Tag Archives: Beef

My Mom’s Taco Soup

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I sit here in something of a state of disbelief as I type this post out, because I’m a bit surprised it’s taken me this long to share one of my favorite childhood meals. Trust me, it’s been on my to-blog list for quite some time. And here we are at last, right?

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This is taco soup, a perennial favorite from my family growing up. It’s hearty, filling, tasty, easy, nutritious, and my mom knew she could throw this together whenever she felt like it and no one would express anything but sheer enthusiasm at the dinner table. A welcome respite for her, I’m sure. She had the unenviable task of cooking for four fairly different palates, so everyone agreeing on all aspects of a meal didn’t happen very often.

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But I think we all agreed on taco soup. I still love it, all these years later. The first winter season we were married, I introduced Matt to this delicious family favorite, and happily, he’s joined its ranks of fandom. I try to make it once a year. And I’m so happy to finally be sharing it with you!

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Recipe notes: this is called soup, but it’s a bit thicker than traditional soup. However, it should not be as thick as chili. You should need a spoon to eat it. You can also add more chili powder if you want, my mom always added up to 2 tablespoons in addition to the Mexican spice mix. I found mine didn’t need it, but if yours does, of course feel free to add it. I think that’s it! Enjoy!

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{One Year Ago: Eggplant Parmesan Soup}
{Two Years Ago: Chipotle Collard Greens, Apple Hatch Chile Cobber}

Olive oil
2 lbs. ground sirloin
1 medium onion, chopped
2 jalapenos, seeded and chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
Kosher salt and black pepper
1 recipe All-Purpose Mexican/Tex-Mex Spice Mix
1 recipe Homemade Ranch Seasoning Packet
1 (12 oz.) bottle of beer
1 (28 oz.) can crushed tomato, preferably fire-roasted variety
8-10 oz. frozen corn (no need to thaw)
1 (15 oz.) can pinto beans, drained
Beef stock or water, as needed
1 tbs hot sauce, such as TX Pete’s
Shredded cheddar or Monterey jack cheese, for garnish
Tortilla chips, for garnish

Preheat a large stockpot or Dutch oven to medium-high heat. Add a drizzle of olive oil, then add the sirloin. Cook, breaking up and crumbling with a spoon or potato masher, until no traces of pink remain. Add the onion and jalapeno, plus salt and pepper to taste. Cook for about 5 minutes, stirring often, until the onion has softened. Add the garlic and cook 1 minute more. Add the spice mixes and stir well to combine.
Now add the beer and stir for about 30 seconds, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Lower the heat to medium and add the tomatoes, corn, and pinto beans. Stir to combine, then simmer the soup for about 1 hour. Check in occasionally and add some beef stock or water if the soup is thickening too much.
Taste for seasoning and add more salt and pepper as needed. Add the hot sauce. Serve with the cheese and tortilla chips to garnish.
Leftovers reheat spectacularly, and this soup will freeze well too.

Beef Ragu over Spaghetti Squash #SundaySupper

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Welcome to Sunday Supper!! The theme this week happens to be Squash Fest. Very open, and given the time of year, some of us are featuring fall vegetables while others have summer squash recipes. I chose one of my favorite kinds of squash, which is just coming in season where I’m at – the spaghetti squash!!

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Now, we should be very clear about one thing: spaghetti squash is not pasta, despite its name, despite the fact that it gets nicknamed “low-carb pasta” and despite that it’s often featured with traditional pasta sauces. I must warn you, if you serve the recipe I’m blogging today to your family and tell them they’re having pasta, you are on the fast track to some major unpopularity in your own home, my friend. Arguing that spaghetti squash tastes like pasta is like trying to convince someone that Taco Bell is real Mexican food – you’ve lost the argument before you even open your mouth.

