Archive for the ‘Beef and Lamb’ Category

Pistachio Herb Crusted Rack of Lamb

I adore rack of lamb.  It is one of my favorites.  This was my first time making it at home.  It turned out so good!  I will definitely be doing it again, with some tweaks of course.  One note – it is essential to have a meat thermometer on hand to determine doneness.  I ended up having to put some of the chops back in the oven for a few more minutes.  Not a big deal.

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  • 2 racks of lamb (remove some of the fat cap if there is a large amount, but you need some fat to sear it)
  • Salt and pepper

For crust –

  • ¾ cup pistachios (shelled)
  • ½ – 1/3 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • Coriander seeds (I put a small amount in the middle of my palm, maybe ½ tsp, then did it again)
  • Rosemary – maybe ½ – 1 tsp
  • Green Peppercorns ( ½ tsp)
  • Salt
  • 2 tbsp Dijon mustard

To Prepare

  • Mix all except the mustard in a food processor until it forms a coarse paste.  I added a tiny bit of olive oil to help it come together.  (I made the mistake of adding the mustard to the food processor.  I should have spread the mustard on the lamb and then added the spices as a crust.  My crust while delicious fell off when the lamb was sliced)
  • Heat a cast iron or heavy bottom skillet to very very hot.  Sear the lamb fat side down for 4 – 5 minutes until nicely browned.  Flip and sear another 2 -3 minutes.  Remove to a baking sheet.
  • Coat the meaty side of the lamb with the mustard.  Then pat ½ the spice paste onto each rack of lamb. 
  • Roast the racks of lamb in the preheated oven crusted side up for 15 – 20 minutes.  The internal temperature should be:

¨       Rare:  120-130

¨       Medium Rare:  130-140

¨       Medium:  140-150

  • Loosely tent the racks with foil and let rest for 10 minutes.
  • Slice chops (single or double, your choice) and serve on a warmed platter.  They cool very quickly.


Roasted Cauliflower Salad with Radicchio, and Fried Capers
(Taken from Anne Burrell, with modifications)

I would definitely make this again but I would substitute maybe endive or red cabbage for the radichio.  Or use more cauliflower and less radicchio.  I like the bitterness of radicchio but it was a bit much for the family.  The original recipe called for adding Perorino but I was making this with lamb so I omitted the cheese and instead added a bit of honey to mellow out the dressing and ease the bitterness of the radicchio.



  • 1 large or 2 small heads cauliflower, cut into bite size florets
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt
  • 3/4 cup capers, patted dry
  • 2 radicchio, cut into chiffonade
  • ½ – 1 tsp Rosemary
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice

To Prepare

  • Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
  • Add the cauliflower florets to a large bowl. Drizzle with olive oil, season with salt and toss. Transfer to a baking sheet and roast until the cauliflower is very brown and crispy, about 30 minutes. Remove from the oven to a large bowl and reserve.
  • Coat a large saute pan generously with olive oil. The oil should be about 1/8-inch deep. Heat the pan over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, add the capers. As the capers cook they will open up and start to look like little flowers (very cute). Fry the capers until they are crispy, about 3 to 4 minutes. Remove the capers from the pan, dry them on paper towels and season with salt immediately. (Go LIGHTLY on the salt, capers are already a bit salty but you did rinse them so a bit of salt is needed)
  • Toss together the cauliflower, capers, and radicchio. Dress the salad with lemon juice, honey, olive oil, and rosemary.  


It was also served with a simple quinoa that had some red chili flakes, salt, pepper and a little rosemary to tie it all together.  Oh, and a really nice red wine.


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We try to plan our menus for the week on Sundays.  This week my daughter asked for Spaghetti Bolognese.  I’m not sure where she had it before or heard of it but she wanted it.  Fine by me.  I looked up a few recipes and was dismayed to find that not only did they contain pancetta but that they also contained butter and cream.  Since we keep kosher that was a big problem.  Luckily I stumbled on a version that touted itself as the Perfect, Authentic Italian Bolognese Sauce.  That is quite a claim!  Not sure it if is the perfect sauce or not but it was s big hit at our house.


  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 6 or so slices pancetta (I used turkey bacon)
  • 2 large onions, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • stick of celery, chopped
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 lb ground veal or lamb (I used sweet Italian Veal sausage that I took out of the casings)
  • 2 cans (400g) diced or chopped tomatoes
  • 2 large glasses Red Wine (nice precise measurement, maybe that is why I love this recipe! I used a Cabernet Sauvignon)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Pasta (enough for 4 people, cooked.  Recipe suggested tagliatelle, but we used spaghetti)


  • Heat the oil in a large, heavy based saucepan and fry the bacon until golden brown over medium heat.
  • Add the onions and the garlic, sauteing until slightly browned and softened.
  • Increase the heat to high and add the ground beef. Saute until the beef is browned.  Remove from pan to a bowl.
  • Add the veal or lamb and saute until browned.
  • Add the onions, garlic and beef back to the pan.  Pour in the wine and boil until it has reduced in volume by about a third.
  • Reduce temperature to medium-low and add in the tomatoes, celery and carrot.
  • Allow to simmer for 1 – 1 1/2 hours until the sauce has reduced considerably.  Stirring now and then.
  • Pour sauce over the cooked pasta.  Enjoy!

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Pumpkin Mole Chili

No photo to go along with this.  Sorry.  Despite that it was delicious.  Inspiration found here at the BrokeAssGourmet.


