Beef

Today I’m sharing a simple grilled meat recipe, something that really hits the spot on a summer evening. Its preparation is deceptively simple: just rub it all over with lemon juice, give it a fair bit of salt, and grill it until cooked through. Nyama Choma’s charm comes from its down-to-basics approach, letting you complement the pure meat flavor with a spicy and tangy Kachumbari Salad (also pictured: Sukuma Wiki.

One other note for today: my friends at ButcherBox are offering an exceptional deal starting today, which they call “ground beef for life”. We’ve been ButcherBox customers for several years now, and their monthly meat boxes have been especially helpful this year with the ongoing pandemic. For a while, even ButcherBox couldn’t keep up with the disruptions to their shipping and fulfillment process, and stopped taking on new customers. That’s all fixed now, and this ground beef for life deal is one you won’t want to miss.

ButcherBox ships 100% grass-fed beef, pasture-raised chicken, heritage-breed pork, and wild-caught seafood directly to your door. They offer two main types of boxes – the first is a mixture of cuts selected by the team to help get your creative juices flowing (which comes bundled with recipe cards!), or an à la carte box where you can pick exactly what you receive. They also have two different sizes so you can customize your box to meet your family’s size. We like the value of ButcherBox (it comes out to less than $6/meal per person) and the fun of opening a box of new surprises each month. The ground beef for life promotion is just that — you will receive 2 lbs of ground beef for free with every monthly box for the lifetime of your subscription. I signed up for this deal YEARS ago, and I’m still getting this meat every months; it’s a gift that keeps giving.

This deal is only available until September 27th, so don’t delay — enjoy!

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You probably don’t have any reindeer sitting around at your house (unless you do – hello, Canadians and Scandinavians, thanks for visiting my site!). Luckily, this simple recipe can also be used with venison if you or a loved one had an eventful hunting trip this year, or even with bison or beef steaks if you didn’t have a good hunting trip.

This dish hails from Finland, but is enjoyed in Sweden, Norway and Russia as well. What I like about this recipe is that it makes no assumptions – the key to this delicious meal is slicing it thinly, seasoning it sparingly, and nudging it gently towards tenderness with a combination of light braising and some crisping at the end. The whole process takes about two hours from start to finish, but it’s totally worth it.

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Around the holidays, there are three dishes I like to prepare on certain days: turkey (smoked or roasted) for Thanksgiving, ham (citrus and honey glazed) for Christmas, and a rib roast for New Years Day. My traditional rib roast recipe is featured in The Heritage Cookbook, but last weekend I wanted to try out a smoked version of this classic dish, which I’m sharing today.

I tested this recipe on my new pellet smoker (full review here), but it would work well on a charcoal or gas smoker setup, too, which I detail at the bottom of this post. Don’t have a smoker? No worries, this is the exact method I make for an oven roast, and I simply put it in the oven at 180F for Step #2. It comes out great that way, too.

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Ah, casserole season. I don’t know what it is about this time of year that makes me want to layer a bunch of foods together into a large dish and bake them.

Moussaka is an eggplant casserole of various preparations and presentations. In the Middle East, Moussaka is a sauteed eggplant and tomato dish served cold; in Greece (as in this recipe) it is layered with meat and eggplants, then topped with a Béchamel sauce and served warm; in Turkey, it is not layered or topped with sauce, but served with rice pilaf; in the South Slavic states, it is layered with potatoes instead of eggplants, and topped with custard.

Looking for other casseroles? Here are some other casserole-like favorites:

Tuna Casserole
Bacalhau à Gomes de Sá
Tortilla Española
Ratatouille

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With the release of The Heritage Cookbook last week, I’m ready to get back to how it all started–blogging. And honestly, it feels pretty great to be back in the saddle, fiddling with my old writing tools and codes. We’ll start pretty light for now, with recipes from my new book. I figure that since there are less than two months left to put in your order for the special print edition of the book, you won’t mind if I share recipes and stories from the four years it took me to get it into your hands!

