Steak and Guinness Stew

Each year I make this stew (or a version of it) to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. It is delicious and totally worth the time it takes to babysit it so that it does not burn.

This year I served it with mashed red potatoes and fried cabbage.

Steak and Guinness Stew

2 pounds stew beef
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 large onion, chopped
8 ounces white mushrooms, sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 cups beef broth
1 14.9 ounce can of Guinness
4 tablespoons cornstarch
salt and black pepper, to taste

Puff pastry squares (measuring about 4 inches by 4 inches), baked according to package directions.

Heat the oil in a heavy pot over medium-high heat. Brown the stew beef. Add the chopped onions and cook until softened. Add the sliced mushrooms and garlic. Next, add 1 cup of the beef broth and the Guinness. Mix the cornstarch in the remaining 1/2 cup of beef broth and add to the other ingredients. Bring the stew to a slight boil and then reduce the heat to low. Cook on low for 2 hours, stirring very often, until the beef is tender. The stew has the tendency of sticking to the bottom of the pot, so be sure to stir often. Season to taste with salt and pepper. To serve, spoon the stew onto a plate, and top with a pastry square.


Steak and Guinness Pie

Steak and Guinness Pie

Steak and Guinness Pie is traditional Irish pub food. It is perfect for a comforting St. Patrick’s Day meal.

I like topping what is basically a steak and Guinness stew with squares of baked puff pastry. It’s pie, simplified. Plus, the baked puff pastry has more of a crunch. Alternatively, you can make it as a more traditional meat pie (like you would probably find in an Irish pub) by adding the cooked stew to a baking dish or ceramic pie plate and topping it with a sheet of puff pastry. Cut a couple of vent holes and bake at 400º F.  until the pastry is golden. Serve with mashed potatoes and more Guinness.

Steak and Guinness Pie

2 tablespoons canola oil
2 pounds beef stew meat, cut into bite-size pieces
1 large onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
8 ounces white mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
1 bottle Guinness (I used an 11.2 ounce bottle)
1 cup beef stock
salt and pepper, to taste
2 tablespoons cornstarch mixed with enough water to make a slurry
1 sheet of frozen puff pastry (I use Pepperidge Farms brand)

Prepared mashed potatoes

Heat the oil in a pot over medium-high heat. Season the stew meat with salt and pepper and add to the pot. Cook, stirring often until evenly browned. Add the onions and cook until tender. Add the garlic and cook another minute. Next, add the mushrooms, Guinness, and beef stock. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and let cook, stirring occasionally, for 1 1/2 hours. Add the cornstarch and water slurry. Stir well to incorporate the slurry. Continue to cook, stirring more often then previously (because the stew is more likely to stick to the bottom of the pan once the cornstarch is added), for another 30 minutes or until the beef is very tender. Season with salt and pepper.

Meanwhile, remove the frozen puff pastry from the freezer and let thaw for at least 30 minutes. The thawed pastry should be easy to unfold. Cut the pastry in half lengthwise and then across three times to make 8 equal-sized squares of pastry. Preheat the oven to 400º F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or foil. Place the pastry squares on the lined baking sheet and bake until golden, about 12 to 15 minutes.

Serve over mashed potatoes and top with a baked puff pastry square.

To make a LID (low iodine diet) safe Steak and Guinness stew, use kosher salt and unsalted beef stock. Don’t use the puff pastry (unless you check the ingredients and see it is acceptable for LID). Pepperidge Farms Puff Pastry contains soybean oil (which is not allowed on some versions of LID).

Steak and Guinness Pie

Beef Fajitas

Sliced Beef Fajitas

A quick and simple marinade and the use of a cast iron skillet makes beef fajitas an easy weekday meal.

Fajitas are a quintessential Tex-Mex food. Initially, skirt steak was the meat used for fajitas, but now fajitas made with a variety of cuts of beef, as well as, chicken, pork, or shrimp (or a combination of meats) are totally acceptable. The grilled meat is usually accompanied by onions and bell peppers and served with tortillas and a variety of condiments.

This recipe can easily be doubled or tripled.

Beef Fajitas

Beef Fajitas

1 pound skirt steak (or flank steak)
2 fresh limes (get ones with thin, smooth rind so they are extra juicy)
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt (or to taste)

1 large onion, ends removed, peeled, halved and cut into slivers
1 large green bell pepper, seeded and cut into strips (or do a combination of different colored peppers)

flour and/or corn tortillas, warmed

Condiments of your choice:
shredded cheese
sour cream
salsa or pico de gallo
fresh cilantro, chopped
fresh jalapenos, sliced (or throw whole jalapenos in with the onions and bell peppers and then slice)

Combine the juice from the two limes with the cumin and salt. Add the skirt steak, turning once or twice to coat the meat. Let sit 10 minutes.