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But, I still adore spaghetti squash. I don’t ask it to be pasta, I just love it for what it is. Its flavor is very “blank slate” which means it soaks up a hearty meaty tomato sauce very nicely. And because this isn’t pasta, it is way lower calorie, which excuses the extra piece of garlic bread and extra glass of wine. Don’t you love my logic? 🙂

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This is honestly one of my favorite meals, and I make it whenever spaghetti squash comes into season. I mean, of course I love me some pasta, and like I said, spaghetti squash could never replace it. But this squash stands proudly on its own merits, and I look forward to this meal all year long. Enjoy! And please be sure you check out my Sunday Supper gang – tons of fall and summer squash recipes today!

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{One Year Ago: Cheddar Pecan Wafers, Naan Bread, Italian Prune Plum Crisp, Blackberry Pie Bars, Pulled Lamb Barbecue Sandwiches}
{Two Years Ago: Whole Wheat Ricotta Raspberry Scones}

Source: slightly adapted from Fine Cooking Magazine, Oct/Nov 2009

1 small to medium spaghetti squash
1 tbs olive oil
1 lb. lean ground beef (I used sirloin)
2 shallots, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup dry red wine
1 (15 oz.) can crushed tomatoes
1-2 tsp dried oregano
Kosher salt and black pepper
1/4 cup torn fresh basil
1/4 cup grated Parmesan, plus more for serving
Garlic bread, for serving

Preheat your oven to 375 F. Oil or grease a 9×13″ baking dish. Cut the squash in half lengthwise and use a spoon to scoop out the seeds. Lay the squash halves cut side down in the baking dish and roast for 30-40 minutes, until a sharp paring knife can cut through the skin and into the flesh with no resistance. Turn the squash halves over and let them cool until you can handle them.
Preheat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Drizzle in the olive oil, then add the beef. Crumble the beef with a spoon and cook until no traces of pink remain. Add the shallot and garlic and cook another 3-4 minutes, until softened. Add the wine and cook until it has mostly evaporated. Add the tomatoes, oregano, plus salt and pepper to taste. Add 1/4 cup water and let it all simmer for about 10 minutes.
Using a fork, rake the squash flesh into strands and transfer to a large bowl. Toss with a pinch of salt and pepper, plus a small drizzle of olive oil.
Lower the heat on the ragu to low, toss in the basil and parmesan. Stir to combine.
To serve, mound some squash strands onto a dinner plate, then spoon some ragu over. Garnish with extra basil, if desired, and sprinkle on more parmesan, if desired. Serve immediately.
Makes 4 generous servings.

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Sunday Supper MovementJoin the #SundaySupper conversation on twitter on Sunday! We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7:00 pm ET. Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. To get more great Sunday Supper Recipes, visit our website or check out our Pinterest board.

Would you like to join the Sunday Supper Movement? It’s easy. You can sign up by clicking here: Sunday Supper Movement.

Pimento Cheese and Bacon Burgers

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I think this week will be a themed week here on the blog, and our theme this week will be – The South! I suppose I could exaggerate a bit and tell you I carefully planned this out, but in reality, I was perusing my to-blog list of recipes and found three that had this in common. I’ll be sharing two recipes from the United States Deep South, followed by one from the south of France! So, there may be a little bit of “one of these is not like the others,” but on the other hand, you know what they say: “the South is the same everywhere!”

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Although I grew up with it, it’s only been recently that I’ve developed an appreciation for pimento cheese. Childhood Julie hated mayonnaise, so pimento cheese was persona non grata in my mouth. I’ve since come around, which is incredibly fortunate, because had I not, then I would’ve missed out on this insane burger!

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This one is fairly rich and decadent, yes, but well worth it for your splurge day. It’s very simple to throw together, as a plus, and I’m really glad these are filling, because had they not been, I would have eaten two of them. Y’all enjoy now.

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A quick recipe note: a major cheeseburger pet peeve of many is when the cheese is not completely melted. Don’t get too fussy about that with these burgers. Pimento cheese is not a melted cheese dish, so if it doesn’t melt all the way atop these burgers, it will not taste weird or have an off-putting texture at all.

