Monday, November 26, 2007

Crock Pot Beef Burgundy

Crock Pot Beef Burgundy
from The Gourmet Slow Cooker, by Lynn Alley

I was given my crock pot for Christmas last year, and I’ve used it twice, both times for this recipe. Once last summer (a bad idea considering the heat) and once a week ago … perfect for the chill that’s finally in the air at night. I know that the point of crock pot cooking is simplicity: just throw a bunch of stuff in the pot and leave it until a miraculously fantastic dish occurs. This recipe, while easy, does require some sautéing, though you could probably go without if you’re feeling lazy. It’s satisfying on day one, and even better on days two and three, squished between two slabs of buttered bread.


- ¾ cup all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 ½ lbs beef stew meat, trimmed of fat, cut into 1 ½-inch cubes
- 3 Tbsp vegetable oil
- 2 cups full-bodied red wine, such as Pinot Noir or Beaujolais
- 2 cloves garlic
- 4 sprigs thyme
- 2 bay leaves
- 20 baby white onions
- 2 Tbsp unsalted butter
- 1 lb small button mushrooms, halved
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh thyme, for garnish


Prepare meat:

1) Combine the flour and salt in a resealable plastic bag. Add the meat to the bag, several pieces at a time, and shake to coat completely.

2) Heat a large sauté pan over medium-high heat and add 2 Tbsp of the oil. In batches if necessary, add the beef and cook, turning, for 8 to 10 minutes, until browned on all sides. Using tongs, transfer to paper towels to drain, then arrange in the slow cooker.

3) Add the wine to the pan and stir over medium-high heat to scrape up the browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Cook, stirring frequently, for about 10 minutes, until the sauce begins to thicken. Stir in salt to taste. Add the garlic, thyme sprigs, and bay leaves. Pour over the beef in the slow cooker. Cover and cook on low for 6 to 8 hours until the meat is very tender.

Prepare onions (to add one hour before beef is done):

4) While the stew is cooking, peel and trim the onions. Heat a sauté pan over medium-high heat and add the remaining 1 Tbsp oil. Add the onions and sauté, stirring frequently, for 10 minutes, or until lightly browned. One hour before serving, add the onions to the stew and continue cooking until the onions are tender.

Prepare mushrooms (to add half an hour before beef is done):

Heat a sauté pan over medium-high heat and add the butter. Add the mushrooms and sauté for 5 minutes, or until lightly browned. Add the mushrooms to the stew 30 minutes before serving. Remove the thyme sprigs and bay leaves. Transfer the stew to a soup tureen. Garnish with the chopped thyme and serve immediately.

Serves 4 to 6.

Next up from this book: Apricot Chicken. There is also a curry I'd like to try.

Crock pot note:
I know that there are some wonderful gourmet crock pots out there … I think it was some fancy All-Clad Slow Cooker that all the food magazines were raving about earlier this year … but mine does an admirable job and can be found at Target for $20 or less.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Roasted Portobello Mushroom and Prosciutto Lasagna

Every month I browse through my food magazines and clip recipes. It gets a bit obsessive at times, as I’ll pull recipes from up to a dozen magazines a month, far more than I have time to make, especially given my on-again-off-again stints in the kitchen. Sometimes, I’ll go through my clipped recipes and toss a few away. But there are some that remain, month after month, year after year, tempting me. This is one. This recipe has been sitting around since October 2004 when I cut it out of Bon Appetit. Why I didn’t make it last year or the year before that, I can’t tell you. I only know that when I came across it again a few weeks ago, I knew its time had come. I was right.

Recently, my friend Janet asked me for some quick, comforting suggestions for autumn meals. While this recipe is comforting, it’s also time-consuming. (Sorry, Janet.) But the time invested is worth it. Each bite offers a unique blend of mushrooms, prosciutto, rosemary, thyme, and/or nutmeg, and the sauce is both light and rich. I would serve it at a dinner party when you want something familiar and gourmet in a single dish.

Roasted Portobello Mushroom and Prosciutto Lasagna



- 3 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons olive oil
- 2 1/2 pounds (about 10) portobello mushrooms, stems trimmed
- 1 cup chopped prosciutto (about 6 ounces)
- 2/3 cup chopped shallots (about 2 large)
- 1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
- 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme


- 4 cups whole milk
- 1 14-ounce can low-salt chicken broth
- 1 bay leaf
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
- 2/3 cup all purpose flour
- 2 cups (about 8 ounces) shredded Gruyère cheese
- 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg


- 1 pound lasagna noodles
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 2 tablespoons butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces


For filling:

1) Preheat oven to 400°F.
2) Brush rimmed baking sheet with 1 tablespoon olive oil.
3) Toss mushrooms with 2 tablespoons olive oil in large bowl to coat. Arrange mushrooms, gill side up, in single layer on prepared baking sheet. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
4) Roast until tender, about 45 minutes.
5) Cool. Cut mushrooms into 1/3-inch-thick slices.
6) Meanwhile, heat remaining 2 teaspoons oil in medium nonstick skillet over medium heat.
7) Add prosciutto; sauté until browned, about 3 minutes.
8) Add shallots, rosemary, and thyme. Cook until shallots are tender, stirring frequently, about 5 minutes.

(Mushrooms and prosciutto-shallot mixture can be made 1 day ahead. Cover separately and chill).

For sauce:

1) Bring milk, broth, and bay leaf to simmer in heavy large saucepan over medium heat. Remove from heat. Let stand 10 minutes; discard bay leaf.
2) Melt butter in heavy medium saucepan over medium-low heat.
3) Whisk in flour; stir 2 minutes.
4) Whisk in hot milk mixture; bring to boil, whisking frequently.
5) Reduce heat to low; simmer 5 minutes, stirring frequently.
6) Remove from heat; stir in Gruyère, Parmesan, and nutmeg. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

For lasagna:

1) Cook noodles in large pot of boiling salted water until almost tender but slightly undercooked (noodles will finish cooking in oven). Drain and rinse with cold water. Drain again; pat dry.
2) Butter 13x9x2-inch glass baking dish.
3) Spread 1 cup sauce over bottom of prepared dish.
4) Arrange 1/3 of noodles over sauce, overlapping to fit.
5) Spread about 1 2/3 cups sauce over noodles.
6) Arrange 1/2 of mushrooms over sauce. Scatter 1/2 of prosciutto mixture over mushrooms.
7) Arrange 1/2 of remaining noodles over mushrooms, overlapping to fit.
8) Spread 1 2/3 cups sauce over noodles.
9) Arrange remaining mushrooms over sauce, sprinkle with remaining prosciutto, and top with remaining noodles.
10) Spread remaining sauce over noodles, sprinkle Parmesan cheese over, and dot with butter.
11) Preheat oven to 350°F. Bake lasagna until top is golden brown and sauce is bubbling, about 45 minutes (about 1 hour if refrigerated). Let stand 20 to 30 minutes before serving.

Preparation note:
Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate.

Mushroom notes:
Keep an eye on the mushrooms so they don’t burn. I used a few shitake mushrooms, as well.

Nutmeg note:
Fresh nutmeg ground in a mortar and pestle makes a noticeable difference.

Broth note:
I used vegetable broth, as I don’t like the meaty flavor of chicken broth.

Noodle note:
I accidentally bought no-cook lasagna noodles. I cooked them for just a couple minutes, and this worked fine.