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Posts Tagged ‘ground beef’

stew

 

This winter has been “on/off” since early december. It goes from an “arctic blaze” to just a few degrees above freezing and then back down into the big frozen pit again. We have had a few snow storms and in American terms “blizzards”. But for a Swede, you can only call it a blizzard and a really bad storm when the snow comes at you from down and up and shakes you around as if you were stuck in tumbler. Yes, it has snowed but nothing to write home about. We survived.

Since we unfortunately miscalculated our supply of “snow melt” last year (we ran out of it and couldn’t find any to buy anywhere). We didn’t want to take any risks of that happening again this year. We have a large bucket of snow melt sitting at the bottom of the stairs in our basement right now. A pain to jump over any time you have to go down into the basement but it surely is worth the trouble. We will have leftover snowmelt for next year.

I think we are out removing snow every week. It really feels like an extremely snow filled winter this year. When I first moved to America there was never any snow in the winter. What has happened? Did “Global warming” cousin, “arctic cold winters” move in?

Another way to make the snow melt, well perhaps not make the snow melt but at least feel warm, is to eat winter hardy food. Stews are easy and really fulfilling. A little less rustic stew is to start with ground meat instead of chunks of meat. It can be stewing down in different liquids such as beer, wines or broths.

To mix it up a little, this stew has ingredients from the “antipasto” (or antipasti as some call it) counter at the grocery store. I find it fast and it mixes it up a little from my regular kinds of stews.

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*I love the marinated garlic cloves, marinated whole shallots, marinated olives all kinds, marinated artichoke hearts. It is so hearty to chop this up and add to any kind of dish. Anything from stews to omelets.

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Thanks to my dear friends at home, I get dried chanterelle mushrooms from home. They are absolutely fantastic to add to stews. You just put them in some cold water (don’t use hot water) and let them re-hydrate for a few minutes. Squeeze out the water and add them to the stew.

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Winter Stew:

Serves 6.

1 lb. of ground meat (I used ground beef).

1 finely chopped medium-sized onion.

1 cup chopped mushrooms. Either fresh or dried re-hydrated.

1 cup mixed antipasto items. You decide what. I used marinated garlic cloves, olives, onions and artichoke hearts.

1 cup chopped tomatoes. If you don’t have fresh tomatoes, 1 can of crushed tomatoes works well.

2 tbsp. tomato paste (optional).

1 bottle of good a little darker beer or 1 cup wine. Red or white either works or  2 cups of stock. I always use low sodium chicken stock.

Splash of hot sauce (optional).

2 tbsp. concentrated stock (optional. I used my favorite Swedish “secret weapon”).

Salt pepper to taste.

1-3 tbsp. of finely chopped parsley for decoration.

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Directions;

Heat up a cast iron pot or a heavy-duty pot on a medium hot heat. In a splash of oil, fry the onion and the ground meat. When the onion is translucent and the meat has been browned slightly, add all the tomatoes and the tomato paste. Let cook down for about 5-10 minutes. Add the liquids and the antipasto. Let simmer on a low heat for about 35-40 minutes or until all is well stewed down and nice and soft. Taste and make sure the balance of spices is correct and to you liking.

Serve with some home-made mashed potatoes.

sprinkle over some finely chopped parsley for decoration.

Enjoy and stay warm!

 

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If you make the presentation interesting, it doesn’t really matter what it is you are serving, as long as it tastes good.

I try to come up with different ways of cooking and serving things. Not that it’s always needed, it is just fun.

I have noticed how I am going back to old classic ways of cooking and taking care of produce.

For example, I love to buy meat and grind it up myself. I can control the fat content better and this way I know for a fact, no added strange things has gotten mixed into the ground meat.

One of my favorite things to do with some ground meat is home-made sausages. I just like to change it up a little and not use the regular casings most often used for sausage making. One simple but a little labour intense way is to use corn husks. You just carefully unravel the corn husks (you could of course use dried corn husks as well. Just soak them a little before using them).

I have made two kinds of sausages here. One is made of ground pork the other of ground beef. But as always, you can use any kind of meat for this. Use your imagination.

The pork version has apples, herbs and port wine in them. The beef version contains herbs & cognac.

I use two ways of cooking them. The first is to boil and then pan frying them. The second is to just bake the little packages in the oven. The later is more of a fancy presentation.

I hope you will try to make your own sausages. Either if you make them with regular casings or like this with corn husks, it is fun and not as complicated as one would think. It just takes a little time.


Corn husk sausages.

Beef version;

2 lb ground beef.

1/2 – 1 onion. Finely chopped & fried until translucent.

2 garlic cloves. Finely chopped or shredded.

1/2-1 tbsp. shredded fresh ginger.

2-3 tbsp. good Cognac (Armagnac or Calvados).

1/2 tbsp. dried tomatoes. Finely chopped and soaked in the cognac.

1/2 – 1 tsp. ground coriander seeds.

1/2 tsp. Cayenne pepper (use more if you prefer a sausage with a little “sting”).

1/2 tsp. dried shallots or onion. Finely crushed. Soaked in the Cognac with the dried tomatoes (optional),

Salt & pepper to taste. 

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Pork version;

2 lb ground pork.

1 onion. Finely chopped & fried until translucent.

1/2 finely grated green apple. (Granny smith preferably because it holds up well.)

2 garlic cloves. Finely chopped or shredded.

2 tbsp. fresh herbs, finely chopped (if you don’t have fresh herbs, use dried. Just use a little less since it gets more intense in taste when dried.)

2-3 tbsp. good Port wine. Red or white.

1 tsp. sweet paprika powder.

1 tsp. crushed dried mushrooms (optional).

1/2 tsp. ground cumin.

1/2 tsp. ground fennel seeds.

Salt & pepper to taste.

Note, when you think that you have used enough spices and herbs, add a little pinch more. You can fry a little bit of the mixture to be sure the amount of ingredients are to your liking. If not, add more of what you missed.

 

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Directions;

Mix all the ingredients together and set a side for 15-30 minutes. This just so that the flavors will merge better (or to “marry” as they say.)

Take off all the husks from the corn. Let them overlap slightly if they are too small. Add a couple of table spoons of the meat mixture. Form a sauce shape. Start rolling them up. Make sure they are nice and tight. Tie up the ends with some food strings. Boil or bake in the oven. When firm to touch, they are done. Fry on medium high heat in a skillet for color. If baked in the oven, just serve them “as is”.

Serve with any kind of corn salad or just grilled corn on the cob. 

Enjoy!!!

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These are the steps of preparing the Corn husk Sausages;

* Place them into the corn husks. Overlap the husks if they are not big enough.

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* Tie them well and tight at the ends.

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* Boil on medium heat for about 10 minutes. (They should be firm to touch.)

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* When you take them out of the husks after boiling, they will look very pale. This is ok.

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* If I boil the sausages, I usually fry them real fast & hot for them to get some color.

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* If you bake them in the oven, they will be done when the corn husks starts to get a nice brown color. They should also feel firm to touch.

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