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{One Year Ago: Sour Cherry Cobbler, Beer Margaritas}

Source: adapted from Barbecue Addiction by Bobby Flay:

1/3 cup mayonnaise
Kosher salt and black pepper
Pinch of cayenne
6 oz. sharp, yellow cheddar cheese, shredded
2 oz. jarred chopped pimentos, drained
1 ½ lbs. ground beef chuck
2 tbs canola oil, plus more for the grill grate
4 hamburger buns, split and toasted
8 slices of bacon, cooked until crisp

Whisk together the mayonnaise, salt, pepper, and cayenne. Add the cheese and pimentos and gently fold until combined. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
Heat your grill to high for direct heat grilling. Oil the grate.
For the meat into 4 evenly sized burger patties, and then make an indentation in the center of each with your thumb or forefinger. Brush both sides with canola oil, and season liberally with salt and pepper.
Place the burgers on the grill, not crowding them, and cook to medium, about 4 minutes per side. During the last minute of cooking, spoon a dollop of pimento cheese on top of each burger and quickly spread it out with the back of the spoon. Cover, and cook 1 minute, until the cheese has just melted.
Remove the burgers from the grill and place each on the burger buns. Top the cheese with 2 slices of crispy bacon, then with the top bun. Serve immediately.

My Mom’s Taco Salad

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Happy birthday Mom!! Yup, today is her birthday, so in honor of this day I’m posting one of my favorite things she made for us regularly while I was growing up. Please meet…. the only salad I willingly ate as a child!! It’s a miracle! Though truth be told, I probably picked out the lettuce….

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This one is so delicious, and I always loved it. It’s Tex-Mex to the core, extremely flavorful, and pretty adaptable to your own tastes. It’s perfect for when you want a rich, hearty Tex-Mex fix but the weather is too warm for chili (which is about half the year where I grew up).

I received this recipe around the time when I got married, and I’ve definitely made it from time to time over the years (Matt loves it). It deserves a space on the blog. I haven’t really changed it much except to make the dressing myself. My mom always uses Thousand Island dressing for this, and I have too; I just made it myself, which is extremely easy to do!

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This is a wonderful recipe to have in your repertoire – it’s very easy and perfect for tired, busy weeknights. Thank you Mom!! And I hope you have a wonderful birthday celebration today!

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{One Year Ago: Fattoush Salad, Chocolate Peanut Butter Pudding, Salted Honey Pie, Rhubarb Crisp}

1 cup mayo
½ cup ketchup
1/3 cup pickle relish
1 tbs chopped jarred pimentos
Couple dashes of hot sauce
Salt and pepper

Olive oil
1 lb. ground sirloin
1 small-medium onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 jalapeno, seeded and chopped
1 tbs chili powder
1 tbs ground cumin
Kosher salt and black pepper, to taste
1 (15 oz.) can of kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 small can sliced black olives, drained
3 tomatoes, seeded and chopped, divided
1-2 heads of iceberg lettuce, cored and thinly sliced
1 avocado, chopped
Shredded cheddar
Crushed tortilla chips

First make the dressing. Combine the mayonnaise and ketchup in a small bowl and whisk until smooth. Add the remaining ingredients and whisk or stir until well combined. Refrigerate until needed.
Now make the salad. Place a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add a drizzle of olive oil and add the sirloin. Use a spoon or a potato masher to break up the meat. Cook until no traces of pink remain and it is nicely crumbled. Add the onion, garlic and jalapeno and cook another 5 or so minutes, until the onion has softened and appears translucent. Add the chili powder and cumin, plus season with salt and pepper to taste. Stir to combine.
Shut off the heat. Add the kidney beans, black olives, and 2 of the chopped tomatoes. Stir to combine. Let this meat mixture cool slightly while you prep the salad ingredients.
To assemble, place a nice amount of lettuce on a dinner plate. Top with some of the taco meat, then spoon some Thousand Island dressing on the meat and lettuce. Garnish with avocado, cheddar, and tortilla chips.

