Blow Torch Prime Rib

When my husband said, “I am gonna get a blow torch to sear the prime rib with on Christmas,” I was a bit concerned. But the truth is, it was a lot less dangerous than it might sound. And it was absolutely wonderful. It was actually very simple to make and well worth the 4 hours in the oven. This recipe is adapted from Thomas Keller’s Ad Hoc at Home. One of the things he emphasizes is letting the meet rest, before and after cooking it. The prime rib should sit out at least 30 minutes before you blow torch it. Keller also dictates that you should season the meat 30 minutes before you cook it. Rub your prime rib generously with salt and pepper and let that soak in for at least 30 minutes before you fire up the blow torch. And after the prime rib is cook, leave it alone! We let ours rest one hour. And it was more tender and more juicy than I could have imagined.

Thomas Keller is very emphatic that you need a regular old propane blow torch from the hardware store. Not one of those sissy butane torches from a kitchen store. For safety, Andrew blow torched our prime rib outside on the charcoal grill. It was quite easy, no real mess to clean up, and probably safer than firing up a blow torch in your kitchen. I shouldn’t have to say this, but please be extremely careful if you try this recipe. Which you absolutely should. Because you haven’t really lived until you blowtorch a 10 lb piece of meat for dinner. The recipe below is for a roast that is 4.5-5 lb. You can adjust the cook time appropriately depending on the size of your rib roast. As far as where to get the meat? We like to get our prime rib from Local Pig, well we like to get whatever meat we can at the Local Pig. If you don’t live in KC then I do suggest you find a local butcher to source your meat from. A 4 bone prime rib will serve about 8 to 10 people. Also, whatever you do, do NOT discard the bones and fat you cut off the roast. Freeze them! They will make a fantastic beef stock.

Prime rib has to be one of the easiest things I have ever paired wine with. For some reason I always have a surplus of fabulous cabernets and cabernet blends in my wine fridge. I honestly feel cabernet might be the hardest wine to pair with food. It can easily overpower a meal. I have discussions with new wine lovers all the time who say “I don’t like chardonnay” or “pinot/merlot is too watery.” It seems like a lot of people think cabernet sauvignon is the definition of wine. I completely disagree. Part of anyone’s journey with wine is learning about new wines, new varietals, and trying different things. And the truth is, if you have never drank wine and are just starting out, cabernet is the last wine you should be tasting. I love cabernet, don’t get me wrong… But I cannot drink cabernet everyday or with every meal. However, you should serve this prime rib with nothing other than cabernet. I would recommend a Napa cab and considering you are likely serving this meal for a special occasion, open a special bottle of wine. Kathryn Hall Cabernet Sauvignon is an excellent wine that has the ratings to prove it. We have a few bottles of 2012/2013 in the cellar and don’t plan on opening them for at least 5 years. But if you can snag a 2010 or earlier bottle, it is worth every penny!

Blow Torch Prime Rib

2-bone center cut rib roast (about 4.5 lb)
kosher salt
black pepper

Place your oven rack in the lowest position, removing other racks as needed to allow space for your rib roast. Preheat the oven to 275 degrees.

At least 30 minutes before you plan to cook the meat, take it out of the fridge. Rub it generously with salt and freshly ground black pepper. (This recipe literally has 3 ingredients so, be generous with the salt and pepper).

Place the roast on the rack in a roasting pan. (Or if you are nervous like we were, put it on your charcoal grill.) Hold a blowtorch about 1 inch from the meat and lightly brown the fat on all side. Some of the fat should melt off the meat. The edges of the meat should be starting to turn gray. Sprinkle it again with salt and pepper to make sure you have a generous coating.

Transfer to the oven, try to place the roast in the center or towards the back. Cook for 2 hours until a thermometer reads 128 degrees. Check the temperature at 1.5 hours just to be safe.

When carving the meat, cut the meat away from the bones first. Cut the roast in half. Turn the pieces so the cut sides are facing down. Slice into 1/2 inch slices. Arrange the meat on a platter and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Adapted from Ad Hoc at Home.

Runzas


So we are officially back in KC! They just connected my google fiber and I knew my first priority was to write a blog post. I am actually sitting in my dining room eating one of these runzas right now! I read about runzas in The New Midwestern Table and I really wanted to try them. And what better occasion than my return to the midwest! The dish is of German origin – they call them bieroks and they are traditionally made with cabbage. The runza recipe in the book is made with sautéed spinach. So I have made here an All-American Runza, meat and potatoes. I might try adding some green stuff in the future, but we won’t call it All-American.

