Oswald Rivera

Author, Warrior, and Teacher

Category: Beef (page 1 of 8)

(plus a couple of rabbits)

MEAT PIE

I  call this recipe a Meat Pie although it’s not a pie in the traditional sense. Basically it’s braised beef with a sour cream topping. I know, it’s a weird combination. Yet the result is delicious, and something out of the ordinary. Take a chance on it. You won’t be disappointed.

Let me add that, for the health conscious you can substitute ground chicken or turkey for the beef given in the recipe.  Impress everyone in your circle with this one.

MEAT PIE

Ingredients:

I pound ground beef
3 tablespoons olive  oil
1 medium onion, peeled and chopped
2 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
1 pound ground beef
½ teaspoon oregano
½ teaspoon fresh thyme leaves or ¼ teaspoon dried
Salt and ground black pepper to taste
1 (16 oz.) container sour cream
1 packet Sazón Goya or Sa-són Accent
2 hard-boiled eggs, sliced in half

Instructions:

  1.  Heat olive oil in a frypan or skillet over medium heat.
  2.  Add onion and cook until soft and translucent, Add garlic and cook for 2 minutes more.
  3.  Add ground beef and cook, stirring, until well browed.
  4.  Stir in oregano, thyme, salt and pepper.
  5.  In a bowl, mix sour cream with the sazón. Layer the sour cream mix over the beef. Place in a broiler and broil 4 minutes (do not burn).
  6.  Garnish with hard-boil eggs sand serve .
    Yield: 4-6 servings.

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BRAISED BRISKET

 

This is as recipe that I prepared for Passover. Some of our Jewish friend had invited us over to partake in their ritual Passover feast. Only requirement was that we each bring a dish; and I was entrusted with the brisket. Let me state that this is my own brisket dinner recipe and it has a Nuyorican spin to it. I add such ingredients as oregano and sofrito, that aromatic mix of herbs and spices traditional in Puerto Rican cooking. If you don’t have sofrito, you can use a packet of either Goya Sazón or Sazón Accent. This is a slow cooked meal and, blessedly, it was a hit with everyone.

So, here it is one, my  Nuyorican version of Braised Brisket. Let me add that this dish is for that special occasion, and it does take time and patience; but the effort is more than worth it.

BRAISED BRISKET

Ingredients:

 4-6 pound brisket (preferably first cut)
¼  cup olive oil
1 tablespoons dried oregano or to taste
1 tablespoons fresh chopped thyme leaves, or 1 teaspoon dried
3  whole onions, peeled and sliced thinly
10 whole cloves garlic, peeled and squashed with your palm, the side of a knife or a cleaver
3 bay leaves
1 cup water (beef or chicken broth can be substituted)
¼ cup red wine (preferably dry not sweet)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon paprika
3/4 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon sofrito

Instructions:

  1. If frozen, thaw brisket. Rinse under cold running water and pat dry with paper towels.
  2. Drizzle with olive oil, season with oregano and thyme, and brown brisket in a skillet on both sides.
  3. Place half of the chopped onions, 5 of the garlic cloves and the bay leaves in the bottom of a Dutch oven or large pot
  4. Place brisket on top of the onions and garlic.
  5. In a small bowl, mix together the water or broth, wine,  black pepper, paprika, turmeric, and sofrito. Pour the water and spice mixture into a skillet and heat over medium heat until  hot and bubbly, using the liquid to deglaze the pan and loosening brown bits gently from the bottom of the skillet with a spatula. Pour the contents of the skillet into the brisket pot.
  6. Top brisket with the remaining sliced onions and garlic cloves. Cover and cook on medium-high heat until liquid steams. Lower heat to medium and cook until fork tender (about 2 hours). Tenderness will increase as it cooks, so take it out when it’s tender to your liking. Most people like it very tender but not so soft that it is falling apart. You want it firm enough to slice but tender enough that the edges shred with a fork.
  7. Remove brisket from the pot and let it rest on the cutting board fat-side up for 20 minutes. Then cut the brisket into thin slices against the grain.
  8. Meanwhile, mix together 2 tablespoons cornstarch with 2 tablespoons water and stir into the liquid in the pot (after removing bay leaves).
  9. Once sauce is ready, return slices to the pot and mix with sauce. Heat the meat slices on medium heat until sauce is hot, bubbly and thickened around the meat (around 5-8 minutes). Serve sliced brisket hot with sauce.
    Yield: 8 or more servings.

