Crockpot Beef Stew with Red Wine

Crockpot Beef Stew with Red Wine

I love when the temps turn to sweatshirt weather, a time when your cheeks get that slight wind chill burn when you’re out for a walk. Work is located downtown and I walk 2 miles every lunch time to keep in shape, get some fresh air but mostly just to clear the head. I have come up with many solutions to the days pressing issue while walking. I’m and IT guy with 35 or so users spread out in 5 locations with an additional 6 servers/PCs to service. To top it off sales is on the road here and in Asia a lot of the time. So every call I get it is 99.99% chance of being issue call. As anyone in my situation will tell you every caller does not give a _____ about anyone else problems just theirs. Oh yeah you take care of the president first, no matter what.

Anyway back to my daily walks, some of the shop owners, police and the mentally challenged give me the nod as I walk by with ear buds blocking out the sounds of downtown Milford and the local neighborhood. I have become a townie it has been since I was in my teens that I’ve been there. Different town different times.

Lyn and I finally broke down and bought a new crockpot, one that you can put the pot on the burner and brown saving those great little flavor bits on the bottom. With sweatshirt weather there is nothing better than coming in from outside and smelling the rich flavors of a great beef stew, heck even a bad one smells good.  As promised here is that quick beef stew recipe I made. I made a small batch since I am still on the fend for yourself diet but made sure I had left overs.

 

Ingredients

  • 1 pounds stew beef like bottom round, well trimmed and cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ tsp. ground pepper
  • *********
  • Pinch or two of red hot pepper flakes
  • 1-2 Tbsps. olive oil (plus more if needed)
  • 1 medium to large onions, ruff chop
  • ¼ cup ketchup – I did not have tomato paste that would probably be about 1-2 Tbsps.
  • 1/2 cup dry red wine
  • 1 large potato, cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 1 cup bay carrots
  • ¼-1/2 cup chicken broth would have been better with beef broth but again I did not have.
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon dried thyme leaves
  • 1 bay leaf
  • *********
  •  ¼-1/2 cup frozen peas put in when almost ready to serve
  • ¼-1/2 cup frozen corn put in when almost ready to serve

 

Directions

1. Coat the beef in the flour and pepper. I like to put in plastic bag and shake to coat. Heat a few tablespoons of the oil in a crockpot pot over medium-high heat. Brown the meat, a few pieces at a time, adding more oil as necessary. Remove and set aside.

2. Add the onions to the skillet and cook over medium heat until tender, about 5-10 minutes. Stir in the ketchup and coat the onions. Remove and set aside.

3. Place pot in crockpot, pour the wine into the pot and scrape up any browned bits. Stir in the potatoes, carrots, broth, salt, thyme, red pepper flakes and bay leaf.

4. Cover and cook on low heat for 7 ½-8 hours, or on high for 4 hours. Add the peas and corn and heat through.

I was nervous because it was a small batch but it came out pretty darn good.

My pictures did not come out that great so I admit it I borrowed one from the web. Thanks Susie Cushner interestingly enough her recipe was real close to what I did. Our gut instincts must be close.
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French-Style Pot-Roasted Pork Loin

French-Style Pot-Roasted Pork Loin

Don’t you think that it is funny how when the leaves start to turn and cover the ground stews and roasts creep back into our diets? I suppose it’s because cooking something in the oven during the summer just heats up the kitchen and during the fall with windows closed the aroma fills the house. That is good because when you go out for the sweater weather walk and return to the house you are hit with that drool starting blast of goodness.   Pork Loin is one of my wife’s favorite cuts of meat, there is just so much you can do with it and we have. I saw this today and it reminded me of others I have tried and thought I would share it with you. Also included the how to double butterfly instructions on the bottom.

 

From America’s Test Kitchen

Why this recipe works:

Enchaud Perigordine is a fancy name for what’s actually a relatively simple French dish: slow-cooked pork loin. But given that American pork is so lean, this cooking method leads to bland, stringy pork. To improve the flavor and texture of our center-cut loin, we lowered the oven temperature (to 225 degrees) and removed the roast from the oven when it was medium-rare. Searing just three sides of the roast, rather than all four, prevented the bottom of the roast from overcooking from direct contact with the pot. Butterflying the pork allowed us to salt a maximum amount of surface area for a roast that was thoroughly seasoned throughout. And while we eliminated the hard-to-find trotter (or pig’s foot), we added butter for richness and sprinkled in gelatin to lend body to the sauce.