Heat a large cast iron skillet over high heat. Once hot, remove the skirt steak from the cumin-lime juice marinade and add to the pan. Cook for 3 – 5 minutes on each side, or until desired doneness. Remove from the skillet and let rest on a cutting board.

Add the onion and bell pepper to the hot skillet (no need to clean out the skillet, the veggies will pick up the flavors from the steak). Cook, stirring often, until the veggies are slightly tender and browned in areas. Reduce heat to low and keep warm.

Fajita Veggies

Cut the skirt steak against the grain into somewhat thick (about 1/2-inch) slices. At this point, I like to throw the steak back into the pan with the veggies and toss to combine, but you don’t have to.

Assemble the fajitas. Place some steak and veggies into a warmed tortilla of you choice. Top with the condiments of your choice. I like mine with sour cream and fresh pico de gallo.

Beef and Broccoli

Beef and Broccoli

We almost never get Chinese food from a restaurant, mainly because most in our area do not deliver. In the past Chinese delivery was what I could fall back on when I was too tired to cook. Now, if I’m too tired to cook, I’m also too tired to drive somewhere to pick up something and hence, no Chinese food. I do get cravings from time to time. I have learned to cook some dishes commonly found in American Chinese restaurants. Beef and Broccoli is one of those dishes. It’s actually not terribly hard to make at home.

The key to being able to cook Chinese-style dishes at home is to have a well-stocked pantry and fridge. I adore a variety of Asian foods, so I have a pretty good collection of Asian ingredients. Soy sauce and Chinese cooking wine (rice wine) are essentials that I keep on hand at all times. I usually also have hoisin and/or oyster sauce too. I don’t always have fresh ginger (and it can be left out of this recipe). When I do buy ginger, I try to clean and mince the whole piece and freeze what I don’t immediately use for use in future recipes. This works well for me.

Serve Beef and Broccoli with hot rice. It’s great with cooked rice noodles too. You can also substitute the beef with chicken. It tastes great in this recipe too.

Beef & Broccoli

Beef and Broccoli

1 pound beef (sirloin, round, flank, London broil, etc…), trimmed of fat and gristle and thinly sliced (about 1/8-inch thick) and slice cut into 1-inch pieces

3 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons Chinese cooking wine
1 tablespoon minced garlic

4 tablespoons canola oil
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon minced ginger
1 pound (approximately) broccoli, separated into bite-size florets
1 onion, slivered
1 bell pepper, cored, and cut into 1-inch pieces
1 carrot, peeled and sliced into “coins”

1/2 cup water
4 tablespoons oyster sauce
2 tablespoons Chinese cooking wine
1 tablespoon hoisin sauce
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon cornstarch

Place the sliced beef in a bowl. Mix the marinade ingredients together and pour over the beef.  Let marinate for 1 hour at room temperature (or for longer in the refrigerator).

Mix the sauce ingredients and set aside.

Heat a wok (or large skillet), add 2 tablespoons oil, and add beef.  Stir-fry over high heat until just cooked through.  Remove from the wok and set aside.  Clean out the wok.

Reheat the cleaned wok over high heat and add 2 tablespoons of oil.  Add the minced garlic and ginger.  Stir-fry for about 15 seconds and then add the broccoli, onion, bell pepper, and carrot.  Stir-fry about 3 minutes.  Add the cooked beef and the sauce.  Cook, mixing constantly, until beef is heated through and the sauce begins to thicken.  Serve immediately.

Spicy Beef Noodle Soup

Beef Noodle Soup - medium (640x480) (640x480)

I really liked this soup. The ingredient list is kind of long, but it results in a very flavorful soup. This soup doesn’t contain sugar, gluten (unless you use soy sauce), or dairy.

I love Southeast Asian inspired foods, so I pretty much always have the ingredients in this recipe on hand. I don’t use ginger on a weekly basis, so when I do buy ginger, I peel and mince it and then freeze it in 2 tablespoon- size portions. If I happen to find fresh lemongrass (usually at Asian markets) I buy a couple of bunches and cut it up and put in freezer bags for later use. I always keep a jar of sambal oelek (easily found at Asian markets) in the pantry. I like Huy Fong Foods brand (they also make that sriracha in the bottle with a rooster on it)