ALBONDIGAS GUISADA EN SALSA (Meaatballs cooked in Sauce)

 

We all are familiar with meatballs, especially when paired with spaghetti.  In Nuyorican cuisine we also have our version of meatballs, or Albondigas Guisadas en Salsa i.e. Meatballs Cooked in Sauce. Most of the time we serve this dish with rice or potatoes. In some recipes, a lot of what we call criollo items are added such as pimentos (sweet bell peppers), Spanish olives, chili peppers, cilantro, etc. In the version given below, we keep it simple: stewed in tomato sauce.

This recipe calls for beef. You can substitute ground pork or lamb. If you’re health conscious, you can use ground turkey or chicken. Whatever  meat you use, it’s a very delicious dish.

Note that in this recipe we include sofrito, that aromatic mix of herbs and spices common to Puerto Rican cooking. In this blog, back in 11/08/10, I posted a sofrito recipe. You can also access a sofrito video I did on 07/10/14. If that’s too much of a bother, you can just sauté 1 teaspoon of turmeric in 2 teaspoons olive oil and add to the recipe. Or simply substitute a packet of Goya Sazόn or Sa-zόn Accent, an ingredient you can find these days in most supermarkets.

ALBONDIGAS GUSISADA EN SALSA
(Meatballs Cooked in sauce)

Ingredients:

1½ pounds lean ground beef
8 whole black peppercorns
1 clove garlic, peeled
1 teaspoon dried oregano
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon olive oil
2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
1 cup bread crumbs or cracker crumbs
1 egg lightly beaten
½ cup flour
Vegetable oil for frying (about 1 cup)
2 tablespoons sofrito (see above)
1 cup tomato sauce

Instructions:

  1. Place meat in a bowl.
  2. In a mortar, crush peppercorns, garlic, oregano and salt. Blend in olive oil and vinegar.
  3. Add spices to the meat, along with bread crumbs and beaten egg. Mix thoroughly.
  4. Form meatballs into balls. (Note: we like large meatballs. I mean the size of Spauldings.  If you’re more conservative in your tastes, you can make the meatballs spoonful size).
  5. Coat balls with flour.
  6. In a large skillet, heat vegetable oil, add meatballs and cook evenly over medium-high heat until brown (about 10 minutes). Cover, remove from heat and set aside.
  7. In a small saucepan, sauté the sofrito over high heat for 1-2 minutes. Lower heat, add tomato sauce and simmer, covered, about 5 minutes,
  8. Return meatballs to stove. Add tomato sauce and cook over medium heat, covered, for 15 minutes.
    Yield: 6 servings.

CROQUETAS DE CARNE (Meat Croquettes)

Back on the block, this was a singular dish, mainly for a celebratory occasion. It’s Croquetas de Carne  (Meat Croquettes). Usually, the  recipe is made with beef; but you can substitute ground pork, lamb , turkey or chicken. Any good grade of meat will do. In Nuyorican cuisine we serve the  dish with parsley potatoes or rice.  But whatever accompaniment you want with it, it’ll be a marvelous  and inexpensive banquet.

Note that the recipe calls for deep frying. Any good quality oil will do, be it canola, safflower or sunflower oil. In the old days, th  folks would use lard.  Also, I’ll say it front: this recipe takes time and patience. You have to cook the meat, chill it thoroughly, dip it in bread crumbs, chill again, and then deep fry. Yet the results will be splendid. That’s why, back in Spanish Harlem, it was a special dish.

