Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Beef Stew & Mashed Potatoes

Just when you get in the groove up coming up with easy, simple, and tasty meals, someone goes and throws a monkey wrench in the finely tuned engine and gives you a bunch of free food. I mean, how dare they?!

Actually, I'm kidding.

However, Daren's father made a special delivery this evening of a turkey, a 10lb bag of potatoes, as well as many other thoughtful, unexpected tasties. So instead of a basic meal like we normally have, we went in a slightly different direction. Beef stew and mashed potatoes. Except, the bag of meat pulled from the freezer was not beef, but rather pork. So pork stew and creamy mashed potatoes, just like ma makes.

beef stew
  • 1 lb. pork (use beef)
  • 2 stalks celery, thinly sliced
  • 1 carrot, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup water
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons sour cream
  • pepper
  • garlic
  • basil
  • sage
  • squirt of sriracha
  • 1/4 teaspoon corn starch (optional)
mashed potatoes
  • 3 medium potatoes
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • salt
  • pepper
  • skillet
  • sauce pot
  • colander/strainer
  • potato masher or hand mixer
Beef Pork Stew
For frozen pork (beef), put the meat and water into the skillet to begin cooking on high heat. As the pieces begin to break apart and change color slightly, add vegetables and spices. Continue to cook at high heat, monitoring the water level. If need be, add more to maintain half an inch at all times -- this is the base for the gravy. Add soy sauce. Lower stove to about a 7 and let simmer to allow pork (beef) to thoroughly cook. By this point, the gravy should be forming. Add sour cream for additional flavor and to thicken the stew.

If the gravy is still not thick enough to your liking (some people like it watery, some like it stiff), add a pinch or two of corn starch at a time. This will thicken it considerably. Put on low heat to continue simmering.

Mashed Potatoes
We used Russet potatoes for this batch, but honestly, any will do. I recommend peeling Russets since their odd texture can lead to unsatisfactory mashed potatoes. Yukon Gold or Red Potatoes can keep their skins. Peel the skin off. That is, from the potato, not your finger, like I did tonight. Cube the potatoes, no bigger than one inch, no smaller than 1/2 an inch. Put them in a large enough pot with about 2 inches of water over the top of the pile of potatoes. Add about 2 tablespoons of salt, or do as I do and just dump the salt container on its side for about 5 seconds. Put the stove on high heat.

Let potatoes come to a full boil. Once there, use a fork (or other impaling utensil) to grab a potato and test it for tenderness. If it's still a little tough to bite into it, if there's a bit of resistance, they need longer to boil. On the other hand, if it's nearly melt-in-your-mouth, they're done. Remove the pot from the stove and drain water. Return the potatoes to the pot and add the pat of butter and half the amount of milk. Use the hand mixer or the potato masher to start working the ingredients together. The consistency you are looking for is light, fluffy, and very much stuck together. You will see in the beginning that they look a little crusty, like what instant potatoes look like when you first add water. Continue to add milk in small portions until they are full of creamy life. You may need to use more than recommended, just don't drown them. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Serve the pork (beef) stew over the mashed potatoes.

This beautiful little deal fed the two of us with small seconds and an extra mouthful of mashed potatoes for a grand total of $3.92.

  • pork 1.99/lb
  • celery 22¢
  • carrot 20¢
  • soy sauce 5¢
  • sour cream 35¢
  • onion 15¢
  • potatoes 70¢
  • butter 6¢
  • milk 20¢

No comments:

Post a Comment