  • 1 pound or so of ground beef.
  • 1 shallot, minced (didn’t have any onions, not sure how that happened)
  • 2 or 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 poblano pepper, chopped (remove seeds and membranes)
  • 2 carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 cans (15 oz) diced tomatoes
  • 1 can (6 oz) tomato paste mixed with equal amount water
  • 2 cans (15 oz) beans (your choice – black, kidney, white)
  • ** Mexican Mole Seasoning blend (from Savory Spices) – to taste.  I think I ended up with about 1 – 2 tsp
  • Chili Powder  – to taste.  Start out with 1/2 tsp and work your way up.
  • 1 small pie pumpkin roasted and mashed OR 1 small can (15oz) pumpkin puree
  • 1 cup (+/- might need more, might need less) water
  • juice of one orange
  • Handful chopped cilantro


  • Heat olive oil in medium stockpot
  • Add shallots and garlic.  Cook until translucent and golden.
  • Add carrots and poblano pepper.  Cook until softened.
  • Add beef and cook until no longer pink.
  • At this point, add in the diced tomatoes, the tomato paste, the beans and the seasonings.  Salt to taste.  Let simmer about 30 – 45 minutes.
  • Add pumpkin and orange juice.  Add some chopped cilantro.  If needed, add water
  • Let cook another 15 minutes or so.  Stir now and then.  If too dry, add some water.
  • Taste and adjust seasonings.  

Serve with diced avocados and some corn chips over rice!

** If you don’t have Mole seasonings, you can substitute 1 – 2tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder.  Dark chocolate powder is better.

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Jeff’s mom gave me this recipe when we first got married because it is a family dish that Jeff adored as a child.  He still does as do the kids and I.  It is quick and easy to prepare.  I’ve made a few tweaks over the years.  Tonight I made it with ground lamb instead of ground beef because that’s what we had in the freezer but either works well.  Since our herb garden is producing nicely, I used a small handful of fresh oregano that I chopped and a child sized handful of fresh thyme as well.  The recipe doesn’t call for thyme but it was a spur of the moment addition and it worked well.



  • 1 lb. ground beef or ground lamb
  • 1 – 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 -2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 green pepper cut into a large dice
  • 1 red or yellow pepper cut into a large dice
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, diced. Remove seeds and membrane.
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • Pepper to taste
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 (10.5) ounce can tomato sauce
  • 1 (14.5) ounce can corn, drained
  • 1/2 cup black olives, cut in quarters (we had some fresh cured Italian olives in the fridge so we used them – HUGE difference for the better in the flavor but I did cut back on the salt that was used to compensate for the intrinsic brininess of the olives)
  • Extra wide egg noodles, cooked according to directions on the package.   (I used these noodles by Rozoni, the whole 12 oz bag)


  • In a dutch oven or small stock pot, heat 1 – 2 tbsp olive oil.  Add the onions and garlic.  Cook, stirring frequently until slightly browned.
  • Add the jalapeno peppers, the green and yellow or red pepper.  Saute for 3 – 5 minutes until the peppers are softened.
  • Remove the pepper and onions from the pot and set aside.
  • In the same pot, add the ground beef or lamb, salt and pepper.
  • Brown the meat until it is no longer pink.
  • Add the peppers and onions back to the pot.  Stir in the corn, the crushed red pepper flakes and the oregano and thyme.
  • Add the tomato sauce.
  • Let simmer for 1o  – 15 minutes.
  • About 5 minutes before serving, add the olives.
  • Serve over the egg noodles.

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The other night as I was making up our weekly menu I went through my recipe file.  That behemoth box that was jam packed with recipes that I have collected by clipping them out of magazines or printing them off from the internet.  One of my goals while going through it was to whittle it down to keep only recipes that I thought I actually might make.  Little by little I am accomplishing that goal.  Also organizing it a bit better.   We are also trying to use the crockpot more so this one was a doubly good find!  See if you can find the surprise ingredient.


  • 1 pound boneless beef chuck
  • 2 – 3 cloves garlic (I didn’t have any so I used a tsp or so of granulated garlic instead)
  • 1 – 2 tsp cumin seeds (grind them yourself or use already ground, your choice)
  • 1  – 2 tsp paprika (I like paprika so I used more along the lines of 2 tsp)
  • 1 tsp coriander seeds (grind them yourself or use already ground, your choice)
  • 1/2 – 1 tsp Oregano
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 carrots, peeled and cut into 1 inch chunks
  • 1 can (15oz) tomato sauce
  • 1 butternut squash (about 1 lb) peeled, seeded and cut into 1 inch chunks
  • 1 can canned peas or 1 cup of frozen peas
  • 1/2 cup small, pimento stuffed green olives, cut in half
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro


If you have the time and inclination:

  • Brown the beef in a large skillet until seared on all sides.
  • You can also brown the onions if you are so inclined

If you are like me and are trying to do this at the crack of dawn before racing out the door to the bus stop and then to work start here:

  • Plug in the crock pot
  • Toss in the chopped onions, carrots, squash and beef.
  • Stir in all the spices except the fresh cilantro
  • Pour in the tomato sauce
  • Cook on LOW for 6 – 8 hours
  • About 15 minutes before it is going to be served or as soon as you get home:
  • add the peas, cilantro and the olives
  • Stir it all up and let cook another 15 minutes or so.

I served it over whole wheat couscous with a hunk of roasted garlic bread that Jeff picked up on the way home.  It was a hit – everyone decided it was a keeper and that the addition of the olives (the secret ingredient) was genius.  I loved the way it added a nice salty counterpart to the sweet squash.  If you wanted to you could also add a bit of chicken stock to the stew at the beginning.

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