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The dough is really easy to make and if it is properly chilled, it will roll out super easily. I refrigerated mine overnight so keep this needed refridgeration time in mind when you decide to make these. I think you could probably add any vegetables to this and they will be great. It is an excellent recipe to use up ingredients you have laying around. I have some fully baked runzas in the freezer as well and we will see how those reheat.
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Slow Cooker Ragu

Ragu is kind of a blanket term for Italian sauces with meat that are typically served over pasta… I cannot really call this a bolognese because of the way the meat is prepared. But Bolognese and Ragu alike originate from the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy which is heavily influenced by French cuisine. Traditional Bolognese (from the capital of Emilia-Romagna, Bologna) contains a finely chopped or ground meat along with a soffritto – carrots, celery, onion. It also contains some sort of fatty pork meat, like the pancetta in the recipe below. And of course it has tomatoes in some form and red wine. I have been doing a lot of research lately, reading some new books including Essentials of Italian Cooking by Marcella Hazan. I am really dedicating myself to learning the regional cuisines and wines of Italy. It is just one million times more interesting than reading First Aid for the Emergency Medicine Boards. Those people cannot compete with the expertise of Marcella Hazan. I just love her voice in this book. I appreciate that she is telling us DO NOT cook this way because it is not good enough. It makes me feel like maybe my food blog is not as harsh as I think sometimes.

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I have also been doing a lot of slow cooker research, it is my new fascination. I feel like there are so many awful crock pot recipes on the internet! (is that too harsh?) You cannot just throw all the ingredients in and expect to develop depth of flavor. And I think Marcella would agree with me. So I have created this fabulous Ragu with a slow cooker and I tried to make it more authentic Italian, thus it does require a few steps on the stove. It is worth it though! You cannot make a real italian sauce without the soffritto, and the soffritto must be sauteed on the stove. The meat must also be seared to lock in flavor. This slow process will develop your rich flavors and tender beef but you will have to thicken the sauce on the stove. If you have one of those fancy slow cookers where the bowl goes on the stove, then this is completely no big deal. But if not you will have to dirty one skillet. If you don’t yet own one and are thinking of purchasing a slow cooker, this would probably be perfect. You may alternatively turn the slow cooker up to high and remove the lid at the end of cooking, depending on the heat, this may reduce your sauce sufficiently.

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Serve this with tagliatelle, it will be distinctly traditional. If you cannot find tagliatelle, try to find a noodle that is sort of wide and flat. And Marcella Hazan would not accept anything less than legit italian canned whole plum tomatoes, so please try and find them. This recipe produces something incredible, so do not skimp on the quality of the tomatoes. However there are some excellent and reasonably priced Italian wines out there. If you are looking for wine to add to your sauce and to drink with your dinner, I would recommend Cielo pinot noir. Cielo is an excellent budget wine that you should be able to find for around seven dollars. It’s a very fruity, jammy pinot noir that could not possibly be more drinkable. So be careful… because you may finish the bottle before your sauce is done reducing on the stove. And then you may be unable to capture the perfect picture of your final product.

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Slow Cooker Ragu

4 oz pancetta, chopped
2 lb chuck roast
Salt and pepper
1 tbsp olive oil
2/3 cup carrot diced
2/3 cup celery diced
1 1/2 cups onion, diced
1 tbsp minced garlic
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1/2 cup dry red wine
28 oz can whole peeled Italian tomatoes, chopped fine or crushed in the food processor
1 cup chicken stock (preferably homemade)
1 bay leaf
1 lb tagliatelle

In a large skillet, sauté pancetta over medium heat. Season the roast generously with salt and freshly ground black pepper. When the pancetta is slightly crispy and has rendered it’s fat, remove pancetta with a slotted spoon to the bowl of a slow cooker. Sear chuck roast in the fat from the pancetta over medium-high. (You may want to cut the roast in half depending on it’s shape.) Sear all sides of the meat until browned, ~4 min per side. Remove the chuck roast to the bowl of a slow cooker.

Add olive oil to pan, swirl to coat. Sauté the carrots, celery, and onion over medium heat for 7 minutes, until the onion is slightly translucent. Add the garlic and crushed red pepper, cook for 2 minutes until fragrant. Deglaze the skillet with 1/2 cup red wine. Cook for 5 minutes until it is mostly evaporated.

Stir in the crushed tomatoes, chicken stock, and bay leaf. Bring to a boil. Carefully pour this tomato mixture into the bowl with the chuck roast and pancetta. Cover and cook on low for 5 hours. The beef should be easily shredded with a fork.

