Oswald Rivera

Author, Warrior, and Teacher

Category: Beef (page 1 of 7)

(plus a couple of rabbits)

CHINESE MEATBALLS

I call this recipe Chinese meatballs. My Chinese brethren refer to it as “deep fried beef balls.” To me, they’re fried meatballs in oyster sauce that we serve with steamed rice; but they’re good over any preferred grain be it couscous, quinoa, farro or noodles.

It’s an easy enough dish to prepare. If you want the oyster sauce a bit thicker you can add a teaspoon  of cornstarch mix with a tablespoon of water. I serve this dish with parboil spinach which must be pressed to get rid of the excess water, thereby allowing the oyster sauce to be adsorbed. With a good wine, red or white, slightly chilled (or sake, if you want to mix cultures), it makes for a marvelous dinner.

CHINESE MEATBALLS

Ingredients:

1 pound beef (can substitute ground turkey or chicken)
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cornstarch
⅓ cup peanut oil or vegetable  oil
1 pound fresh spinach
½ cup water
½ cup beef or chicken broth
½ cup oyster sauce

Instructions:

1. In a bowl, mix the beef with the salt and cornstarch. Shape into small balls about ¾-inch in diameter.
2. Heat oil in a wok, skillet or frypan and cook meatballs over medium heat until deep brown. Note: a deep fryer, if you have one, is good for this.
3. While the beef is cooking, parboil or steam the spinach in the water. Press spinach lightly to remove moisture. Lay the spinach on a warm plate and arranged the cooked meatballs in the middle.
4. Pour the broth and oyster sauce in a small pan and heat briefly. Pour over the meatballs and spinach and serve with rice.
Yield: 4 servings.

 

CARNE GUISADA (Beef Stew)

Our version of beef stew, Carne Guisada is  a glorious example of Criollo cooking. That is, cooking that is native to the island of Puerto Rico  In its Nuyorican transformation, it has resulted in countless variants. I’ve seen recipes where raisins, sweet peas, and even carrots have been added. Some aficionados boil the meat first then add the remaining ingredients. Some folks add beef bones to the stew. Some add potatoes. Whatever method is used, the results are uniformly good. Let me add that this recipe is one of the premier dishes featured in my first cookbook, Puerto Rican Cuisine in America  (Running Press)

The popular  accompaniment to the dish is steamed white rice or yellow Spanish rice. On that, there is no argument. But, of course , we live in more enliven times thus, if desired, you can pair the dish with couscous, quinoa, farro, or even pasta. As noted countless times before, you are only limited by your imagination.

Note that the recipe calls for sofrito, that aromatic criollo seasoning that is also used for flavoring and enhancing a dish. Think of the condiment, garam  masala. that is used in Indian cooking, to achieve the same results. The principle is the same. In one of my early posts (11/08/10) I gave a recipe for sofrito. Basically, it’s a mix of diverse herbs and spices that go into making the thing. Today, you can find sofrito in most supermarkets or specialty stores. You can try the various brands, and I wish you luck. You can cut corners by substituting Sazón accent (Goya makes a passable product); or, if all else fails, substitute a teaspoon of turmeric for the sofrito. Be it as it may, check out the sofrito  recipe from 2010. Nothing compares to the genuine deal.

CARNE GUISADA
(Beef Stew)

Ingredients:

2 pound stew meat or beef round steak, trimmed and cut into1-inch chunks
¼ cup olive oil or vegetable oil
1 medium onion, peeled and coarsely chopped
1 medium green bell pepper, cored, seeded and coarsely chopped
½ teaspoon dried oregano
2 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
Salt to taste
½ cup tomato sauce
1 tablespoon achiote (see above)
10-12 pimento stuffed olives
1 tablespoon capers
1 bay leaf
½ cup water

Instructions:

  1. Wash meat and pat dry with paper towels.
  2.  In a Dutch oven,  heavy pot or kettle, heat the oil, add beef chunks, onion, bell pepper, oregano, garlic and stir-fry over moderate heat until meat is brown.
  3.  Add salt, tomato sauce, achiote, olives, capers and bay leaf. Mix and cook for 5 minutes.
  4.  Add water, bring to a rapid boil, cover and simmer on low heat for 1 hour. Serve over white or yellow rice.
    Yield: 4 or more servings.

