Turns out, Chef Wong’s creative cooking instincts were bang on: customers gobbled up the newfangled dish, loving the zingy sauce and the beef’s crunchy texture.

“It caught on and became known as ‘Ginger Beef,'” says Karen Anderson, President of Alberta Food Tours. “Because Canadians mistakenly believed there was ginger in the sauce.”

Today, ginger beef remains a staple on The Silver Inn’s menu, and has become such an iconic dish that it was even included in the Royal Alberta Museum’s Chop Suey on the Prairies exhibition. Four decades later, there’s a growing appetite for this dish across Canada, with more chefs incorporating ginger beef onto their menus.

“To think that a dish from Calgary built in the 1970s can now be found in Victoria to Toronto to all the way Halifax is pretty fantastic,” says Chef O’Flynn. “It gained way for other Chinese restaurants to do a new style of Asian food.”

The original recipe has evolved over the years, to reflect changing tastes and ingredients. Some renditions include ginger and garlic, and it’s more common now to add sauteed onions, peppers and carrots into the mix before serving. Regardless of the fixings, the outcome is always tasty.

Ginger Beef

“The result is tender morsels of beef in a crispy coating with sweet hot sauce and brightly coloured vegetables,” says Karen Anderson. “When it’s done right, it’s out of this world delicious.”

Some daring chefs are even playing around with this Canuck favourite, creating everything from ginger beef lettuce wraps with a pita holder to ginger beef poutine to a sesame ginger beef burrito. The dish has even fueled a “Ginger Beef Throw Down,” a one-time cooking competition between food trucks that was hosted by the Royal Alberta Museum.

Of course, why go out to eat when you can make your own tasty version at home? A plate of Ginger Beef Blowout is dressed to impress — succulent slices of sirloin paired with delicate gourmet salad rolls.

For something simpler, this one-pot recipe from Chef Michael Smith produces a big batch of braised Orange Ginger Beef Stew simmered in tangy spices. For a more traditional recipe, try this easy 15-minute recipe for Ginger Beef with Carrots and Rice, deep-frying the beef until crunchy and golden.

But whether you’re eating out or at home, Chef O’Flynn has one piece of advice for ginger beef lovers everywhere:

“You must go to The Silver Inn,” he says. “You can’t have it anywhere else! Have it there first, so you know what it is, and then go and check out other renditions.”

Food Safety: The Shelf Life of Meats and Seafood

Nothing makes weeknight dinners easier than having a fridge fully stocked with a variety of delicious possibilities. Purchasing meats and seafood on sale can save you a lot of money in the long term. But before you fill your cart full of groceries, read this simple guide on safety practices for keeping eggs, poultry, beef and more.

open-fridge-meat-shelf-life

Eggs
Whole eggs are one of the top contenders when it comes to having a long shelf life. They will keep safely in the fridge for a full 5 weeks. Over time, eggs take in air, which pushes the white away from the shell making it extremely easy to peel — a bonus for deviled egg lovers!

Liquid, pasteurized eggs may seem more convenient, but they have a shorter shelf life. Once opened, they need to be used within 3 days. Regardless of the type of egg you purchase, they should never be stored in the freezer.

Beef
When you buy fresh, ground beef, you don’t have long to cook it, as it has to be consumed within 2 days of purchasing. Other cuts of beef, such as steaks or roasts, are a bit more forgiving; they can be kept in the fridge for up to 5 days.

Freeze it: To extend the shelf life, freeze any type of beef in a tightly sealed container. Ground beef can be used within 4 months, and all other cuts can be kept for up to 12 months.

Cook it: From a rich Bolognese to a saucy stew, if you like to make big-batch meals with beef, they can be cooked and safely stored in the fridge for 3 to 4 days, and the freezer for up to 3 months. Just make sure to transfer any hot food into small, shallow containers to ensure it cools quickly, which prevents bacteria from growing.

Pork
It’s hard to grocery shop without picking up a package of the ever-beloved bacon and luckily, you have a full week to safely consume it. Fresh sausage and ground pork are also delicious options, however, they should both be cooked within 2 days of purchasing. Other cuts of pork, such as chops, can be consumed within 5 days.

Freeze it: Freeze any pork in a tightly sealed container. Bacon will keep for up to a month, fresh sausages and pork for up to 2 months and other cuts for up to 6 months.

