Monday, December 3, 2012

Marvelous Many Mushroom Beef Braise: The Unplanned Dinner.

Almost ready: Many Mushroom Beef Braise
I was planning to fix a shrimp dish for dinner tonight. But the shrimp should have been removed from the freezer about the time I was looking at the Christmas lights at Costco (didn't buy). Then, when I got home, the electrician had just arrived to service our backup generator, and the house power was shut off. So I didn't open the freezer, because I couldn't see a damn thing in the basement, anyway. My other task this afternoon was to divvy up some top round beef into freezer packs, and even though none of it was on the planned menu, a pound of trimmings and chunks suddenly became the basis of a very good, fairly quick dinner. It's fairly quick because, once you get it into the pot, you can walk away for an do something useful, like write a blog post. And it tastes like you slaved for hours. Just don't tell.  Soothing, and warm you right down to your toes.

Actually, this sort of thing is great with ground meat like beef, lamb or venison. It cooks faster, and makes a fabulous sauce for homemade  whole wheat fettuccine or other fresh wide wheat pasta.  With this chunky meat version, we usually have it with brown rice or a bean puree, and something green. Totally, delectably, wonderful.
Can I eat yet??
Many Mushroom Beef Braise
Serves 2-4


2T bacon fat or safflower oil
1 lb. top round beef in 1-1/2" cubes
1 medium yellow onion, halved and sliced 1/4"
8 oz. sliced baby bella mushrooms
.25 g package of mixed dried wild mushrooms, soaked, in 1 cup hot water 10 minutes
1 cup mushroom stock homemade, boxed or made from mushroom base
1/4 cup dry sherry
1/2 tsp. dried marjoram
1/4 tsp. dried thyme
freshly ground black pepper
fresh parsley, sprigs and some minced


1. Heat the oil in a dutch oven, or other heavy bottomed pot with a cover. Season the meat with salt and pepper. Brown the meat in the hot fat on all sides, about10 - 15 minutes over medium-high heat.

2. Lower the heat to medium, add the sliced mushrooms and onions, stirring until the mushrooms release some liquid. Add the sherry and stock, and stir up any brown bits on the bottom of the pan. Bring to a simmer.

3. Add the dried mushrooms, and their soaking liquid, careful to hold back any sediment at the bottom of the bowl. Add the dried herbs, stir well, brig back to a simmer. Cover and cook 1 hour, until the meat is tender. Taste for salt and pepper and adjust as needed. Serve garnished with fresh parsley.

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