Tag Archives: beef

Seared Beef Tenderloin with Shiitake Mushroom Ragout

4 portions beef tenderloin (5-6 oz each)
steak spice
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 tbsp olive oil
salt to taste

Season tenderloin well with steak spice and rub with chopped garlic and olive oil.
Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours (may be left overnight)
Bring back to room temperature before cooking
Season steak well with sea salt
Preheat oven to 450 degrees
Heat a cast iron pan over high heat until very hot
Place tenderloin into pan and sear until nicely browned on one side
Turn over, brown lightly on second side, and place entire pan into the preheated oven
Cook for 5-7 minutes, until pink in centre and temperature registers 130 degrees for a nice pink
Remove pan from oven (and steaks from pan) and allow to rest for 5 minutes before serving.


2 Tbsp. butter
2 shallots, sliced
1 garlic clove, minced
1 lb. shiitake mushrooms, sliced
1/2 cup dry sherry
2 cup beef or veal demi glace

Melt butter in a frying pan on medium heat. Sauté shallots and garlic until softened, 2 to 3 minutes.

Add mushrooms and sauté until golden, 5 to 6 minutes.

Deglaze the pan with sherry.
Add demi glace and simmer until hot.
Season to taste and reduce to adjust consistency if required.

Game Day Chili

Fall brings football season, and this year all of our son’s games have fallen on Mondays, making it difficult to cook a hearty dinner and catch the game. We’ve resorted to preparing Monday’s dinner the day before, something that can be heated up quickly but will satisfy the hunger that comes from playing hard for two hours. You can add some cayenne if you all like it spicy, but we have a broad spectrum at our house so I put the hot sauce on the table and let everyone dictate their own level of heat. We usually serve it with some fresh biscuits, buns, or cornbread.

2 lb ground beef
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 large sweet onion, diced
2 yellow peppers, diced
4 ribs celery, diced
4 carrots, diced
1 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbsp chili powder
1 tsp ground cumin
2 28 oz (792 mL) tins diced tomatoes
2 10 oz (540 mL) tins kidney beans

In a heavy sauté pan brown beef well, remove and place in a strainer to allow fat to drain.
In a large saucepan, heat olive oil, and sauté vegetables until lightly coloured.
Add chili powder and cumin and stir until spices have coated vegetables
Add tomatoes, beans and drained beef and bring to a simmer
Reduce heat to low and simmer for 2 hours, covered.


For many of us, the ultimate Sunday Dinner had to always be roast beef and Yorkshire pudding. Not that it happened every week, but when it did, it always meant a really satisfying meal. My Mother in law’s birthday is this week, so we decided to have the family over for Sunday Dinner. What else to make for the older generation but roast beef, and if you want to really see a group of septuagenarians get excited, roast a prime rib! A birthday cake was also in order, so I settled on making a chocolate cake of some sort, and figured I’d give it some thought.

We toddled off to market, picked up a few carrots and parsnips (my wife’s favourite easy vegetable, mashed together), settled on mashed potatoes (what else?) , and picked up a hefty 13 pound rib of beef at the butcher. Back to the house, and a serious cake project was underway. I had prepared the layers the night before, so that they would be easy to handle, and cut them crosswise into two. I whipped up some cream with cocoa and icing sugar, and layered it in between, placing the cake back into the fridge to cool. (It’s important to note, that for a nice even top, invert the layers so that the piece on top is the base of one of the layers, with nice flat surface to work on.)

Preparing a cake to be glazed with ganache involves some serious engineering and sculpture, so I prepared the ganache with 70% dark chocolate (being very careful not to stir it too much for fear of making it volatile and seizing it) and an equal amount of cream, setting it aside once melted and mixed well. I removed a third for my base coats, so that I could spread it on without getting crumb into the rest of it. A trim of the filled layers to provide straight, even edges, and I took a small palette knife, and spread a thin layer of chocolate all over the cake, to create a seal. Back into the fridge to set.

Once firm, another thin coat, this time trying to even out any irregularities in the sides. Fridge again.

Half an hour later, another thin coat, and this time it’s looking quite nicely shaped, and should provide a nice smooth base for coating. After being cooled and the remaining ganache heated up again over hot water, I was ready to glaze. I carefully transferred the cake to a wire rack over a pan lined with parchment, to allow the excess to drip off the edge rather than pool at the base. The remaining ganache was poured over and with a minimal amount of coaxing from my spatula, allowed to gently flow over the top and down the sides.

This is where the preparation comes in to play. The chilled structure underneath allows the ganache to cool and coat evenly as it flows, creating a picture perfect top coat that will remain shiny and smooth once set.I lifted the rack off of the tray, put it onto another, and set it in the fridge. The excess ganache was scooped up and placed in a piping bag with a small star tip to decorate the edges once the cake was moved onto its platter, and set aside to cool until the consistency of soft butter.

The cake under control, it was by now mid afternoon and time to think about the main course. I grabbed the required elements for a nice rub: a head of garlic, grainy Dijon, coarse salt, olive oil, pepper, and herbs from the garden. Out came the mortar and pestle, and into it placed the peeled garlic and a generous pinch of salt. I mashed it up a bit to break down the garlic into a coarse pulp, added a twist of pepper and the chopped herbs (thyme and rosemary), and a knob of grainy mustard the size of an egg. Again with the mortar and pestle, baptizing it with a generous dose of olive oil, until a reasonably fine paste had been achieved.

