Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Beef Stew Take Two!

There has to be something to go with all this bread I bake!!

Can a pastry chef cook stew? Is it allowed? I hope so!! As a Chef and a Mom, I sometimes have to combine my passions. Mother of two hungry boys. Dinner coming soon, and , "MOM look at all this leftover food from the Steak photo shoot!"... If you can resist that face, you are the first!! Girls already swoon and he is only 5! So we decided to cook some stew and then put crispy crust on top...since it would be much faster than baking a beef pot pie from scratch. Mind you my husband is vegetarian, but he wasn't having dinner with us tonight so I pounced on the opportunity to cook meat!

I am a freezer freak. I love to maximize my time by making a big batch and then freeze some for later. So when I saw all this food stacked up in lovely piles on the counter I knew that was worth at least 3 meals for my family. I used a third for dinner and froze the remaining stew in two quart size freezer bags. Next time I crave warm beef stew, I won't have anything to do but heat and eat! I hope you don't mind if I share freezer ideas. It is one of my passions!

It is never cold here where I live. Well, I say that. Rarely do we have a cold enough day that I feel like making stew. I think it has snowed twice in the 15 years I have lived in Arizona and that snow only stayed on the ground a few hours before it melted. I do miss the snow. If you are in Michigan and read this, don't hate me. I know the grass is greener...

If we can't live where it is cold, at least we can sometimes eat like the other side!
Beef Pot Pie... Deconstructed
8-12 ounces premium steak, chopped , ours was precooked on a BBQ so it was smoky and nice (I have a great meat source!)
3 cups cooked red potatoes
2 cups carrots, peeled and sliced
2 cups onions, chopped
1 rib celery, sliced
2T garlic infused olive oil
1/4 cup flour
3T tomato paste (I used my home-canned organic ketchup...yea, I'm weird)
1 1/2 cup cut green beans
1 cup chopped bell pepper
4 cups quality beef stock
1/2 cup quick cook barley (or 1 cup pre-cooked)
1 tsp each: thyme, rosemary, lemon zest, black pepper, and salt
2 prepared pie crusts, I make my own but you can use store bought.

Bake the pie crust at 425 for 15minutes while you make the stew.
For stew: Put a little oil in the bottom of a good quality heavy bottomed 2 Quart pot. Add the onions, carrots, celery. Cook until tender, about 5 minutes, add 1/4 cup flour, stir well, add the stock and seasoning and simmer 10 minutes. Add all remaining ingredients and cook 10 minutes more until barley is tender. Put 1/3 in a nice serving bowl and top with cooked pie crust. Cool the remaining stew in the fridge for at least 2 hours. Perfect since you will be munching on the pot pie of love. Transfer stew to two quart size freezer bags and label clearly. I like to lay flat to freeze. This maximizes my freezer space and it freezes faster. To reheat from frozen, remove plastic and put in microwave safe dish on high 5 minutes, stir then 5 minutes more (I heat it covered since it tends to splatter and I like a clean microwave). Yes. I use a microwave. If you don't like them, defrost the stew overnight in the fridge and heat on the stove. I warned you I wasn't perfect! But the stew is!

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