Simple Beef Stew

Lynda Balslev is a cookbook author, food and travel writer, and recipe developer based in the San Francisco Bay area.

Total Time: 3 1/2 hours

Yield: Serves 4 to 6

2 1/2 pounds beef chuck, excess fat trimmed, cut into 1-inch pieces
Salt
Freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 large shallot, finely chopped, about 1/4 cup
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 1/2 cups dark beer, such as porter or stout, divided
1/4 cup tomato paste
3 cups beef or chicken stock
1 bay leaf
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon dried thyme
2 large carrots, sliced 1/4-inch thick
2 medium Yukon gold potatoes, cut into 1-inch chunks
1 large yellow onion, cut into 1-inch chunks

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Season the beef with salt and pepper.

Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. (Burns family note: Use Le Creuset Dutch oven.) Add the beef in batches in one layer, without overcrowding, and brown on all sides, 6 to 8 minutes. Transfer the meat to a plate and repeat with remaining beef.

Pour off all but 1 tablespoon fat from the Dutch oven. Add the shallot and saute until soft, about 2 minutes. Add the garlic and saute until fragrant, about 30 seconds more. Add 1/2 cup beer to the pot and bring to a boil, scraping up any brown bits with a spoon. When the beer is nearly evaporated, add the tomato paste and cook, stirring constantly, until slightly caramelized, about 1 minute. Return the beef to the pot and stir to coat.

Add the remaining 1 cup beer, the stock, bay leaf, brown sugar, thyme, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1 teaspoon black pepper. The meat should be just covered with liquid. If not, add additional stock to cover. Bring to a boil, then cover the pot and transfer to the oven. Cook until the meat is tender, 2 to 2 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally.

While the meat is cooking, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the carrots, potatoes and onions and lightly season with salt. Saute until the vegetables begin to soften without browning, 4 to 5 minutes.

Add the carrots, onions and potatoes to the stew and stir to combine. Return to the oven and cook, partially covered, until the vegetables are tender and the sauce slightly thickened, 30 to 40 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Remove bay leaf and serve warm ladled into bowls.

Sean: Omit carrots and potatoes

Published in: on April 11, 2021 at 8:23 am  Leave a Comment  

Taco Beef

1/2 to 1 onion, grated, minced, or chopped in 1/4″ dice
1-2 teaspoons olive oil
1 lb ground beef
1-3 teaspoons taco seasoning
1/2 cup tomato sauce (use the leftover marinara in the fridge)
1/4 cup water
1 cup of petite diced tomatoes

Put a cast iron skillet over medium heat.  Add olive oil (more if you are using more onion) and let it get warm.  Then add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until it is translucent.  If Da will be eating, the onions must be completely soft, so grate the onion, or it will take at least 30 minutes.  You may add some water in the last 10 minutes or so to help it get softer.

Meanwhile, brown the ground beef in another cast iron skillet over medium heat.  (Grass-fed beef needs to be cooked over lower heat and for less time than regular, to keep it from getting tough.)  Put the whole block into the pan and chop it up with the top of the metal pancake turner/spatula thing.  Cook, stirring occasionally, until brown.  Get a big dinner plate, put the colander on it, and line the colander with three paper towels.  Scoop the beef into the paper-towel lined colander.  The remaining grease/liquid should go into the metal can under the sink:  put the can into the sink, bring the skillet to the can, pour into the can.

Return the beef pan to the stove.  Put the beef back in the pan.  Add the onions when they are soft enough.  Add the taco seasoning (jar to the right of the stove) and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes.  Add the tomato sauce, water and diced tomatoes and cook, stirring occasionally, until ready to go ahead with dinner.  Or let cool and refrigerate for later.

Published in: on April 9, 2018 at 6:00 am  Comments (1)  

Brown Beef & Mushrooms

Brown one pound crumbled ground beef in cast iron pan over medium-high heat.  Remove from pan and drain on paper towels on a plate or in a bowl.
Wipe out the pan.
Chop 1/2 lb mushrooms and saute in the same pan with salt and pepper.
Add beef to the mushrooms.
Add 1/2 cup of water, 1 teaspoon (or to taste) beef Better Than Bouillon, 1 Tablespoon tomato paste or marinara sauce, 1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.  Stir to combine and cook over medium heat until it is the consistency you like.

Serve over or next to rice, pasta or potatoes.