Serves 4 to 6

We strongly prefer the flavor of natural pork in this recipe, but if enhanced pork (injected with a salt solution) is used, reduce the salt to 2 teaspoons (1 teaspoon per side) in step 2. For tips on “double-butterflying,” see step-by-step below.

Ingredients

  • 2tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 2 pieces
  • 6 garlic cloves, sliced thin
  • 1(2 1/2-pound) boneless center-cut pork loin roast, trimmed
  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper
  • 1teaspoon sugar
  • 2 teaspoons herbes de Provence
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored, and cut into 1/4-inch pieces
  • 1 onion, chopped fine
  • 1/3 cup dry white wine
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/4-3/4cup low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 tablespoon unflavored gelatin
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley

Instructions

1. Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 225 degrees. Melt 1 tablespoon butter in 8-inch skillet over medium-low heat. Add half of garlic and cook, stirring frequently, until golden, 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer mixture to bowl and refrigerate.

2. Position roast fat side up. Insert knife one-third of way up from bottom of roast along 1 long side and cut horizontally, stopping ½ inch before edge. Open up flap. Keeping knife parallel to cutting board, cut through thicker portion of roast about ½ inch from bottom of roast, keeping knife level with first cut and stopping about ½ inch before edge. Open up this flap. If uneven, cover with plastic wrap and use meat pounder to even out. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon salt over both sides of loin (½ tablespoon per side) and rub into pork until slightly tacky. Sprinkle sugar over inside of loin, then spread with cooled toasted garlic mixture. Starting from short side, fold roast back together like business letter (keeping fat on outside) and tie with twine at 1-inch intervals. Sprinkle tied roast evenly with herbes de Provence and season with pepper.

3. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in Dutch oven over medium heat until just smoking. Add roast, fat side down, and brown on fat side and sides (do not brown bottom of roast), 5 to 8 minutes. Transfer to large plate. Add remaining 1 tablespoon oil, apple, and onion; cook, stirring frequently, until onion is softened and browned, 5 to 7 minutes. Stir in remaining sliced garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in wine, thyme, and bay leaf; cook for 30 seconds. Return roast, fat side up, to pot; place large sheet of aluminum foil over pot and cover tightly with lid. Transfer pot to oven and cook until pork registers 140 degrees, 50 to 90 minutes (short, thick roasts will take longer than long, thin ones).

4. Transfer roast to carving board, tent loosely with foil, and let rest for 20 minutes. While pork rests, sprinkle gelatin over 1/4 cup chicken broth and let sit until gelatin softens, about 5 minutes. Remove and discard thyme sprigs and bay leaf from jus. Pour jus into 2-cup measuring cup and, if necessary, add chicken broth to measure 1¼ cups. Return jus to pot and bring to simmer over medium heat. Whisk softened gelatin mixture, remaining 1 tablespoon butter, and parsley into jus and season with salt and pepper to taste; remove from heat and cover to keep warm. Slice pork into 1/2-inch-thick slices, adding any accumulated juices to sauce. Serve pork, passing sauce separately.

How to “Double-Butterflying” a Roast

Steve says: I have tried this on a lot of different roast and my god does it enhance the flavor

When butterflying a narrow roast like pork tenderloin, a single bisecting cut will usually suffice. But to open up wider roasts like the center-cut pork loin used in our French-Style Pot-Roasted Pork Loin, we make two parallel cuts. This technique exposes more of the meat’s surface area to flavorful seasoning.

1. Holding chef’s knife parallel to cutting board, insert knife one-third of way up from bottom of roast and cut horizontally, stopping ½ inch before edge. Open up flap.

 

2. Make another horizontal cut into thicker portion of roast about 1/2 inch from bottom, stopping about 1/2 inch before edge. Open up this flap, smoothing out rectangle of meat.

Step-by-Step

Secrets to Juicy, Rich-Tasting Pot-Roasted Pork Loin

Thanks to their well-marbled pork, the French can get away with pot-roasting the loin, one of the leanest cuts of the pig, without drying it out. Here’s how we adapted their approach to super-lean American pork loin.

