Beef Bolognese Sauce

Beef Bolognese is a rich, thick, meat-based tomato sauce originating from Bologna, Italy. It is traditionally served over pasta but I prefer it over zucchini noodles or more recently, fall-appropriate spaghetti squash.  This recipe is a combination of many difference sources I looked into when learning to make this sauce.

1 Tbsp. coconut oil
1 onion, finely chopped
2 celery stalks, finely chopped
1 carrot, peeled and grated
1 lbs. ground beef, grass-fed/organic
¼ cup dry red wine
¼ cup stock of choice
2 large tomatoes, chopped
2 Tbsp. tomato paste
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried basil
½ tsp dried thyme
Sea salt and black pepper, to taste

Heat oil in a large, heavy pan over medium heat.  Add onion, celery, and carrot.  Sauté until soft.  Add beef and sauté until browned.  Add wine, and bring to boil.  After about 1 minute of boiling add stock, fresh tomatoes, tomato paste, garlic and herbs.  Reduce heat to low and gently simmer for about 30 – 45 minutes, stirring occasionally until sauce thickens. Season with sea salt and pepper to taste.

Braised Cabbage with Beef

The weekend is here and so is another one-dish meal!  Ukrainians are big on braised cabbage and there are many different ways of making it.  This is my version. It is inexpensive and easy to make, but it does not skimp on flavor! Braised cabbage is also gluten-free and paleo-friendly.

In case you are interested in knowing, cabbage belongs to the “Brassica” family which also includes Brussel sprouts, cauliflower, kale and broccoli.  According to Dr. Mercola, this inexpensive and humble vegetable has the highest amount of some of the most powerful antioxidants found in cruciferous vegetables.  Research has shown these compounds to protect against several types of cancer and lower LDL (the “bad cholesterol”) levels in the blood.  Cabbage is rich in vitamins C and K, as well as an excellent source of fiber, vitamin B6, folate, and manganese.  It also contains iron, magnesium, phosphorus, calcium and potassium.  The sulfur in cabbage is essential for the production of keratin, a protein substance necessary for healthy hair, skin and nails.

Ingredients
1 small cabbage head, shredded
1 lb. grass-fed, organic ground beef
1 onion, thinly sliced
2 – 3 garlic cloves, minced
1 – 2 Tbsp. organic ketchup
4 Tbsp. sauerkraut
3 Tbsp. fresh cilantro or green onion, chopped
1 bay leaf
1/2 tsp curry powder
1/4 tsp cumin
Sea salt and pepper, to taste

Preheat a large skillet or Dutch oven over medium heat.  Brown the ground beef, until completed cooked though.  Remove and set aside, leaving behind as much of the rendered fat in the skillet as possible.

Add onions and garlic to the same skillet and sauté until translucent. Next add the cabbage and cook until it shrinks and settles.  You may need to do this in multiple steps if all of the cabbage does not fit at once.  Add back the ground beef and season with ketchup, curry, cumin, sea salt, pepper and bay leaf.  Mix well, add 2 - 3 tablespoons of water or broth, cover and cook for 20 – 30 minutes, stirring occasionally until the cabbage is soft.  

Remove from heat.  Stir in the sauerkraut and adjust seasonings to taste.  Remove the bay leaf and sprinkle with cilantro or green onion before serving

Beef Roast - Best Ever

Red meat has been unfairly blamed for many diseases of the western world.  It is actually healthy and nutrient-dense, given it is grass-fed, organic and consumed in moderation.  Remember to always eat red meat alongside a generous serving of vegetables.  Red meat is a good source of the B vitamins, especially B-12, and minerals such as iron, zinc, magnesium, copper, cobalt, phosphorus, chromium, nickel and selenium.

I want to stress that there are significant differences in the quality of grass-fed versus conventional red meat.  Conventional meat comes from cows fed an unnatural diet of corn and other grains, which changes the fat and nutritional content of the meat, creating an unbalanced ration of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids.  Conventional meat also contains antibiotics, hormones and steroids.  So, when possible, always choose grass-fed, organic meat.

Around here we like our beef.  However, in the past, my roasts would always turn out dry and lacking flavor.  This kept me from preparing beef roasts as often as I would like, until I did some research and picked up a few helpful tips.  Now I get a foolproof (tender, juicy, and flavorful) roast every time!

Brining the meat in a saltwater mixture before cooking adds flavor and tenderizes the meat.  Searing the roast at a high temperature gives it a well-browned, crusted surface.  Then the continued roasting at a lower temperature prevents shrinkage, and adds more flavor, juiciness, tenderness.  Lastly, roasting fat side up will provide continuous basting as the fat melts and runs down the sides.

Ingredients

1 beef round roast
3 Tbs. melted butter
2 Tbs. favorite herbs (I recommend Herbs de Provence, 21 seasoning, and dry parsley)
1 tsp garlic powder
2 tsp salt
2 tsp pepper

Instructions

Soak the roast in a saltwater brine, about one hour for every pound. The ideal proportion is 1 cup of salt to a gallon of water.  I never use an entire gallon, just enough to cover the roast, so I end up eyeballing the salt and really going by taste.  It should taste like seawater.  You can add a bay leaf and a few peppercorns to the brine.

Preheat oven to 450F. Remove that roast from the brine, pat dry and rub with the melted butter followed by the herbs, salt and pepper. 

Place roast, fat side up, in a roasting pan and into the oven for 20 minutes.  Turn off the oven and DO NOT open, as it needs to retain the heat.  Original recipe says to keep the roast in the oven for 20 minutes per pound of roast.  I let my oven cool completely, about 2 hours, before removing.  The roast comes out very tender and just a little pink in the middle.  The most important part is not opening the oven or removing the roast until the very end.  Once removed from the oven, let it sit for about 15 minutes before carving.