Portuguese Meat Croquettes

Portuguese meat croquetsSo you’ve just finished dinner and have some steak leftover, or that huge amount of turkey after the holidays, well… you get the idea. Re-use it! Freeze the leftover meats until you have enough. And make sure to keep all of its juices, gravy or whatever else that was with the meat.

Once you have enough different types of leftover meats, you can finally put them to good use by making these croquettes. As you will see the measurements were from the meats I had in the freezer. The main idea to to create a similar ratio of beef/poultry/pork.

And a big thank you to my Dancer who decorated the plates so beautifully!

INGREDIENTS

3 cups of ground presunto / prosciutto or some type of salt cured meat
4 cups beef leftovers
5 cups of smoked turkey leftovers
4 cups of chicken leftovers
6 cups of pork leftovers
2 large onions
8 cloves garlic
For the Béchamel
2 bars of salted butter
4 cups of all-purpose gluten-free flour
10 cups of milk
For frying
3 to 5 eggs
fine gluten-free breadcrumbs
oil to fry

DIRECTIONS

  1. Thaw all of the meats them grind them.
  2. Make the Béchamel sauce by first melting the butter in a large pot, then adding the flour and mixing well until attaining a smooth paste. Add the milk a cup at the time so to blend it all nicely, and stir constantly until you create a nice smooth cream.
  3. Add the meats and adjust with seasonings to taste.
  4. Let it simmer for about 10 minutes.
  5. Remove it from heat, let it cool then place it in the fridge overnight.
  6. Next day in the first bowl beat the eggs, in the second add the breadcrumbs.
  7. Create “tubes” with the meat paste, then pass them through eggs then the breadcrumbs and place them neatly in a tray to freeze them for an hour or so.
  8. Once frozen, you can immediately fry them, or put them in freezer bags to be fried at a later date.

Lemon chutney and paste for grilling

Lemon Chutney

My Mother taught me this absolutely amazing lemon chutney. She learned it from a Mozambican man while living in South Africa. It is extremely easy to make but usually requires hot sun. Yet living in a cold area such as Wisconsin I figured out how to make it on the stove top.

This chutney is awesome to eat it alone with a nice juicy grilled steak or creating a paste, then basting whatever food you will be grilling or broiling! And no worries it certainly is not as crazy spicy as you may think, when looking at those chili peppers, just cut them small and enjoy.

Oh, and another thing. If you are going to do it in the sun, therefore outdoors, PLEASE keep an eye for chipmunks! Believe it or not they love this chutney! Not sure it is good for them, but I ended up to throw away two jars as they opened the cheese cloth and enjoyed its contents!

Now I have no exact measurements for this recipe, so bear with me.

INGREDIENTS

Dry red hot chili peppers

Lemons cut in quarters (you can also use limes)

Coarse sea salt

empty 8-ounce glass jar with cover

cheese cloth

kitchen twine

DIRECTIONS IF COOKING IN THE HOT SUN

  1. In an empty 8-ounce glass jar create layers with each of the ingredients. 
  2. I usually start with lemon quarters, nicely snug, then cover it with a thin layer of salt, then about 20 chili peppers and so on.
  3. Make sure to always pack it well, so there is no space whatsoever.
  4. Once all the layers have reached the top, fill it with as much lemon juice as you can. Using a thin stick, such as a barbecue skewer, move things a bit around so to avoid air bubbles.
  5. Prior to covering the jar with cheese cloth and kitchen twine, make sure to fill to the brim with lemon juice not to dry up.
  6. Fold a cheese cloth two or three times to create a square, then place it over the top of the jar. Tie the twine tightly around the cheesecloth.
  7. Place it outside somewhere you know will always be under the sun, or at least have a good 6 hours of direct sun per day.
  8. Every two days, remove the cheese cloth, add more juice and keep an eye on air bubbles. Recover with the same or different cheese cloth and tighten it again with the kitchen twine.
  9. This process should take about 28 days to cook if you live in a really hot area. You will notice the ingredients starting to blend together and the lemon darkening.
  10. Once ready, bring it back inside and use the jar’s original cover. As long as there is a bit of lemon juice on the top, you do not have to refrigerate it.

DIRECTIONS IF COOKING OVER THE STOVETOP

  1. In a medium size sauce pan, create layers as described above, all the way to the top.
  2. Bring it to a low boil, then reduce the heat to gently simmer, covered for about 4 to 5 hours.
  3. Check it from time to time and stir as much as you would like. Make sure to add lemon juice if it becomes dry.
  4. The end result should look darker in color and sort of mushy.
  5. Once cooled off pour it in a glass jar, check for air bubbles and add more lemon juice.
  6. Cover it with its original cover.

