Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Beef and Noodles

I know that during the summer most people want light meals, salads, and cold sandwiches.  Not me, kind of like how I crave salads in the winter, I want hardy comfort food in the summer.  If you're one of my readers who likes to keep his or her heavy meals for when the snow if falling, read on anyway, and save this idea for later.  

 First I caramelized about 2 lbs. of onions.  I found some amazing candy onions at the farmer's market, and I was actually thinking about making French onion soup with them.  Beef and noodles won out, so maybe I'll make the soup next week.  If you don't normally caramelize onions, don't be afraid of the amount.  They cook down a lot.  I get my pan hot, add about 2 tablespoons of olive oil, and then add the onions.  I then turn the heat down to medium low and generously salt the onions (about 2 teaspoons salt).  Stir onions after addition of salt and about every 5 minutes after that.  I let my onions cook for 20 minutes until they were nice and brown.
 See, I told you they would cook down.  I could have taken them even further than this, but I knew they would be sweet, so I stopped here.  Next, I added about a quarter cup of vodka to deglaze the pan.  Deglazing just means added a liquid to get up all the delicious brown bits.  If you don't have vodka, you could use red or white wine, beef or veggie broth, or water.

 Next I added about 3 lbs. of round steak (we really like this leftover).  I had three packages in the freezer, so that's what I used, but you could use anything you have lying around.  I actually wish I had a bone in chuck roast because I think it would have had a richer flavor.  I also added 6 cloves of garlic, 2 bay leaves, 1 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper, 2 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce, 1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, and about 2 cups of water.  I let this simmer, covered, for about 3 hours.  When I opened the pan, the beef was nicely tender and cooked to perfection, the onions had cooked nicely into the broth.  Next, I removed the beef and set it aside.  I tossed out the bay leaves and I added about 3 cups of water to the broth and tasted for salt.  I brought the broth to a boil and added 8 oz. of egg noodles and cooked according to package directions.  Last, I added the beef back to the pan and checked again for seasoning.

The finished product was served over mashed potatoes.  Gasp!  I know my mother would never approve of this meal with its two starches, but it was really good.  Tomorrow's post will contain the recipe for my mashed potatoes because I finally got around to measuring everything.

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