Welcome back to our second of however many Highbrow Cook Offs (not to be confused with Iron Chef™ which is property of the Food Network™). This month we chose ground meat as the special ingredient, with three veggies of different colors and one optional starch. You can read about some of the other restrictions in our first
Iron Chef Cook Off post here. We are allowed the use of any three herbs and spices, excluding salt and pepper, and unlimited pantry items that we had previously agreed upon. I loved how creative and diverse all of the entries were. Let us know if you make any of our recipes at home and how they turned out, and stay in touch because HBP is opening this shit storm up to the public now. Next months ingredient will be revealed in a couple of weeks, but here is a hint: hike up your big boots and get your digging gloves out (whatever a digging glove is). But enough of that! Let us live in the moment, and bask in the glow of some ground up meat! Allez Cuisine!
Russ Crandall from The Domestic Man
Russian Cabbage Rolls (Голубцы)
2 lbs ground beef
1 cup cooked rice
1 head cabbage
1 onion, chopped finely
6 cloves garlic, chopped finely
2 carrots, shredded (1/2 cup)
1 tsp each salt, pepper, dried dill, prepared mustard
1 14oz can of tomato sauce
8 tbsp butter or ghee
additional 1/2 tsp pepper
Chop the onion finely and set aside. Garlic too. Warm 4 tbsp of the butter or ghee on medium heat for a couple minutes, then add the onion and sauté for about 10 minutes, until the onion is aromatic and translucent. Add the garlic and sauté for another minute, then add the ground beef, salt, pepper, dill, and mustard. Continue to cook until most of the pink has been cooked out of the beef. Add the cooked rice and carrot. Remove from heat and set aside as you work on your cabbage.
Cut out the core of the cabbage. Bring a stockpot half-full of water to a boil on high heat. Drop the cabbage into the boiling water and press it down with the end of a wooden spoon. Hold it there for five minutes, until the cabbage softens. Pull the cabbage out of the water (I used two forks) and let it drain in a colander for a minute, but keep the water boiling. Peel off the leaves. If you get further down the cabbage and the leaves are hard and dry, drop the cabbage into the water for a few more minutes and repeat the process.
Place the cabbage on a cutting board and cut the spine out of it. Put a spoonful of the filling into some cabbage and roll it together. There’s no foolproof way to do this, especially since the cabbage will be in various sizes and thicknesses; just put the filling near one end and roll it up toward the other end. Easy, right? You should be able to make about 18 cabbage rolls.
Place all the rolls in a casserole dish. In the meantime, heat the other 4 tbsp of butter or ghee in a saucepan for a minute or so, then add the tomato sauce and another 1/2 tsp of pepper, stir it together, and reduce the neat to med/low. Simmer the sauce for about five minutes. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Spoon the sauce over the cabbage rolls, and bake everything for 45 minutes.
Overall cost (assuming $6/lb for beef): $22 for six servings.
Amanda Kate Donovan
Harina ~ Moroccan Soup
Harina is a well-known Moroccan soup that is typically served to break fast during the Ramadan holy month. There are a million and one ways to make this soup, though traditionally it is made with orzo, vermicelli, lentils, beans and/or chickpeas. I have made some slight modifications to make this flavorful, rich soup paleo and Perfect Health Diet friendly, and so it’s a quick and simple meal for a busy family. This is a great way to use up a bunch of chicken stock, and is the perfect soup to make when you’re sick. Ras-el-hanout is an arabic spice blend that is becoming easier to find. It will vary quite a bit, but generally is a mixture of turmeric, cinnamon, coriander, nutmeg, cardamom, and cloves.
1# ground lamb (or beef, just not pork)
1 large yellow onion, minced
1tsp grated fresh ginger
pinch of cayenne or de arbol chile powder
7c chicken stock
1 large can stewed tomatoes
1c white rice
1/2c cilantro, minced
1/4c parsley, minced
Brown the lamb in 1T each EVOO and ghee in a dutch oven. Add one minced onion and the spices and cook until the onions are translucent. Add about 5 cups of chicken stock and bring to a rolling boil. Turn down to a simmer, and make your rice. I used short grain white rice, cooked in chicken broth and a bit of ghee.
In a small pan, add a tablespoon or two of chicken stock, almost all of the cilantro and parsley (reserving a bit for garnish), and your tomatoes. Cook for 10 minutes or so, and add tomato mixture to the soup. Add in the cooked rice and allow to simmer on low until the soup has thickened up a bit and the flavors have blended. Taste for seasoning, and serve with lemon wedges.
Meredith Harbour Yetter ~ Goose Mortadella
I think I have disqualified myself due to the complexity of this frigging recipe, but I had 2 geese in the freezer that had to be addressed before the next hunting season. I followed this recipe from Hank Shaw at Hunter Gardener Angler Cook.
However to fit it to my tastes/ingredient availability I didn’t add any rendered fat, I used pork cheek for the pork fat, so there was a little pork meat in there, but it was about 98% fat, I didn’t use dry milk or sugar at all or instacure 1, For spices I used corinader, dried chipotle powder and black pepper. I did use some salt as well. I also blended some dried wild morels and added them to hopefully replace whatever binding the milk powder is supposed to do.
I counted the morels as a veggie and just slapped the slices of salami onto some grassfed heirloom tomato and cucumbers. Wah-la!
