Broccoli Puree or Mash Recipe – Rich, Colorful & Flavor Packed!

Short Ribs with Broccoli Puree & Squash Puree

Short Ribs with Broccoli Puree and Squash Puree

Copyright by Jacqueline Peppard, all rights reserved.

Is it puree or is it a mash? The two terms are used interchangeably as if the same. Puree, known more recently as mash, is an easy way to dress up just about any vegetable or rescue ones that have resided in the fridge a bit too long escaping notice. It is a process where food has been finely mashed or strained to achieve a thick pulp like consistency. While I may be accused of splitting hairs, a mash usually retains large irregular chucks and lacks a smooth texture. In most cases, you will need a food processor, blender or food mill. For those on a budget, stainless steel food mills can be purchased for as little as $50.00. If you can afford it, a food processor will be the most versatile, easy to use, and will last you a lifetime – well worth the extra bucks.

Broccoli puree first crossed my radar in the late seventies and remains my favorite today. There is something about the bright green that says happy, plus it pairs so well with any meat dish. While I could devote a whole chapter to puree recipes alone, the following broccoli puree recipe provides a solid template for future forays with other vegetables such as the ubiquitous cauliflower mash, or for more exotic concoctions such as spiced butternut squash and apple, carrot and chestnut, beet and apple, celery root and potato. You are limited only by your imagination. Continue reading


Carbonnade – Beef, Bacon, Beer & Onions

Beef Carbonnade

Beef Carbonnade

Copyright by Jacqueline Peppard, all rights reserved.

A country Flemish woman deftly moves about her 17th century kitchen with hair tied up in a white woolen cap and blue muslin apron on. Braids of garlic, onions, and herbs are suspended from the rough hewn ceiling beams. Rays of late morning sun gently stream through a window and bounce against the white plaster walls, filling her eyes with golden reflections. Life is good this year. It is winter, but the bountiful summer harvest lines the cellar shelves with ceramic bottles of dark brown ale, sides of smoked pork, and baskets of root vegetables. She creates a stew for the mid-day meal, a recipe containing beef, bacon, onions, beer, dried herbs, and root vegetables – Beef Carbonnade. A savory aroma soon wafts throughout the house warming the heart and beckoning one to the table.

Spring is almost here, but most can’t even begin a garden of hardy greens yet. In countries still receiving snow, a Paleolithic hunter and gatherer’s food supply would be restricted to whatever wild game he could kill. Much of the ground would still be frozen, and any plant food like greens and root vegetables just wouldn’t be on the menu yet. A denizen of the 17th century would be running low on veggies and would be limited to properly stored root and tuber vegetables that mice or rats hadn’t raided. Any wild game would be stretched with pork raised and cured from the prior summer. Our early ancestors available winter food supplies gave birth to the dish also known as Carbonnade Flamande.

The gourmet name disguises the humble nature of the dish, a sweet-sour beef stew largely comprised of onions. Unlike Beef Bourguignon made with wine, it is distinguished by the rich earthy flavor of dark ale contrasted against onions and herbs. My interpretation calls for 4 different members of the allium family, each adding its own individual flavor to the mix, balsamic instead of apple cider vinegar, and LOTS of bacon. Root vegetables are typically boiled and served on the side. Continue reading


Cabbage Salmon Rolls – Thai Fusion

Salmon Cabbage Rolls

Salmon Cabbage Rolls

Copyright 2015 by Jacqueline Peppard, all rights reserved

The low carb, gluten free answer to alleviate your egg roll or potsticker cravings! Young and old will gobble them up and don’t forget the dipping sauce for added fun. Common to many ethnic cuisines of Europe and Asia, meat fillings are rolled with cabbage leaves instead of wheat or rice wrappers.Treat yourself to three filling variations: salmon, ground beef, or chicken – the salmon is highlighted, but the beef and chicken variations are included.

My recipe makes a savory on the go lunch item that can be eaten cold and they are delicious reheated. For the budget conscious, this is an instance where you can use the cheaper salmon varieties such as Keto without sacrificing flavor, however, be careful of bones and pick them out carefully. I like to buy salmon in bulk while it is cheap and freeze for later.

Tip – Grill or roast two large fillets at once – one to eat immediately for dinner with grilled or steamed vegetables and the other to use for rolls or patties the next day. Somehow eating a leftover grilled salmon just isn’t appetizing to most, but re-purposed into a patty or a roll, heck yeah!

Cabbage Rolls in pan browning

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Gourmet Pot Roast

Gourmet Pot Roast

Gourmet Pot Roast

Copyright by Jacqueline Peppard, all rights reserved.

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Serves 6-8

The roast with the most, featuring an appetizing deep brown caramelized color, tantalizing aroma and flavor. Pot roast is a relatively inexpensive tough cut that needs a long, moist cooking method to tenderize, or in cooking lingo – braising. As a guide, figure 1 hour per pound cook time, for example, a 4 lb roast will require about 4 hours. Years ago one could buy 5-6 lb roasts with no problem, but most are now cut in 3-4 lb sizes for reasons unknown to me. If you need a larger roast, buy two 3 lb pieces to cook in the same pan. The basic cook time, ingredient list and measurements stay the same and do not double. This recipe works well with chuck or shoulder, brisket, cross rib, and round (sometimes called rump) cuts.

