Sunday, November 25, 2012

Hobbit Stew (unofficial)

We are so impatiently awaiting the release of The Hobbit! We already have our tickets and I have the whole day off just for the occasion! My husband, Heith is a big Lord of The Rings fan, and he sucked me in! Especially after reading The Hobbit, I am planning on starting Fellowship of the Ring after the movie comes out. I couldn't think of a more fun way to get excited for the movie, than eating a meal fit for a hobbit! Well actually, if I could afford it we would fly to New Zealand to visit Hobbiton, the set where they filmed! Or I would build my own hobbit hole in my back yard and never leave! Since neither of those are an option, we settled for what we could afford, a movie marathon with food fit for a hobbit! Simple creatures with a passion for food (who else do you know that eats seven meals a day!) and celebration, what better than a nice hearty stew full of delicious beef, tasty veggies and of course a hobbit favorite, mushrooms! You can eat this from elevensies through supper and still want more! Serve this with a side of crusty bread and soon you'll have a nice full belly and ready to settle in for a nice evening of pipe -weed and blowing smoke rings.

Hobbit Stew

2 lbs Stew Meat, cut into bite sized chunks
1/2 cup all purpose flour
4 tablespoons butter or olive oil
1 large onion, diced
4 medium to large red skinned potatoes, washed and diced
3 large carrots, peeled and diced
1 stalk celery, diced
1 lb mushrooms, halved or quartered
2 teaspoons beef flavor boost (two packets)
2 cups water
1/4 cup worcestershire sauce
2 Bay leaves
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon basil
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons pepper

(Not pictured: Mushrooms & Worcestershire Sauce, oops!)

There are two ways you can make this. Well really there are many different ways, but I am including two different options for cooking, one if you wake up early enough to leave it sit for 8 hours; the other is if you slept in, like I did, and started later than you originally intended! If you have time to be in the kitchen for a bit longer, but not the full 8 hours to let it cook. Versatility, FTW! 

In a resealable plastic bag, add flour, salt, pepper, onion powder, basil & oregano, shake to combine. Add beef and shake until coated. Heat 2 tablespoons butter or olive oil in skillet; add floured meat and brown on all sides.

(I left my pieces kind of big, it's easier if you chop them smaller, they cook faster and they are easier to eat)

While that's going, chop your potatoes, onions, carrots, celery. I like to leave my veggies in big chunks, but dice them to your preference. 

Put your potatoes, carrots and celery into a pan with about a tablespoon of butter to soften on medium heat, stirring often.  You can put a lid on, that should help.

While those are softening, chop your mushrooms into halves or quarters.  Or leave them whole if you please.  I quartered them, but I think i'll leave them whole next time.

The beef should be about done now, all nice and browned. Transfer it over to your slow cooker.

Add onions and mushrooms to your still hot beef skillet with a little butter and cook for two minutes, no need to clean it out before adding the onions, that just adds more delicious flavor!

 After the two minutes, toss them in the slow cooker as well. 

I think I could eat just this...yum!  But it's worth the wait!
About this time, the veggies should be good and softened. Not all the way cooked but soft enough to cut the cooking time down.  Add them to the party in the slow cooker
To the beef pan add worcestershire, water and beef flavor boost, whisk until mixed.  Don't forget those brown bits on the bottom of the pan.  When it's all combined add to the slow cooker and remind yourself to not eat it all now.  Add garlic, bay leaves, salt, pepper and feel free to add additional onion powder, basil, oregano (about 1/2 teaspoon of each)

Cook on High for 4 to 5 hours or until the meat is tender and everything is nice and combined.

Alternative: Do not soften veggies, just cook meat, soften mushrooms and onions, add everything to slow cooker top with worcestershire beef flavor mix  and cook on low for 8 hours. 

My brothers girlfriend came over the night I made this, she said "I don't like beef stew very much but I've decided to let you change my mind" 
Good girl, Love that attitude!

That's all I ask, even if you haven't liked it before, try a spoon and see!  If you don't  like it, I won't be offended, just try it!!
Verdict was: "It's good!"

Her and I were chatting later and we decided, she may not be a beef stew convert, but she's a hobbit stew convert!
No higher compliment.  I hope this will convert your picky eaters and non-beef stew likers as well.