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.
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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.