The Meat Locker

Beef Blade Minute SteaksBeef Blade Minute Steaks after tenderizing
Last night we finished the second of the two part series, Beef PhD.

I personally found researching this class fascinating. Armed with several roasts and a variety of beef cuts from Toronto’s finest butchers, I sat down with my brother Paul who has been a ‘meat man’ his whole life. Growing up in the meat business, you would think that alot of this would already make sense to me, but I can tell you that ever since I became kosher, over 25 years ago, meat has been more of a mystery than ever.

We began by looking at the anatomy of a cow, identifying what’s kosher, and then proceeded to identify where those cuts come from on the animal. This helped me understand which cooking procedures benefit which cuts, and even more, how to get better value.

Let me say that there is a big variety in price, quality and butchering between the retailers and if anyone would like to take this conversation offline I would be happy to share my findings.

I would like to thank the dedicated students who have supported my teaching in the Beef PhD class, and indeed, the whole year’s curriculum. You each have made an impact on My Kosher Kitchen @ COR and it has been a delightful experience. I look forward to begin planning classes for the upcoming year, and if you have any suggestions, please send them along.

Next week will be my last blog before I head up to Camp, in Northern Ontario, to teach cooking to several hundred campers. I am really looking forward to this challenge and appreciate the opportunity to teach cooking skills to a variety of ages.

I am including a recipe (note the addition of kiwi puree used for its tenderizing characteristic) for a beef marinade in which a Beef Blade London Broil was marinated. After which, I cut some thin slices, threaded them on skewers and grilled them. Browning the remaining meat, finishing it off in the oven, and slicing it created a beautiful dish especially served with an Oriental cabbage salad. Also note, the picture above demonstrates another tenderizing technique of hitting the meat with a pounder. This method also breaks down the tough connective tissue that can make meat chewy.

Let’s change the world one recipe at a time,

Nancy Weisbrod, Director of Culinary Education, Kashruth Council of Canada

Korean Style Grilled Beef (Marc Matsumoto)
1/3 cup soy sauce
1/3 cup orange juice
3 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons pureed kiwifruit (about 1/2 kiwifruit)
1 tablespoon sesame oil
2 teaspoons grated ginger
3 large cloves garlic, minced
Add the soy sauce, orange juice, honey, kiwifruit, sesame oil, ginger, garlic and scallions to a Ziploc bag. Seal the bag and mix until all the ingredients are combined. Add the beef to the bag and marinate for at least one day.
Grill the beef over medium high heat. If the fire is too hot, the beef will burn because of the sugars in the marinade. If you don’t have a grill you can also do this in a broiler or a hot cast iron skillet with some oil.


The Purpose of a Marinade

We began the first of our two part series, Beef PhD, last night and spent the class learning about the various kosher cuts of beef and the different cooking methods used to show each of these cuts in their best light.  (Not everything is coming up prime rib and roses.)

We discussed cuts from the shoulder and chuck and how to braise them to obtain maximum flavour and tenderness.  Next week we will tackle brisket, which cuts to use for successful grilling, and the king of roasts, the prime rib.

One of the topics that came up was ‘marinade’.  What makes a good one and how do we use it in the dish itself?  (Rather than dumping it down the drain after we take out the meat.)  A marinade’s purpose is twofold.  It is meant to infuse flavour and also to tenderize tough cuts.  It does this by softening the connective tissue in the meat with some kind of acidic activity, such as with dry red wine, which also serves to complement the flavour of the beef.  Even though lemon juice or vinegar is acidic, you wouldn’t use as a marinade because it would overpower the meat’s delicious flavours.  (It wouldn’t necessarily be appropriate to marinate tender cuts of meat such as steaks from the rib, or even a rib roast, because the meat is already so very tender.)

Speaking about flavour infusion, the other ingredients should also serve to enhance, rather than mask.  It is sensible to include the aromatic vegetables; onion, garlic, carrots and celery in your marinade, as well as any fresh herbs that go with beef, such as parsley, bay and thyme.

There should always be a little oil in the marinade because fat carries flavour and how else can we get the flavours talking to each other?

If you are thinking ahead, plan on marinating your beef anywhere from four to six hours, on the counter, turning the meat every so often.  Or, you can refrigerate overnight, making sure you lift the meat out of the liquid and dry it very well with paper towelling before cooking.  Remember, damp meat doesn’t brown.  It’s the initial browning, whether in your heavy skillet, or on the grill, that sears in the flavour and tenderness.