Cook it: Cooked pork of any kind can be safely stored in the fridge for 3 to 4 days and the freezer for up to 3 months.

Poultry
Poultry is a great staple for delicious and affordable meals. From chicken to turkey and quail, all fresh poultry should be consumed within 2 days of purchasing.

Freeze it: Freeze any poultry in a tightly sealed container. Individual cuts, such as breasts or thighs, can be used within 9 months and whole poultry, such as chicken, can be kept for an entire year.

Cook it: Cooked poultry can be safely stored in the fridge for 4 days and the freezer for up to 4 months.

Lunch Meats
Your sandwich meats should be consumed within 4 days of purchasing. If you’re looking for something that will last the full week, try buying cured meats, such as summer sausage, which can be kept in the fridge for up to 3 weeks.

Freeze it: Freeze any lunch meats in a tightly sealed container for up to 2 months.

Seafood
Whether it’s trout, haddock, spot prawns or lobster, all fresh fish and shellfish should be consumed within 2 days of purchasing. However, smoked fish has a longer shelf life and can be kept for up to 14 days.

Freeze it: Freeze any fish or shellfish in a tightly sealed container. Fatty fish, such as mackerel, along with any shellfish or smoked fish will keep for up to 2 months and leaner fish, such as sole, will keep for up to 6 months.

Cook it: All cooked fish can be safely stored in the fridge for up to 4 days and the freezer for 4 to 6 months.

*Note: Always remember you can never re-freeze any food that has previously been frozen, regardless of the type of meat or seafood.

Steak Salad with Onions and Cilantro Chimichurri

It’s finally grilling season! And what better way to flex your (grilling) guns than with a steak salad. Flank steak is a cheaper cut of meat that grills really well. It’s flavourful and when grilled and sliced right, perfect for a salad.

I’ve come up with this twist on a basic balsamic dressing, adding cilantro chimichurri and piquillo peppers. Spanish piquillo peppers are actually sweet, not spicy. You can find them roasted, either jarred or canned. Chopping and adding them to the vinaigrette gives the dressing a slight sweet and peppery flavour. If you can’t find them, you can substitute with roasted red peppers which are very similar.

This is a staple salad in my household. It’s super easy to prep ahead of time and you can grill the onions and steak just before serving it. Every BBQ needs a salad — and this is the perfect one!

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Grilled Flank Steak and Onion Salad with Cilantro Chimichurri and Piquillo Pepper Balsamic Vinaigrette

Serving Size: 4 servings
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cooking Time: 10 minutes

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Ingredients:

2 large red onions, 1/2” thick rounds
olive oil
salt and fresh black pepper

1 1/2 lb (680g) flank steak (skirt or hanger are good too)
olive oil
salt and fresh black pepper

4 to 5 cups spinach leaves
3 to 4 cups baby arugula
1/2 cup hazelnuts, roughly chopped

For the Piquillo Pepper Balsamic Vinaigrette:
3 tablespoons finely chopped piquillo peppers (or roasted red pepper)
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1/2 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1/2 tablespoon honey
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon fresh black pepper
3/4 cup olive oil

For the Cilantro Chimichurri:
4 cloves garlic, minced finely
3/4 cup chopped cilantro
1/3 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon paprika (hot or sweet)
1/2 teaspoon salt

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Directions:

For the piquillo pepper balsamic vinaigrette:
1. In a medium bowl, whisk together the chopped piquillo peppers, balsamic vinegar, mustard, honey, salt and pepper.
2. Slowly drizzle in the olive oil while whisking vigorously to emulsify the dressing.
3. Set aside.

For the cilantro chimichurri:
1. Combine all the ingredients together in a small bowl.
2. Set aside.

Grill the onions:
1. Heat a grill (or grill pan) to medium direct heat.
2. Drizzle the onions with olive oil and generously season them with salt and fresh black pepper on both sides.
3. Grill for about 3 minutes on each side until nicely charred.

Grill the steak:
1. Heat the grill (or grill pan) on medium-high direct heat.
2. Drizzle the steak with olive oil and generously season with salt and fresh black pepper on both sides.
3. Grill the steak for 3 1/2 to 4 minutes on each side for medium-rare or 4 1/2 to 5 minutes for medium. ONLY FLIP THE STEAK ONCE!
4. Remove the steak from the grill and allow to rest for at least 5 minutes before slicing.

