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How to Cook Every Dish on “The Bear”

The Bear is one of those shows that we saw through memes first. Whatever it is that keeps Hulu and HBO from launching things in Ireland at the same time as the US should be shot. Luckily “The Bear” is the kind of show that isn’t really spoilable.

For kitchen dorks like yours truly, it’s heartening to see what working in service is like play out in a more vulnerable and accurate way than rom-coms make it out. On top of some top-notch, soon-to-be award-winning performances, The Bear comes stacked with recipes to try.

So we went through it episode by episode and clocked them all. Have fun cooking. Look out for food and drink pairings to match.

Episode 1 “System” 

Braised Beef Sandwiches

If there’s one thing, The Bear has taught us: hot beef sandwiches should come sauced, hot or sweet. Bonus points if you can get the delicate balance of sweet, salty and spicy. 

If you want to recreate this at home, you’re looking for a slow-cooker recipe. Ideally, a cheaper cut of steak. Flank steak or top round, hanger steak, tri-tip steak, top sirloin steak, flat-iron steak, and flap steak will do. Do not go all in on sirloin or fillet. Those are best reverse-seared in butter with garlic and Rosemary. 

To get that juicy, delicious gravy that pulls focus all through the episode, fire up the skillet and sautee your onions with hot or sweet peppers before adding them to the slow cooker. You should do a few hot and a few sweet to level up, then let everyone build their sandwich to their liking.

Check out this recipe if you wanna give it a go. 

Sydney’s Family Meal

We meet Ayo Edebiri’s Sydney on her first day *staging* in the kitchen, and she is assigned the “family meal”. Family meals, or staff meals as they’re more likely called in the average restaurant, are usually something a kitchen preps for everyone to eat together before service. Typically it has to be as cheap to produce as possible and is designated to the more junior chefs. Sydney ends up making a plantain stew with rice plus some fennel salad. Not the most broadly appealing dish, in my personal opinion.

But if you’re feeling fruity, you can try a Cuban Beef Picadillo with Plantain Mash or a Dodo Ati Efo that should appeal to the few among us who love a crispy slab of plantain. Serve either one with a fennel salad, and you; definitely feel like you’re a chef in a movie. Fennel is a real “chef’s love this” ingredient. 

Episode 2: “Hands”

Chicken with Peppers

We don’t get to see much hands on cooking in this episode, but we hear about some of The Beef’s most popular dishes while dinner orders come through. The most common of which seems to be a “chicken-pepper.” At a glance the dish seems to be a half chicken slathered with greasy grilled peppers. 

Best guess is slather a chicken in pepper and butter and roast it over an array of peppers and onions. Sure, onions aren’t mentioned, but the odds are that there were onions in everything. Onions are always in everything. Spatchcock your chicken if you want it to cook faster. Better yet, use chicken thighs. If you need a recipe, there’s one here for a sheet pan chicken. Chuck all the bits in a lovely soft roll with a smattering of mayo or butter, and you can satisfactorily pretend you; ‘ve eaten in Beef.

Sausage with Peppers

If you’re spotting a theme, then you’ve a good eye. Yes, this is the third dish with peppers. “Sausage-pepper”, we’re going to guess, looks something similar the above chicken-pepper. If that sounds more appealing than the chicken option, then you’re in luck. Sausage is way quicker to cook than chicken. 

American sausages are typically utterly different to Irish sausages. Instead, they tend to be more similar to Bratwurst. 

Episode 3: “Brigade”

Hot Dogs, “Run Through the Garden”

The restaurant isn’t called The Original Beef of Chicagoland for no reason. Like most TV shows every choice is imbued with meaning. Beef appears to be named in part for the classic Chicago-style dog they sell. 

So, just what is on a Chicago-style dog? It is is a steamed poppy seed bun with an all-beef frankfurter topped with classic American yellow mustard, bright green relish, freshly chopped white onions, fresh tomato wedges, a pickle spear typically in a kosher-style, a couple of spicy sport peppers and finally, a dash of celery salt. 

Yup, peppers are the prevailing theme of the show. 

You could twist this recipe into a vegetarian-friendly offering by going for Chicago-Style Carrot Dogs, a la Tabitha Brown. Or if you can’t track down all beef hot dogs, a challenge in Ireland, you could go with a more dinner-style sausage from one of Dunnes Finest ranges. 

Or you could offer both the next time you BBQ for a mixed young crowd.

Carmy’s Plum Gelée

You probably don’t want to haul ass out to the bitchers to try to track down veal fat for this Haribo-style plum dessert, and neither would I. But if you’re going to recreate the essence or Baccus, forgive the vibe. A few different plum desserts are just as glamorous and delicious. 

You could go with Plum Ruffle Pie,  Plum Custard Tart or Plum Tart. Much simpler and a refreshing change to the reams of meh apple pies that do the potluck rounds at this time of year.

Ebrahim’s Chicken Suqaar

Sugar is a classic Somali dish with any form of protein and lots of veggies. While Ebrahim uses chicken in his, Martha Steuart’s recipe for Ma Halima’s Suqaar beefs it up. I cooked it once before as fancy meal prep, and I have to say it’s a goodun for the “I wanna lose a few pounds but not feel like I’m missing out” lifestyle. 