Reduce the marinade by straining it and simmering in a saucepan to make a lovely sauce to serve with your beef and you’ll be well on your way to obtaining your Doctor of Delicious, a Beef PhD.

Let’s change the world one recipe at a time,

Nancy Weisbrod

Director of Culinary Education, Kashruth Council of Canada

Following is a recipe for a marinade that can be used on any less-than-tender cuts of beef.  Here it is used with a shoulder roast

Beef Braised in Red Wine

Serves 8 – 10

4 pound cut of beef for braising

1 carrot, peeled and thinly sliced

1 onion, peeled and thinly sliced

1 celery stalk, trimmed and thinly sliced

2 garlic cloves, cut in half

1 Tablespoon thyme

2 bay leaves

¼ cup minced parsley

2 whole cloves

1 teaspoon kosher salt

¼ teaspoon pepper

3 – 4 cups good red wine

½ cup olive oil

2 – 3 cups beef stock or water

Place half of the vegetables and herbs in the bottom of the marinating dish.  Dry the meat well with paper towelling and rub with the salt and pepper.  Place the meat on the vegetables.  Spread the rest of the vegetables and herbs over the meat and pour on the wine and olive oil.  Let the meat marinate from 1 to 6 hours on the counter or overnight in the refrigerator.  Turn and baste the meat occasionally.

30 minutes before cooking, lift the meat out of the marinade and dry with paper towelling.  The meat will not brown if damp.

Heat another 2 – 3 Tablespoons of oil in a heavy casserole with a tight fitting lid.  Brown the meat well on all sides.  This can take up to 15 minutes.

Set the meat aside on a plate.

Pour the marinade into the casserole and boil it down until partially reduced (this boils off the alcohol).

Add 2 – 3 cups of beef stock or water to come half way up the meat.

Bring to a simmer on top of the stove.

Cover tightly and set in a preheated 325 oven.

Let the roast braise for 2 – 2 ½ hours.

Turn the meat occasionally while braising.

When the meat is tender, lift it out of the liquid.

Strain the liquid through a sieve into a saucepan and press the liquid out of the vegetables.

Simmer until the liquid is reduced and syrupy.  There should be approximately 2 cups finished liquid.  Taste and correct the seasoning.

Slice the meat against the grain into thin slices, arrange on a platter and spoon the gravy over all.


The Last Piece

I was cleaning up from last night’s class, Lessons from a Shavuos Kitchen, Elevating the Everyday, and realized I forgot to take pictures. We had a great time and made some delicious dishes. Everyone had a chance to practice their knife skills by slicing mushrooms and their coordination by flipping crepes.

One of the recipes taught was a Savoury Cheesecake, an idea I encountered decades ago in England. Using either cream cheese or pressed cottage cheese, these creations became the base for flavours such as chili-cheddar, Roquefort avocado, and my personal favourite, spinach mushroom, otherwise known as the Florentine.

When I finally got the camera out, all that was left was this one last, lonely piece, but you can be sure I’ll be making more for Shavuos.

Let’s change the world, one recipe at a time,

Nancy Weisbrod, Director of Culinary Education, Kashruth Council of Canada

Cheesecake Florentine
Serves 10 – 12
½ cup breadcrumbs
3 Tablespoons butter, melted
2 Tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
2 Tablespoons butter
1 onion, finely chopped
½ pound mushrooms, thinly sliced
1 pound spinach, cleaned and checked
1 ½ pounds cream cheese
3 eggs
½ cup 10% cream
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper
¼ teaspoon grated nutmeg
3 Tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
Preheat oven to 350.
In a bowl, combine the crumbs, butter and parmesan and press into an 8” springform pan. Bake for 10 minutes. Turn the oven down to 300.

In a pan, sauté the onion in the 2 Tablespoons of butter, add the mushrooms and cook until the mushrooms give up their liquid and are dry and lightly browned. Add the spinach and continue cooking for a few minutes or until the spinach is wilted.
Mix the cheeses, eggs, cream and seasonings until smooth. Fold in the mushroom onion mixture. Pour onto the prepared crust and bake for 1 ½ hours in the 300 oven.