KEEMA CURRY

In Nuyorican culture, one of our favored meals is picadillo (pronounced pee-kah-dee-yo). It’s a ground meat stew that has become one of our specialties. I’ve now discovered there is an Indian version of it, Keema Curry. Even with the different spices, the dishes are very similar. Both are meat-like stews containing tomatoes, and served over rice. The only exception in picadillo is that, sometimes, depending upon preference, you may add potato cubes to it. Nevertheless, if you put them side by side when served with plain boiled rice, it’s hard to tell which is the Picadillo and which is the Keema Curry.

KEEMA CURRY

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, peeled and finely chopped
1 clove garlic, peeled and finely minced
2 teaspoons ground ginger (fresh, if possible)
1½  pounds ground beef
1 tablespoon garam masala
½ teaspoon chili powder
1 cup tomatoes, cored and chopped
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2/3 cup beef bouillon
Salt and ground black pepper to taste
1¼ cup unflavored yogurt

Instructions:

  1. Heat olive oil in a large pan or skillet. Add garlic and fry until golden.
  2.  Stir in ginger, beef, garam masala and chili powder. Fry, stirring, until meat is browned.
  3.  Stir in tomatoes, tomato paste, bouillon, salt, pepper, and half the yogurt. Cover and simmer on heat for about 40 minutes or until meat is cooked. Stir in the remaining yogurt and serve over plain  boiled rice.
    Yield: 4 servings.

 

GRILLED KEBABS

This past Labor Day we did what countless other Americans did, we barbecued. In this case, it was grilled kebabs (or kebob, if you want). This is a very straight-forward meal. When we cook kebabs, we brush the meat with an olive oil-cumin mixture. You can also add ground dried chili if you want to spice it up a bit.  In addition, we added some chopped cilantro leaves for garnish.

When we grill kebabs, we prefer lamb; but you can use beef or pork, if that’s your desire. In case you get rained-out, or the weather is not cooperative, the dish can also be prepared by broiling indoors. Either way, have fun.

GRILLED KEBABS

Ingredients:

1 pound lamb or other meat, cut into chunks
1 pound cherry tomatoes or bigger tomatoes cut into chunks
1 green bell pepper, cut into ½-inch pieces
1 large onion, peeled and cut into chunks
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 coarsely ground dried chili, optional
Salt and ground black pepper to taste
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro leave

Instructions:

  1. If you are using wooden skewers, soak them in water for at least 10 minutes. Heat a charcoal or gas grill. If you are using charcoal or briquettes, be generous, you want a broad fire.
  2.  Thread meat and vegetables alternately on skewers. Mix olive oil and cumin, and brush on the meat and vegetables. Sprinkle with half of the chili and some salt and pepper. Let the kebabs sit while grill heats up.
  3.  When fire is hot but not scorching, place kebabs on grill. Brush them with the olive oil-cumin mix  once or twice as they cook. Grill until they begin to brown and become tender, about 10-15 minutes. Place on a serving  platter and sprinkle with remaining chili. Sprinkle with cilantro for garnish, and serve.
    Yield: 4 servings.

 

MEATBALLS STRAOGANOFF

We’ve all heard of Beef Stroganoff, a dish of Russian origin consisting of sautéed pieces of beef in a luscious sour cream sauce. The following recipe is a variation on that dish. We’ve made the beef into meatballs. Thus, Meatballs Stroganoff. Meatballs? you say. And I say, Why not? The meatballs come out delicious; and are superb served over buttered egg noodles or rice.

