Monday, February 20, 2012

Leftover Beef Challenge

My good friend J. has a dilemna that we all run into from time to time.  How to use up leftover meat in a recipe that you haven't made a million times and are bored with.  She mentioned she has lots of leftover roast beef and wants to make something different with it.
My mom was good with "repurposing" her left over meat.  Leftover roast chicken meant at least one chicken casserole and maybe chicken sandwiches for lunch before the rest of the carcass was used to make her divine chicken soup...yummy.  Leftover roast pork was diced and made into stroganoff (I still love a pork stroganoff more than the beef one), or a casserole,  or was sliced and covered with onions and my mom's homemade bbq sauce and slow cooked for at least 4 hours in her slow cooker.  We never had it on buns, instead it was served over rice.  Roast beef...well, there were always beef casseroles,  hot roast beef sandwiches with gravy, stroganoff, dish she called the Squire's Beef -  she would slice roast and layer those slices with rounds of onion and then smother it with black pepper, a little salt and a tiny bit of beef broth and heat it in the oven.  She also loved to get out her meat grinder and grind the beef with dill pickles and onions.  That got combined with some miracle whip, salt and pepper and made a terrific sandwich, particularly if you toasted the bread first.  She made beef and barley soup, she made gulays,  she would cut cold beef into strips and make a salad dressed with a oregano dressing, lots of tomatoes, onions and cucumbers....that homemade dressing was terrific.   She also made something called "chinese hash" that featured left over beef strips, a lot of shredded cabbage, thinly sliced carrot coins, celery and this horrid soy sauce based glop that she told us kids was the "stir fry sauce."  It was HORRID....but in our house, you ate what was put on your plate, or you went hungry.  We were well aware that we were gosh darn lucky to eat like kings....and worried about those starving children in Africa that Mom seemed to know so well.  I got sent to my room for a night for helpfully suggesting we find a box for my supper and send it off right away!  I think I remember stinging buttocks accompanying me to my room!  

I have a recipe that I tried for my husband when we were still married.   He had French in his background and would often talk about the wonderful meals his grandmother would create and how he missed her good French cooking.  So I made this:

Tien de Bouef aux Legumes

1 pound mushrooms, sliced
6 cloves garlic, minced
6 shallots, minced
1/2 cup fresh bread crumbs
1/2 cup chopped parsley
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
8 to 10 slices cooked beef, or 3 cups chopped (use what you have — exact proportions are not essential)
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 tablespoon olive oil

Preheat oven to 375°F. In a bowl, mix the mushrooms, garlic, shallots, half of the bread crumbs, parsley, salt and pepper. Oil a large baking dish and spread half of the vegetable mixture on it, lay the meat on it, and cover with the rest of the vegetables. Add the wine. Sprinkle with the remaining the bread crumbs and the olive oil and bake 30 minutes. Yield: 6 servings

I liked it, my husband did too but told me his grandmother most certainly never made anything like this from leftover beef!  A tian is basically a gratin.  Now I am not sure if J. would make this because I vaguely remember something about her HATING I will just have to post a couple more recipes....Here goes:

Leftover Roast Beef Italian Stew

(makes about 2-3 servings, recipe can easily be doubled.)

1/2 onion chopped

1/2 green pepper chopped (or more)

1 T olive oil

8-10 oz. leftover roast beef or steak (about 1 1/2 cups diced beef cubes)

2 cups beef stock (or 1 can beef broth plus a little water)

1 cup slow roasted tomatoes (or 1 can diced tomatoes)

1/2 T dried oregano

1/2 T dried basil

1 cup mushrooms, cut in large chunks

1-3 T chopped fresh basil (or frozen chopped basil.)

Cut onion and green pepper into 3/4inch pieces, and roast beef and mushrooms into 1 1/2 inch pieces. In heavy dutch oven type pot, saute onions in olive oil for 3 minutes, add green pepper and saute 3 minutes more. Add beef, stock, tomatoes, oregano, basil, and mushrooms, reduce heat to very low, and simmer 45 minutes, stirring occasionally. Taste for seasoning, add salt and pepper if desired. Add fresh or frozen chopped basil when stew has cook to desired consistency and cook 5-10 minutes more. Serve hot.  

The Man's Salad
2 cups cubed roast beef
4 large tomatoes, diced
1 onion, diced
1/4 cup fresh basil, chiffonaded 
1/2 cup basalmic vinegar

Combine the beef, tomatoes, onion and basil.  Chiffonading means cutting something into very a very fine shred.  Warm the balsamic vinegar to lukewarm in a small sauce pan, then pour it over the beef mixture.   Let sit for one hour in fridge and then gently stir in one tablespoon or less of olive oil.  This can be served over spinach leaves.  I often omit the oil because I like the taste of balsamic all on its own.  

Thai Beef Salad
6 cups sliced romaine lettuce leaves
2 cups  cooked roast beef or steak, thinly sliced and cut into strips, 
½         English cucumber, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced
2 cups thinly sliced red cabbage
1         sweet red pepper, seeded and thinly sliced
4         green onions, thinly sliced on diagonal
⅓ cup unsalted cashews
1 tsp   grated lime zest
⅓ cup fresh lime juice
3 tbsp vegetable oil
2 tbsp sodium reduced soy sauce
1 tbsp each fresh minced ginger and garlic
1 tsp   granulated sugar
¼ tsp   red pepper flakes
Dressing: In large bowl, whisk together lime zest and juice, vegetable oil, soy sauce, ginger, garlic, sugar and red pepper flakes. Season to taste. (Make-ahead: Cover and refrigerate for up to 1 week).

Add lettuce, beef, cucumber, red cabbage, red pepper and green onions to the bowl; toss gently to coat with dressing. Top with cashews just before serving.

Taco Soup

1 lb. chopped chicken, roast beef or ground beef 
1 onion, chopped
1 (16 oz.) can kidney beans, with liquid
1 (16 oz.) can white beans, with liquid
1 (16 oz.) can pinto beans, with liquid (I didn’t have these so I used black beans)
1 (16 oz.) can corn, with liquid
1 can Ro-tel tomatoes with chilies and liquid
1 (16 oz.) can stewed tomatoes, with liquid (I used a can of crushed tomatoes)
1 pkg. taco seasoning mix
1 pkg. Ranch dressing

If you are using ground beef, saute it and the onion together, drain.   Add remaining ingredients, bring to boil and simmer for 15-20 minutes or put in your crock pot on low for 3-4 hours. Top with sour cream, tortilla chips and grated cheese.
If using chopped chicken or roast beef, sauté onions in a little oil then add meat or if meat is already cooked , just saute the onion.

You will notice, J. not a casserole, beef and barley soup, stroganoff, cottage or shepherd's pie, or regular stew in this batch of recipes.  I hope one works for you!

How about you, gentle readers?  What do you like to do with left over roast beef, chicken, or pork?

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