Hamburger and Onion Bread Pizza

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I continue PIZZA WEEK with a rather humble offering. This is for sure not fancy, and maybe not even terribly varied considering I shared steak on a pizza yesterday. But it really doesn’t get any easier to prepare or more comforting than this, and well, I really need that right now.

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I’m getting over my second (second!!!) head cold in the past six weeks, and this one was extra nasty as it insisted on turning into a double ear and sinus infection (which I caught early, thank goodness!). So annoying…

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And on top of that, I’m having major drama with my new dining room table. What started out as a pleasant and promising transaction has unfortunately turned very ugly. When you trust someone because they initially treat you nicely and then promise to fix a problem they created, and they then do a 180 and not only deny any wrongdoing, but also deny admitting any wrongdoing, and further snap that they are only fixing it as a big favor to you, and that they’ll fix this on their time frame, thank you very much; well, it’s frustrating. Of course. I’m essentially being called a liar and having words put in my mouth that I simply never said.

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So yes, a *very* easy dinner that was tasty and comforting was in order. And yeah, it’s a bit messy, kind of like our lives (especially mine right now). But bread pizzas are just awesome. So here you go! Here’s to health and de-stressing.

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{One Year Ago: Battered and Fried Merguez Sausages, Three Cheese Beer Bread, Red Kidney Bean Curry}

Source: adapted from 365: No Repeats by Rachael Ray

1 baguette
1 tbs olive oil
1 lb. ground sirloin
1 tbs steak or barbecue seasoning
Kosher salt, if your seasoning is salt-free
1 large onion, chopped
1 tbs Worcestershire sauce
2 tbs Dijon mustard
12 slices deli-sliced Swiss cheese
Chopped fresh parsley, for garnish, if desired

Preheat the broiler to HIGH. Set a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the olive oil, then the sirloin. Cook, breaking up with a large spoon or potato masher, until it is crumbled and no traces of pink remain.
Add the onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are translucent and softened, about 5-7 minutes.
Now add the steak or barbecue seasoning, salt if needed, the Worcestershire sauce, and the mustard. Stir to combine. Remove from the heat.
Slice the bread in half crosswise, then each piece in half again lengthwise. Tear out the inside bread to hollow them out and make 4 bread boats. Place the bread boats on a baking sheet and broil until just toasted.
Remove from the oven and fill the boats with the burger mixture. Top each bread boat with 3 slices of cheese to cover all the hamburger mixture. Stick the baking sheet back under the broiler, moving the pan side to side or back and forth as needed, so that all the bread boats are exposed and the cheese gets melted and a little bubbly. Serve immediately.
This will serve 4 to 8 people, depending on appetites.

Steakhouse Pizza

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I’m continuing PIZZA WEEK with a very tasty offering I’ve adapted from one of Ree’s recipes (from her second book). She has several pizza recipes in this book, but the Steakhouse Pizza was the one that jumped out at me the most. My family and I are steakhouse kind of people. It’s pretty tough to beat a good, leisurely meal at a nice steakhouse. And it seemed like that was our go-to for special occasions.

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Something about the steakhouse atmosphere is so fancy, yet warm and inviting. The steaks are the main attraction, of course, but I know of no one who doesn’t also dine at steakhouses for the sides. The potatoes, ohhhhh the potatoes. Not to mention, salads always taste better from a steakhouse, don’t they?

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So here is quintessential steakhouse in pizza form. The crust stands in as the starch you would normally get from the potato, and this pizza is COVERED in medium-rare, tender, luscious steak slices. There’s balsamic vinegar and tomato sauce as a nod to those tomato salads with balsamic vinaigrette, and then just before serving, you drizzle on some Worcestershire sauce. Oh, it’s just heaven. Even just writing this is making my stomach growl, and is making me wonder when Matt and I are going to be visiting Ruths Chris’ Steakhouse again!