This s an experiment that came out great.

MEATBALLS STROGANOFF

Ingredients:

2 pound lean ground beef
1 cup bread crumbs
½ cup chopped onion
1 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
Salt and ground black pepper to taste
¾ cup flour
½ cup olive oil
1 cup beef bouillon
2 cups sour cream
2 tablespoons fresh chopped parsley

Instructions:

  1. In a bowl, combine bread crumbs, onion, 2 teaspoons of Worcestershire sauce, salt and pepper.  Mix well and shape into meatballs. Now, in terms of the meatballs, in our clan, we like them large. If you make them small, you’ll get about 18 meatballs.  If you make them 1½-inches in diameter (or larger), you’ll get about 12-13 meatballs.  Just use your judgment as to how big you want them, and proceed accordingly. Once you have the size desired, coat them in ½ cup  of the flour.
  2.  Heat oil in a large skillet or frypan and brown meatballs over medium heat.
  3. Combine bouillon and remaining flour. Pour over meatballs. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer 20 minutes. Blend in reaming Worcestershire sauce and sour cream.  Heat very gently. Pour over noodles and rice and serve immediately, garnished with fresh chopped parsley.

 

SARCHICHA CON CEBOLLA Y UVA (Sausage with Onion and Raisins)

In Nuyorican cuisine it is common to add raisins to certain meat recipes.  Think of pasteles (root plants stuffed with meat) and carne guisada (beef stew). We also add it to sausage. In this case the recipe given: Sarchicha con Cebello y Uva (Sausage with Onion and Raisins).  This is a simple dish to prepare. It’s just sausage cooked with onion and raisins, to which we add garlic, salt, pepper and a little white wine, that’s it. Normally, we pair this dish with white rice. In my family we like it with potatoes or bianda (root plants like cassava, pumpkin, green bananas, etc.). This time around we serve it on a bed of steamed cabbage and parsley potatoes and it was great.

Be aware that we refer to sausage as “sarchicha.” I’ve been informed that this is a colloquialism.  If you look it up in an English-Spanish dictionary, it refers to sausage as “embutidos.” Back on the block, we never beard of this embutidos thing. To us it was always sarchicha or sarchichas (plural). And that’s what we call this recipe, end of story.

In Latino culture, the sausage used would be chorizo, the spicy Spanish version. But you can substitute beef, pork, chicken or turkey sausage. In my family, we are partial to lamb, and that’s what is used in this recipe. Look, even if it’s Libby’s canned sausage, you’re still gonna love this dish.

SARCHICHA CON CEBOLLA Y UVA
(Sausage with Onion and Raisins)

Ingredients:

2 pounds fresh kielbasa lamb sausage
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
1 medium onion, peeled and sliced into thin rings
2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
2 tablespoons black raisins or more to taste
Salt and black ground pepper to taste
1/3 cup dry white wine

Instructions:

  1. Remove sausage casing if it has such. Rinse sausage links under cold running water and pat dry with paper towels. Then sliced into 1/4-inch rounds.
  2.  In a large skillet or fry pan, heat olive oil and butter. Add sausage and onion. Stir fry on medium-high heat until sausage is browned and onion is soft. Add garlic and cook 2 minutes more.  Season with salt and pepper.
  3.  Stir in raisins and cook for 2 minutes. Lower heat, cover and simmer 4 minutes.
  4.  Add wine to pan and cook over high heat, stirring, until most of the wine has been absorbed. Serve immediately.
    Yield: 4-6 servings.

GREEK MEATBALLS WITH RICE

One of my favorite ways of preparing  meatballs is how our Greek brethren do it. I have long been a fan of Greek cuisine. They have 3,000 years of history in terms of cooking. We can learn a thing or two from them. So, you can consider this posting as a Greek meal. Simply, it’s meatballs  (keftaides) over rice with fideo (pilafi me fides). The latter dish  is just rice combined with cut thin spaghetti (fideo). Back in Spanish Harlem almost every household would add fideo to their soups. We never thought of combining it with rice (another innovation by our Greek brothers and sisters).