Dimlama is a stew popular in Central Asia (especially Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan), made during that short window when vegetables are in season. It’s hard to grow vegetables above the ground on the Central Asian steppes, because constant winds are disruptive to the growing process; that’s why Central Asian cuisine has historically relied on underground vegetables like onions and carrots as their source of vegetables.

Preparing this dish is relatively simple: grab all the vegetables you have available, and layer them over meat (usually lamb, but sometimes beef or horsemeat), cover and simmer until everything is tender. No need to add water – the vegetables will release their own liquid. And it turns out that this dish is actually a bit of a revelation to cook, because it really brings awareness to the vegetables’ subtle flavors. Plus this meat-to-veggies ratio makes the rare chunks of meat that much more pleasurable. When first developing this recipe, I assumed that this wouldn’t be one of my favorites from the book; I was totally wrong.

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Hi everyone, my friends at ButcherBox are offering a special promotion this month and I thought you’d want to hear about it.

All new customers who sign up via this link during the month of September will receive 2 lbs of their 100% grass-fed ground beef for the lifetime of their subscription.

I’ve mentioned ButcherBox several times before on my site, and they’re one of my favorite sources of quality meat. They deliver grass-fed beef (free of hormones and antibiotics), heritage breed pork, and free-range organic chicken directly to your door each month through curated or customizable boxes (complete with recipe cards). Their service is very economical, rounding out to less than $6 a meal. And by taking advantage of this promotion, two extra pounds of ground beef in every box is a pretty sweet bonus.

You may be wondering what to do with yourself, since you’ll be swimming in free ground beef for the rest of your life (well, the life of your subscription). Never fear – here are my eight favorite recipes that use ground beef:

Sukuma Wiki (Kenyan Braised Collard Greens with Ground Beef)
Beef Tinaktak (Chamorro Coconut Beef)
Spaghetti and Meatballs
Keema Matar (South Asian Spiced Mincemeat with Peas)
Picadillo Cubano (Cuban Beef Hash)
Bobotie (South African Mincemeat and Custard)
Köttbullar (Swedish Meatballs)
Shepherd’s Pie

Click here to take advantage of this offer, which expires at midnight PST on September 31st, 2018. Enjoy!

As many of you probably know, I’ve been blogging about my journey with the Paleo diet (or some approximation of it) for about seven years now. But what most people don’t realize is that I posted recipes on this site well before I decided to change my dietary lifestyle, albeit to a much smaller audience. There are very few remnants of the old site today, but one of them is this chili recipe, published about a month before I changed my diet.

I think it’s about time I updated that recipe – the pictures make me cringe every time I see them. In truth, I have updated the recipe twice before; it was featured in both The Ancestral Table and Paleo Takeout. Today’s creation differs from those recipes because it’s more in line with traditional Texas chili; in other words, it focuses mainly on the flavor that comes from dried chilis.

Before we get started, a quick caveat to any Texans reading the recipe: yes, I used tomatoes (considered sacrilege in certain circles). I found that by grating a couple tomatoes and cooking them down a bit, it adds a fruity balance you can’t get from dried chiles alone. You’re just going to have to trust me on this.

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Potjiekos has all of the things I like in a good stew: tender and rich meat, sauce that’s bursting with deep flavors, subtly-seasoned vegetables, and a good backstory. I’ve been watching a lot of Game of Thrones lately (well, once a week), and digging into the show’s theories and lore, so I’m most interested in the backstory part right now. Let’s dig in.

Cast-iron cooking was first popularized in Europe during the 1500s. During the Siege of Leiden, South Holland, in 1573-1574 (part of the Eighty Years’ War between the Netherlands and Spain), the local townspeople turned to communal hodgepodge cooking to survive – in small cast-iron pots, with any meat and vegetables they could find. This communal dish bore the name hutspot, and remains popular today.