Remove beef to a plate. Pour all the leftover liquid into the skillet. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Cook for 10-15 minutes until reduced and thickened (I also added a little flour to mine). Shred the beef finely and mix in with the tomato sauce. Serve over noodles.

This is a Bubbly Kitchen original recipe.

Vegetable Soup (with beef!)

I started the new year off by cleaning out and organizing my pantry. I am moving in 5 months (!!!) and I am already stressed about using up all the food in my kitchen hoarder’s nest. I did some healthy freezer meal planning and tried to use up anything and everything. This vegetable soup is a great place to use up canned and/or frozen vegetables, broth, and meat. And it is slow cooker friendly! I will admit that I only started using my crock pot on the reg this winter. Before now I was kind of skeptical and did not think that throwing 20 things in one pot for 8 hours could turn out anything good. Now it’s 3 AM, I just got off a swing shift, and Daube Provencale is in the slow cooker. If you haven’t made a New Years resolution yet, it should be to experiment with your crock pot. And if your resolution is to eat healthy – this recipe comes in at 350 calories for each of 8 servings.

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My goal was to use up ingredients so I used some low-ish quality stew meat that was in my freezer for a few months to make this soup. It turned out perfectly tasty. So use meat that you have or whatever is on sale. My mom always makes homemade vegetable soup and this soup reminds me of hers. She makes the soup a little more tomato forward though. You can use really any vegetables you like that you have on hand. Do not try and use up 15 pantry items in one day or you will end up maxing out your Tupperware (see below). My other New Years cleaning project recipes were Chicken Pot Pie Soup and Stuffed Bell Peppers. I also could not tackle soup endeavors without a large pot of homemade chicken stock (see chicken soup a la David Chang for the recipe). And the Split Pea Soup is just too addictive and I had to make more.

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Vegetable Soup

2 tbsp olive oil
1.5 lb beef stew meat
1 large onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup diced carrots
1 cup diced celery
1 lb potatoes, diced
8 cups beef stock
2 bay leaves
1 can (15 oz) diced tomatoes
1 tbsp worcestershire sauce
1 tbsp italian seasoning
Salt and Pepper to taste

In a large pan, heat oil over medium high heat. Cook the stew meat in batches, browning all sides, ~5 minutes. Remove steak with slotted spoon and transfer to the bowl of a slow cooker. Add the remaining ingredients to the slow cooker and mix together.

Cook on high for 4 hours or on low for 6-8 hours. The steak should be very tender and fall apart with a fork. Season with salt and pepper as needed. Remove bay leaves before serving.

Stuffed Bell Peppers

We are starting a little impromptu series here – Meals from your pantry and freezer. You should have the majority of these ingredients already in your freezer or pantry. And if you are like me, its a new year and these locations are overflowing. There is kind of a simple formula to this stuffed bell pepper filling: grain plus meat plus vegetables/beans plus cheese. The filling is also great for tacos or to add a little flare to your lunch salad. These are the ingredients I had stored away that needed to be used up, but you could use whatever meat you have in your freezer. Chicken, sausage, ground beef, turkey, and ground pork would all work great. As far as the grain goes quinoa, rice, farro, couscous, or anything else that inspires you will be perfect. For the veggies and beans – black beans, pinto beans, garbonzo beans are all options. Throw in some canned diced tomato or corn if you have it laying around. Any cheese you like will be great too.

Stuffed Bell Peppers

6 bell peppers of assorted colors
1 cup cooked quinoa
1 lb ground beef
1 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp cumin
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 1/4 cup cheddar cheese
Salt and pepper to taste.

Cook quinoa according to package directions. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cut the tops off of the bell peppers and scrape out the seeds.

Generously season the ground beef with salt and pepper. Brown the ground beef in a large frying pan over medium heat. Cook until there is no more pink showing. Remove beef to a large mixing bowl with a slotted spoon.

In the frying pan, drizzle 1 tsp olive oil. Add in the onion and cook until translucent. Mix in the garlic and cumin and cook for 2 minutes until fragrant.

Add the onion and garlic mixture to the ground beef. Mix in the quinoa, black beans, and 3/4 cup cheddar cheese. Season with salt and pepper.

Stuff the prepared bell peppers with filling mixture. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

After 30 minutes, sprinkle reserved 1/2 cup cheddar cheese over peppers. Bake another 5 minutes or until cheese is melted.

Serve with salsa hot sauce.

This is a Bubbly Kitchen original recipe.