With this Greek dinner I took the liberty of adding saltsa bechamel to the meatballs. Saltsa bechamel is the Greek method of preparing béchamel sauce, that fame sauce attributed to French cuisine (although some historians state its origin is actually Tuscany—but that’s another story). Add some good Greek wine like a Agiorgitiko from Nemea or Xinomavro from Naoussa, and you’ll have a dinner that will transform you to a sunset evening in Athens. Don’t let the Greek wine tongue twisters deter you. An Agiorgitiko is similar to a Merlot. With a Xinomavro, think of a Barolo or Pinot Noir.

For this dinner, I would suggest making the béchamel sauce first. You can set it aside and heat it up again with the main course; then preparing the rice with fideo. While the rice is cooking, you can make the meatballs, which are served drizzled with the sauce.

SALTSA BECHAMEL

Ingredients:

4 tablespoons butter
6 tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
Dash of nutmeg
2 cups milk
2 egg yolks, slightly beaten

Instructions:

Melt butter over low heat. Add  flour, salt, pepper and nutmeg. Stir until blended into a consistent paste. Remove from heat. Gradually stir in milk and return to heat. Cook, stirring constantly until thick and smooth. Remove from heat and gradually add egg yolks, stirring constantly. Yield: 2 cups

RICE WITH FIDEO

Ingredients:

1½ cups long grain rice
¾ cup fideo (or crushed vermicelli)
4 tablespoons butter
3 cups chicken broth
1 teaspoon dried chives

Instructions:

Combine the rice and fideo and sauté in butter in a 2-quart pan or pot until golden brown. Add chicken broth and chives. Cover and cook over very low heat until the liquid is absorbed, about 30-40 minutes. Fluff with a fork and serve. Yield: 4 or more servings.

GREEK MEATBALLS:

Ingredients:

2 pounds ground beef or a mixture of beef and pork or lamb
1 cup bread crumbs
1 teaspoon salt
1 medium onion, peeled and chopped
3 tablespoons fresh chopped parsley or 1 teaspoon dried
2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
1 tablespoon fresh chopped mint or 1 teaspoon dried
1 egg, beaten
¼ cup ouzo or anisette
1 cup flour
½ cup olive oil (or more if needed).

Instructions:

  1. Combine meat, bread crumbs, salt, onion, parsley, garlic, mint, egg and ouzo. Mix well.
  2. Form into meatballs and roll them in the floor. Note that we like our meatballs medium-sized, not small. Place on a cookie sheet and chill for 1 hour.
  3.  Heat oil in a large skillet or frying pan  and fry meatballs over medium-high heat until done, about 15-20 minutes. Serve them hot.
    Yield: Makes about 32 meatballs (4 to 6 servings).

 

 

 

 

 

STEAK DIANE

This recipe is called Streak Diane Savola. I got it years ago and, honestly, I don’t remember from where. I do know that ‘Steak Diane’ is a dish in what is known as “Continental Cuisine.” According to Wikipedia, it was probably invented in London or New York in the 1930s. According to my research, the fancified Steak Diane contains varied ingredients such as Cognac, mushrooms, shallots, Dijon mustard and heavy cream. This version doesn’t have any of that. In fact, it’s a rather simple sauté with chives’ parsley, Worcestershire sauce and Amaretto Disaronno.

So, wanna really impress family and friends with something that is both retro and delicious? This dish is it. You can lie and tell them you slaved all day to create this majestic effort.