CROUETAS DE CARNE   t    (Meat Croquettes)

Ingredients:

4 tablespoons butter
¼ cup flour
1 cup milk
2 cups finely ground cooked beef
2 teaspoons lemon juice
Salt and ground black pepper to taste
1 teaspoon minced fresh parsley
1 teaspoon dried oregano
Dry bread crumbs
1 egg, slightly beaten and mixed with 2 tablespoons water
Oil for deep frying

Instructions:

  1.  Melt the butter in a large frypan or skillet. Add milk and cook over medium heat until very thick, stirring constantly. Add beef, lemon juice, salt, pepper, parsley and oregano. Place in refrigerator and chill for 2 hours.
  2.  Remove from fridge and form into cylinders, pyramids or patties. While forming the croquettes it’s advisable to keep hands slightly wet. Dip into bread crumbs and then beaten egg. Dip into bread crumbs again. Place back in fridge and chill for 2 hours.
  3.  Fill a large skillet or fry pan with oil (by at least 1½-inches). Heat until very hot (385 degrees F.) and deep fry croquettes until brown.
    Yield: 4 servings.

 

 

 

KOFTAS

On 08/08/23 I posted a recipe on “Kofta Curry”  which combine Kofta, a type of Meatball, in a curry sauce. This dish was of Indian origin. Then I discovered there are various types of “Koftas.” Let’s get some historical perspective. Koftas are a type of meatball that originated in the Middle East and India.  The word “Kofta” comes form the Persian Kufta, which means “to beat or grind ,” which refers to the ground meat used in the recipe

There are many types of Koftas. Today’s rendition involves cooking the meat in a white sauce combined with the curry.  Note that the meat could be ground beef, pork or lamb. Traditionally, this dish is served on a bed of plain boiled rice. Since we had some Chinese noodles on hand, we used those instead; and it was a delicious combination. This is a delightful rich dish for a any occasion. Your family and friends will applaud your creation.

KOFTAS

Ingredients:

1½ pounds (3 cups) ground meat
2 onions, finely chopped
1 cup fresh breadcrumbs
2 green chilies, finely chopped (optional)
Pinch of ground cinnamon
Pinch of ground cloves
1 egg, beaten
Oil for frying (canola or any good oil)

Sauce:
2 tablespoons butter
¾ cup flour
1-2 teaspoons curry powder
1½ cups beef or chicken bouillon
2/3 cup heavy cream
Diced tomato
Sliced green pepper

Instructions:

  1. Mix the meat with the rest of the kofta ingredients., adding enough beaten egg to bind.
  2.  Form the mixture into small balls and deep fry them in hot oil until golden brown. Drain on paper towels.
  3.  Melt the butter in a large frying pan or skillet. Blend in the flour and curry powder and cook 1-2 minutes.
  4.  Add the bouillon and bring to a boil, stirring. Cook gently, stirring until the sauce has thickened. Add the cream and mix.
  5.  Place the meatballs in the sauce and simmer gently for 10 minutes. Shake the pan occasionally to make sure they do not stick of burn. Serve, either on noodles, as we did it,  or on a bed of rice. Garnish with tomato and green pepper.
    Yield: 4-6 servings.

 

BIFTEC A LA CRIOLLA (Steak Creole Style)

This recipe is similar to a quick stir-fry, and is one of the entries in my first cookbook, Puerto Rican Cosine in America (Running Press). Initially, this dish was prepared in our family using boneless sirloin or round steak, when times were good. During the lean intervals, it was chuck steak. Since the meat was cut very thin into strips, the cooking time was about the same. Then we discovered flank steak. Thinly sliced across the grain to help tenderize the meat, flank steak was great for this dish. In the cooking process, some folks omit the tomato and instead use tomato sauce. We prefer sautéing everything. I think my mother, of beloved memory, probably got the idea from watching some Chinese chef on TV.

