Cooking with herbs can be a wonderful experience for most of us. If you are unsure of herb and food pairings, or feel you need a bit of guidance, here are my top 5 culinary herbs for beef recipes. Growing your own herbs will ensure your flavors are the freshest they can be. Even if you dry much of what you grow, the dried herb is going to be fresher than anything buy in the store.
By no means exhaustive, these are the simple, easy to grow herbs that are most versatile.
Basil is a bright and powerful flavor, that pairs well with the deep flavors of beef dishes. Delicious cooked into a recipe, be sure to add towards the end of the cook time, to brighten and add a new facet of flavor.
Because basil doesn't dry well(it can often become black and tasteless when dried), try storing it by blending with just enough oil to make a slurry, and then place in ice cube trays to freeze. Once they are frozen, pop them out and place in a freezer bag to store. Just place one cube into your gravy or sauce at the end of the cooking time, and heat until melted.
Rosemary is not only for remembrance. The piney flavor is a wonderful pairing with the sometimes heavy or greasy flavors that beef dishes can have.
Use rosemary to flavor roasts and tough cuts of meat that will be cooked for long periods of time.If you would like to use rosemary in your beef dish, try one of these recipes: Crockpot Rosemary Beef and Tomato,Beef and Red Wine Stew, and Old Fashioned Beef Stew
As an indoor garden herb, a rosemary plant can be successfully grown next to your stove, by using a growlight. Because rosemary can be a bit finicky, do not rely on the natural light in your room to be adequate. Rosemary works well either dried or fresh, so if you are not brave enough to grow it all winter long, try drying it and keeping dried rosemary in glass jars, for easy access. Even your homegrown, dried rosemary, will have 10 times the taste than the mysterious, aged version from the store.
Sage is an often overlooked herb, unless it is the holidays. This is too bad, since the flavor of sage holds up well to the stronger flavors in a beef dish.
Sage grows well in an indoor garden. Be certain to provide adequate lighting, but other than that, it will thrive. I like to grow sage in my Aerogarden, right next to the stove. Both fresh and dried sage tastes wonderful, so use either version in your beef recipes.
Thyme is synonymous with beef dishes. Use it fresh or dry, adding thyme will only round the flavors, and add a touch of depth that only herbs can provide. Thyme is easy to grow indoors, so feel free to use it all the time, just grow some on your windowsill!
Thyme is super easy to grow in an indoor garden. If you choose only one herb to grow on a sunny window, this is the one. Because there are so many varieties, the perfect thpe of thyme is available for any size indoor garden. I like to grow lemon thyme as well. The lemony flavor is welcome in the winter, when I need to brighten a dish.
Parsley has come into its own in recent years. Much more than simply a garnish, cooks who are familiar with this tasty herb, know it can hold its flavor if used fresh and added to the end of cooking.
Parsley brightens and adds a fresh note to those winter beef dishes that can be heavy. For some ideas to use parsley in beef recipes, try some of these ideas:
Parsley gets a bad rap as an indoor garden herb. The truth is, it grows very well, but is a biannual herb. This means that it will grow well for one year only, although it needs two years to grow to it's full potential. If you bring it in for that first year, it may seem scraggly and weak.
Because it is such a slow growing herb, try to buy a fresh parsley plant late in the summer, and bring it indoors for the winter, instead of transplanting one from your outdoor garden.