Ingredients:

4 steaks (rib, T-bone, sirloin or other cut)
5 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon chopped scallions
1 tablespoon chopped chives
1 tablespoon chopped parsley
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
6 tablespoons Amaretto Disaronno

Instructions:

  1. Rinse the steaks under cold running water and pat dry with paper towels.
  2. Heat the butter in a large pan or skillet over medium-high heat.
  3.  Add the scallions and cook until soft. Add the steaks and sear on each side. Add remaining ingredients and sauté until desired degree of doneness.
    Yield: 4 servings.

GRILLED STUFFED BURGERS

GRILLED STUFFED BURGERS

If you like grilling burgers (and who doesn’t), you’re going to love this recipe. It takes the lowly majestic hamburger to a higher level. Here we have stuffed burgers. And the stuffing is mozzarella cheese, sun-dried tomatoes and fresh basil. Think of it as a stuffed pizza burger. And you can use whatever stuffing you want, be it onions, broccoli, olives, you name it. I would not suggest pepperoni. You’ve already got the meat, and adding pepperoni would be having meat stuffed with more meat. Pepperoni lovers would swoon; but some may not. Nevertheless, I assure you, once you try the stuffed burger, you’ll be hooked.

GRILLED STUFFED BURGERS

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons onion powder
2 tablespoons garlic powder
2 pounds lean ground beef
4 slices mozzarella cheese
9 ounces sun-dried tomatoes in oil, finely chopped
¼ cup fresh basil, minced
Salt and pepper to taste
4 hamburger buns

Instructions:

  1. In a bowl, combine onion and garlic powders with ground beef. Form the beef into patties around the cheese, tomatoes and basil. Make sure the stuffing is completely hidden so none leeks out during cooking. Add salt and pepper.
  2. Grill patties until desired doneness and serve on a warm bun with a side salad or any other accompaniment desired.
    Yield: 4 servings.

TERIYAKI MEATBALLS

It always amazes me how the Americanization of other cuisines has been so prominent in our culture. You know what I mean. Think of Chinese-American cooking, which is nothing like the cuisine you would encounter in China.  Think of what we did with French cooking. For example, Vichyssoise is not French. It is an American invention. It was invented in 1917 at the Ritz hotel by a French chef. Then there’s Tex-Mex cooking. You will not find chimichangas in upscale restaurants in Mexico City. Again, another America addition. When I was in Italy, pasta was mainly served as side dish. We made it the main course with such things as spaghetti with meatballs. And, thinking of meatballs, that is where I came across this tidbit, Teriyaki Meatballs. Again, another Americanization of another traditional cuisine, this time, Japanese.

I tried this recipe and it was nothing short of marvelous. You may not find teriyaki meatballs in a restaurant in  Japan (unless they’re catering to Americans), but you can make it at home and enjoy the essence of all the diverse flavors in this dish. With plain steamed rice, it makes for a great repast.

The recipe includes sazón accent (Goya makes a good brand) which is, honestly, a substitute for MSG and can be found in any food store these days.  It is optional in the recipe if you have any qualms.

TERIYAKI MEATBALLS

Ingredients:

1 pound lean ground beef
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
¼ cup diced scallions
1 egg
3 tablespoons bread crumbs
Salt to taste
White pepper to taste
Butter or oil for frying

Sauce:
½ cup soy sauce
White pepper to taste
Sugar to taste
1 packet sazón accent (optional)
Pinch of allspice
¼ teaspoon ground ginger

Instructions:

  1. Mix ground beef thoroughly with parsley, chives and scallions. Stir in egg and bread crumbs. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Shape into balls about 1½ to 2 inches in diameter.
  2.  Heat butter or oil in a heavy skillet. Add meatballs and fry for about 5 minutes or so or until browned on all sides.
  3.  While meatballs are frying, prepare sauce. In a small saucepan, heat soy sauce over low heat. Season with salt, pepper, sugar, sazón accent, allspice and ground ginger.
  4.  Pour hot sauce over meatballs. Let stand for 5 minutes so flavors can blend.
    Yield: 4 servings.

 

Older posts

© 2022 Oswald Rivera

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