Sunday, August 28, 2011

Greek Beef Stew dinner

Sometimes I go a little overboard when I am at the grocery store. Especially if I go somewhere like Whole Foods. Well, this past trip was no different. I found myself driving home with 2.7 lbs of grain-fed beef shank in my car, along with an assortment of fresh herbs, veggies, and fruit. I decided to take on a full-fledged gourmet meal. I found this recipe: on a paleo website recommended to be my a friend. I paired it with this:
And a dessert that I invented in my head.

For the beef stew, since I had never made anything similar to it, I followed the recipe pretty closely... except that I made it in a crock pot since I do not have hours to cook, nor do I have a dutch oven....*hint hint* my birthday is in a week... :)

Greek Beef Stew (Adapted from theclothesmakethegirl)

3 tablespoons fat (I used coconut oil.)
2-3 lbs. beef stew meat, cut into 1.5-inch cube
Kosher salt and pepper
1/2 large onion, chopped
3 organic carrots
3 celery stalks, finely chopped
1 leek, washed, drained, and cut into coins
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1/2 cup red wine (or beef broth, if you’re strict about that kind of thing)
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
3-5 cups water
1 sprig fresh rosemary
1 sprig fresh thyme
1 sprig fresh sage
2 cinnamon sticks
grated orange zest (I forgot to add this at the end, but it sounded good)

1. Sprinkle the beef generously with salt and pepper.
2. In a large stock pot or Dutch oven (I used a wok), heat the oil over medium-high heat, then add the meat in batches and sear on all sides. Remove the browned pieces to a bowl to catch the juice and repeat until they’re all finished.
3. In the now-empty pan (except for the lovely drippings), sauté the chopped carrot, onion, celery, and leek for about 2 minutes, the stir in the tomato paste and stir for 1 minute.
4. Deglaze the pan with the red wine and vinegar and stir with passion, scraping up all the brown bits at the bottom of the pan. Reduce until it gets thick like a sauce. At this point, if you are using a crock pot, transfer the beef into the pot and then add the veggies/red wine reduction sauce on top.
5. Put the meat and whatever drippings and juice it’s expended back into the pot. Add 3 cups of water, 2 teaspoons salt, a healthy dose of pepper, and the seasonings: rosemary, thyme, sage, and cinnamon sticks.
** If you are like me, then you will have made this the evening before you wanted to eat it. If that is the case, put the whole thing in the fridge. Then, in the morning, all you have to do is take it out of the fridge, turn on the crock pot, and walk out the door. I put it on high for about 4 hours, and then turned it down to low for the rest of the day. It turned out perfect: the sauce reduced, and the meat and veggies were tender.

6. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer with the pan only partially covered for about an hour. (NOTE: It might take longer than an hour, so if you’re making it on a time schedule, budget 90 minutes, just to be on the safe side). If it starts to dry out, add more water, about a 1/2 cup at a time. You want to simmer until the meat is fall-apart tender and the liquid in the pan has been reduced to gravy-like status. This is not a soupy stew; it’s more like pot roast with delicious wine and herb gravy.
7. Remove the leaves and cinnamon sticks from the pot. Top the stew with grated orange zest before serving. (Oops, missed that step...)

Mashed Cauliflower

  • 1 medium head cauliflower
  • 1 tablespoon sour cream
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan
  • Some garlic powder (yeah, just add how much you like. I like lots)
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh or dry chives, for garnish
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter


Set a stockpot of water to boil over high heat.
Clean and cut cauliflower into small pieces. Cook in boiling water for about 6 minutes, or until well done. Drain well; do not let cool and pat cooked cauliflower very dry between several layers of paper towels.
In a bowl with an immersion blender, or in a food processor, puree the hot cauliflower with the sour cream, Parmesan, garlic, butter and pepper until almost smooth.

Pao de quiejo (Brazilian Cheese Bread)
So just a word before I share a picture. These failed miserably. I am so sad. When I was in Brazil, Rita made these a few times (not from scratch though, she bought them frozen). They are supposed to puff up and be crispy on the outside while being cheesy goodness on the inside. Well, mine did not do that. They were sort of puffed when I pulled them out of the oven. And then they collapsed. So, I figured, well, I will eat one anyway. Poor choice. They were a horrible consistency. Greasy, slimy, and altogether unpleasant. I'm not sure what went wrong. It could be that the oven was supposed to be at 400, and mine was at 350 at first. Boo. But, enough with the sob story, here is a picture:

Ice cream with red wine-dark chocolate reduction

This recipe came from the depths of my mind, which is a scary place. I wanted to use up some of the red wine I had to buy for the beef stew, and I thought it would be perfect to end the meal with something that tied it all together. So this is what I created.

Pour however much red wine is left after making the stew and pouring 2 glasses to drink into a pot.
Add about a tablespoon of brown sugar (or more, depending on how sweet you like it).
Simmer until the wine is thick.
Remove from head and add in about a half of a bar of really good, really dark chocolate.
Stir until the chocolate melts.

Serve over ice cream (or in this case, frozen coconut milk with little chunks of coconut in it) with fresh berries.

**As a note, you may have noticed the quality of the photos greatly improved... This is because a friend (EL, you're the best) was generous enough to take pictures for me. He of course was compensated with food :)

No comments:

Post a Comment