Assemble:
1. Toss the spinach and baby arugula with some of the dressing. The quantity for the vinaigrette above makes more than you should dress the salad with! Plate the dressed greens onto a platter.
2. Arrange the grilled onions on top of the greens and scatter the chopped hazelnuts over top.
3. Slice the steak, against the grain, into 1/3” thin strips. The thinner the better. Just be sure you are cutting against the grain of the steak or else it will be too tough to chew.
4. Place the sliced steak over the salad and drizzle with the chimichurri.
5. Serve with the remaining vinaigrette and chimichurri on the side. Enjoy!

100x100_Danielle-Oron Danielle is a chef, bakery owner, and food blogger who thinks she’s Korean, but is actually Israeli. Also, Danielle does not eat like a lady.

Chinese Crispy Beef & Broccoli Noodles with Kung Pao Chili Oil

Chinese New Year is upon us! Time for firecrackers, dancing dragons, cornstarch and red everything! Being a connoisseur of Chinese Christmas takeout, not to mention an avid customer at late-night Chinese food joints, I will be celebrating the year of the goat with tons of greasy eats! If crispy beef, chow mein, Kung pao, and beef and broccoli made a baby, it would be this recipe. Not traditional in any sense, but definitely great for celebrating. Happy Chinese New Year!

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Yields: 4 Servings
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: 2 ½ hours

Ingredients for the Kung Pao Chili Oil:

1/3 cup canola oil
2 Tablespoons sesame oil
1 teaspoon Sichuan peppercorns
½ teaspoon grated ginger
½ teaspoon grated garlic
2-3 teaspoon red chili flakes
¼ cup chopped peanuts
1 red hot long pepper, sliced thinly
1/8 teaspoon Chinese 5-Spice
½ teaspoon sesame seeds

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Ingredients for the Crispy Beef & Broccoli Noodles:

1 package (425 grams) flat, fresh rice noodles or dried wonton noodles
¾ – 1 pound Sirloin cut thinly into ¼”-thick strips
¼ cup cornstarch
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
1/3 cup canola oil for frying
Salt for seasoning

½ pound broccolini, stems removed
1 teaspoon sesame oil
3 teaspoon grated ginger
2 teaspoon grated garlic
3 Tablespoons Shaoxing wine (or dry sherry)
3 Tablespoons dark soy sauce (regular soy if fine too)
1 Tablespoon rice vinegar
2 teaspoon sugar
½ teaspoon salt
1 ½ cups mung bean sprouts

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Directions for the Kung Pao Chili Oil:

  1. Heat the canola and sesame oil over high heat for 2 minutes in a small sauce pan.
  2. Turn the heat off and immediately add the Sichuan peppercorns. They will sizzle at first. Let steep for 2 hours.
  3. Remove the Sichuan peppercorns from the oil and discard. If you like that strange mouth-numbing sensation from those peppercorns, just leave them in! (Personal preference is to remove them.)
  4. Add the grated ginger, garlic, and chili flakes to the oil.
  5. Turn the heat back on to medium-low. Fry for 2 minutes once you see that it has started to sizzle. Don’t let the garlic burn!
  6. Turn the heat off and let steep for 15 minutes.
  7. Combine the chopped peanuts, red hot long pepper, Chinese 5-Spice, and sesame seeds in small Mason jar (or bowl) and pour the chili oil over top.

Directions for the Crispy Beef & Broccoli Noodles:

  1. Cook the noodles in a large pot of salted boiling water until just cooked through.
  2. Drain into a colander and immediately run cold water over the noodles to stop the cooking. Set aside.
  3. Combine the cornstarch, salt and pepper in a medium bowl.
  4. Heat the canola oil in a wok, or large frying pan, over high heat.
  5. When the oil is hot. Dredge the pieces of beef in the cornstarch, shake off any excess and fry for 4-5 minutes until the outer edges are golden brown and crispy. Note: do this in batches! Don’t crowd the beef in the oil or else it won’t fry properly and will become gummy. Add more oil to the wok as needed between batches and make sure to dredge the beef in the cornstarch just before placing it in the oil.
  6. Remove the beef to drain on a paper towel lined cooling rack or plate. Season with salt.
  7. Drain out any excess oil left in the wok after frying.
  8. Return the wok to the stove and turn the heat down to medium-high.
  9. Add the broccolini to the hot wok with ¼ cup of water. Toss frequently
  10. Once the broccolini has cooked through, with a slight crunch, and the water has evaporated, remove it from the wok.
  11. Immediately add the sesame oil to the hot wok. Add in the ginger and garlic and sauté until fragrant, about 30 seconds to a minute.
  12. Add the Shaoxing wine, dark soy sauce, rice vinegar, sugar, and salt to the wok.
  13. Once the sauce is bubbling, add the noodles, broccolini and sprouts. Toss until everything is warmed through and the sauce has thickened. Taste for seasoning and adjust accordingly with salt.
  14. Plate the noodles and broccolini, top with the crispy beef, and drizzle Kung Pao oil over top. Enjoy!

