Flemish Beef Stew

This variation on beef stew turned out great. I made this dish last night and everyone had second helpings. That’s a good sign.

It’s not a stew in the traditional American style. The only vegetable is onion. I served it over buttered egg noodles (no-yokes) although the recipe didn’t call for it. My local grocery store didn’t have any Flemish (or Belgian) beer so I substituted a medium brown beer imported from England. I might experiment with a darker beer next time.

I cooked this in a cast iron enameled dutch oven. In my kitchen, I like to have all the ingredients prepared and measured before the cooktop even gets warm.

Thinly slice 1 very large onion. I use my mandolin(e) slicer to slice the onion into very evenly cut slices (circles). I set the dial to 4 (mm?), which is 1/6 inch.

Crush 3 to 4 garlic cloves.

2 1/4 pounds (1 kg) beef stew meat, cut into 1 1/2 inch (38 mm) pieces. The original recipe called for the more expensive tenderloin cut. I used the cheaper stew meat from my local grocer.

1/3 cup (80 ml) all-purpose flour.

1 quart (1 L) beef broth. I use the kind that comes in a box.

The original recipe calls for 1 cup Flemish beer. My local grocery
had nothing close, especially in single-bottles. I used the whole
bottle of the beer pictured to the right, 1 pint (475 ml).

1/4 cup (60 ml) tomato paste.

3 tablespoons fresh type, chopped.

2 tablespoons brown sugar, packed.

4 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped.

1/2 pound (225 gm) bacon, cut into 1 inch size pieces.

Cook the bacon in the heavy pot until crisp, about 5 minutes. Transfer the bacon to some paper towels to drain. Keep the bacon renderings in the pot.

Sprinkle the beef with salt and pepper. Place the flour in a large bowl. Toss meat in flour, shaking off the excess. Reserve the remaining flour in the bowl.

Reheat the bacon renderings to medium-high and brown the beef. You should do this in two batches as to not crowd the pot. Cook until browned, stirring frequently, about 5 minutes each batch. Transfer the cooked meat to another bowl.

Add onion and garlic to the pot over medium-high heat and saute until tender, about 5 minutes. Add remaining flour and stir 1 minute.

Mix in broth, beer, tomato paste, 2 tablespoons of thyme, and the brown sugar. Reduce to medium and simmer until mixture thickens, scraping browned bits, about 15 – 25 minutes.

Add beef, 1 tablespoon thyme and 3 tablespoons parsley. Simmer until beef is cooked as desired, about five minutes for medium-rare.

After the stew has reduced by half (or more). Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Use good sea salt and fresh cracked pepper.

Serve over buttered egg noodles tossed in parsley. Top with bacon bits.

Bollito Misto

I watched Giada make this on TV and thought it looked interesting and something I could make. With Google’s help, I figure that it translates to “Boiled Mix”. That doesn’t sound very appetizing. She serves it with a gorgonzola sauce and a spicy salsa verde. I like it with horseradish.

4 pounds beef brisket or top round (or corned beef)
Salt and freshly ground pepper
4 cups beef stock or broth
About 4 cups water, enough to cover the beef
2 onions, peeled and quartered
4 celery stalks, cut in half
1 bay leaf
4 carrots, peeled and cut into thirds
1 pound small boiling potatoes
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Heat a large braising pot over medium-high heat. Season the beef with salt and pepper. Sear the beef, browning it on both sides, about 5 minutes a side.

Carefully add the stock and enough water to just cover the meat. Add the onion, celery, and bay leaf. Bring the liquid to a boil. Lower the heat to a simmer, cover, and cook for 1 hour.

Add the carrots and potatoes and cook until the meat is
tender, about another hour.

Carefully lift out the meat, place on a cutting board, and
cover with foil.

Strain the vegetables from the stock. Discard the celery,
onion, and bay leaf.

Arrange the carrots and potatoes on a platter and cover with foil to keep warm. Continue cooking the stock uncovered over medium heat until reduced by half, about 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, slice the meat against the grain, on an angle. Arrange the meat alongside the carrots and potatoes on the platter.

When the stock has reduced, season with salt and pepper, to taste, and transfer to a gravy dish

Corned Beef & Cabbage

Get out your slow cookers, this one is a snap!

Corned Beef and Cabbage
1 medium onion, cut into wedges
4 medium potatoes, peeled and quartered (or 2 cans of cooked peeled whole potatoes)
1 pound baby carrots
3 cups water
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 bay leaf
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 corned beef brisket with spice packet (2 – 1/2 to 3 pounds), cut in half
1 small head cabbage, cut into wedges

Place the onion, potatoes and carrots in a 5 quart slow cooker. Combine water, garlic, bay leaf, sugar, vinegar, pepper and contents of spice packet; pour over vegetables. Top with brisket and cabbage. Cover and cook on low for 8 to 9 hours or until meat and vegetables are tender. Remove bay leaf before serving

Basic Beef Fajitas

Basic Beef Fajitas

1 medium onion
1 tsp. Pure chili powder
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
2 1/2 lb. Skirt stake
2 Tbs. Olive or peanut oil, in frying the stake
12 scallions, trimmed
12 corn tortillas
Salsa Verde

Grate onion through fine holes. Place in pan large enough for the meat. Add chili powder and lime juice and stir. Place stake in mix to marinate for 30 minutes, turning once, up to 2 hours. Grill or fry with oil. Let rest for 5 to 10 minutes. While resting, grill/fry scallions (5 minutes), remove and cut crosswise in 3 to 4 pieces each. Just before serving, dip tortillas in salsa Verde. Heat in pan or oven. Cut stake across grain in thin slices.