What could be better in the winter months than some warm comfort food? It is not all that cold here in North Carolina (winter is usually colder here), but being the Brazilian girl I am, even a little chilly is already cold enough for me. I love summer and the hot weather, but winter is also good sometimes, especially when talking about steaming soups and hot cocoas, both which I also love!
Yesterday, inspired by the cold weather, I decided to make something warm and comforting, also including my husband’s favorite food, meat. Basic Beef Stew with Carrots and Mushrooms ended up being the perfect food; hearty and full of flavor it satisfied the three of us leaving everybody with the warmest smiles!
The flavors here are very good, but be prepared, because, although not a complicated dish, it takes a little time to make. It requires some prep time also, and since I did not plan on the 2 hours of cooking the recipe stated I had to cut some corners and ended up cooking my stew in the pressure cooker. Yes, I cheated, but the end result was still delicious, the flavors melded and the meat was super tender, not to mention my favorite part: the carrots! I love the carrots in beef stew, they cook to perfection, absorbing the beef flavor and keeping its sweetness at the same time, they get creamy and melt in your mouth, yummm!!
But, back to the pressure cooker thing… basically I followed the recipe (cooking everything in the pressure cooker), and when I returned the beef/onion/mushroom mixture to the pan I added the carrots and potatoes, closed the pressure cooker and let it cook for about 45 minutes. It was quick and made for a nice meal for us!
I made half of the recipe yesterday and we ate it all, so, since it takes a lot of time to make, next time I will definitely make the full thing and freeze the leftovers.
This was the first time I used fresh mushroom in my cooking and I actually liked the results. I like mushrooms but not when they are in their raw form, so I usually don’t go for recipes whit it. This time I decided to really follow the ingredients list and what a nice surprise I had, maybe I will be experimenting more with mushrooms from now on!
This week I am planning on making some new recipes, so please come back to visit!
In the meantime, try the beef stew; I am sure you are going to like it too! Enjoy!
Basic Beef Stew with Carrots and Mushrooms
1 tablespoon olive oil, divided
1 pound small cremini mushrooms
2 cups chopped onion
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/3 cup all-purpose flour (about 1 1/2 ounces)
2 pounds lean beef stew meat, cut into bite-sized pieces
3/4 teaspoon salt, divided
1 cup dry red wine
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
2 (14-ounce) cans less-sodium beef broth
1 bay leaf
2 cups (3/4-inch) cubed peeled white potato (about 1 pound)
1 1/2 cups (1-inch) slices carrot (about 12 ounces)
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Fresh thyme sprigs (optional)
Heat 1 teaspoon olive oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms, and sauté for 5 minutes or until mushrooms begin to brown. Spoon mushrooms into a large bowl. Lightly coat pan with cooking spray. Add onion; sauté 10 minutes or until tender and golden brown. Add garlic; sauté 1 minute. Add onion mixture to mushroom mixture.
Place flour in a shallow bowl or pie plate. Dredge beef in flour, shaking off excess. Heat remaining 2 teaspoons oil in pan over medium-high heat. Add half of beef mixture; sprinkle with 1/8 teaspoon salt. Cook 6 minutes, browning on all sides. Add browned beef to mushroom mixture. Repeat procedure with remaining beef mixture and 1/8 teaspoon salt.
Add 1 cup wine to pan, scraping pan to loosen browned bits. Add thyme, broth, and bay leaf; bring to a boil. Stir in beef mixture. Cover, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer for 1 hour or until beef is just tender.
Stir in potato and carrot. Simmer, uncovered, 1 hour and 15 minutes or until beef and vegetables are very tender and sauce is thick, stirring occasionally. Stir in remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper. Discard bay leaf. Garnish with thyme sprigs, if desired. Yield: 8 servings.
Cooking Light, Jan/Feb 2006