Spicy Beef Noodle Soup

1 tablespoon canola oil
1 onion, slivered
8 ounces beef, thinly sliced (I like sirloin)
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 1-inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and minced
2 cups dried shiitake mushrooms, rehydrated in 2 cups of hot water, stems removed, and sliced (save the soaking water for the soup)
6 cups of beef broth (or more if you like a more brothy soup)
1 carrot, peeled and cut into matchsticks
8 ounces snow peas, ends trimmed, and sliced lengthwise (sugar snap peas would work too)
2 tablespoons fresh lemongrass, finely minced
1 tablespoon sambal oelek (a ground chili paste)
1 teaspoon ground coriander
2 tablespoons tamari (or soy sauce, which contains wheat)
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 small head bok choy, root end removed and roughly chopped (or spinach)
1 tablespoon sesame oil
rice noodles, cooked (I like rice vermicelli)
fresh cilantro

In a large Dutch oven or pot, heat the canola oil over medium heat. Add the onions and sauté until they start to soften. Add the beef and continue to sauté until the beef is no longer pink. Add the garlic, ginger, and mushrooms and sauté for 4 more minutes.

Add the beef broth, mushroom soaking liquid, carrot, snow peas, lemongrass, sambal olek, tamari, ground coriander, and black pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 5 minutes. Add the chopped bok choy and simmer 10 more minutes or until the vegetables are tender. Turn off the heat and stir in the sesame oil.

Serve soup in bowls over cooked rice noodles. Sprinkle with fresh cilantro.

Guinness Beef Stew in the Crockpot

IMG_0449 (640x480)

Here is a stew for St. Patrick’s Day. The Guiness gives the stew such a rich flavor. I think this would also be good if the potatoes were left out and then the stew was served over mashed potatoes.

Guiness Beef Stew in the Crockpot

1 pound stew beef, cut into large bite-size chunks
1 pound potatoes, peeled, cut into large chunks
2 onions, cut into chunks
2 carrots, peeled, cut into large chunks
8 ounces mushrooms, cleaned, quartered
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 (11.2 ounces) bottle Guinness stout
1 cup beef broth
4 tablespoons cornstarch, mixed with enough water to make a thin slurry
salt and pepper, to taste

Place all the ingredients in the crockpot and stir to combine. Cook on low, stirring occasionally, for 6 to 8 hours or until the beef is tender and falling apart. The potatoes should also be tender. Serve the stew warm.

IMG_0447 (640x480)

Meatloaf Minis

I have never been a big fan of meatloaf, but I make it once every other year or so for my hubby.  I usually use his mom’s recipe, but wasn’t totally satisfied with it.  Recently, I found a meatloaf recipe in Cooking Light magazine that looked better. I liked their idea of making individual loaves instead of one big loaf.  I created a hybrid recipe from my mom-in-law’s recipe and the Cooking Light recipe.  I must say the results were excellent.  I’ve made this a couple of time since.  It’s great.  I like using ground sirloin instead of chuck, but you can use whatever you like.  I serve the mini loaves with mashed potatoes and corn.

Meatloaf Minis

1 1/2 pounds  ground sirloin
1/2 cup breadcrumbs
1 cup chopped onion
2 carrots, grated
1/2 green bell pepper, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 – 1/2 cup cheese, shredded (cheddar & mozzarella are good)
1/4 cup ketchup, plus extra for topping
1 tablespoon brown or Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
1/4 teaspoon black pepper, or to taste
1 tablespoon Mrs. Dash
2 eggs, lightly beaten
cooking spray

Preheat oven to 425°.

Spray a cookie sheet or broiler pan with cooking spray; set aside.  Combine meat, breadcrumbs, vegetables, garlic, 1/4 cup ketchup, cheese, and seasonings in a large bowl. Shape mixture into 6 (approximately 4 x 2-inch) loaves and place on cookie sheet. Top each loaf with ketchup (about 1 tablespoon {or more} each loaf)and spread evenly. Bake at 425° for 25 minutes or until done.

Garlic Beef and Broccoli

Garlic Beef and Broccoli

This recipe is a mash-up of many recipes I have tried over the years.  None of them really did it for me.  This version is by far the best I have made.  I really like the sweetness of the hoisin sauce (much better than the oyster sauce typically found in beef and broccoli recipes). The sauce is pretty yummy and could actually be used for other stir-frys.  Serve the garlic beef and broccoli with rice.

Garlic Beef and Broccoli

1 pound steak (sirloin, flank, or London broil), trimmed of fat and gristle and thinly sliced (about 1/8-inch thick) and slice cut into 1-inch pieces

3 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons rice wine (or sake)
2 tablespoons minced garlic
1 tablespoon cornstarch

5 tablespoons canola oil
2 tablespoons minced garlic
2 tablespoons minced ginger
1 1/2 pounds broccoli, separated into bite-size florets
1 bell pepper, cored, and cut into 1-inch pieces
1 carrot, peeled and sliced into “coins”
3 tablespoons of water

1/2 cup water
6 tablespoons hoisin sauce
2 tablespoons rice wine (or sake)
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
2 teaspoons cornstarch

Place the sliced beef in a bowl. Mix the marinade ingredients together and pour over the beef.  Let marinate for 1 hour at room temperature (or for longer in the refrigerator).