 

“DOUBLE-BUTTERFLY” AND SALT Opening up the roast like a tri-fold book creates more surface area for seasoning, ensuring that the salt thoroughly penetrates the meat.

ADD FAT Spreading garlic butter over the surface enriches this lean cut, bringing it closer in flavor and juiciness to well-marbled French pork. We then fold up and tie the roast.

 

 SEAR TIED ROAST ON 3 SIDES Browning only the sides of the roast that are not in contact with the pan during roasting prevents the bottom of the meat from overcooking.

COOK IN LOW OVEN Roasting the pork in a gentle 225-degree oven until medium guarantees that the meat will cook up tender and juicy, not chalky and dry.

 

ADD GELATIN Adding gelatin to the exuded meat juices replaces the body and richness lost by omitting the pig’s trotter used in the French original.

 

 

There is a good video of this recipe

 

Rib eye Steaks with Rasberry Sauce

Rib eye Steaks with Rasberry Sauce

Arbie turned me on to Rib Eye steaks way back when, not sure if he even remembers. A few of us got together at the Silver Lounge

and he ordered a Rib Eye, I never had so tired I could not believe the flavor and it has been one of my “eat out” favorites for many years. A few weeks ago Whole Foods had Rib Eye on sale so we bought a bunch and froze. So we have been trying different things with them and try use things in season.

Lyn, once dub the catalog queen of Milford by the postman, found this in Country living. She now subscribes to all her catalogs and magazine online saving trees whenever she can.

Ingredients

  •  1 bottle(s) red Zinfandel
  • 2 cups raspberries
  • 1 cups ketchup
  • 3/4 cups seedless raspberry jam
  • 3 Tbs. balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tsps. sweet paprika
  • 1/2 tsps. ground cinnamon
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 4 (1 pound each) bone-in rib-eye steaks

How

In a medium pot over medium-high heat, bring wine to a boil. Lower heat and simmer until reduced by half, about 25 minutes. Add raspberries, ketchup, jam, vinegar, paprika, and cinnamon; simmer, stirring, for 20 minutes. Season with salt and pepper; set aside.

Heat grill to medium-high.

Something that I read and have been doing when grilling steaks is to place the meat in freezer for about 20 minutes before grilling. This has been giving me great steaks grilled on outside yet juicy and cooked just right on the inside with really good flavor. I know I was brought up never cook meat right out of the frig let alone partially frozen but I tried and it is now my way.

Pat steaks dry, Season steaks with salt and pepper place in freezer for about 20 minutes.

Grill for medium-rare, grill for 6 minutes per side. Brush steaks with sauce, flip, and grill for 2 minutes. Repeat on other side. Serve sliced, drizzled with sauce.

Thiers had bone in I cut my grilling time to about 4 minutes instead of 6 per side since mine did not have the bone in.

You can use the ball of thumb method I posted or a meat thermometer to test for doneness.

Raspberries

What’s New and Beneficial About Raspberries

  • One of the most fascinating new areas of raspberry research involves the potential for raspberries to improve management of obesity. Although this research is in its early stages, scientists now know that metabolism in our fat cells can be increased by phytonutrients found in raspberries, especially rheosmin (also called raspberry ketone). By increasing enzyme activity, oxygen consumption, and heat production in certain types of fat cells, raspberry phytonutrients like rheosmin may be able to decrease risk of obesity as well as risk of fatty liver. In addition to these benefits, rheosmin can decrease activity of a fat-digesting enzyme released by our pancreas called pancreatic lipase. This decrease in enzyme activity may result in less digestion and absorption of fat.
Spinach, Cheddar and Rice Pie.

Spinach, Cheddar and Rice Pie.

Continuing theme a night dinner plan it was vegetarian night again. We have fallen very nicely into the flow and I don’t have to peek at the calendar as much to figure out what tonight brings theme wise.

We love the taste of spinach and cheese but can’t say that I have tried this combination. The best thing was that I came home from work and the house smelled soooooo good. Lyn worked from home and had everything ready for me including a nice glass of wine with cheese and crackers. How lucky am I!