To avoid the dreaded overcooked vegetable syndrome, add them in the last 45 minutes of cook time. Even better, amaze and impress your family or friends with vegetables roasted separately and arranged artistically around the roast.


4 tablespoons butter

1TBS olive oil

3-5 pounds roast meat removed from refrigerator 1 hour before cooking

2 medium yellow onions, sliced

3 celery stalks chopped into 1/2 inch pieces

1/3 cup balsamic vinegar or 1/2 cup red wine

6-10 peeled garlic cloves

4 large sprigs fresh thyme (if you can afford only one fresh herb, this is the one to choose)

4 springs rosemary (about 4 inches long)

4 large sprigs tarragon

3-5 cups water or beef broth

2-3 bunches carrots peeled and tops trimmed to a 1 in. green stub

4-6 red onions quartered

2 bunches baby onions trimmed with 3-4 inches of green tops left (optional)

1 cauliflower cut in large florets and/or celery root cut into 2 inch chunks (optional)

Olive oil if roasting vegetables

Salt and pepper to taste

Flat leaf parsley for garnish


Meat: Pat meat dry with paper towels. Heat 2 TBS butter in a large heavy bottomed dutch oven or heavy flameproof casserole pan over medium heat. Add roast to pan and brown well on all sides (about 3-5 minutes a side). Don’t hurry the process – take your time to get a rich caramel color. Watch your flame and don’t scorch the butter. Add more butter or oil if the pan starts to become dry. Remove roast from pan and set aside.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees

Add 2 TBS butter and the 2 sliced onions and three chopped celery stalks to drippings in pan and sauté on medium until fragrant and starting to caramelize, about 10 minutes. Add 1/4 cup broth or water and start to deglaze pan (this means you are dissolving all the brown bits in and stuck to the pan). Add 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar or wine to the onions. Continue to deglaze pan while bringing to a low simmer; stir until liquid has reduced (about 5 minutes).

Place roast back in pan with onions and celery. Add enough water or broth to cover roast about a third of the way up (about 1-3 cups beef broth, but this depends on your pan and the size of roast). Heat and bring to simmer. Add herb sprigs tied with string and 6-10 peeled whole garlic cloves. Place in oven and cook for 30 minutes uncovered at 425 degrees. Check liquid levels, turn oven down to 350 and continue to cook for an additional 30 minutes uncovered.

After you have a beautiful deep brown color to your roast, replenish liquid, salt and pepper, cover, and cook for another 2 hours for a 3 lb roast. For each pound of roast, add an hour. Before you stop cooking the roast, check to see if it is done – I check with a fork at the bottom to see if it pulls apart in the middle. Once roast is done, remove from oven and let rest for 15 minutes before carving.

Vegetables: In the last 45 minutes of cook time, add your choice of vegetables to juice in pan; cover and return vegetables and roast to oven. OR…

In the alternative, heat oven to 425 degrees after roast is done and removed. Generously coat prepared vegetables in olive oil and spread evenly across a large cookie sheet or shallow baking pan. Lightly salt and pepper. Roast for 20 minutes, turning midway. Arrange around roast and alternate colors to create a pleasing pattern.

Garnish with whole and minced flat leaf parsley.

Meat Broth: Remove any vegetables, the garlic cloves, and meat but retain the original sliced onions and celery in liquid – they should be pretty darn mushy at this point. Discard herb bundles. Strain pan juices to remove remaining woody herb stems and to press the original sliced onions and celery through (use a large spoon to do this). Scrap bottom of strainer with spoon to capture puree; add to strained liquid. Discard remaining pulp left in strainer. Since I cook only with 100% grass fed beef, I don’t skim the fat off anymore and leave it in to enhance flavor. Moisten meat and vegetables with strained juices prior to making gravy.

Gravy: While I prefer the strained juices ladled over my meat and vegetables, some may like a thickened gravy instead. Add 1 TBS Kuzu root or 2 TBS flour per cup of strained drippings. Bring to boil, turn down to simmer and whisk until thick. Salt and pepper to taste.

Cook’s Notes:

Check intermittently to make sure the broth level doesn’t dip dramatically.

Water used instead of broth is fine, especially if you can’t obtain a high quality organic, additive-free broth. High quality chicken broth will work as well. If you have any leftover liquid, freeze it to use with the next roast.

Cover after one hour of browning regardless of roast size. If you don’t have a lid for your pan, cover it with an aluminum foil tent. A cover and adequate liquid level is crucial to keeping your roast from from drying out.

Olive oil or ghee may replace butter.

Save the trimmed baby onion tops to slice and use in other dishes or salads.

Cross Rib roasts, while they slice better, tend to be a bit too lean for my taste, I prefer chuck if available. It is superior in flavor and moister, containing more gelatinous connective tissue. First cut brisket tends to be too lean as well in my opinion.


Instead of baby spring onions, add small leeks to the vegetable line up. Cut in half lengthwise, wash, and trim. I particularly like baby onions though, because they add variety in shape.

Fennel quartered and roasted.

Broccoli cut into large florets and roasted.

Red pepper de-seeded, quartered and roasted.

Celery cut into 3 inch lengths roasted or added to juice.

Red baby round or fingerling potatoes roasted or added to juice (1-2 lbs) .

Cauliflower or broccoli puree/mash served with gravy instead of potato.

Lard meat with additional fat (beef tallow) to enhance flavor.

Orange zest put in with herbs.

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