Julie Barnard from Paleo Republic
Polpette di carne e zucchini
1lb ground beef, 80/20
1/2lb Sweet Italian sausage
1/4c finely chopped fresh parsley – hold a pinch back to use with the zucchini
1/4c finely chopped ramps – hold a pinch back to use with the zucchini *note: can substitute scallion, shallot, or chive
A few pinches of salt
Several grinds of pepper
3c tomato sauce, warmed on the stove
3 zucchini, sliced thinly
8×8 baking dish
Oven to 450
Combine ground beef, sausage, parsley, ramps, salt, pepper, and mix by hand until all ingredients are fully combined.
Roll the mixture into round meatballs about 1-1/2” and place into the baking dish. It’s totally cool if they’re touching.
Roast for 20 minutes, remove from the oven and very carefully drain some of the grease that has accumulated in the pan.
Pour the heated sauce over the meatballs and return to the oven and roast for another 15 minutes.
While the meatballs are finishing in the oven take a mandolin, sharp knife, or vegetable peeler and thinly slice the zucchini into ribbons. You can quickly steam them but the heat from the sauce and meatballs warms the zucchini up nicely I’ve found, so my preference is raw. Toss with the saved pinches of parsley and ramps.
Remove the meatballs from the oven. Plate the zucchini ribbons and top with the meatballs and sauce.
Bree Milne from Real Life
Bahn Mi Lettuce Wraps
I have been craving Bahn Mi lately. And I’m usually not one to deny cravings, but the best Bahn Mi that I have ever had was at a small little asian grocery store in Prince Rupert, BC. And since I don’t live there anymore, and it’s quite a ways out of the way to go for a sandwich, I just haven’t done it. But – lately I had been thinking that I could do it, I could make a pretty good Bahn Mi if I tried. So here’s my try – a la Paleo!
- 1 large carrot cut in matchstick pieces
- 1 daikon cut in matchstick pieces
- 2-3 tsp sea salt
- 1.5 cups rice vinegar
- 1 tbsp maple syrup
- 1 cup warm water
Place the daikon and carrots in a colander. Sprinkle salt all over them and mix with your hands for 2-3 minutes. Quite a bit of juice should come off the carrots and daikon, and they should become soft. Rinse them off lightly (or not at all if you like salty food). Pack them into glass jars. In a separate container combine the vinegar, warm water and maple syrup (you can use more or less maple syrup depending on your taste for sweet – or omit it completely). Add the liquid to the veggies. Seal the jar and put it in the fridge. I let mine sit for 2 days before I used them and they were great.
- 1 kg (~2lbs) ground pork + 1 minced/ground pork liver
- 6 garlic cloves – minced
- 6 green onions – chopped
- 2 tbsp fish sauce
- 1 tbsp sriracha
- 2 eggs
- 2 tsp fresh ground pepper
- lard (I used duck fat – cuz that’s how I roll)
Pre heat oven to 350F. Take your rings off – put all ingredients in a big bowl and combine with your hands. Then roll into meatballs. Pan fry on medium heat until goldeny brown all around (about 5 minutes per side). Place on a tinfoiled cookie sheet and bake for 15 minutes.
- 1 head of lettuce (I used iceberg)
- Do chua
Put them all together! Be a touch careful – the lettuce is a bit finnicky. And eat! Enjoy!
Matthew Dalby from The Call of the Honey Guide
Onion, carrot, leek, potato and mackerel
We don’t have a recipe for this one, but I think it’s pretty self explanatory. And, this is our only fishy entry. Wallah!
For the Filling
1 knob of butter
1 large onion
3 medium carrots
3 sticks of celery
1 tsp Turmeric
600g of ground beef (mince beef to ma UK homeboyz)
400g of passata (blended tomatoes in a carton)
400g of beef stock
Salt and Pepper
For the Potato MashTopping
5 large potatoes
Butter to taste ( I use nearly half a pack)
Salt and Pepper
Preheat oven to gas mark 4, (or the equivalent) I keep my oven dish in the oven while preheating. I’m not sure why. Just do it.
Chop finely your onion, carrots and celery
Melt your butter in a large saucepan, fry on a low heat finely chopped veg with the tsp of turmeric, (simply because I put turmeric in to damn near everything, cos I can) for about 10 mintues, or until soft
Add ground beef, turn up heat to meduim, keep mixing the um… mixture, until meat is browned, add your passata and your beef stock, season well and bring to a boil
Once bubbling, turn down heat to low and simmer for at least 20 minutes until mixture is thick and glossy
Meanwhile, peel and boil your potatoes until soft, not too long though or the potatoes will absorb too much of the water and your topping will just be a layer of slop. Not nice. Once potatoes have boiled, drain and mix in a crapload of butter and salt and black pepper to taste, mash into a nice thick, creamy, buttery, fluffy, mashy goodness. Try not to eat. Yet.
Take your largish dish out the oven, wear oven gloves. It helps, trust me. I use a ceramic dish. I have used glass and that black bakeware stuff I can’t remember the name of, both work fine too. Just use any oven proof dish, in an oven. I digress..
Pour your now reduced, and thicked mince mixture into your oven dish and spoon the mash mixture on top, using a fork to spread the mash. Bake in the oven for about 40-50 mins, or untill browning and crispy. As you can see from my picture, I like mine, almost cremated, but you can keep an eye on yours, and just take it out when you think it looks right. All the lovely butter in the mash will give for a nice crispy topping. Sometimes I’ll even grate chedder cheese (reccommened) on top for the last ten minutes, but I kept this one “clean” for the benefit of the cook off.
Serve with your choice of vegetable. This is of course optional.