Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Lemon chicken with sourdough croutons

My New Year's resolution is not to wait long before trying out yummy-sounding recipes. Case in point: I've had this recipe for so long and am finally trying it out on this quiet New Year's Eve. It is incredibly delicious! I think it's my new favorite chicken recipe.

It came from my friend Laura Lane, an ace reporter at The Herald-Times here in Bloomington. She loves it, as was obvious by the fact that she rattled off the recipe as if she'd made it a thousand times. She said the croutons just soak up all the tasty juices. Now that I've made it, I will say also that the onion got a little crispy, and the lemons really made the chicken moist, tender, and flavorful. Yum!

Lemon chicken with sourdough croutons (serves 4)

a 3-1/2-pound chicken, rinsed and patted dry

salt and pepper, to taste

2 lemons, quartered

1 onion, sliced into rings

3-4 tablespoons olive oil, divided

6 cups of cut-up sourdough -- mine were three or four times the size of salad croutons

1.) Salt and pepper the inside of the chicken. (I did the outside, too.) Stuff the cavity with the lemon pieces.

2.) Put the onion on the bottom of a baking dish, and drizzle with about 1 tablespoon olive oil. Put the chicken on top. Roast at 425 degrees for about 1-1/2 hours, or until the thickest part of the thigh registers 180-185 degrees on a meat thermometer. I basted it a little during cooking.

3.) Cover the chicken with foil, and let it rest for 15 minutes while preparing the croutons.

4.) Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large skillet until quite hot. Add the bread, and saute, adding more olive oil if needed, and sprinke with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper.

5.) Put the browned croutons on the bottom of a serving platter, and place the roast chicken on top with the onions and juices.

Fun fact: The chicken I bought today was a fresh Amish one. And, according to this 2006 Washington Post article, Elkhart and LaGrange counties in Indiana -- north of where I live and near the Michigan border -- are "home to 25,000 Old Order Amish, making it the group's third-largest U.S. settlement (after Lancaster, Pa., and Holmes County, Ohio)."

It goes on to say that the Old Order Amish was founded as a small group in Switzerland and migrated to the U.S. in the early 18th century.

All I can add is that they raise fine chickens.

Coming up soon: Warm red cabbage, chestnut puree, and white bean soup with ham.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Venison Goulasch

This is a dish my mother makes every year during the holidays, and I finally got the recipe. It's one of my all-time favorites, and I think my whole family would say we could probably drink this sauce out of a cup. It's that good.

I never see deer meat for sale anywhere in Indiana -- I think you have to know a hunter to get it -- but I know it's available elsewhere. We have a lot of deer in our neighborhood, so I was thinking I might just trap one of the little ones to make this. Just kidding.

My mom gets her venison -- Hirsch in German -- at her local Aldi, where it's already cut into stew pieces. She said if you buy it that way, cut the larger pieces in half for this. She also said it's possible to make this with wild boar and add mushrooms to the mix.

Serve this with potatoes, potato dumplings, or homemade noodles, as well as red cabbage and salad.

Venison Goulasch (serves 6)

2 pounds venison meat, cut into stew pieces

a little butter

a little sunflower oil

salt and pepper

1 onion, shredded or minced

2 carrots, shredded

1 cup of beef bouillon (enough to cover the meat in a pot)

1 tablespoon B&B Kitchen Bouquet (a favorite ingredient of hers to enhance sauces -- and in my grocery store it's found, mysteriously, by the raisins and other dried fruit)

1 jar of gelee de groseilles or about 12 ounces of red currant jelly

2 bay leaves

2 cups heavy cream

1.) Heat the butter and oil until very hot in a large pot. Put the meat into it, and brown it. Salt and pepper it.

2.) Add the onion and carrot to the mix, and cover with the cup of bouillon. Add the Kitchen Bouquet.

3.) Simmer for about a half an hour. Add about two-thirds of the jelly, then add more if you want. Add more pepper.

4.) Throw in the bay leaves, and keep tasting, adding more Kitchen Bouquet if you like.

5.) You can freeze the dish at this point, then defrost it and continue with the directions. Add the heavy cream and taste for seasoning.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Pear custard bars

These bars are so good, I just had to get the recipe from my sister-in-law Kristen so I could make this for my family during the holidays. Now my mom wants the recipe, too, because she loved this so much.

