Cooking with Beef: Creamed Spinach and Beef Calzones

calzoneCreamed Spinach and Beef Calzones

Before I get started, I want to give you a preview of what’s coming up.  In about a month I’ll be driving around Southeastern Kansas with terrific chefs from Missouri and Kansas.  It’s all part of a Chef’s Tour to increase knowledge of beef production in the Heartland.  (And, of course, to make things nice and strange, I’m being sponosored as a visiting chef by the Missouri Beef Council even though I’m in Kansas.  Fun, huh?)

Anyway, the two day event includes a Pasture to Plate Culinary Challenge, where I’ll work with beef producers to prepare an unforgettable beef meal.  I plan to own said competition and so I’ve been thinking a lot of beef cooking and will be writing about it a ton.  The good news is that in most culinary challenges, there’s only about an hour or so to cook.  That really narrows down the range of meats to the steaks, which cook quick.

I can do steak cookery.  But what I want to do is blow the judges and competitors away with my sides and how I turn simple steak into something delicious.  That’s where this dish came from.

Creamed Spinach and Beef Calzones

There’s something wrong with me because I love creamed spinach.  It’s simple, it’s creamy and turns something which should be good for me (spinach) into something that is most definitely a heart attack waiting to happen.  Yay!!

Then, I was watching Cooking Channel this morning and Rocco made a calzone with spinach and from that, this recipe was born.

You will need:

  • 1 rib eye
  • 1 pizza crust mix + ingredients for it
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil + extra for the top of the calzone
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 pinch red pepper flake
  • 2 cups frozen spinach
  • 1.5 cups heavy cream
  • Splash ouzo, pernod, or brandy
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese

Take the rib eye out of the refrigerator to take the chill off.  That will let the steak cook more evenly.

Mix the pizza crust per package directions, but don’t bake it.  Let the dough rest while you make the steak and spinach.

Preheat the oven to 350.

Pour two of the tablespoons of olive oil into a skillet and let it get very hot over medium-high heat.  Add the rib eye and sear two minutes on both sides, then pop the skillet into the oven to finish.  In about 8 minutes, you should have a nice rare to medium rare on the steak.  Let the meat rest for 10 minutes before cutting it.

While the steak is cooking, put the other two tablepoons of olive oil into the other skillet and let them get hot over medium-high heat.  When the olive oil is hot, add the garlic, red pepper flake, and spinach.  Saute the spinach until it starts to darken, about 4-5 minutes.  (Don’t forget about the steak if you are cooking them simultaneously!)

Once the spinach is dark and has started to shrivel, add the cream and bring it to a boil.  Once the cream is hot, add the ouzo, zest, and Parmesan cheese.  Stir to mix and take it off the heat.

Finally, make the calzone.  Turn the dough into 6 inch rounds.

Add a layer of creamed spinach.  Then slice the steak into 1/4 inch strips.  Lay 3-4 of them into the calzone and then fold the dough over to make a half-moon shape.  Pinch the edges to keep it closed.  Repeat for all the rounds.

Drizzle the olive oil on top of the calzones and bake them them for 12 minutes or until golden brown.


Thanks to avlxyz for the picture.


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