Episode 4: “Dogs”

Marcus’s Chocolate Ganache Cake

Most days, when you don’t *quite* want to put in the painstaking effort that Marcus does with this cake. Instead, if you’re going to recreate something that would take a chef all day with just a few twists and turns, you can skip the folding eggs whites and go for a One-Bowl Chocolate Cake, like this from Donal Skeehan, complete with fluffy icing. If you cover it in ganash instead and garnish it with a zested orange, you’ll fool everyone at most tables cos it’ll look exactly like Marcus’s. Ganesh is tricky, though, so if it’s your first time, make more than you think you’ll need and be kind to yourself. 

Tina’s Rosemary Mashed Potatoes

The Beef’s recipe is excessively complex for home-mashed potatoes. But there is something you can take from it, Rosemary. If you make a rosemary butter before you mash, you can get the effect without too much work. You can also buy one from Tesco, but it has lemon. So it’s a little more tart than I like my mash personally. 

When I’m trying to flex in my roast, I boil my potatoes in milk. Full-fat-unpasteurised-cost-me-a-fiver-down-the-farmers-market-full-of-flavour type milk. If you want to go all in on that and add a few sprigs of Rosemary, you will be the talk of the town. Especially if you run your mash through a sieve

We’re going to stick with something basic here. Just make our classic mashed potatoes—here’s a step-by-step breakdown—and add rosemary, olive oil and chicken stock to the final product for a silky result. But, of course, you’ll find even more optional add-ins when you follow the above mashed potato tutorial.

Episode 5: “Sheridan”

Carmy’s Lemon Chicken Piccata

Carmy, inspired by his sister via their ma, breaks down a piccata recipe step-by-step in the show’s most detailed recipe. But if you don’t wanna roll playback over and over to get it. Here’s the exact recipe transcribed by VOX. Or, if you prefer YouTube – here’s Matty Matheson’s take on it. 

While Chicken Piccata might sound new and fresh, the dish is a classic holiday dish in Italian-American households. It has been since the early 1900s. It’s a lightweight alternative to the heavy red sauce of Chicken Parm that’s more widely found. 

Episode 6: “Ceres”

Sydney’s Cola-Braised Short Rib and Risotto

Using coke to cook a Christmas ham went viral a few years ago. I am firmly pro weird sweet things in cooking. Unfortunately, many in my family that year were not. So proceed with caution. 

Sydney Finishes that recipe in the season finale, but here is a simpler one to tide you over till the end of this article. This was published in 2019, so you know it’s not just a bandwagon recipe. 

Pair it with a Basic Risotto for a delicious, balanced meal. If you want to recreate Sydney’s specific risotto, I’ve done my best to pull what I could from the show. But it doesn’t really show enough. I can tell you she uses about 75g of shallots, 50g of garlic and 30g of thyme in her recipe for about 400g of rice. Add a little thyme to the basic recipe linked above, and you’ll have a better approximation than this.

Episode 7: “Review”

Marcus’s Perfect Doughnut

Pulling together a light yeast doughnut with a technicolour jam filling isn’t really achievable to anyone who isn’t as clearly fanatical as Marcus. So I’d recommend something a little simpler. Aim for a classic old-school jam doughnut but splash out on the fancy jam, and you’ll approximate it well. 

If the three-hour time stamp and gallons of oil scare you off, then maybe learn in on the air fryer doughnut craze. 

Episode 8: “Braciola”

Mikey’s Beef Braciole

It’s easy to get distracted by Mikey’s chatter in the opening flashback to this episode, but Braciole is a thing of beauty and much easier to make than it would first appear. It’s somewhat akin to making a wrap. But with meat, technically, it’s a whole different thing. In this recepie Mikey calls for thinly sliced Beef, which can be hard to find. Pop to a local butcher and ask for a skirt steak, though, and they’ll likely have it. The Wall Street Journal have a perfect recreate here

Serve it with marinara over your favourite ideally fresh pasta for a banging dinner, just like Mikey used to make. Makes a change from SpagBol, but it won’t alienate a spag bol aficionado. 

Sydney’s Chilean Sea Bass with Tomato Confit

This is a glamorous, summer-ready dish. The exact specifics are hard to ascertain from the script alone, but you definitely have cooked sea bass and cooked tomatoes like this Grilled Sea Bass with Charred Tomato & Corn Salad recipe. It’s not really the time of the year for it, but click save and keep it for when grilling season rolls around. It’ll be a hit with the Pet Nat set, for sure. 

Mikey’s Family Spaghetti

There are many times in life when you need a basic spaghetti recipe everyone will love. Mikey’s recipe doesn’t include meat in the sauce—in fact, his sauce has just four ingredients: ten garlic cloves, basil steeped in olive oil and two twenty-eight-ounce cans of San Marzano tomatoes. 

Carmy channels Marcella Hazan when he adds a few tablespoons of butter and onion—sliced in half that gets removed from the sauce before serving—to his pan to heat the canned tomatoes.

Matty Matheson has a YouTube Video covering it if you want a sassy step-by-step to follow. 

Elsewhere on CHAR: Why I Hate The Word Foodie