 Ingredients

  • 3 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 10 oz. package frozen chopped spinach, thawed , and squeezed dry
  • 3 cups cooked brown rice (small grain)
  • 1 cup diced extra sharp cheddar cheese
  • ½ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • 4 large eggs
  • ¼ cup nonfat milk (we use lactose free)
  • 1 roasted red pepper cut in strips

How

Make sure your wife is working from home 🙂

Preheat the oven to 4250. Generously coat a 9 inch pie pan with cooking spray.

Heat oil in large skillet over medium heat.

Add Onion and cook. Stirring frequently until beginning to brown, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook 1 minute more. Transfer to a large bowl. Add rice, cheese, pepper and salt to the bowl and stir to combine.

Note: We thought after that some red-hot pepper flakes would be a nice touch if you wanted a little more heat.

Whisk eggs and milk in medium bowl then stir in rice mixture. Transfer to the pie pan and smooth the top with a spatula and arrange the roasted red pepper on top.

Bake the pie until lightly browned in spots about 25 minutes. Let stand for 5 minutes before cutting into wedges.

Spinach, Cheddar and Rice Pie   Spinach, Cheddar and Rice Pie

Lamb Stew with Spring Veggies

Lamb Stew with Spring Veggies

Lyn had been wanting a stew which was unusual for her she is not much of a stew person. Years ago we had made an Irish lamb stew but for the life of us could not remember where we saw it. So we must have look at a dozen recipes and I came up with this which was heavily influenced by Wholefoods. This stew came together easily, simmering on top of the stove for a couple of hours made another day of growling tummies.

Ingredients

  • 3 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. fine sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
  • 2 pounds lamb stew meat, cut into 2-inch chunks
  • 2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  •  1 1/2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 1 Tbsp. dried rosemary
  • 1 Tbsp. dried oregano
  • 2 cups chopped carrots
  • 1 pound small red or white potatoes, halved or cut into chunks
  • 1 cup fresh peas or frozen green peas, thawed
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced green onions (About 1 scallion)

Double click to enlarge

 How:

Combine flour, salt and pepper in a large bowl or plastic bag. Add lamb and toss to coat well.

Heat oil in a large heavy pot over medium high heat.

If needed working in batches (setting aside first batch in bowl), add lamb and brown on all sides set all lamb aside for a moment. Add the garlic and cook until you smell about 15 seconds to 1 minute.  Add chicken broth, wine, rosemary and oregano. Stir to combine add the lamb and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer for 1 hour.

Stir in carrots and potatoes. Cover and continue to simmer 1 hour longer.

Stir in peas and mustard and simmer 3 to 10 minutes or until peas are just cooked through (frozen peas do not take as long to cook).

Ladle stew into bowls and garnish with green onions.

Lamb and Veggie Stew with bread

Note from Steve: The only thing I might change is using fresh springs of oregano and rosemary and removing the stems after cooking.

Fried Chicken Szechwan Style

This is a dish that I usually cook on bachelor night since Lyn feels there might be too much oil. Steam some broccoli or asparagus for a side dish and you are good to go. Fairly easy and uncomplicated and for me…. I just like it.

Ingredients

  • 1 lbs. of boneless chicken breast or thighs

 Coating

  • 2 Tbsp. corn flour
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • ½ teaspoon five spice powder

 Sauce

  • ½ cup chicken broth
  • 2 tsp. sugar
  • 1 Tbsp. light soy sauce
  • ½ tsp. sesame oil
  • 1 tsp. vinegar
  • 2 tsps. chinese wine or dry sherry
  • Extra ¼ tsp. five spice powder
  • ½ tsp. fresh ground black pepper

 Thickener

  • 2 tsps. Corn flour
  • 1 Tbsp. cold water

Cooking

  • ½ cup peanut or other oil for frying. You could use less oil if you wanted that keeps my wife happy.

 Spice

  • 15 dried red chilies, seeded
  • 2 cloves garlic finely chopped
  • 2 tsps. Finely chopped fresh ginger.  Fresh is best but I always have some whole ginger in the freezer
  • 3 scallions, cut into 2 inch long pieces (white and greens).

How:

Cut chicken into bite size pieces (sometimes partially freezing make the cutting easier)

In a plastic bag mix together the corn flour, salt, and five spice powder. Shake to mix. Add chicken and shake to coat.  Remove chicken from bag, shaking off excess corn flour mixture and place chicken aside. This can be done in a glass bowl instead of a plastic bag that keeps my wife happy.