The macadamia nut crust is what makes these so delicious, but you can make the crust using pecans or almonds, too. Actually, the cream cheese custard filling and pears make it delicious, too -- like a cheese cake bar. I wonder what it would be like using peaches...

Pear custard bars (makes 16)
--- for the crust ---

1/2 cup butter, softened

1/3 cup sugar

3/4 cup all-purpose flour

1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

2/3 cup chopped macadamia nuts

--- for the filling and topping ---

1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened

1/2 cup sugar

1 egg

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 can (15-1/4 ounces) pear halves, drained

1/2 teaspoon sugar

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1.) In a mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar. Beat in the flour and vanilla until combined.

2.) Stir in nuts.

3.) Press into a greased 8-inch-square baking pan. (I used a pan that was rectangular.)

4.) Bake at 350 for 20 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool on a wire rack.

5.) Increase heat to 375. In a mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese until smooth.

6.) Add sugar, egg and vanilla, and mix until combined. Pour over crust.

7.) Cut pears into 1/8 inch slices, and arrange in a single layer over filling.

8.) Combine sugar and cinnamon; sprinkle over pears.

9.) Bake at 375 for 28-30 minutes. The center will be soft, but it will become firmer upon cooling.

10.) Cool on a wire rack for 45 minutes. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours before cutting. Store in refrigerator.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

German potato salad

Here is a warm side dish for that Schnitzel you're thinking about making. It calls for lardons, which are tiny cubes of fatty pork often used in French cuisine, but bacon will also do fine.

German potato salad (6 servings)

6 medium potatoes (not the mealy kind), peeled

1/2 cup lardons or bacon

small amount of olive oil for frying the lardons

1 medium onion, chopped

6-7 cornichons (itty bitty dills), finely chopped

vegetable oil

white wine vinegar

salt and black pepper, to taste

1.) Boil the potatoes until done. Peel them when cool enough to handle, and cut them into little slices.

2.) Fry the lardons or bacon in a small amount of olive oil until crispy. Take out of oil, but use oil to saute the onion.

3.) Put onion and lardons in a small bowl, add the cornichons, and toss together with the vinegar, salt, and pepper.

4.) Add a little veggie oil. Add the potato slices, toss again, taste for seasoning.

5.) Serve warm. Reheat if necessary, but don't allow it to get so hot that it's sizzling.

Monday, December 22, 2008


Scnitzel is a typically German dish. It originally was made with veal, but it's more commonly made with pork today. Pork is juicier.

It's kind of the German equivalent of the breaded tenderloins loved by Hoosiers. Leftovers make great sandwiches, too.

Here is my mom's recipe. I have to keep this post short because this German keyboard is making me cräzy!

Schnitzel (serves 4)

1 pound or a little more of pre-cut boneless pork loin

flour, to cover the meat

2 egg yolks

1/4 cup milk

fine breadcrumbs

veggie oil, for frying

a little butter

salt and pepper

2 lemons, sliced

1.) Toss the meat with the flour in a plastic bag, just so the meat is covered lightly. Shake off any excess flour.

2.) Beat the egg yolks with the milk. Dip the meat into that, and immediately dredge the Schnitzels in breadcrumbs.

3.) Heat the oil and butter in a large pan. When sizzling, put the meat in, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and cook for 5 minutes.

4.) When golden on bottom, flip. Sprinkle that side with salt and pepper, and cook 5 more minutes. Serve with lemon slices.

5.) Schnitzel can be made ahead of time. Just put in the oven at 350 for about 10 minutes to reheat.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Happy Holidays!

Happy Holidays, everybody!

This is my last post until I get to Germany on Saturday to see my family, and who knows when I'll get to the computer to update you on all of my eats?

What I do know is that my first post from Germany will be a recipe for homemade Schnitzel, Heidi-style. It will be so good, and it's what my mom (Heidi... yes, it's really Heidi) is making for our first night there. I am not sure, but I'm guessing it will be Sunday when I post that one.

Until then!


Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Beef-mushroom-noodle casserole

Yet another casserole! I know I mentioned I'd be making a tuna casserole, but that might have to wait until after the holidays. Beef just sounded better to me today.

Beef-mushroom-noodle casserole (serves 8)
1 pound ground beef
1 can semi-condensed cream of mushroom soup (I use Amy's)
1/4 cup marsala cooking wine
2-1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
4 shallots, sliced into thin rings
1/2 pound baby bella mushrooms, sliced
1 yellow pepper, diced
2 cups cooked spiral noodles (I used brown rice noodles)
1/2 cup shredded mozarella
1/3 cup lowfat yogurt
-- for the topping --
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon garlic granules
1-1/2 to 2 cups whole-wheat breadcrumbs
1 tablespoon oregano
salt and pepper, to taste

1.) Brown beef in 1/2 tablespoon vegetable oil in hot skillet; drain fat. Put aside.
2.) Heat remaining 2 tablespoons veg oil. Add shallots and cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring. Add yellow pepper and cook for 1 minute.
3.) Add mushrooms and marsala. Cover and cook on medium heat for about 5 minutes. Liberally sprinkle on salt and pepper. Turn off heat, and do not drain.
4.) In a large bowl, combine mushroom mixture, beef, noodles, yogurt, mozarella, and cream of mushroom soup.
5.) Spread mixture into casserole dish.
6.) Combine topping ingredients, and stir well to moisten. Spread on top of the casserole filling.
7.) Bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes, or until breadcrumbs begin to brown. Put under a hot broiler for about 2 minutes to get the topping a little crispy. (Mine got a little too brown! Watch it closely.)

Monday, December 15, 2008

Jean's turtles

God help us. Can it be?

Can it be that there's yet another delicious sweet in my life? And one that's easy to make, to boot?!


My dear friend Jean makes scrumptious holiday treats for her family, and because my birthday falls so close to Christmas, I've happily been the recipient of many a sweet over the years. Last year, there were chocolate truffles. Yesterday, I received homemade turtles.

For this recipe, you'll need mini pretzels, Rolos, and pecan halves. So happy together.

Jean's turtles: verbatim from an e-mail:

"The turtles are easy. Buy those little candy papers and fill a cookie tray with them. First put a pretzel in and then a rolo. Put in the oven at 325 or so for just a few minutes, until they are soft. Then squish a pecan on top.

"I've compared buying bags of Rolos versus the smaller packages by the register. When they are on sale, the smaller packages are a better deal and they are not individually wrapped in foil, so they are a much less pain in the ass."

I love my friend Jean.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Happy Birthday to Me!

I am not posting a recipe today because it's my birthday! I did want to post one of the best birthday cards I've ever gotten, though.

You may know by now that I love Simon and Garfunkel; that was demonstrated in this post showing my special S&G herbs. I also have an S&G vinegar from the same herb shop.

Anyway, here's the card: (Pen drawings are courtesy of my niece Lily and nephew Alex.)

Coming up this week: I'll likely make a tuna casserole -- still on that casserole kick! -- and roasted Brussels sprouts with shallots.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Shepherd's pie

I'm on a casserole kick because the chicken-broccoli casserole turned out so well. Today's experiment: shepherd's pie, a layered dish with ground beef, vegetables, and mashed potatoes.

There are several variations from which to choose, and I liked the idea of sweet peas with carrots, so I included those. I've seen versions of this with green beans, mashed carrots, condensed cream of celery and mushroom soups, chopped celery, and corn.

Shepherd's pie (makes 6 servings)

1 pound ground beef
1 large onion, finely chopped
6-8 medium yellow potatoes, peeled and diced
1/2 cup milk
1 cup grated cheddar, or your favorite cheese
1 tablespoon butter
salt and pepper, to taste
6 medium carrots, cut into small cubes
1 cup sweet peas, defrosted if frozen
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1-1/2 cups beef broth
1-1/2 tablespoons ketchup
2 tablespoons flour