Published in: on April 6, 2018 at 4:45 pm  Leave a Comment  

Smitten Kitchen Sizzling Beef Bulgogi Tacos

From “Smitten Kitchen EVERY DAY” by Deb Perelman

makes 8 small tacos, serving 3 or 4

1 lb ground beef
1 large garlic clove, minced
one 1- to 2-inch piece fresh ginger, minced (easy on the ginger for Sean)
1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce
3 Tablespoons rice vinegar
2 Tablespoons brown sugar
1 Tablespoon Asian toasted sesame oil
red pepper flakes or sriracha

to serve
2 cups thinly sliced iceberg lettuce
1 Tablespoon lime juice
plus lime wedges for serving
1 1/2 Tablespoons toasted sesame oil
salt
1 scallion, thinly sliced
8 small flour tortillas (large tortillas cut in half work in a pinch)
diced tomatoes (I did not use this)
prepared kimchi (I did not use this)
chopped fresh cilantro
toasted sesame seeds (I did not use this – I forgot)

Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat.  When it is hot, add the ground beef and use a spoon or spatula to break it up, cooking the beef until browned, 7-10 minutes.  Drain any excess grease that has collected.  Add the garlic, ginger, soy sauce, rice vinegar, brown sugar, and sesame oil to the pan and let simmer, stirring, for 2 minutes.  Add red pepper flakes or sriracha to taste.

Toss the lettuce, lime juice, sesame oil, and scallions in a medium bowl to evenly coat.  Season to taste with salt.

Warm the flour tortillas individually in a dry skilled, lightly blistering them.  Scoop the beef onto each tortilla with a slotted spoon, draining any excess juices.  Garnish with the salad mixture, tomatoes, kimchi, cilantro, and toasted sesame seeds.

These are equally wonderful in Boston or Bibb lettuce cups, in which case you would skip the lettuce in the salad.

 

Or serve the salad on the side, with Benihana Ginger Dressing.

Published in: on January 4, 2018 at 6:08 pm  Leave a Comment  

Burgers

1 lb to 1.25 lbs ground turkey (about 7% fat) or ground beef
salt & pepper
oil for the pan
thin slices of cheese (optional)

Using your hands, on a cutting board (which I cover with a deconstructed bag that used to hold cereal, and throw away when I’m done), shape the ground meat into 3 or 4 round or oval patties of equal thickness.  Sprinkle the tops with salt and pepper.  Wash your hands (and the cutting board, if you didn’t use the plastic) with soap and hot water.

Heat the cast iron skillet over medium heat (#6).  After a few minutes, place your hand over the pan, a couple of inches from the surface.  If it feels hot, pour in about 2 teaspoons of oil (canola or olive).  Give that a minute to warm up, then use the metal pancake turner to spread the oil evenly in the pan, then use the pancake turner to place the turkey patties in the skillet, salt-and-pepper side down, making sure to leave space between them.  Salt and pepper the other side of the patties (which are now on top).  Cook for  6-7 minutes, until crusty brown on the bottom and cooked about half-way up the sides.  Rotate them half-way through cooking if it looks like the center of the pan is cooking faster than the edges.

Turn over carefully and cook the other side.  Top with cheese, if you like, which will melt as the burger finishes cooking.  Wash the pancake turner with soap and hot water.  Cook for about 4 more minutes, until the patty is tender but not squishy when you lightly press the center.

Use the clean pancake turner to remove the burgers from the pan onto plates and serve.

Published in: on February 18, 2017 at 6:06 pm  Leave a Comment  

Ground Beef & Green Beans

From Jane Brody’s Good Food Book

Sauce:
2 tsp cornstarch
1/3 cup broth (not hot)
1 Tbsp reduced sodium soy sauce
1 Tbsp dry sherry or water
1 tsp cider vinegar

Main Ingredients
1 Tbsp canola oil
1 lb green beans, Frenched
2 tsp minced ginger
2 tsp minced garlic
1/4 tsp hot red pepper flakes
1/2 lb lean ground beef

Optional:
sliced mushrooms, sauteed
julienne broccoli
cooked rice or noodles

In a small bowl, combine all the sauce ingredients.  Make sure the cornstarch is completely dissolved.  Set the mixture aside.

In a wok or large skillet, heat the oil for 30 seconds over high heat, and add the green beans.  Stir-fry the green beans for about 4 minutes – the beans should be tender-crisp and lightly charred in spots.  Remove the green beans with a slotted spoon, and set them aside.  (For Sean, add water and steam until softer.)

Do the same with the broccoli, if using.

Add the ginger and garlic to the pan, cook them for 30 seconds, and then add the pepper flakes and beef, crumbling the meat with a spatula.  Stir-fry the mixture just until the beef loses its pinkness.  Drain off all the excess fat from the pan.