Hutspot cooking was carried by Dutch explorers who arrived at the Cape of Good Hope (in present day Cape Town, South Africa) in 1652; over time, the dish started to incorporate new spices brought in from the Dutch East India Company, and took on the name Potjiekos (“small pot food”), using a small three-pronged cast-iron pot called a potjie pot, and cooked over an open fire.

Potjiekos eventually spread throughout South Africa when Voortrekkers (Dutch pioneers), dissatisfied with the then-British colonial administration of Cape Colony, migrated eastwards in 1837 into much of what makes greater South Africa today. Locals appreciated the practicality of potjie pots over their traditional clay pots, and they were integrated into several tribal cuisines – often to cook maize-based porridges such as putu or pap. It’s striking to see these medieval cauldrons take root in a place so far from their origin, and it’s a testament to the adaptability of humankind.

Today, Potjiekos remains a communal dish, cooked outdoors among friends (and a bottle of wine). If you are comfortable with cooking over an open fire, it’s definitely worth the extra effort. For everyone else, adding a bit of liquid smoke can replicate the experience while remaining in the kitchen. I even added Instant Pot instructions below the recipe, for good measure. This dish can be made with any meat, from lamb to chicken to fish, but I prefer the naturally rich flavor that comes from simmering oxtails.

Potjiekos is distinct from traditional stews in that the ingredients are not stirred together until right before serving; instead, the vegetables are layered over the meat and steamed, giving each ingredient its own distinct flavor. Additionally, you don’t want to add much liquid to the pot – just enough to cook the oxtails – since the vegetables will release plenty of liquid as they steam.

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Back in 2012, I posted this recipe for traditionally-cut Korean Short Ribs (Galbi, Kalbi, 갈비). It’s one of the defining moments of this blog, when I started to dive head-first into the heritage, history, and language of food, and it remains one of my favorite recipes. In fact, we still cook this dish about once a month; after recently relocating to Virginia, I grilled up some Galbi for friends, and knew that it was time to share an updated version of this classic.

Wang Galbi (“King Galbi”) look a little different from the L.A.-cut short ribs you’re likely used to, but this is the original preparation for this dish. Ideally, you’ll want to find bone-in English-cut short ribs for this dish, but you could still use L.A.-cut or boneless short ribs as well.

I have a few versions of this recipe floating around on the internet and in my books, but for this week’s recipe I wanted to share the version that I’ve been personally making over the past couple years. I like to think of this as my weeknight-friendly recipe; I’ll combine the marinade the night before, and then pop it on the grill the following evening. All in all, you can’t find many recipes that taste this good while requiring minimal work.

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Yesterday, we celebrated Memorial Day here in the US. Previously known as Decoration Day, it was first celebrated after the American Civil War to honor those who had died in the war. It later expanded to encompass anyone in the Armed Forces who had died while in service to the country. As a tradition, families would gather to put flowers on the graves of those who had fallen, and would follow it with a potluck meal. It became a Federal holiday in the 1970s, and is celebrated on the last Monday of May.

Today, Memorial Day means a lot of things to a lot of people – honoring fallen service members, family gatherings, the start of summer. From a culinary perspective, Memorial Day ushers in the start of grilling season (although that varies by region).

Each year, as I drag my grill out of the shed, I try and take a moment to remember those who gave their lives in defense of their country – regardless of the country they died serving, or the policy decisions that got them there. Having served in the US Navy these past 17 years, it hits close to home; I find myself recognizing more and more names of fallen service members each year. Human history is wrought with stories of people dying when they probably rather wouldn’t have, and I think it’s worth the time to reflect on that from time to time.

I’m a day late in posting my favorite grill recipe of this year, mostly because I’m currently on assignment in a different part of the country, and away from my usual churn of recipe development. Luckily I had this recipe set aside for summer, and it’s the perfect time to share.

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