Mix the sauce ingredients and set aside.

Heat a wok (or large skillet), add 2 tablespoons oil, and add beef.  Stir-fry over high heat until just cooked through.  Remove from the wok and set aside.  Clean out the wok.

Reheat the cleaned wok over high heat and add 3 tablespoons of oil.  Add the minced garlic and ginger.  Stir-fry for about 15 seconds and then add the broccoli, bell pepper, and carrots.  Stir-fry about 3 minutes.  Add the 3 tablespoons water.  Add the cooked beef and the sauce.  Cook,mixing constantly, until beef is heated through and the sauce begins to thicken.  Serve immediately.

Chiang Mai Curry Noodles with Beef

Khao Soi 2

This is a version of Chiang Mai Curry noodles using beef.  It is a simple and easy recipe that has flavorful results.  Linguine or another type of noodle can be substituted for Chinese noodles.  I have even made it with rice noodles.  You can also make this recipe with chicken.  I make another version with chicken, cumin, and sugar snap peas. For this recipe I use Thai Kitchen red curry paste. I have been able to find it in the Asian section of most grocery stores.

Chiang Mai Curry Noodles (Khao Soi)

2 to 3 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon red curry paste, or to taste
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 can coconut milk
1/2 pound bonelss, beef, cut into 1/2-inch chunks
1 tablespoon sugar
1 cup water
3 tablespoons fish sauce
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1 pound Chinese egg noodles, cooked

Toppings and condiments:
fried noodles
chopped shallots
minced scallions
pickled cabbage
fresh lime wedges
crushed peanuts
fresh cilantro leaves

Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large heavy pot or wok over medium-high heat.  Add the minced garlic and stir fry 30 seconds.  Add the beef and stir fry 3 to 4 minutes, until browned.  Add the curry paste and turmeric and stir fry 30 seconds longer.  Add the coconut milk and sugar.  Cook, stirring frequently, for 4 to 5 minutes.  Add the water, fish sauce, and salt; bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to medium and cook at a simmer for about 10 minutes.  Remove from heat and stir in the lime juice.

Divide noodles into large bowls.  Ladle meat and broth over the noodles.  Top with desired condiments.  Serve with chopsticks and a large spoon.

Adapted from a recipe in Hot, Sour, Salty, Sweet:  A Culinary Journey Through Southeast Asia by Jeffrey Alford and Naomi Duguid (Artisan, 2000)

Spicy Beef Chantaboon

Spicy Beef Chantaboon

spicy-beef-chantaboon-smFrom February 12, 2006:  I made this noodle dish for dinner tonight and we enjoyed it very much.  To ensure success with this recipe, have all the ingredients prepared before starting to actually cook because this dish comes together quickly.  Mung bean sprouts and/or sliced scallion greens would be a nice addition to spicy beef chantaboon…throw them in at the same time you add the spinach.  You can find chantaboon rice noodles at Asian markets.  If you can’t find them, any broad, flat rice noodle would work.  I order extra hot (Pakastani) chile flakes from Penzeys (they are twice as hot as the stuff you find at pizza places).

Spicy Beef Chantaboon

2 T. soy sauce
1 T. minced garlic
1 tsp. sugar

2 T. canola oil

1 large onion, halved, and thinly sliced
1 pound lean flank steak, london broil, or sirloin steak, trimmed of fat and gristle and thinly sliced

1 T. minced garlic
1 tsp. hot chile flakes (or use a couple small dried chiles, chopped)

Tossing Sauce:
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup chinese rice wine or sake
3 T. fish sauce
3 T. sugar

5 – 10 dried shiitake mushrooms, rehydrated, stems removed, and thinly sliced

6 ounces flat rice noodles (chantaboon), cooked in boiling water until just tender, rinsed, and drained

fresh baby spinach

To serve:
chopped fresh cilantro
chopped dry roasted peanuts

Combine the marinade ingredients in a bowl.  Add the meat and toss to coat.

Heat a wok or heavy skillet over high heat.  Add the oil and heat until very hot.  Add the onions and beef and stir fry until the beef loses the pink color.  Add the minced garlic and chile flakes and stir fry until fragrant.  Add shiitake mushrooms, noodles, and tossing sauce.  Lightly toss mixture until noodles absorb sauce.  Add a couple handfuls of fresh baby spinach leaves, toss to combine.  Transfer noodles to a platter, sprinkle with chopped cilantro and chopped peanuts and serve.