Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Braised Beef with Rich Gravy and Rice

I'd love to show you a picture of this instant favorite, but the truth is my picture taking abilities leave much to be desired and instead of beautiful shots of bowls of fantastic deliciousness it looks more like steaming bowls of dog food.


We came back from our Georgia vacation into cold and blustery Central New York (though this winter has been especially mild, we still managed to land home on a quite bitter and windy day).

We have a small side of beef sitting in our freezer (local friends, it's from CNY Beef in Homer - I haven't used much of it yet, but have been very impressed with what I have used so far!) so I have several cuts of meat that I am unfamiliar with.

I have quite a few packages of cube steak, which I had never heard of before. After some quick internet research, I realized it would work just fine for this recipe. I was slightly concerned, since the consensus was either Love it! or Hate it!

I'm thinking I'm in the Love it! camp.

The kids devoured second and third helpings (next time, no almonds mom!) and the simple rice made a fantastic leftover side dish for a second night.

I got the recipe from The Grassfed Gourmet Cookbook: in which it is attributed to Marcia LeClair from Rocky Meadow Farm, but I see it on several other websites as well so I'm not sure where the original recipe originates.

on my counter this week

Braised Beef with Rich Gravy and Rice

  • 2 lbs round steak cut into 1-inch cubes or stew beef
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, sliced into thin wedges
  • 2 cups sliced mushrooms (optional)
  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • 3 cups beef broth plus 1 cup, if needed for gravy
  • 4 Tbsp all purpose flour
  • ¾ cup ice water
  1. Sprinkle the beef cubes with salt and pepper. Heat the olive oil in a large, heavy skillet. Add the meat and saute until well browned; remove to a bowl, and keep warm. In the same skillet, saute the onions, mushrooms, and garlic until the onions are translucent.

  2. Add 3 cups of broth and bring to a simmer, stirring the mixture often and scraping up any browned bits. Return the beef to the skillet, cover tightly, and simmer for 1 hour or more until the beef is tender. If the liquid starts to boil over, turn the heat down slightly.

  3. Periodically check the stew to make sure there is ample liquid for cooking the meat and for making the gravy afterward. If too much has boiled off, add the fourth cup of broth. If you still need more liquid, add a cup or two of water ( you'll want nearly 2 cups of liquid left in the pan after the meat has cooked). During this time, prepare the rice and vegetables.

  4. Once the rice and vegetables are ready, in a separate glass, whisk the flour into the ice water until smooth. Gradually stir this thickener into the simmering beef and broth. Bring the mixture to a slow boil and cook for a few seconds, stirring, until the gravy thickens. Serve over the rice with vegetables

     Rice and Vegetables

    • 2 cups brown rice
    • 2 cups warm water
    • 1 tsp salt
    • 2 Tbsp butter
    • 3 stalks celery, coarsely chopped
    • 1 onion, finely chopped
    • 3 carrots, scraped, shredded
    • 2 sweet bell peppers, green or red, diced (I omitted these)
    • 2 Tbsp olive oil
    • ½ cup blanched almonds, sliced
    1. Bring rice to a boil, skim off any residue that rises to the top, stir in the salt and butter, cover, lower the heat, and simmer until all liquid is absorbed, about 30-45 minutes.

    2. Just before all the water is evaporated, saute the vegetables in the olive oil until crisp-tender. Stir them into the cooked rice and add the sliced almonds. Keep warm until you are ready to serve.

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