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Beef and Vegetable Stew

 Community training session dinner, 2/6/13

Beef stew is a delicious way to stretch a smaller, less expensive cut of meat. Slow cooking makes flavorful but tough cuts (like chuck roast, round roast, or pot roast) tender and delicious. In this stew, there is lots of hearty beef flavor, plus lots of healthy vegetables.

  • 6 tablespoons flour, divided between beef and vegetables
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 1/2 lbs boneless stew meat (chuck roast, round roast, pot roast, or other tough cut), cut into 1” cubes
  • 1 tablespoon canola or vegetable oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1/2 cup combination of chopped carrots and celery, optional
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 cups beef broth (or use chicken broth, vegetable broth, or water)
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary
  • 6 – 8 cups chopped root vegetables – any combination of potatoes, carrots, parsnips, rutabaga, turnip, or other, cut into rough 1” cubes

STOVETOP INSTRUCTIONS: In bowl or plastic bag, combine 4 tablespoons flour and pepper. Add beef cubes and toss or shake to coat.

Heat a large heavy pot or dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add oil, then brown the beef in batches: place some of the beef in the pan, just enough that it’s less than 1 layer (you should be able to see the bottom of the pan in places). Allow to cook without stirring for 2-4 minutes, until the bottom is deep brown. Stir and cook 2-4 minutes longer, until browned on another side. Remove the browned beef to a plate or bowl – it won’t be cooked through at this point, just deep brown on the outside.

Add onion, carrots/celery (if using), and garlic to pot. Cook, stirring to scrape up any browned bits on the bottom of the pan, until vegetables are soft, 6-8 minutes. If the vegetables are sticking, add a little water or stock to the pan. Once the vegetables are tender, add remaining 2 tablespoons of flour and stir to coat. Add beef back to the pot, then add the broth, tomato paste, thyme, and rosemary to the pot. Bring to a simmer, turn heat to low, cover, and simmer for 1 1/2 hours.

After 1 1/2 hours, add the chopped root vegetables. Stir, cover, and simmer for an additional 20-40 minutes, until vegetables and beef are completely tender. Taste and add salt and pepper if desired.

SLOW COOKER INSTRUCTIONS: Follow instructions above to prepare beef and flour. Brown beef in a large pan (see instructions above), then remove beef to slow cooker crock. Add onion, carrots/celery (if using), and garlic to pan. Cook, stirring to scrape up any browned bits on the bottom of the pan, until vegetables are soft, 6-8 minutes. If the vegetables are sticking, add a little water or stock to the pan. Once the vegetables are tender, add remaining 2 tablespoons of flour and stir to coat. Add 1 cup beef broth to the pan, scraping up any browned-on bits. Pour vegetables and broth into crock with the beef. Add remaining broth, tomato paste, and thyme. Cover and cook on high for 3-4 hours or low for 5-6 hours. Then, add root vegetables, cover, and cook for an additional 1 hour on high or 1-2 hours on low, until vegetables and beef are completely tender. Taste and add salt and pepper if desired.

Meatballs with Garden Greens

Community meeting training session, 11/14/12 – served over spaghetti with tomato sauce

Meatballs are an easy place to put some healthy, vitamin-rich greens into your diet. You can use frozen greens of any kind (spinach, kale, chard, beet greens, etc), from your garden or the grocery store. Serve these meatballs with your favorite pasta sauce and spaghetti. You could also make this recipe into a meatloaf – follow cooking instructions for Italian-Style Meatloaf.

  • 10 oz stale bread
  • 1/2 cup milk (it can be more sour than you’d want to drink)
  • 2 lbs ground beef (OR use 1 lb each ground beef and pork)
  • 8 oz frozen greens (spinach, kale, etc), thawed and chopped
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
  • OR substitute 1 ½ tablespoons Italian seasoning for all the herbs if fresh herbs are unavailable
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Using your hands, rip the stale bread into flaky crumbs. It’s okay if they’re uneven sizes. In a large bowl, pour the milk over the bread and allow the bread to get completely soaked.

Add all remaining ingredients. Mix thoroughly to combine (using your hands works best).

Roll mixture into balls. You can bake or pan-fry the meatballs.

OVEN METHOD: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a baking sheet. Place meatballs on sheet and bake until cooked through with an internal temperature of 160, about 25 minutes.

STOVETOP METHOD: Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large pan. Add meatballs and cook, turning when they become browned on the bottom, until completely browned and cooked through.

Serves 8.

**All ingredients in bold can be grown in your own garden or purchased at a farmers market.**

 

baked spaghetti and meatballsVARIATION: Baked Spaghetti and Meatballs

Community meeting dinner, 1/23/12

In a baking dish, combine meatballs, 1 lb cooked spaghetti (or other pasta), and 4-6 cups (or 1 jar) tomato sauce. Toss to coat everything evenly with sauce. Top with 1/2 cup of your favorite shredded cheese – mozzarella, parmesan, or other. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes, until cheese is browned and bubbly. Serves 8.

Halloween Chili

Committee meeting working lunch, 10/18/12 – served with pumpkin cornbread

The pumpkin and spice in this beef-and-bean chili adds a subtle taste and a lot of fiber, vitamin A, and other nutrients.

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided between beef and onions
  • 2 lbs ground beef
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 2 14-ounce or 1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes in juice
  • 2 cans beans, any variety, drained from liquid
  • 2 cups pumpkin or other winter squash puree (see  instructions, or use canned)
  • 1 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice OR 3/4 teaspoon cinnamon and 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg, optional

In a large pot, heat 1 tablespoon oil and brown the beef. Remove the beef to a bowl or plate, then add the remaining tablespoon oil. Add onions and garlic and cook until onions are translucent and soft, about 5-7 minutes. Add chili powder and cumin and cook 1 minute more, stirring.

Add remaining ingredients (tomatoes, beans, pumpkin, and spices if using) and bring to a boil. Turn the heat down to low and simmer for 30-75 minutes – the longer the chili cooks, the tastier it will be.

Mushroom Barley Soup

Committee meeting working lunch, 1/26/12 – served with whole wheat sandwich bread

This soup is hearty and filling. Regarding leftovers, the barley will continue to absorb liquid as it sits, so if you leave leftover soup in the fridge, there will not be nearly as much liquid when you come back to eat it. Add more stock/broth or water, or enjoy the leftovers as a less soupy meal.

  • 1/2 ounce dried mushrooms (optional)*
  • 1 cup boiling water (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable or canola oil, divided
  • 8 ounces white mushrooms, sliced*
  • 2 carrots, sliced
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 cup pearled barley
  • 6 cups beef or chicken stock or broth, or water in a pinch
  • salt
  • pepper

In a small, heatproof bowl, pour boiling water over dried mushrooms, if using. Allow to steep for 45 minutes. Remove and roughly chop mushrooms. Strain liquid through a coffee filter or paper towel to remove any dirt and reserve the liquid.

In a large pot, heat one tablespoon of oil over medium heat. When hot, add sliced mushrooms. Cook, stirring occasionally, until mushrooms have released all their water and are browned. Remove mushrooms to a bowl and reserve.

Heat remaining tablespoon of oil in the same pot. Add onions and carrots. Cook, stirring, until onions are translucent and carrots are tender. Add barley and cook 2-3 minutes more, until barley is slightly browned and smells toasted. Do not allow to burn.

Add stock, broth, or water. Add cooked mushrooms, soaked mushrooms, and soaking liquid. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer and cook until barley is tender, about 30 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Yield: 6 servings

*Mushrooms can be a lucrative and marketable crop, and they can be grown indoors in Nebraska.