CREATE A PASTE FOR GRILLING

Chopped up lemon chutney

INGREDIENTS

1 cup of lemon chutney

10 tbsp of butter

2 tbsp of minced garlic

DIRECTIONS

  1. Soften the butter and place it in a medium size bowl.
  2. Chop the chutney finely and add it to the butter.
  3. Add minced garlic to the butter and mix it all well.
  4. As you are grilling your meat or seafood, continuously keep on basting with this paste.

Lemon chutney paste for grilling

Oxtail machaca with poached egg

Oxtail Machaca

Final plate

The other day I bought some oxtail as it was on sale. Is it just me, or has oxtail tripled its price in recent years?

Usually I make oxtails with lentils or beans. but was not quite in the mood for a cold night’s dinner. So thanks to a Facebook group I belong to, I decided to make something I had never made before.  As I had never made Machaca, I started to google and read all types of recipes so to inspire me. As usual, I had to give my own twist to the traditional recipe.

I started by seasoning the oxtails with salt and cracked pepper. then I browned the oxtails in hot olive oil. Once all sides were nice and golden, I added water to cover them up, and let it simmer for about 3 to 4 hours until the meat came out of the bones very easily. Then I removed the oxtail out of the pot, preserving its broth (not quite sure yet what I will use this for, one thing is for sure, it won’t go to waste).

cooked oxtail

Princess stealing cooked oxtail

As it was cooling off I wondered if I would have enough meat as my toddler kept on “stealing” some every 5 seconds. Thankfully I was able to convince her instead to try to remove all the leftover meat from the bones and clean them well. But here are of the the ingredients and exact directions I followed. Again this is not the traditional Machaca.

INGREDIENTS

About 20 to 25 pieces of oxtail
3 tbsp of olive oil
water
1 finely chopped medium size yellow onion
1 diced green pepper
3 diced tomatos
1 jalapeño pepper finely cut
6 eggs
1 bunch of cilantro
2 cups of the oxtail broth
shredded cheese
salt & pepper

DIRECTIONS

  1. Place all of the oxtail inside a large bowl and season it well with salt and freshly cracked pepper.
  2. Bring a large pot, or dutch oven to high heat with 1tbsp of olive oil.
  3. Sautée all sides of the oxtail until nice and brown.
  4. Fill the pot with water so that it fully covers all of the oxtail and bring the heat to a low simmer and leave it for about 3 to 4 hours (if you need to step away for a while or if you started preparing it prior to leaving to work, an idea is to place oxtail and water into a crockpot in low, for the day and your meat will be ready when you get home).
  5. Once the meat is falling off the bones, remove it from the broth to cool down prior to shredding it.
  6. In a large skillet, warm up the rest of the olive oil and sautée the onions, green peppers and jalapeño (you can omit the jalapeños and create a side sauce with it by simmering a cup of the oxtail broth with the cut up jalapeño, then each person can add however much spicy heat to their own plates).
  7. Once golden in color, add the shredded oxtail meat followed by the diced tomatos and half the cilantro leaves.
  8. Bring heat to a simmer and add 2 cups of the oxtail broth, then crack the eggs so to poach them over the meat mixture. Cover the skillet. Check if eggs are cooked after 3 minutes.
  9. Serve over some white rice (or in tortillas) making sure each plate has one egg and decorate it with the remainder cilantro and shredded cheese.

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Stewed Cow Tongue

Cow TongueHere we go…. please, at least read it to the end. It really ins’t bad and if you forget it is actually a tongue you are eating, you may like it!

Am I kidding? Actually… no I am not. BUT what is important is to know where this tongue comes from. This is the second year that we get 1/8 to 1/4 of a cow from a local farm, so I feel comfortable with other less typical parts such as a cow tongue. What is the end result taste of cow tongue? Depending on how you cook it, as long as it boils for a while, it is a very tender meat that easily grabs the sauce it cooks in. Actually this would be perfect to use as pulled beef, but in this recipe I am creating it with a tomato based sauce.

INGREDIENTS

1 cow tongue
water
salt

FOR THE STEW
2 tbsp of olive oil
1 chopped onion
3 chopped garlic cloves
10 diced tomatoes
1 bay leaf
1 bunch of parsley
1 diced carrot
2 cups of beef stock
cooked cow tongue sliced

DIRECTIONS

  1. Wash the cow tongue with cold water.
  2. In a pressure cooker add the tongue and cover it with water and add salt.
  3. Close the pressure cooker tightly and let it cook for at least 30 minutes.
  4. Remove from heat and wait until the …. stops prior to removing it.
  5. Let it cool then remove the tongue and clean it all until you see nothing but the meat.
  6. Meanwhile heat the oil in a large pan, add the onions and garlic until golden.
  7. Add the rest of the ingredients and let it simmer for a good 40 minutes.
  8. Add the sliced tongue, cover it a let it simmer for 20 more minutes.
  9. Serve immediately with some rice, pasta or mashed potatoes.