BIFTEC A LA CRIOLLA
(Steak Creole Style)

Ingredients:

1½ pounds flank steak, cut along the grain into strips about 1½ inches wide; then cut each strip across the grain into¼-inch slices
9 whole black peppercorns
1 clove garlic, peeled and crushed
1 teaspoon dried oregano
¼ teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons vinegar
¼ cup olive oil
1 large green bell pepper, cored, seeded and cut into ¼-inch strips
1 large onion, peeled and thinly sliced
1 4-ounce can mushrooms, drained
1 large tomato, cored and cut into half moon shapes

Instructions:

  1. Wash meat and pat dry with paper towels.
  2.  In a mortar, crush peppercorns, garlic, oregano and salt. Add vinegar and mix.
  3.  Place meat in a bowl. Add seasonings and blend. Cover and let stand in the refrigerator for 10 minutes.
  4.  In a large skillet or frying pan, heat olive oil. Add meat strips and quickly  brown over medium-high heat.
  5.  Add remaining ingredients and stir-fry 4-5 minutes.
  6.  Serve over rice or vegetables.
    Yield: 4 servings.

MEAT/RICE BALLS IN SAUCE

This is a unique meatball recipe that combines beef (or ground pork, turkey or chicken) with rice. You simply combine the meat with the rice, form it into meatballs and fry in a tomato sauce. It’s a quick and delicious no-frills meal.

MEAT/RICE BALLS IN SAUCE

Ingredients:

1 pound ground beef
½ cup raw rice
¼ cup chopped onion
Salt and ground black pepper to  taste
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 (8-oz.) cans tomato sauce
1 cup water
2 cloves garlic, peeled nd minced
¾ teaspoon dried oregano

Instructions:

  1. In a bowl, mix beef, onions, salt and pepper. Form into small balls
  2. Heat oil in a skillet or fry pan over medium-high heat. Add meat/rice balls and fry, turning frequently until light brown but not crusty on all sides.
  3. Add sauce, water, garlic and oregano. Mix well. Cover and simmer on low heat about 45 minutes.
    Yield: 4 servings.

TUSCAN-STYLE STEAK

Tuscan-Style Steak, also known as Bistecca Alla Fiorentina (Florentine Steak) is a great dish for the summer grilling season. What makes this recipe unique is the addition of fresh rosemary. In some recipes, when grilling, rosemary sprigs are used as a brush for grilling the steaks. I like to marinate the meat in a marinade of chopped fresh rosemary, garlic and olive oil, and then grill.

Note that for this dish, you can use whatever cut of steak you prefer, be strip steak, squirt steak, rib-eye, Delmonico Steak, porterhouse or even chuck. It all depends on your preference and/or pocketbook.

By the way if, as it sometimes happens, rain spoils your barbeque, you can always pan-fry the steaks. they’ll taste just as good.

TUSCAN-STYLE STEAK

Ingredients:

4 steaks 14-16 ounces each
3 tablespoons olive oil
4 tablespoons fresh chopped cilantro
3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
½ teaspoon sea salt (or Himalayan salt) for each steak
Lemon wedges for serving

Instructions:

1, Marinate the steaks in the olive oil, chopped rosemary and garlic overnight in the fridge, or at least for an hour. You can do this by marinating  them in a covered bowl or, as I prefer, marinating the steaks in a zip-lock bag.
2. Heat a charcoal grill or gas grill to high. It’s important to have a very hot grill when cooking steak. Rub the meat evenly with ½ teaspoon salt.       Grill on hottest part of grill, flipping once, until browned, 4-6 minutes. Cook 4-6 minutes more for medium rare, or until desire doneness. If the        outside starts to burn before the steaks are fully cooked, move to the cooler side of the grill until done. Let the steaks rest 5 minutes before            serving.
Yield: 4 servings.

 

KOFTA CURRY

I call this dish ‘Italian Meatballs,’ although the recipe is known as Kofta Curry. Think of meatballs in a tomato-curry sauce and served over rice. In this case, Turmeric Rice. The dish does have a genuine Indian flavor with the spices utilized; yet it’s an easy enough dish to prepare. For the record, this recipe comes from a cookbook I’ve had for years, The Color Book of Indian Cooking, edited by Eileen Turner (Octopus Books Limited). The Turmeric Rice dish recipe is my own. Enjoy.