1.) Boil the potatoes in salted water until cooked but not mushy. Drain, then mash with milk, 1/4 cup grated cheese, 1-1/2 tablespoons chopped onion, and butter. Add salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.
2.) In a skillet, heat oil and cook the remaining onion with the ground beef, until it's browned. Drain the grease from this, but return it to the heat.
3.) Add the flour, ketchup, and beef broth to the ground beef, and stir. Simmer for about 3 minutes, then turn heat off. Set aside.
4.) Boil the carrot pieces in salted water until tender. Drain and toss with the defrosted peas.
5.) In a casserole dish -- I used a square corningware one, about 9-inches square -- spread out the ground beef. Top it with the peas and carrots, then spread the mashed potatoes on top of that. Sprinkle the remaining cheese on top.
6.) Bake at 375 for 20 minutes -- longer if you've allowed the casserole to cool at all. I baked mine for about 30 minutes because I had prepared it earlier in the day and kept it in the fridge. You want it to be hot all the way through, with melted cheese.
7.) Put the casserole under a broiler for a couple minutes to brown the cheese a little.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Chicken-tarragon soup

Sick of chicken yet? Don't worry, this will be my last chicken post for a while. But who can roast chicken and resist making chicken soup with the leftovers?

I love the way the flavors of potato, garlic, chicken, and tarragon complement each other in this recipe, and the mushrooms add a nice, earthy flavor to the mix.

Chicken-tarragon soup (makes 8 servings)

3/4 cup chicken bits or cubes (mine were in my stock)
2 carrots, chopped
3-4 small yellow potatoes, diced
1/3 cup wild mushrooms, such as morels or porcini
4 cloves garlic, sliced thinly
1-1/2 teaspoons dried tarragon
salt and pepper, to taste

1.) Combine all ingredients except tarragon in a soup pot, and bring to a boil. Turn down to a simmer, and cook until the potatoes and carrots are tender, about 20 minutes or so.

2.) Sprinkle tarragon on toward the end of the cooking time.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Chicken stock

I pulled the leftover meat off the roast chicken from the other night, and had 3/4 pound -- exactly two cups of cubed chicken -- for the chicken-broccoli casserole. But the leftovers didn't end there. I also made chicken stock for chicken soup, although I'm not sure yet what kind. Maybe chicken-tarragon soup; it's a favorite!

The following recipe is for after you have pulled leftover chicken meat off for sandwiches or casserole -- or soup, if you want to make one that's chock full of chicken.

Chicken stock (makes 6 cups)

leftover roast chicken carcass (there should still be bits of meat that were hard to get off, but they will fall off in this process)

leftover veggies that were roasted with the chicken, if you still have them, OR 2 carrots, broken into thirds

1/2 large onion, chopped

2 bay leaves

a handful of peeled garlic cloves

3 stalks of celery, broken into thirds

enough water to almost cover the carcass -- I used 8 cups for what was a 4-1/2-pound chicken initially

salt and pepper, to taste

1.) Put the chicken carcass, skin, fat, and any leftover vegetables in a stock pot. Add water, and bring to a boil. Turn the heat down to a simmer, and cook for 1-1/2 to 2 hours.

2.) Using a slotted spoon, take out all the chunks and put in a large bowl. Pour the stock through a strainer into another soup pot, and cool completely.

3.) If you want, go through the chunks tablespoon by tablespoon, setting aside any bits you can use for a soup. I got about 3/4-cup chicken pieces by doing this, but it's a messy, time-consuming process. Refrigerate these until ready to use.

4.) When broth is completely cool -- I suggest putting it in the refrigerator overnight -- skim the fat off the top. You can do this skimming process more than once to get the most fat out that you can.

5.) Add back in the chicken bits, if using, and reheat.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Chicken-broccoli casserole

I am thrilled that this casserole turned out tasting exactly like my mother-in-law's. It's the first casserole I've made, and I realize that sounds strange. I'm not counting lasagna dishes or a delicious ground beef-sour cream casserole I made about a year ago. (That one was super-laborious, and casseroles are supposed to be pretty easy to make, right?)

Anyway, my M-I-L told me the ingredients in this dish, and I increased the amount to fill my corningware dish -- my current favorite kitchen item, this cake disaster aside!

I used brown rice because that's what I had in the house, and fat-free milk, but of course this would taste great with white rice and any other kind of milk. I also accidentally left out salt and pepper, but it was fine, and that can be always be added afterward.