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{One Year Ago: Caramelized Onion, Pear and Goat Cheese Pizza}

Source: adapted from The Pioneer Woman Cooks: Food From My Frontier by Ree Drummond

2 (1 lb.) balls of pizza dough
1 ½ to 2 lbs. skirt steak or flank steak
Kosher salt and black pepper to taste
1 large red onion, peeled and sliced into ½-inch thick rings
3 tbs balsamic vinegar
1 tbs olive oil, plus more for the grill
2 cups good-quality marinara sauce, store-bought or homemade
1 ½ lbs. fresh mozzarella, thinly sliced
Worcestershire sauce, for drizzling
Shaved Pecorino Romano cheese, for finishing

Let the pizza dough balls come up to room temperature; this takes about 30 minutes. Preheat your indoor or outdoor grill to medium-high heat. Brush with oil if using an outdoor grill.
Season the steak with salt and pepper. Set aside.
Drizzle the onion slices with 1 tbs balsamic vinegar, then with olive oil. Sprinkle both sides with salt and pepper.
Add the remaining 2 tbs balsamic vinegar to the marinara sauce. Stir to combine.
Preheat your oven to 425 F. Set a rack in the center of the oven.
Once your grill is good and hot, if you’re using an indoor grill, drizzle the side where the steak will cook with olive oil. Place the steak on one half of the grill, and carefully place the onion slices on the other part of the grill. Cook the onions about 8-10 minutes, flipping once with a metal spatula, or until they have nice grill marks and are cooked through.
Grill the steak to medium-rare, about 7 minutes total, flipping once. Remove the onions to a cutting board and roughly chop. Remove the steak to a rimmed cutting board and let rest at least 5 minutes. When the steak has rested, thinly slice it against the grain with a very sharp knife. Try to slice it on an angle top to bottom as you’ll get thinner slices that way.
While the steak and onions are grilling, work on the pizza itself. Shape the 2 balls of dough into circles or rectangles and place on 2 greased baking sheets or pizza sheets. Parbake them for 6 minutes.
Remove from the oven and spread 1 cup of the marinara sauce on each pizza crust, leaving a 1-inch border all around. Divide the mozzarella slices between the 2 crusts, lining them in a single layer to cover as much of the sauce as possible. Return the pizzas to the oven for another 10-12 minutes, until the edges of the crusts are golden and the cheese is melted.
Let the pizzas rest about 5 minutes, then top each with half the onions and half the steak slices. Drizzle a little Worcestershire sauce over the steak on both pizzas, then sprinkle the romano shavings on each. Cut into slices and serve.
Oh, and P.S. – I had some steak sauce drizzled onto the hot pizza for a slice of my leftovers, and may I just say: YUM!!! Just FYI.

Short Rib Chili #SundaySupper

Short Rib Chili

So, it’s time for another Sunday Supper, yes, but this is an extra special Sunday Supper, because our theme is …… CHILI COOK-OFF!!! As a girl who hails from Texas, this just excites me to no end. I adore chili, yes I’m particular about it like any good Texan should be, and I think chili cook-offs are the greatest thing ever. So I’m thrilled to be participating in this online contest.

Texas chili with short ribs

I knew that I would be making a proper Texas chili for this event – which means, NO BEANS. As the saying goes, “Chili comes from Texas, and Texas chili has no beans.” Proper Texas chili typically doesn’t use ground beef either; it’s usually a tough cut that gets cooked slowly over long periods of time, until it’s tender enough to just melt in your mouth.

So I’m doing proper Texas chili, but with a little twist: yup, I’m using short ribs instead of the standard beef chuck. I don’t know of anyone who doesn’t go gaga over short ribs, and I thought making a chili with them would be just over the top. I was correct in my hunch. This chili is simply amazing. So flavorful, and decadent from the cut of meat chosen; spicy as it should be, thick as it should be, and no beans. It’s beautiful.

short rib chili

Oh, and you know what just may be the most exciting thing about today? Well, I said chili cook-off, and that always means it’s a contest, right? Well, we do have voting, and the winner gets a prize! So please, scroll down to the bottom of this post and click on the link to vote, and please vote for my chili! Thanks, y’all!