KOFTA CURRY

1 lb. (2 cups) minced (ground) beef or lamb                                                           Sauce:
1 onion, finely chopped                                                                                                     1 onion, chopped
2 teaspoons curry powder                                                                                              3 tomatoes, skinned and chopped
1 teaspoon salt                                                                                                                       2 tablespoons (3T) curry powder
Pinch of pepper                                                                                                                     1 tablespoon flour
1 egg, beaten                                                                                                                           ¼ pint (2/3 cup) beef stock
Salt and pepper
Chopped fresh mint to garnish

Mixed together the minced meat, onion, curry powder, salt and pepper and bind the mixture with beaten egg. Divide the mixture into 16 portions, shaping each one into a ball with floured hands. Heat sufficient oil to cover the base of a large frying pan (skillet) and fry the meat balls, turning occasionally, until they are brown all over. Remove from the pan with a slotted spoon and keep hot.

In the same pan, fry the onion and tomatoes for 3 minutes. Add the curry powder and flour and cook gently for 2 minutes.  Blend in the stock and seasoning. Bring the liquid to the boil and add the meat balls. Simmer gently for 30 minutes, turning occasionally.

Sprinkle with chopped mint to garish. Serve with rice and a selection of side dishes, including parathas.
Serves 4

TURMERIC RICE

2 cups long-grain rice (can substitute jasmine rice)
Salt to taste
Water to cover rice by about 1-inch
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon ground turmeric

 

Wash the rice in cold running water until the water is clear of starch. Drain thoroughly.

Place rice in a pot or pan with water to cover. Add salt and turmeric and bring to boil. Cover, lower heat to a simmer, and cook until water has been absorbed, about 30 minutes. If the rice is not as tender as you want, you can add more water. The grains should be separate and fluffy
Serves 4 to 6.

STUFFED ZUCCHINI WITH MEAT

STUFFED ZUCCHINI WITH MEAT

I’ve had stuffed zucchini dishes before, but not this version. This is the Lebanese method of stuffing zucchini with meat. For full disclosure, this dish is from a cookbook I’ve had for years, Lebanese Delights by Raymonda khoury Naaman. It has become one of my go-too volumes when I want to impress friends and neighbors by serving a Middle Eastern meal.

The recipe is simple enough, sautéed zucchini with meat cooked with various spices. The recipe ingredients says use “lean ground meat.” We deciphered that to be beef, lamb or pork, your choice. You can  even make it with ground chicken or turkey. As an accompaniment we served it with another recipe from Ms. Naaman’s cookbook, Cooked Rice. This dish uses vermicelli noodles as an ingredient, thus it reminds me of Syrian rice, which is prepared the same way.

Enjoy this meal from a culture and cuisine thousands of years in the making.

STUFFED ZUCCINI WITH MEAT
(Koussa Ablama)
Serves 6

Ingredients:

2.2 pound small zucchini, about 5-6 zucchini
1 pound ground meat
4 tablespoons pine nuts
2 medium chopped white or red onions
1 tablespoon butter
4 tablespoons vegetable oil (Note: we substituted olive oil)
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 cups water
Salt, pepper and cinnamon as desired

Preparation

Wash the zucchini, cut off the stems and hollow them using a zucchini cutter or potato peeler. (Note: you can also use an ice cream cone scooper. In fact, we found this easier when scooping out the zucchini flesh).

Melt the butter in a frying pan; add 2 tablespoons of oil and sauté the zucchinis.

Fry the pine nuts in 2 tablespoons of oil; add the chopped onions and fry until golden in color. Add the meat, salt, pepper and cinnamon and keep frying until the meat is cooked.

Fill the zucchinis with the meat mixture and place them in a pot. Add the tomato paste (dissolved in 2 cup of water) and cook on high heat until done (about 20 minutes).

Serve hot with rice on the side.
(Recipe given bellow)

COOKED RICE
(Riz Mfalfal)
Serves 6

Ingredients:

½ cup vermicelli
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cups water
1 cup rice
Salt as desired

 Preparation

Heat the butter and oil in a cooking pot. Add the vermicelli  and fry until golden in color. Add 2 cups of water, salt, and bring to a boil.

Rinse the rice with water, drain it, then add it to the boiling water. Cover the pot and let it boil for another minute, Reduce the heat and simmer until the rice is done.

Turn off the heat and let it stand for 2 minutes,

 

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