Sunday, February 15, 2009

Plan #4 - Let it Stew

Stews are a great way to stretch a budget because they don't cost much to make and can feed a crowd. The two recipes below - Autumn Cranberry Beef Stew and Red Wine Beef Stew with Potatoes and Green Beans - will take you just a couple of hours to cook up on a Sunday, but provide you with 20 servings of home cooked goodness to pop in the freezer and pull out for lunches or an easy weeknight dinner. Purchase the chuck roast package from Costco which usually comes with two roasts at about 2-3 pounds each, and cut into your own cubes. And don't forget that when it comes to stew, the more the merrier. Start with the base recipes the below, but feel free to make substitutions or additions to use up whatever you have in the bottom of your veggie drawer before it goes bad. And since we can't live on stew alone (well possibly we can but don't want to) I've added a recipe for Turkey and Cranberry Port Wine Sauce to make use of the remaining wholeberry cranberry sauce from the first recipe. The recipe fits well with the comfort foods theme of the week with all the tastes of Thanksgiving at a fraction of the cost. Serve with Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes and steamed green beans and carrots to use up any of those remaining veggies that didn't make it into the Red Wine Beef Stew.

Autumn Cranberry Beef Stew

1 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 (3-pound) boneless chuck roast, trimmed and cut into 2-inch cubes
Cooking spray
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup fat-free, less-sodium beef broth
2 bay leaves
1 (12-ounce) Guinness Stout
1 (10-ounce) package frozen pearl onions, thawed
1 (8-ounce) package button mushrooms, quartered
1/4 cup water
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3/4 cup whole-berry cranberry sauce
8 cups cooked egg noodles (about 1 pound)
Chopped fresh thyme (optional)

Combine first 3 ingredients in a small bowl; sprinkle over beef. Heat a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add beef to pan; cook 6 minutes, turning to brown on all sides. Add chopped onion, broth, bay leaves, and stout; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 2 hours or until beef is tender, stirring occasionally. Stir in pearl onions and mushrooms; cook, covered, 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Combine 1/4 cup water and flour in a small bowl. Add flour mixture and cranberry sauce to pan. Cook 5 minutes. Discard bay leaves. Serve with noodles. Garnish with fresh thyme, if desired.

Yield: 10 servings (serving size: about 3/4 cup stew and 3/4 cup noodles)

CALORIES 479 (27% from fat); FAT 14.6g (sat 4.8g,mono 6.3g,poly 1.1g); IRON 6.3mg; CHOLESTEROL 138mg; CALCIUM 35mg; CARBOHYDRATE 43.7g; SODIUM 239mg; PROTEIN 39.5g; FIBER 2.6g

Cooking Light, OCTOBER 2007

Red Wine Beef Stew with Potatoes and Green Beans

Recipe courtesy Dave Lieberman

Making an amazing stew is a whole lot simpler than most people figure. After you brown up your beef, all you basically have to do is throw a bunch of tasty ingredients in a pot and let it do its thing. Adding green beans at the end of cooking freshens up the stew and their snap is cool. You can make it completely in advance, as far as 2 days ahead of time. Just refrigerate it right in the pot and reheat it over low heat. You?ll have to stir in a cup or so of water because the stew will have thickened up. (Do the water thing if you?re reheating leftover stew too.) I use butter to brown the beef because it adds richness to the stew and makes for a creamier gravy. But you can substitute any type of oil for the butter if you want. Pretty much any decent red wine will do for stew; I like using Burgundy or Cabernet Sauvignon but the basic rule is that as long as you?d be happy drinking what you?re cooking with you?re in good shape.

  • Prep Time:20 min
  • Cook Time:2 hr 0 min
  • Level:Intermediate
  • Serves:about 10 servings
  • Ingredients

    • 2 pounds beef chuck for stew, cut into 1-inch cubes
    • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
    • 3 tablespoons butter
    • 4 medium carrots, peeled, halved and cut into 1-inch chunks
    • 3 small onions, diced
    • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
    • 2 (14 1/2-ounce) cans reduced-sodium beef or chicken broth
    • 2 cups dry red wine
    • 1 cup canned crushed tomatoes
    • 3 sprigs fresh rosemary
    • 2 medium russet or Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
    • 2 handfuls green beans, ends trimmed


    Season the beef cubes lightly with salt and pepper. Heat 2 tablespoons of the butter in a heavy 6-quart pot over medium heat. As soon as the butter starts to turn brown, add half the beef and raise the heat to high. At first, the beef will give off some liquid, but once that evaporates, the beef will start to brown. Cook, turning the beef cubes on all sides until the pieces are as evenly browned as possible, about 5 or 6 minutes after the water has boiled off. If the pan starts to get too brown at any point, just turn down the heat a little. Scoop the beef into a bowl and brown the rest of the beef the same way using the remaining butter.