Chicken-broccoli casserole (makes 8-9 servings)

2 cups cubed chicken -- I had the perfect amount left over from last night's roast chicken!

2 cups chopped, cooked broccoli

1 cup chopped onion

1 can condensed cream of chicken soup

1 can milk

2 cups cooked rice

1/4 cup butter

1-1/2 tablespoons olive oil

1 cup grated cheddar or colby cheese

1.) Heat the olive oil and butter in a saucepan, and saute the onion for about 7 minutes on medium heat. In a bowl, whisk together soup and milk.

2.) Combine the onion with all other ingredients -- including the soup/milk mixture -- except the cheese.

3.) Pour into a baking dish and top with the grated cheese. Bake at 350 degrees for about a half-hour.

4.) Place under a high-heat broiler for about 2 minutes, or until cheese starts to brown.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Simple roast chicken

I used to be so intimidated by roasting big chunks of meat or whole birds. I still think it's not the easiest thing to do, physically. Think of how heavy a turkey can be, and someone has to lift it out of the oven to baste it. Imagine dropping it on the floor!

That's usually what goes through my head when I roast a chicken. Dropping it on the floor, burning my hands trying to get the pan out of the oven, etc. It hasn't happened, though, and the more I make roast chicken, the better I get at it.

A simple roast chicken is one of the most delicious meals, and the possibilities for leftovers are endless. I like to put veggies around the bird in the pan, to catch the drippings and roast alongside the poultry. I just use whatever veggies I need to use up. Some people prefer to roast the chicken alone on a roasting rack in the pan, which makes the meal less greasy. My chickens are pretty greasy on the very bottom, but that part usually doesn't get eaten straight. I use it for soups -- and with today's chicken, for a chicken-broccoli casserole.

Simple roast chicken (serves 4, with leftovers)
a roughly 4-1/2-pound chicken

about 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided

salt and pepper, to taste

1 teaspoon garlic granules

4 teaspoons herbes de Provence, or your favorite mixture of dried herbs

a variety of vegetables of your choosing, such as small potatoes (leave the skins on), chopped carrots, whole garlic cloves, quartered onions, button mushrooms

1.) Rinse the chicken and pat dry. Rub about 2 tablespoons of olive oil onto it, then sprinkle garlic granules, salt, pepper,and herbs over it on both sides.

2.) Place breast-side up in a shallow roasting pan. I use a square corningware dish.

3.) Toss veggies with just enough olive oil to coat, and arrange vegetables around the chicken.

4.) Bake at 375 degrees for about 1-3/4 hours, basting every half-hour or so to keep the chicken moist.

5.) The chicken is done when the thickest part of the thigh registers 180-85 degrees on a meat thermometer, and the drumstick can be moved easily in its socket.

6.) Let the chicken rest for 10 minutes before cutting. Serve with a green salad with Dijon vinaigrette and warm French bread.

Today's question: What's your favorite kind of casserole? I had a sweet potato casserole one Thanksgiving at my friend Amanda's house that was amazing. I'll have to get that recipe from her.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Cake disaster!

I don't know what I was thinking when I tried to bake a 9-by-13 cake in a 9-by-9 corningware dish.

Here's how the disaster unfolded -- or bubbled over, I should say. I had just whipped up the batter for Dan's birthday carrot cake, when I realized both of my 9-by-13 pans were at friends' houses, and I had just one round cake pan. I could have made the cake with two of those.

I searched and searched for the guitar-shaped cake pan from my mother-in-law, but I couldn't find it.

The square dish seemed like a good choice at the time -- and the only one -- but if I had understood how much the cake was going to rise, I would have just used half the batter in it, and the other half in the round pan. Hindsight is 20/20, as they say.

Well, about 15 minutes into the 40-minute bake time, I smelled smoke. I went into the kitchen, and smoke was streaming up out of the oven through the stovetop. Yikes!

When I looked inside, the batter was dripping down onto the oven floor, and that's what was burning. I put a baking sheet on the shelf below the cake to try to catch the drips.

I took the cake out of the oven, scraped up the burn bits, and thought -- stupidly -- that the cake could continue baking, although the whole middle part was wiggly as can be, while the outside parts that had bubbled over were crispy.

