Thursday, February 27, 2014

balsamic beef stew

Come closer. Closer. A leetle too close! OK, now can you see the bed of mashed cauliflower under the stew? It's a soft heavenly pillow for this sweet-savory balsamicky concoction. Mmmmm.
I make beef stew all the time (and I never make it the same way twice). My slow cooker is my friend, and beef stew just works for me--whatever the season. Summer stew? No problem.

In fact, one of our little beans saw me putting the ingredients in this morning and asked if we could have something different--my response is that it was going to be different! With the addition of two new ingredients (balsamic vinegar and butternut squash), it did end up tasting entirely new. It was gorgeous, especially served on pureed cauliflower.

For the cauliflower mash, you'll need:
  • one head of cauliflower, chopped into small florets, and steamed
  • a few pats of butter, plus salt and pepper, dried parsley, onion and garlic powder, and a few sprinkles of Chinese mustard powder
Do this:

Just take the steamed cauli and toss it into a food processor with the other ingredients. Pulse till smooth and lustrous. Use this as a bed in the bottom of the bowl to spoon your beef stew over.

For the beef stew, you'll need:
  • 1 pound (about 450 g) grassfed stewing beef
  • 1 sprig rosemary, leaves pulled off the stem and finely chopped
  • 2 bay leaves
  • a few shakes Chinese spicy mustard powder 
  • salt and pepper 
  • a few sprinkles onion and garlic powder
  • 2 onions, chopped into segments
  • 4 cloves garlic, sliced thinly
  • 2 small sweet peppers, chopped into strips (I used one orange and one red)
  • several carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 4 small white potatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 1 butternut squash, peeled and chopped bite sized
  • 1 small can (6 oz. or 170 g) of tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon of beef bouillon paste (or you could use a couple of cubes)
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 cup olive oil 
Do this:

Put all the ingredients into the slow cooker except for the water, tomato paste, and bouillon paste. Whisk those last three ingredients together and pour over the rest in the slow cooker. Stir all ingredients well. I set mine for 5.5 hours on high, and it was perfect.

Here's a tip for you: To clean your slow-cooker insert, pour hot water and baking soda in, let it set for awhile, then wash as usual. Baking soda's great for zapping those stuck-on bits. 

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