Category Archives: Meat

Lighter French Cassoulet

Cassoulet, the name of the earthenware dish in which it is served, is an aromatic, hearty bean and meat stew with some aromatic herbs and spices, the flavor is subtle and delicate, and really comforting.
The key to a perfect cassoulet is the slow cooking process that tenderizes the meat and the beans and infuses the stew with its rich flavor. Your house will be filled with an incredible aroma that will get anyones stomach rumbling as soon as they walk thru the door.
There are many varieties of Cassoulet depending on your meat choices. My personal preference is smoked sausage, bacon, pork and chicken. You could go for Duck confit, but I find it too heavy so I have opted for the chicken instead.

Serves 4

INGREDIENTS:

• 2 fresh small ham hocks
• 5 oz. diced smoked Bacon
• Salt and freshly ground pepper
• 1 pounds dried cannellini beans, soaked overnight
• 2 small carrots, thinly sliced
• 1 medium onions, diced
• 1 celery stalk, sliced
• 2 Bay leaves
• 2 cloves of garlic, peeled and chopped
• 1 head of garlic, unpeeled, plus 2 small garlic cloves, peeled
• 1 glass of dry white wine
• 1 can chopped tomatoes
• 1/4 tsp. All spice
• 1 quart / 1 liter, chicken broth
• 4 parsley sprigs, 2 thyme sprigs and 2 bay leaf
• 4 chicken legs
• 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
• 4 pork sausages, your favourite kind
• 1 smoked kielbasa or other smoked sausage, or 2 small ones

METHOD:

• In a bowl, cover the beans with 3 inches of water and soak overnight.
• Add the bacon and ham hocks to a very large frying pan or pot and brown them all over.
• Remove and set aside.
• Add the carrots, onions and celery and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until the onions are golden, about 7 minutes. Add the chopped garlic and bay leaves.
• Add the all spice.
• Add the glass of wine.
• Add the head of garlic and the tomatoes and cook, stirring for 1 minute. Add the broth and the herbs and bring to a boil.
• Add the beans to the pan and simmer until the beans are just tender, about 2 hours.
• Pick out the ham hocks. Cut the meats into bite-size pieces; discard the bones, skin and gristle. Pick out the head of garlic and reserve.
• Put the meat back in with the beans.
• Transfer the beans and liquid to a casserole dish
• Preheat the oven to 180 ° C / 350° F
• Heat the vegetable oil in a medium skillet.
• Season the chicken legs with salt and pepper.
• Add the sausages and chicken legs to the skillet and cook over moderately high heat until browned all over.
• Nestle the sausages, the chicken and the kielbasa into the cassoulet.
• Put the garlic bulb in the middle.
• Bake the cassoulet for 1 hour longer, until it is richly browned on the surface. Transfer to a rack and let rest for at least 20 minutes before serving.
• Serve with plenty of crusty french bread.

Enjoy!

Quick Quiche with Ham, Broccoli, caramelized Onions and Basil

Quiche ham broccoli

This recipe for a super quick and easy Quiche is one of those recipes you’ll make time and time again.  I love a good fool-proof recipe that you can have on the table in 30 minutes or less.  Add a salad and voila, dinner is served.
I have made this Quiche with pre rolled ready made Puff pastry, which I consider a freezer/pantry essential. So this really comes together in no-time. You can vary the ingredients according to what you have (leftover) in your fridge too, should you not have ham or Broccoli.  Think seafood, meat, poultry, veggies,  cold cuts, you name it. In fact it’s a great way to use up your leftovers.  But for now, this is one of our favourite combos. Try it, you’ll see why.

INGREDIENTS:

1 Sheet ready made puff pastry
2 cups broccoli florets
4 oz/ 100 gr. cooked ham
4 oz./100 gr. grated cheese
2 medium onions
Some olive oil or butter
2 tsp. honey
Salt and pepper
A handful of fresh Basil
1 cup light cream
4 eggs

Quiche ham broccoli

INSTRUCTIONS:

Begin by defrosting your puff pastry if it is frozen.
Pre heat oven to 180C/350F.
Next, peel the onions, slice in half and cut into half rings.
Heat a frying pan to medium heat, add the butter or oil.  Add the onions and cook for 5 minutes,  add the honey and cook for a few more minutes or until golden brown.  Remove from heat and set aside.
Meanwhile cut broccoli into florets and steam in microwave for 3 minutes or in a pan of boiling water,  make sure to drain very well after so that there is no extra water.
Cut ham into cubes,or slice thinly.
Line a baking tin, about 8×8 inch/ 20×20 cm or 9×9 inch/22x22cm. with parchment paper.
Place the puff pastry in the tin making sure you go up the sides as well.
Divide onions, ham, broccoli and basil (reserve some for decorating) over the crust.
In a bowl beat the eggs with the cream, season generously and pour over the filling. Sprinkle  the cheese over the top. 
Bake in the middle of the oven for 30 -35 minutes or until set when you tap the side of the tin. It should wiggle just a tiny bit in the middle.
Serve immediately.
Enjoy!

If you make this recipe please be sure to leave a comment and/or give this recipe a rating! I love hearing from you.  And please don’t forget to tag me on Instagram so I can see your creations!

