Friday, February 5, 2010

Lou's Most Excellent NutriStew

Snow can be measured in feet and when it gets to a foot goin' out just ain't happenin'.

It's stew time.

But stew is a watch-it-you-shouldn't-be-eating-too-much-of-that-item for me right now. I love bowls and bowls of it but need to slow it down. So here comes Piedmontese beef to the rescue. This effectively trims a majority of the worrisome items from the dish (fat, cholesterol) and allows you to focus on enjoying it and not feeling guilty.

Not one iota.

Well, maybe a little. I tried to limit additional fat in the browning of the meat. In fact, I used none than what came from the meat itself. By trimming the sirloin I took that fat and put it into the pan and rendered it a little, giving me just enough to work with for sauteing the onions and such.

Imagine that: stew with no additional added fat. Brilliant.

24 oz Piedmontese sirloin, cut into 1" cubes, fat trimmed and reserved
2 TBS Montreal steak seasoning*
2 small onions, peeled and quartered
1 shallot, peeled and quartered
5 cloves garlic, minced
8 oz mini portabella mushrooms, stems removed (crimini's can sub)
2 TBS tomato paste
2 TBS flour
6 carrots, halved and quartered
10 - 12 red fingerling potatoes, halved
2 bay leaves
16 oz low sodium beef broth
8 oz low sodium chicken broth

*You can usually buy this prepackaged in the spice aisle. If you don't have any, as I didn't, mix your own using 2 TBS of sea salt, 1 TBS coarse ground black pepper, 2 TSP crushed red pepper flakes, 1 TSP cracked fennel seed, 1 TSP dried garlic, 1 TSP hot paprika, 1 TSP dried rosemary and 1 TSP dried thyme.

Preheat your oven to 225.

In a non-stick Dutch oven (5 quarts, at least), heat to medium with the reserved fat trimmings. Saute for about 15 minutes, allowing the fat to liquify. While this is going on....

...add the seasoning to the beef cubes in a large bowl and coat evenly.

Brown the beef in the pan; you'll likely have to do this in 3 - 4 rounds so don't stuff it all in there. Cook the beef on each side for about 2 minutes and set into another bowl while you do the next round.

When the beef is done add the onions and shallot. Pour in the juices from the beef that's resting in the bowl. Saute for about 10 minutes, just to where the onion has softened but not yet translucent. Add the mushrooms and saute an additional 5 mintues, then add the garlic...toss for 30 seconds...then add the tomato paste and cook for about 2 minutes.

Add the flour and mix well. Cook for about 2 additional minutes.

Add half of the broth (doesn't matter which one) and mix in; the broth will thicken. Add the remaining broth, the bay leaves, then the carrots and potatoes. Bring to a boil over medium high/high heat.

Add back in the beef and any remaining juices and bring back to a boil. Once there, cover and set the pot into the oven.

Cook for at least 4 hours.

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