The rib was rubbed, place on a rack in a roasting pan and the oven prepared: 375 in the convection, (400 without) just for an hour to get nice colour, at which time the temp would be dropped by 50 degrees to allow a nice gentle roast for the remaining hour or so. I fixed the batter for the Yorkshires: the tried and true hotel banquet recipe; equal parts by weight flour, egg, milk. 250 grams of each yields a dozen, so I made enough for 24. (In volume measure it works out to 1 2/3 cups flour, 1 cup milk, and 4 eggs per, plus a nice pinch of salt)

That taken care of, I peeled the vegetables and potatoes, placed them in pots ready to go and did a bit of prep for the gravy. Whenever I cook a large roast or bird, I set a small pot aside for the carrot (and in this case parsnip) peelings, onion and garlic trim, bits of herb stems and celery tops, etc, and have that simmering on the back of the stove. If there are the odd bits of trim, even better, as the resulting quick stock provides a nice amount of flavour for making the gravy from the drippings. I tend to dice up a half an onion, a couple of stalks celery, and the ends of the carrots, parsnips, etc and transfer those to either around the roast without crowding it causing it to stem, or into an oven proof saute pan for a nice roast. Once the roast comes out of the oven, the rack is lifted, the vegetable if not already in there are added to the drippings and the whole mess is placed on a medium high burner (still in the roasting pan, of course) and caramelized gently. Enough flour is added to make a roux, usually 1/3-1/2 cup per litre of stock, and once a golden brown, the liquid can be added. I always start with a deglaze with wine, there’s usually something open by this point for dinner, so a splash into the pan. (the exception to the rule being if you’ve opened an ’82 Mouton for dinner, in which case open something else for the gravy) Strain out the quick stock you’ve made, and add it, bit by bit, stirring constantly until it’s well incorporated. I usually will just let it simmer gently in the roasting pan for a few minutes, to make sure I’ve adequately removed all bits of flavour from the bottom, before transferring it to a sauce pan over low for a simmer until the roast has rested completely. Just before serving, adjust the seasoning and strain.

Oven bumped up to 425, it’s time to get the puddings on the roll. My beaten and weathered muffin tins, who are being saved for this noble purpose, are placed on a baking sheet, the prescribed amount of oil added to each (2 Tbsp or so, about 1/8 inch) and the whole sheet placed in the hot oven fro 10 minutes. Yorkshire puddings rise by the action of the egg-rich batter hitting the hot oil, so this is VERY important. Once hot, a ladle of batter into each tin cup, back in the oven on upper rack, and door closed for 12-20 minutes, until puffed and golden. To prevent them from collapsing, it is important to reduce the oven temperature after 20 minutes (to 300), and prop the door ajar a few inches to allow excess steam to escape and the puddings to dry out. !5 minutes later, ready to go!!

A quick mash of potatoes and veg, roast carved and puddings transferred to a platter, the deafening silence of the family, punctuated by the occasional ping of cutlery vs plate registered success. Two helpings apiece, it took great strength to finish the slice of cake presented, but a valiant effort was made by all. And that’s what it’s all about: TRADITION.

Dennis’ Prime Rib

Nothing quite says “Sunday Dinner” like roast beef and Yorkshire Pudding, and a rib of beef certainly crowns the list. Allow a pound per person on the bone, and if you are getting a smaller piece, ask for it from the loin end, which doesn’t have the loonie – sized eye of fat in the centre.

1 rib roast, 10-12 lb

1 head garlic, peeled and coarsely chopped
2 tbsp grainy mustard
coarse salt and pepper
1 tbsp each chopped rosemary and thyme
1/4 cup olive oil

Preheat oven to 400 F

Using a mortar and pestle, mash garlic, mustard, salt, pepper, and herbs into a coarse paste.
Add olive oil and mix until well combined.
Rub mixture liberally over the entire outside of the roast
Place roast on a rack in a roasting pan and put into the preheated oven.
Roast for 1 hour, then reduce heat to 350 F
Cook until the center of the roast registers 125 F on a meat thermometer (for a nice pink, usually another hour)
Remove from oven and allow to rest a half hour before carving.

Easy Sunday Beef Stew

When there’s a bit of time to have a stew simmer all afternoon, there are few things less enticing, especially on a cool fall or winter evening. The vegetables are just a guideline, so feel free to add your favourites. I like celery root and parsnip if they are available, as well as changing the flavour profile a bit by using fennel instead of celery. Additional spices will also change the style of the stew, perhaps by using some chili powder, cumin, and coriander.

2 lb stewing beef, cut into 1 inch pieces
salt and pepper
1/4 cup olive or vegetable oil
1/2 cup flour

2 cups diced sweet onion
1 cup diced celery
2 cups diced carrots
1 cup diced turnip
1 28 oz tin diced tomatoes

1 tbsp thyme, chopped
1 bay leaf
4 cups chicken or beef stock

Season beef well with salt and pepper, and toss in flour
In a large pot, heat oil until hot over medium high heat and add beef, no more than will cover the bottom of the pot in a single layer, and brown well on all sides.
Remove browned beef and set aside, continuing the process until all of the beef has been seared.
Place onion, celery, carrot, and turnip into pan and sauté over medium heat until lightly browned and the onions and celery are translucent.
Add the diced tomatoes, herbs, the browned beef, and stock to cover well.
Bring to a simmer, reduce heat to low, cover, and cook for 2-3 hours, until meat and vegetables are very tender.
Serve with boiled or mashed potatoes, fresh bread or biscuits.