Short Rib Chili

Source: adapted from Dinner at My Place by Tyler Florence

4 lbs. English cut short ribs, on the bone
Kosher salt and black pepper
Olive oil
2 dried ancho chiles, stemmed and hand torn into small pieces
2 tbs whole coriander seeds
2 tbs chili powder
2 tbs sweet paprika
1 tbs ground cumin
1 tbs dried oregano, preferably Mexican
1 tbs sugar
¼ tsp ground cinnamon, preferably Mexican
2 medium onions, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 jalapeno, minced, seeded if desired
3 canned chipotle chiles in adobo, chopped
1 (28 oz.) can whole peeled tomatoes, with their juice
2 tbs tomato paste
1 tbs grated unsweetened Mexican chocolate
2 tbs masa harina
Garnishes of your choosing: shredded or crumbled cheese, sour cream, cilantro, scallions, chopped raw onion, crumbled tortilla chips

Preheat your oven to 325 F.
Preheat a Dutch oven over high heat. Generously season the short ribs with salt and pepper. Drizzle in a touch of olive oil, then sear the short ribs on all sides. Remove with tongs to a plate.
Meanwhile, in a small skillet over medium heat, add the torn dried chile pieces and coriander seeds. Toast for just a few minutes, shaking the skillet occasionally to prevent scorching. It’s done when it smells fragrant. Transfer the toasted spices to a spice grinder or coffee grinder that you only use for grinding spices. Grind until the mixture is a fine powder. Transfer to a bowl, and add the chili powder, paprika, cumin, oregano, sugar, cinnamon, plus 2 tbs kosher salt. Mix well and set aside.
When the ribs are all nicely seared, turn the heat to medium-high and add the onion, garlic and jalapeno. Cook until the onion has softened and turned translucent. Lower the heat the medium-low. Now add the chili powder you made, plus the chipotle in adobo. Stir to combine. Add the canned tomatoes, tomato paste, and chocolate. Use a wooden spoon or potato masher to break up the tomatoes.
Add the short ribs back into the pot, making sure each one is completely coated in the chili mixture. Nestle them in, in a single layer as much as is possible. Pour enough water to just cover the short ribs, about 2 cups.
Raise the heat and bring the mixture up to a simmer. Shut off the heat and place a layer of aluminum foil on top of your Dutch oven. Then top the foil with the Dutch oven lid. Place in the oven and cook for 3 hours without peeking.
The ribs are done when they have considerably shrunk back from the bone (you’ll see a good bit of the bone exposed), and they are fork tender.
Place the Dutch oven over medium-low heat and carefully remove the short ribs to a clean plate with tongs. Use a cereal spoon to skim off some of the fat in the pot, if desired.
Use two forks to shred the meat from the ribs. Discard the bones and excess fat. Place the shredded meat back into the pot and stir to combine. Add the masa harina and let it cook for about 5 minutes. Turn the heat up or down to let it simmer or just warm as needed; you want it to be fairly thick.
Serve warm, with the garnishes of your choice.

Be sure you check out all the other awesome chilis from the rest of the Sunday Supper team!

Will YOU be a part of the #SundaySupper Chili Cook-Off judges panel this week? Voting is live at the Sunday Supper Movement Online Community Magazine starting now and concluding (fittingly) on February 27 – National Chili Day! Browse the submissions and cast your vote by clicking HERE!

Beef and Bison Chili

Pork Chili

Chicken, Duck, and Turkey Chili

Mixed (meat combo) Chili

Fish and Seafood Chili

Vegetarian Chili


Best Wines To Pair with Chili #SundaySupper from ENOFYLZ Wine Blog

Sunday Supper MovementJoin the #SundaySupper conversation on twitter on Sunday! We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7:00 pm ET. Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. Check out our #SundaySupper Pinterest board for more fabulous recipes and food photos.

Would you like to join the Sunday Supper Movement? It’s easy. You can sign up by clicking here: Sunday Supper Movement.