Stir the reserved sauce once more, and add it to the meat.  Cook the mixture stirring it, for a few minutes until the sauce thickens.  Fold in the reserved green beans (and broccoli and mushrooms, if using), heat the mixture for 1 minute, and serve.

Published in: on July 21, 2016 at 4:45 pm  Leave a Comment  

Broccoli Beef

The secret to this dish coming out perfectly (besides the delicious sauce!) is cooking the three ingredients separately first.  Next time you have a steak dinner, cook an extra steak so you can have this 2 days later. 

Serves 3-4

1 steak (top sirloin recommended), at least 8 oz., cooked medium-rare, thinly sliced across the grain, slices cut into approx. 1.5″ pieces, at room temperature
8 oz button mushrooms, quartered, and sauteed, at room temperature
1 large bunch broccoli, cut into spears and blanched for 60 seconds, then stems peeled and chopped, and flowerettes sliced lengthwise, at room temperature

Mix up the sauce:

  • 3 tablespoons oyster sauce
  • 1.5 tablespoons rice wine or sherry
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 Tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon water

In a medium-sized non-stick saute pan on medium, heat 2 teaspoons of canola oil.  Add the steak slices and stir for about 30 seconds.  Add the mushrooms, broccoli, and sauce and stir.  Heat until the sauce is bubbly.  Serve over hot rice.

 

Published in: on July 5, 2016 at 5:11 pm  Leave a Comment  

Cheesy Goodness Pasta with Meat Sauce

Slightly modified from The Pioneer Woman’s Skillet Lasagna

Serves 8

12 oz fettuccine, broken into thirds
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 lb ground beef (Anna and I like half beef and half sausage)
1 large onion, diced small and sauteed
12 oz mushrooms, sliced and sauteed
1 jar spaghetti sauce (or 3 cups homemade)
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 heaping teaspoon Italian seasoning
8 oz shredded Muenster cheese
1/2 cup sour cream, at room temperature
optional:  ricotta or parmesan for serving

Boil pasta in large pot of salted water until al dente, drain.  In large skillet, brown and crumble ground beef until fully cooked, drain fat from pan.  Stir in the sauteed mushrooms and onions. Pour on the jar of sauce, add the salt, garlic powder and Italian seasonings and simmer for 15 minutes on low heat.  Add cheese, sour cream and pasta. Stir over low heat until cheese is melted and all ingredients are combined.  Taste and add salt and pepper, if necessary.  Serve with parmesan or ricotta, if desired.  And French bread is practically required.

Published in: on January 14, 2016 at 7:15 pm  Leave a Comment  

Last Resort Beef & Onions

Brown 1 pound ground beef.

Meanwhile saute one diced onion in olive oil and/or butter until very soft.

Drain the fat from the beef, add the soft onion.

Add 1/2 can cream of mushroom soup, about 1 cup milk, salt to taste and lots of black pepper.  Stir well to combine and cook until hot.

If you have a few mushrooms, slice and saute those and add them.  (highly recommended)

Serve over hot rice or noodles with a vegetable or salad.

Published in: on November 9, 2015 at 6:42 pm  Comments (1)  

Grilled London Broil

Adapted from a recipe from Cook’s Illustrated

Sam and Anna’s new favorite steak.

1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 bottom round steak (London Broil), 1 1/2-inches thick (2 to 2 1/2 pounds)
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

Sprinkle both sides of steak evenly with salt; wrap tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours and up to 24 hours.

Fill a large pot with 1 gallon warm water (about 100°). Placed wrapped steak into zipper-lock plastic bag, squeeze out excess air, and seal bag tightly. Place steak in water, and keep submerged with a weight or utensil. Set aside for 1 hour.

After about 30 minutes, fill chimney with charcoal (about 70 briquettes), light, and allow to burn until coals are fully ignited and partially covered with fine grey ash, about 40 minutes. Arrange coals to cover half of grill. Set cooking grate in place, cover grill and heat until hot; scrape grate clean. Remove steak from water and unwrap; brush both sides with oil and sprinkle evenly with pepper. Grill steak directly over coals, flipping steak with tongs once every minute, until dark brown crust forms on both sides, about 8 minutes. Move steak to cooler side of grill; cover grill and continue cooking until a meat thermometer registers 130, about 5 minutes, flipping halfway through.

Transfer steak to a carving board and allow to rest for 10 minutes. Holding thin slicing knife at 45-degree angle to meat, slice very thin and serve.

Published in: on August 23, 2015 at 6:19 pm  Leave a Comment