In another bowl mix together chicken stock, sugar, soy sauce, sesame oil, vinegar, wine, ¼ tsp. five spice and pepper together.

In another small bowl mix the corn flour and cold water.

Heat the oil in a wok and when VERY hot add chicken pieces, in 3 batches and fry on high heat tossing to brown all over.  Batches allow the chicken to cook rather than steam if oil gets to cool. Allow the oil to heat up again between batches. Place each batch on absorbent paper towel that are on a dish or tray so counter does not get all oily, ok ok I learned a lesson way back when.  When all the chicken has been fried pour off all but about 2 Tbsp. of the oil.

With the exhaust vent on add the chilies, garlic and ginger and fry until the garlic and ginger are golden and the chilies turn dark. Does not take long.

Add the scallions and toss a few seconds then add the stock mixture and bring to a boil. Stir in the corn flour mixture again to mix smoothly and add to the pan, stirring constantly until it boils and thickens. Add the chicken and toss to coat and heat through.

Serve immediately with steam brown or white rice.

Twist that I have done over the years

  • Added fresh red or mix color peppers or substitute just peppers for chilies, a milder dish
  • Left the chilies seeds in for a spicier dish
  • Add unsalted peanuts or raw cashews

Beef Brisket with Caramelized Onions and Merlot Sauce

Again another brisket recipe this one was sent to us by Missi, my pseudo adopted daughter, back when she was trying meat again. We tried a few times then moved on to others but it is well worth mentioning. Thanks you Missi and Williams-Sonoma.

 

Beef Brisket with Caramelized Onions and Merlot Sauce

A hearty entrée for a Passover meal, this brisket tastes even better when it’s cooked a day in advance. Cut the cold meat into thin slices and reheat just before serving.

Ingredients:

  • 1 first or flat-cut brisket, 4 to 5 lb.
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 2 Tbs. olive oil
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped yellow onion
  • 1/2 cup diced carrot
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 can (28 oz.) plum tomatoes, with juices
  • 2 cups Merlot or other full-bodied red wine
  • 1 bay leaf
  • For the caramelized onions:
  • 2 Tbs. olive oil
  • 3 cups thinly sliced sweet onions such as Vidalia
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 cup pitted dried cherries

 

Directions:

Preheat an oven to 325°F.

Season the brisket on all sides with salt and pepper. In a Dutch oven or a large, wide ovenproof pan with a tight-fitting lid, warm the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the brisket and brown well on both sides, about 6 minutes total. Transfer to a plate. Add the onion and carrot to the pan and sauté until golden, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté until softened, about 1 minute. Add the tomatoes and juices, 1 cup of the wine and the bay leaf. Mix well and bring to a boil. Return the brisket to the pan, cover and place in the oven.

Cook, basting occasionally with the pan juices, until the brisket is fork tender, about 3 hours. Remove from the oven and let cool in the juices. Carefully lift the brisket from the juices and transfer it to a deep platter. Cover with aluminum foil and refrigerate until cold, at least 2 hours or up to overnight. Let the pan juices cool, then pass through a food mill or press through a sieve into a bowl. Discard the solids and refrigerate the juices until ready to use.

Just before serving, preheat the oven to 350°F.

Cut the brisket across the grain into thin slices. Arrange the slices, slightly overlapping, on an ovenproof serving platter. Cover with aluminum foil and place in the oven for 15 minutes to heat through.

Meanwhile, cook the onions: In a large fry pan over medium-low heat, warm the olive oil. Add the onions and sauté, stirring often, until golden brown, about 20 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. While the onions are cooking, pour the remaining 1 cup wine into a saucepan over high heat. Add 1/4 cup of the dried cherries and bring to a boil. Boil until reduced by half, about 5 minutes. Stir in the pureed brisket juices and return to a boil. Season with salt and pepper.

To serve, remove the brisket from the oven. Pour the sauce evenly over the top. Top with the caramelized onions and the remaining 1/4 cup dried cherries. Serve immediately.

Serves 8.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Lifestyles Series, Holiday Celebrations, by Marie Simmons (Time-Life Books, 1998).