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Notes, Substitutions and Shortcuts:

  • If you can find “Milanese” sliced beef, which is extremely thin, use that! It’s perfect.
  • Substitute Chinese Egg Noodles if you cannot find rice noodles or wonton noodles at your grocery store.
  • You can get store-bought garlic chili oil and add chopped peanuts and fresh red hot long pepper slices to it instead of making the Kung Pao Chili oil.
  • Kung Pao Chili Oil will last for 2 weeks in an air-tight container like a mason jar. The longer it sits, the spicier it gets!
  • A good substitution for Shaoxing wine is a medium-dry Sherry.
  • Dark soy sauce will be thicker and more flavourful than regular soy sauce. But if you do not want to buy a whole bottle of dark soy for 3 Tablespoons, you can just use whatever soy sauce you have on hand.
  • This dish comes together very quickly. Make sure you have all your ingredients prepped and ready to go before you start frying that beef!

100x100_Danielle-Oron Danielle is a chef, bakery owner, and food blogger who thinks she’s Korean, but is actually Israeli. Also, Danielle does not eat like a lady.

Gratinée’s Seared Lemon-Pepper Beef Carpaccio

This Seared Lemon-Pepper Beef Carpaccio served with a handful of baby arugula and slivers of Pecorino Romano with garlic aioli and slices of toasted Ciabatta bread, literally it took minutes to make.
The one caveat about simple food is that you really do need the best quality ingredients you can find. There is no hiding with elaborate sauces and cooking methods.

You will need a nice chunk of beef tenderloin (fillet). Don’t attempt it with an inferior cut of meat. Make sure you put it in the freezer for a couple of hours before searing; even though the heat will defrost the outside, it will be easier to slice in very thin pieces, which is what you want.

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Ingredients:
(Serves 2)
5-ounce piece of beef tenderloin
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 Tablespoon lemon pepper*
1/2 Tablespoon salt
Handful of rosemary leaves
Pecorino Romano cheese (or Parmesan)
Baby arugula
1 Tablespoon capers

For the aioli:
1 large egg yolk
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup olive oil
1 teaspoon lemon juice, more to taste
Sea salt
Cracked black pepper

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Directions:

  1. Finely chop the rosemary leaves and spread on a clean cutting board to mix with the salt and lemon pepper. Rub the olive oil on the outside of the meat and press into the salt mixture.
  2. Heat a cast iron pan on the stove on maximum heat. Sear the tenderloin on each side for one minute–until just brown; immediately remove from pan and place back onto the cutting board. Holding the meat with tongs, slice very thinly with a sharp chef’s knife and press each piece with the backside of the knife to thin it down further. Arrange on a platter.
  3. To make the aioli, press garlic into the egg yolk with a fork to develop the flavour; add lemon juice, salt and pepper. Whisk a few drops of olive oil into the egg yolk until it starts to thicken and emulsify. Continuing to whisk, start pouring the rest of the oil in a very slow and thin stream until the aioli is completely thickened.
  4. Garnish carpaccio with capers, thinly grated slivers of cheese and a couple handfuls of arugula. Add small dollops of aioli and serve the rest on the side.

* lemon pepper is a seasoning of cracked black peppercorns and granulated lemon zest and can be found where you might buy better qualitiy spices

Darina Kopcok Darina Kopcok is a food writer and photographer based in Vancouver, BC. She writes the blog Gratinée, for which she also develops, styles and shoots each recipe. In addition to photographic training from Langara College, she holds an MFA from the University of British Columbia. She has a passion for Italian cuisine and French culinary technique.

Darina Kopcok is part of the Lifestyle Blog Network  family.

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