A Guest Post – Creole Meatball Po’Boys

Creole Meatball Po'Boys

Hey y’all! Today I am thrilled to be guest posting for my fellow food blogger Shaina, who writes the fantastic Take a Bite Out of Boca! I met her through #SundaySupper. She’s a great gal who loves to cook, eat, and dine out in her hometown. This week she’s attending a conference in the greatest food city ever,  New Orleans! She’s having a blast and eating *quite* well, I feel sure.

Creole meatballs

In choosing what to make for her blog today, I just had to do something NOLA inspired. Of course. And since it just doesn’t get more New Orleans than po’boys, that’s what we’ll be having. These meatball po’boys are so delicious. Decidedly Creole but not too spicy, moist and tender, flavorful, messy, and just all around amazing.

Click over to Shaina’s blog for the recipe!

Creole meatball po'boys

Red Wine Beef and Swiss Chard Stew

Red Wine Beef and Chard Stew

Welcome to the second-ever Week Of… blog series here at The Texan New Yorker! This week we are feasting on WINTER STEW! Although it’s been freakishly, unseasonably warm the past few days up here in NYC, the past few weeks pretty much everyone in the continental US has been hearing about cold fronts, blizzards, snowstorms, and polar vortexes, pretty much ad nauseum. We get it. It’s cold.

red wine beef and swiss chard stew

So maybe some warmth from the kitchen is in order. I’m not sure anything can warm you up like a hearty stew. And when I think of stew, I think of a nice, chunky beef stew. While I’ll demonstrate this week that it may be a culinary crime to limit stew to just beef, I think it might also be a culinary crime to discount it.

Swiss chard in the salad spinner

Swiss chard, cleaned

And that’s why we’re starting our Winter Stew week with beef. This was everything you demand want from a beef stew: warms your bones, warms your soul, flavorful, tender beef chunks and lots of veggies. The original recipe called for green beans, but seeing as they’re currently out of season, and we’re all supposed to be eating more dark greens, I threw in some Swiss chard instead. It was quite welcome and fit with the stew’s flavor profile very nicely. Enjoy! And stay tuned for more winter stew ideas this week!

Red Wine Beef and Swiss Chard Stew

Source: adapted from Food Network Favorites: Recipes from Our All-Star Chefs

2 lbs. beef chuck stew meat, cut into 1-inch cubes
Kosher salt and black pepper
3 tbs unsalted butter, divided
4 medium carrots, peeled and thinly sliced
1 large onion, chopped
2 tbs all-purpose flour
3 cups beef stock
2 cups dry red wine, such as cabernet sauvignon
1 cup canned crushed tomatoes
1 6-inch sprig of rosemary
2 large Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
1 medium bunch of Swiss chard, leaves stripped and torn
2 tbs chopped fresh parsley

Preheat your oven to 300 F. Place your large Dutch oven, or other large oven-safe stock pot over medium-high heat. Season the beef cubes with salt and pepper. Melt 2 tbs butter in the Dutch oven, then add the beef cubes and brown on all sides. Do this in batches if necessary; do not crowd the pan as that will cause the beef to steam and not brown properly. Remove the beef with a slotted spoon to a plate or bowl.
When all the beef has been browned, lower the heat to medium and add the remaining tablespoon of butter. Add the carrots and onions and sauté until softened. Add the flour and stir until all traces of it disappear into the veggies. Now add the beef stock, wine, and tomatoes. Toss in the rosemary.
Slide the browned beef cubes back into the pot along with any juices collected on the plate. Bring the liquid to a boil. Once boiling, shut off the heat. Cover the top of the pot with aluminum foil, then cover with the pot’s lid. Place the pot of stew into the oven and cook for 50 minutes.
Remove the pot from the oven and stir in the potatoes and chard. Replace the foil and the pot’s lid, and slide the stew back into the oven. Cook for another 50 minutes.
Remove the pot from the oven and discard the foil. Place the pot on a burner and simmer on medium-low for 15-20 minutes with the lid ajar. Season to taste again with salt and pepper, and stir in the parsley. Fish out the rosemary stem and serve.