Steak au Poivre, Steak in a creamy green peppercorn sauce

Steak au Poivre or,  Steak in a creamy green Peppercorn sauce is a classic recipe that is easy to make at home and everyone loves. My version however is alcohol free, making it suitable for all eaters.
You really don’t have to go to a fancy restaurant to eat Steak au Poivre.
The classic version uses cognac for the sauce but I’ve made this non alcoholic version and so far no one has even noticed.  The secret ingredient is the Worcestershire sauce,  it’s a great addition of flavor if you don’t want to use alcohol or simply don’t have a bottle of cognac or brandy sitting around in the house. 
Cooking Steak is a personal thing and most chefs have their own tricks, I like to sear the heck out of mine to get the most caramelized meat flavor and I add the butter half way thru cooking so it doesn’t burn, but we do want that buttery flavor. If you have a cast iron skillet,  use it.

INGREDIENTS:

• 4 x 250 gr/8.8 oz Steaks, about 3cm/1.2 ” thick (I used Rib-eye)
• 1 tbsp. Black peppercorns, crushed or freshly ground coarse black pepper
• Salt
• 3 tbsp. Butter, divided into three
• a little neutral flavored olive oil for rubbing the meat
• 4 tbsp green peppercorns in brine
• 240 ml/1 cup heavy cream
• 60 ml/1/4 cup beef stock
• 7.5 ml/1 1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
• a few dashes of Frank’s hot sauce or Tabasco

INSTRUCTIONS:

Take the Steaks out of the refrigerator 30 minutes before cooking,  so they can get to room temperature.
Crush the black peppercorns in a pestle and mortar until medium fine.
Pat the steaks dry and rub them all over with a little oil.
Season the steaks on both sides with the pepper and salt just before cooking.
Heat a (cast iron) skillet to piping hot.
Place the Steaks in the pan and don’t move them, after one minute turn them over and sear for one more minute.
Now sear the sides quickly, add one tablespoon of the butter, turn the heat to medium. Add another tablespoon of butter.
After two to three more minutes add the remaining butter, depending on how you want your steak doneadd the green peppercorns.  Remove the steaks to a (warm)* plate and cover with foil to rest while you finish the sauce.
Add the beef stock to the pan,  reduce by half and add the cream,  turning heat to low.
Add the hot sauce and Worcestershire sauce. Taste and adjust seasoning, adding more ground pepper if you like.  Place the steaks on a serving platter or individual plates and cover with some of the sauce.
I always serve the steaks with French fries for mopping up the green peppercorn sauce, it’s so delicious.
*The steaks in the photographs were cooked 3 minutes each side.
** Since I always serve steaks with oven fries, I put the plates on top of the oven to warm up a bit. Serve straight away with some vegetables or roasted Broccoli like in the pictures

Enjoy!

Greek Steak Souvlaki with Feta and Cucumber Pomegranate salsa

Now that summer is here I can’t wait to get the Bbq on, and these Steak Souvlaki skewers are perfect for grilling. Tender pieces of Beef are marinated for a few hours with Greek herbs and spices. The marinade is so amazing that you can use it on any kind of meat. The red wine vinegar is a key ingredient as it tenderizes the meat and gives the dish that typical Greek flavour.  
The smell when the beef is grilling is insane – you can really smell the oregano and it’s almost as if your in a Greek Tavern, (with a bit of imagination and perhaps a glass of Retsina in your hand).   If you ever go to Greece make sure to bring back some Oregano, they sell it dried in bushes and it’s the best you’ll ever find.

Serves: 4 – 6

INGREDIENTS:

• 2 lb / 1 kg beef (steak), thinly sliced
Marinade
• 2 large garlic cloves, peeled and grated
• 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
• 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
• 1 tbsp. chopped parsley
• 1 tsp. smoked paprika
• 1½ tbsp dried oregano
• a pinch of cinnamon
• a pinch of ground cloves
• a pinch of dry mint
• 1/2 tsp dry chili flakes
• salt and pepper


Cucumber Pomegranate Salsa:
• 1 large beef tomato, de-seeded and diced
• 1 cucumber, peeled, de=seeded and diced
• 1/2 cup pomegranate arils
• 1/2 red spanish onion, peeled and finely chopped
• a pinch of sugar
• salt and pepper
• a drizzle of olive oil
• a little squeeze of lemon juice
• 1/4 cup fresh parsley leaves
• 1/2 tsp.dry mint
• 1/2 tsp. dry oregano


To serve:
• 4 – 6 Pitas or baguette
• extra lettuce
• more Feta to crumble on top

INSTRUCTIONS:


1. Place the Marinade ingredients and the beef in a ziplock bag and massage to mix. Marinate for at least 2 hours or up to 6. Remove from marinade and skewer on to wooden or metal pins alternating with pepper and onion pieces.
Salsa
1. Combine ingredients in a bowl.
Cook Beef
1. Heat a griddle pan over high heat.
2. Cook the skewers on high for a few minutes until crispy and brown then turn them over and cook for an other two minutes.
3. Remove and serve straight away. Serve with lots of Pita or Baguette

Enjoy!