Beef Stew and Shepherd's Pie (like you've never had before!!!)

I have been cooking out of  The Pioneer Woman Cooks.  I must say that I have made more recipes out of this one cookbook, than any other one I own.  If you are like me, you get bored with cooking...the everyday recipes.  I love reading different blogs, cookbooks, and cooking magazines.  You see, I have people who LOVE to eat in my home.  I mean....I never make a single recipe...NEVER!!! :)  Always double...then maybe we will have a little left over.  Last week I made her Beef Stew from our newly packaged "beef" that we have stopped calling "Patrick" and now call "beef".  
Here goes....

Beef Stew

3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
2 pounds beef stew meat 
1 medium onion
3 garlic cloves
1 can or bottle of beer or beef broth
4 cups beef broth
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1 1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
4 potatoes
4 carrots
2 tablespoons flour

Start by heating your olive oil and butter in dutch oven.  Place stew meat in and brown on all sides, about 5 minutes
Remove meat 
Place chopped onion in pot and reduce heat to low.
Stir onions and cook until softened, about 3 minutes
Throw in garlic and stir for 1 minute
Pour in beer, beef broth, Worcestershire sauce, tomato paste, paprika, and sugar, salt and pepper.
Finally, return beef to pot, cover and simmer over very low heat for 1 1/2 - 2 hours.  I let this cook for at least 2-3 hours:)
Add potatoes and carrots and simmer for 30 minutes.
To thicken your stew, remove a cup of the broth and stir in the flour.
Pour the mixture back in and serve!  

I have to say that my entire family said this was the best beef stew they had eaten. I really believe that the quality of the beef makes a big difference.  A couple of weeks ago, I purchased stew beef from Sam's and made this same recipe.  It was good.  I made this last week with our grass-fed beef, and I could not believe the difference!  When I was browning the meat, it produced a beautiful, dark gravy!   The taste was so much better.  If you get a chance to purchase grass-fed beef, do it!  It is so worth it!

A couple of days later, I made Shepherd's Pie from the left over stew.  Oh. My. Goodness!!!!
This gives Shepherd's Pie a new meaning!  

All you do is take about 4 cups of the left over stew and put it in a pan.
Put your mashed potatoes on top and bake until the potatoes get a little brown on top!
Another keeper for the Winters!  

Shepherd's Pie


Garlic Mashed Potatoes

I made my potatoes differently tonight...I added garlic!  Everyone loved them so I thought I would share the recipe.

Peel and cut up 5 pounds of potatoes along with 4-5 cloves of garlic.  Boil them together and drain when soft.

Place both potatoes and garlic in a mixer.  Add about 1/3 cup of milk (I used 2%).
Add 1 stick of MUST use REAL butter:)
Throw in some salt and pepper to taste.

Now mix all together and do a taste test!!!!!


Baked Potato Soup

I started making this recipe about five years ago.  When the air starts turning crisp, that is when I feel the need to turn on my oven!  Don't use boiled's just not worth it.  This soup gets its rich flavor from the baked potatoes!  I always serve this soup with toppings which include: bacon, cheddar cheese, and scallions.  Oh, breadsticks finish the deal!  Here goes...

4 baking potatoes (about 2 1/2 pounds)
2/3 cup flour
6 cups 2% Milk
1 cup cheddar cheese, divided
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper
1 cup sour cream
3/4 cup chopped green onions
6 bacon slices, cooked and crumbled.

*Preheat oven to 400 
*Pierce potatoes with a fork; bake for 1 hour or until tender.  Cool.  Peel potatoes; coarsely mash.
*Place flour in large Dutch oven; gradually add milk, stirring with a whisk until blended.  Don't worry if it is a little lumpy...this will thicken and be fine!
*Cook over medium heat (being careful not to burn) about 8 minutes...until thickened.
*Add mashed potatoes, 3/4 cup of cheese, salt, and 1/2 tsp pepper, stirring until cheese melts.  Remove from heat.
*Stir in sour cream, and 1/2 cup of onions.  Cook over low heat 10 minutes or until thoroughly heated (do not boil). 
Serve in bowls, adding toppings as desired.

Yield: 8 servings ( I always double since this is wonderful the second day)

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