Tacos de Lengua #SundaySupper

Tacos de Lengua

I’m ba-ack – to Sunday Supper, that is! The holidays got a little nutty so I took a break, but I’m very happy to be participating once again. This week we are *slowly* ringing in the New Year. Slowly – get it? Yup, slow cookers! All the recipes this week are crock pot friendly and quite appropriate for all the cold weather we’re having. I considered it a perfect excuse to check one off my cooking bucket list – making beef tongue tacos! (Lengua is Spanish for beef tongue.)

I first tasted beef tongue about a year ago in a restaurant. It came on a small plate as a hash, and we all loved it. Making it at home immediately went on the list. I’m quite pleased to discover and report that this is a very easy dish to make at home. The beef sits in the slow cooker with a few aromatics for 8 hours, then it cools slightly and you remove the skin and dice it. Then you simmer it just a few minutes in the sauce and you’re done!

slow cooker beef tongue

Now, you may have noticed that I didn’t post any pictures of the tongue whole. That’s because, well, the cooked tongue, pre-skinning and dicing, well, just looks like a giant penis. I wish I was kidding. But it really, really does. As in, men wish they were… okay never mind. But anyways!

Once you get it peeled and diced, it’s not so disturbing (or phallic) and things are pretty smooth sailing from that point on. I know this recipe probably isn’t going to be everybody’s cup of tea, but if you’re even a slightly adventurous eater, I’d highly recommend trying this, it’s really quite tasty. Matt ate three tacos in a row. Oh, and this doesn’t have to be tacos; I loved it on tortilla chips, which makes me think it works as a dip of sorts, or possibly as nachos, too. Whichever way, enjoy!

Beef Tongue Tacos

Source: adapted from Muy Bueno by Yvette Marquez-Sharpnack, Veronica Gonzalez-Smith, and Evangelina Soza

2 ½ – 3 lbs. beef tongue (make sure it’s raw, not cured)
3 cups water
1 small onion, peeled and quartered
5 cloves garlic, smashed and peeled
2 tsp kosher salt

1 tbs olive oil
½ a medium onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, smashed and peeled
1 (15 oz.) can diced fire-roasted tomatoes
1 tsp ground cumin
Pinch of ground cinnamon, preferably Mexican
¼ tsp ground chile de arbol
8 corn tortillas
Fresh cilantro, for garnish
Crumbled Cotija cheese, for garnish (optional)

Place the beef tongue, water, onion, garlic and salt in your slow cooker. Cook on low for 8 hours.
You’ll know the beef tongue is ready when the skin has turned white and a sharp paring knife pierces it easily. Remove the tongue and let it cool to where you can handle it. Peel the outer skin off. Use a sharp paring knife to help if necessary. You will also need to cut off the fatty and funky looking underside part. Basically, it’s the part that looks like the testicles. I know that’s crude, but if you’re making this dish following these directions, you’ll know *exactly* what I’m talking about.
Once the tongue is skinned and trimmed, dice into ½-inch cubes and set aside.
Strain the stock through a fine-mesh sieve. Add the strained stock into a fat separator. If you don’t have one, then refrigerate it so you can skim the fat off.
Meanwhile, make the sauce. Add the olive oil to a 10-inch skillet, preferably cast-iron, and place it over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and sauté until the onion has softened. Shut off the heat and scrape the veggies into your blender. Add the tomatoes, ½ cup of your reserved stock, cumin, cinnamon, chile de arbol, and salt and pepper to taste. Puree until very smooth, 1-2 minutes. Pour the sauce back into the skillet. Add the diced tongue and turn the heat to medium-low. Simmer about 5 minutes to warm the tongue through and thicken the sauce slightly. It should not be runny.
While the sauce is simmering, warm the tortillas and keep them in a tortilla warmer if you have one, or in a foil packet.
To serve, fill a tortilla with some of the beef tongue mixture, then garnish with cilantro and cheese, if desired. I used both garnishes, and I could go either way on the cheese, but I highly, highly recommend using the cilantro. It really adds a needed fresh, grassy note.

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