Eventually, I took out the uncooked batter and poured it into the round cake pan. That's how I ended up with a half a cake. I used a LOT of frosting to make it look nice because the layers I divided it into were not so pretty.

On a positive note, Dan said it was the best carrot cake he'd ever had. Ever. Really. I couldn't believe it but must admit that it was indeed a pretty damn tasty cake. (Click here for the final edible version and recipe.)

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Carrot cake with cream cheese frosting

Dan's birthday is today, and he requested a carrot cake. That's fun for me because it's been more than 10 years since I've made one!

I think I've mentioned before that I was a baker at the now-defunct Encore Cafe in Bloomington in the mid-1990s. Carrot cake was one of the staples there. (Of course, when it comes to baking, I think it's all about the oven. The ovens at Encore were fantastic, cooking things evenly and steadily. I think they were from France.)

I should have snatched a couple Encore recipes while I had the chance; I would love to make the cilantro pesto and chocolate mousse. Alas, this recipe is from, a site that's hit or miss for me. I chose this one because the reviews were consistently positive, and it really only differs from the recipe in my Better Homes and Gardens New Cook Book -- a very trusted source -- because it includes pecans.

Carrot cake (makes one 9-by-13-inch cake, or two round cake pans)*

4 eggs

1-1/4 cups vegetable oil

2 cups sugar

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

2 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking soda

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

3 cups grated carrots

1 cup chopped pecans

1.) Grease and flour cake pan(s).

2.) Beat eggs, oil, sugar and 2 teaspoons vanilla extract in a bowl. Mix in flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon.

3.) Stir in the carrots, then gently fold in the pecans.

4.) Pour batter into pan(s).

5.) Bake in a preheated 350-degree oven for 40-50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

6.) Cool cake in pan(s) for 10 minutes, then remove and cool on a wire rack completely.

Cream cheese frosting

1/2 cup butter, softened

8 ounces cream cheese, softened

4 cups confectioners' sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

optional: 1 cup chopped pecans

1.) While the cake is cooling, combine butter, cream cheese, confectioners' sugar and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract in a bowl. Beat until smooth and creamy.

2.) Frost cake, and if using two round cakes, stack them after frosting on top of the bottom cake. Frost completely around.

3.) If you want, use your hand to stick handfuls of chopped pecans around the side of the cake.

* And take it from me: Don't try to bake it in a smaller pan... I had a disastrous first attempt at this, and I will share photos to prove it. That's why this is a half a cake! Look for that tomorrow...

Leftovers: Meaty marinara sauce

To use up the leftover grilled steak -- frozen since dinner several days ago -- I did a simple Google search on it, and I came up with this tempting link. People love their steaks!

Because ours was frozen, I opted for something in which the meat was sliced.

I love the idea of making a long-simmered tomato sauce with it, to put on top of pasta -- especially because that requires no additional ingredients to what I have in the house. I figured I could just use a basic marinara recipe.

Meaty marinara sauce (makes 4 servings)

leftover steak, about 1/2 pound or so

2 cups diced tomatoes, pureed tomatoes, or marinara sauce

2 teaspoons dried oregano

two tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped

1/2 large yellow onion, finely chopped

3 garlic cloves, minced

1 tablespoon olive oil

splash of red wine

salt and pepper, to taste

1.) Because my steak was frozen, I put it in a large pot, covered it with a little water, and brought the water to a boil. Then I turned down the heat and let the steak simmer fgently for about 30 minutes, leaving it covered the whole time.

2.) Remove the steak from the water, and reserve about 1/2 cup of the water, which will now be quite greasy.

3.) Chop the steak into small bits, removing all gristle and fat.

4.) In a saucepan, heat the olive oil. Add the onions, then 2 minutes later (stirring frequently), add the garlic. Cook for about 5 minutes.

5.) Add the meat and oregano, and cook gently for about 10 minutes, allowing some of the liquid to reduce.

6.) Stir in diced tomatoes or marinara, red wine, and salt and pepper. Cook, uncovered, gently simmering for 10-15 minutes. Sprinkle with fresh parsley just before serving with your favorite pasta or gnocchi.