MyTake: What We Learned This Week
We ate beef, with a little beef, and then some more beef.
This week at MyRecipes we've been celebrating our 2nd annual Beef Week with various articles and recipes featuring different cuts of (mostly budget-friendly) beef. We kicked off strong with a selection of less expensive cuts of beef that everyone should really know about, and start embracing in weeknight meals. You’d be amazed at the money you can save. Given, there’s no shame if you’ve never consciously considered picking some of these cuts up, or never even heard of a few. You have to be a serious beef enthusiast to really know your cuts of meat beyond the most popular picks, but this going for the less glamorized cuts can lead to some crazy delicious new discoveries. Consider this your primer.
By far, this most excited person in the office for the #BeefMyWeek festivities was our editor, Darcy Lenz. (The woman’s enthusiasm for red meat is something else…) She ‘gramed a picture of a beef stew that she made—with on-sale stew meat—Sunday night and brought the leftovers into work over the coming days for lunch. Thus, we are reminded of the greatest thing about beef stew: It always taste better the next day, and no matter the size of your family, you’re never gonna eat the whole pot in one sitting. It’s a meal that will always yield leftovers—perfect for prepping the week’s packed lunches and even freezing for a hearty meal down the road.
Another glorious Instagram highlight from the week was when assistant editor Sara Tane posted a swoon-worthy photo of pan-seared New York strip steak topped with a stunning chimichurri sauce, served with perfectly crisp roasted potatoes. It reminded me of just how delightful and versatile an easy chimichurri is, not to mention… how very well it works with beef. During the summer, Sara made a stunning tomato salad topped with ricotta cheese and chimichurri and it quickly became a go-to summer staple for me. I can only imagine how amazing that salad would be if a few perfectly medium-rare steak slices were added to the equation. Point being, go make some steak and chimichurri, and your life will be great.
I’ve been on a serious Instant Pot kick lately, and while brainstorming some new recipes for (of course) #BeefWeek, I came up with the, if I do say so myself, brilliant idea of Instant Pot Beef Barbacoa. If I can give a slow hand clap for myself on this one, I will, because the recipe turned out delicious. Barbacoa is typically smoked or cooked in a fire pit, but real talk… we don’t have time for that. The Instant Pot, per usual, simplified the situation and produced amazingly tender chuck roast that was easy shredded for tacos. The roast is seasoned with a handful of toasty spices that create a richly flavored cooking liquid.
In this recipe, highlight ingredient for me is the chipotle peppers in adobo sauce. This powerful pantry staple consists of peppers that have been smoked, dried, and rehydrated again—and are then mixed into a vinegary spiced tomato-based sauce with onions. This little can packs a craveable peppery punch (personally, I wanted to dump the entire can into the Instant Pot). I find that these canned peppers provided a strong, warming backbone to a dish without being overwhelmingly hot. Not only do they add smoky flair, but they also lend a velvety red hue to the beef. Now, I know what you’re thinking… what do I do with the rest of the can? Great question. Here are a few ideas on how you might use them up.
Finally, on a personal/non-beef related note, I took some time away from my desk to see how the other half lives, shadowing one of our test kitchen recipe developers for the day. We worked on developing two recipes that would shed light on the glories of the old-school, almighty poached chicken breast. (Stay tuned for those, they’ll be coming to MyRecipes soon.) It’s a pretty awesome experience to observe our test kitchen pros’ individual processes of taking a recipe/story from concept to functional guide for readers to follow at home. I always pick up a new trick or two; and this time around, I was even able to flex some food styling skills to get these chicken dishes ready for their camera debuts. Of course, the greatest takeaway from a day spent in the test kitchen is consistently the same… the food. When, during the course of a single afternoon, I could enjoy a (generous) slice of hummingbird cake, chicken enchiladas, warm from-scratch pita bread with a super garlicky paste, and Thai noodles with a red curry broth, it’s hard not to have a pumped-up sense of excitement about food, the act of sharing it, and the fact that that’s exactly what we do for a living here during a typical day at the office.
And on top of all of that, I think I managed to work my way through the week with considerable grace in light of the Super Blue Blood Moon energy disrupting a lot of folk's flow. Seriously, TGIF.