Sunday, October 20, 2013

Beef and Crimini Mushroom Stew

Well, it looks like fall is well and truly here. I'm still wearing sandals outside, but they are with jeans instead of capris. In fact, I'm starting to wonder where I put all my work pants. It's going to be a little chilly standing on the playground tomorrow...

Yesterday was one of those wonderfully drizzly, gray days. It wasn't a bad enough storm that I worried about a dead branch busting up my fence again, but it was enough to make me want to burrow under a blanket on the couch and drink something warm. My husband calls it "Soup weather" and is demanding I make him some nearly every night this week. That might be excessive, considering all my recipes make roughly a gallon or so. There's only so many bowls of soup I can take for lunch every week. 

Beef and Cremini Mushroom Stew
Last night's soup was Beef with Crimini Mushroom Stew, a really nice riff on the classic beef stew recipe I grew on. It's extra seasonal since this is Atlanta Beer Week, and this stew features some German beer whose name has fifteen syllables, bought at Ale Yeah! in Roswell. (I am not a beer person.)

I may not be a beer drinker, but I do love cooking with it. I think it's especially good for braising beef and I use it for stews and pot roasts all the time. 

Crimini mushrooms are probably my favorite mushroom and I look for excuses to add them to things. They sell at grocery stores as "Baby Bellas", because they are just a smaller version of the portabello mushroom. They are a nice, meaty mushroom that's easy to clean and always in stock at the grocery store. As you can imagine, they pair really well with beef. I add them to stews and frequently put them over steaks. 

This stew would work well in a crockpot. In fact, that's how I usually cook it. But I'm in love with my big, porcelain glazed, cast iron, dutch oven right now.  I made this stew in that and let it cook in my oven at a low temperature for several hours. Either method works just as well. One just looks prettier on the table. 

Beef and Cremini Mushroom Stew

1 pound beef stew meat, trimmed and cut into bite sized pieces
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped celery
2 cups chopped and peeled carrots
2 cups chopped potatoes (I like a waxy red potato)
1 cup cremini mushrooms, stemmed and sliced
2 cloves of garlic, smashed
1 small can tomato sauce
2 cups (16 ounces) of a medium body beer you like
1 table spoon "Better than Bullion" OR 1 and 1/2 cubes of bullion, beef flavor
1 table spoon cornstarch

In bottom of dutch oven, heat up a couple table spoons of canola oil. In batches, brown stew meat.  Salt it really well. Reserve. Add chopped veggies, add meat back. Salt everything. Add tomato sauce, beer and one cup of water. Cover and place in pre-heated 250 degree oven. Braise for at least three hours, checking periodically to see if more water is needed. When ready to serve, remove from oven and add bullion. Make a slurry of the cornstarch and add to stew. Stir until dissolved. Check for salt and serve. 

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1 comment:

Stonedragon said...

Nice recipe. You use the Better than Bullion as well? How do you like it?