    Scoop out the second batch of beef, then add the carrots and onions and raise the heat to medium-high. Cook until the onion starts to turn translucent, about 5 minutes. Stir in the flour until it has been worked into the veggies and you can’t see it any more. Pour in the chicken broth, wine, and crushed tomatoes, and toss in the rosemary. Slide the beef back into the pot and bring the liquid to a boil.

    Turn down the heat so the liquid is just breaking a gentle simmer. Partially cover the pot and cook 50 minutes. Stir the stew several times while simmering so it cooks evenly and nothing sticks to the bottom.

    Stir the potatoes into the stew, cover the pot completely, and cook until the potatoes and beef are tender, stirring occasionally, about another 45 minutes. Add the beans and cook for another 5 minutes until the green beans turn bright green and are cooked through but still have a nice snap to them.

    Turkey and Cranberry Port Wine Sauce

    Use cranberry sauce left over from your holiday meal to make this easy supper. The recipe calls for shallots, which have a milder, sweeter flavor than onions. A sweet onion will work, as well.

    1 tablespoon canola oil
    4 (4-ounce) turkey breast cutlets
    1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
    1/2 teaspoon black pepper, divided
    1 tablespoon butter
    1/4 cup chopped shallots
    2/3 cup whole-berry cranberry sauce
    1/4 cup port wine
    1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage
    1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
    Whole sage leaves (optional)

    Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Sprinkle turkey with 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Add turkey to pan; cook 5 minutes on each side or until done. Transfer turkey to a plate.

    Melt butter in pan. Add shallots; sauté for 30 seconds. Reduce heat to medium; stir in cranberry sauce, wine, chopped sage, vinegar, remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, and remaining 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Cook 2 minutes or until slightly thickened, stirring occasionally.

    Return turkey to pan. Cook 1 minute or until thoroughly heated. Serve with sauce. Garnish with sage leaves, if desired.

    Yield: 4 servings (serving size: 1 cutlet and 1/4 cup sauce)

    CALORIES 276 (23% from fat); FAT 6.9g (sat 1.7g,mono 3.2g,poly 1.1g); IRON 1.7mg; CHOLESTEROL 53mg; CALCIUM 16mg; CARBOHYDRATE 21.5g; SODIUM 428mg; PROTEIN 28.4g; FIBER 0.8g

    Cooking Light, NOVEMBER 2005
    Roasted-Garlic Mashed Potatoes

    1 whole garlic head
    1 tablespoon olive oil
    1 pound peeled Yukon Gold or red potatoes, quartered
    3 cups water
    1/2 cup 1% low-fat milk
    1/4 teaspoon salt
    1/4 teaspoon pepper

    Preheat oven to 375°.

    Remove white papery skin from garlic head (do not peel or separate cloves). Rub oil over garlic head; wrap in foil. Bake at 375° for 1 hour; cool 10 minutes. Separate cloves; squeeze to extract garlic pulp. Set aside. Discard skins.

    Place potatoes in a saucepan, and cover with water. Bring to a boil; cook 15 minutes or until very tender. Drain. Heat milk in pan over medium heat until hot (do not boil). Add potatoes, salt, and pepper, and beat at medium speed of a mixer until potato mixture is smooth. Add garlic pulp, and stir well.


    Mashed Potatoes With Sage: Omit garlic; add 2 tablespoons minced fresh sage to milk, salt, and pepper.

    Chive-and-Goat Cheese Potatoes: Omit garlic; add 3 tablespoons minced chives and 1/2 cup (2 ounces) crumbled goat cheese to milk, salt, and pepper.

    Yield: 5 servings (serving size: 1/2 cup)

    CALORIES 105 (27% from fat); FAT 3.1g (sat 0.5g,mono 2.1g,poly 0.3g); IRON 3.2mg; CHOLESTEROL 1mg; CALCIUM 79mg; CARBOHYDRATE 16.6g; SODIUM 140mg; PROTEIN 3.9g; FIBER 1.8g

    Cooking Light, OCTOBER 1997

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