Wednesday, December 5, 2007

A Recipe

Yesterday with all the snow, I just wanted something that reminded me of home. When I say "home" I usually mean North Dakota type home.

When it's all snowy and cold and shivery, I just want comfort food. I didn't grow up in an area of the country known for it's gourmet food. Since I've been with Dan, and have taken several series' of classes at Cambridge Culinary Institute, I've really learned how to cook and make food that's "ok" into food that is delicious!.

So here are two recipes. The first is the original. A good ol bland midwestern recipe.

Stew Meat and Rice

Brown the stew meat ( 1lb) in a pan. You can use a little flour on the chunks of meat first.

Salt and pepper the meat, and then stir in a can of Golden Mushroom soup.
Serve hot over white rice.

(Honestly, this is a nice, mild tasting comfort food.)

Now for the sexed up version:

Katy's Savory Stew Meat Comfort Food

12-14 oz package sliced mushrooms
Stew Meat, sliced up into even sized strips or chunks
1 Can Campbells Golden Mushroom soup
1 shallot or 1 small onion if you don't have a shallot on hand
Vermouth or ANY kind of leftover wine from a previous meal
Montreal Steak Seasoning
Cayenne pepper ( a small, eentsy pinch)
1 quick shake or grating of Nutmeg
Pepper (to taste)
Kosher Salt (to taste)
Butter (1 or 2 Tablespoons...used only to saute' the mushrooms)

1. Saute' mushrooms in a large frying pan. I put a tablespoon of butter into the pan and let it melt while the pan heats up over medium heat. When I hear the sizzle, I put the container of mushrooms into the pan, and give them a quick stir. Then I sprinkle about a teaspoon of salt on them, and give a good grind of nutmeg over the pan. Nutmeg is a good trick to add to vegetables that tend to lose their flavor in a heavy sauce. In this case, the sauce is going to be the soup, but it works well with creamed spinach, too.

2. While the mushrooms start to cook down, I quickly mince the shallot. I said just one, but in my book, there is no such thing as too many shallots in a meal, so go for it. Use your common sense detector. When you finish with the mince (this should take less than a couple minutes), the mushrooms will be ready for a stir. Stir the mushrooms and add the shallots to the mixture. Let this cook for a few minutes until it looks good to you. You'll know when the mushrooms look done, they will have a bit of a liquid around them in the pan, and they will be an even browny looking color. The shallots will be clear by this time, too. If not, don't worry. It's all good.

3. Remove the mushrooms and shallots to a bowl and keep it warm. A small mixing bowl works, since you aren't going to do anything but put a plate on the top to keep it warm while you cook the meat.

4. Toss the meat into the pan. Give it a good stir and start shaking your Montreal Seasoning on top. This seasoning is WONDERFUL on steaks when you grill, so here's a quick tip...if you use a spice blend that you love when you grill, sprinkle that over the meat while it cooks instead of the Montreal Seasoning. I like this blend quite a bit if you haven't tried it yet. I season this as it cooks, remember it's cooking in the butter and juices from the mushrooms and shallots. So sprinkle a half teaspoon of seasoning on it, and let it cook for a while, then sprinkle more. Don't be afraid to taste the food as it cooks. I am one who tastes the juices more than the meats. Dan tastes the meat. It all works out in the end. When the meat is to the point of it being cooked to your liking, carefully put it in the bowl with the mushrooms and shallots. Leave all the drippings in the pan and the little nubbins.

5. Turn the heat up on the pan for just a few seconds, and then pour your alcohol of choice ( red or white wine or vermouth) into the pan ( about 1/4 of a cup) and scrape the pan with your wooden spoon. This is called deglazing the pan, and it makes for an extra layer of flavor and helps to carry the spices in the food through the cream sauce. You can do this with a little water if you avoid alcohol, but it's just not going to make your palate sing, and it's going to take a little longer.

6. Now, you should have poured the wine, done a quick scrape, scrape. This shouldn't take long at all, maybe 30 seconds. Now put the meat, mushrooms and shallots into the pan. Turn the heat down to low. Pull that tab on the can of Golden Mushroom soup. Use your wooden spoon to scrape it out of the can and stir it into your food in the pan. Take out your jar of cayenne or red pepper and give it a little tap over the fry pan. I don't use it for the heat, I use it for the flavor lifting. The vermouth does a good job of lifting the flavor, and for some reason the cayenne really helps. Now heat the mixture, I add about a 1/4 cup of water to the mixture to help it get to a consistency that I think is appealing. (Think thick gravy)

Serve over rice ( any type you like....I LOVE brown rice always... Dan doesn't) or serve over egg noodles or any type of pasta that you love to eat.

This is so easy. Don't let all my words scare you.

This passed the food snob test in our household.


Colleen said...

If it passed the snob test, it must be good!!

The Scrappy Bee... said...

Stew meat and rice sounds very good and comforting - not to mention EASY! Thanks - I'm going to give it a try!