When new babies arrive I get the urge to bring over food. (And when it’s #3, there really is no better thing to bring.) The occasion of a brand new person and no sleep calls for casseroles and pots of soup and stew and quick breads; things that are easily reheatable and edible with one hand.
So beef stew, done in the slow cooker with some beef I had in the freezer and the last of a bottle of leftover wine. With it, garlicky cheese biscuits. Remember those cinnamon sticky biscuits I made about 250 days ago? Leave out the cinnamon and sugar, and instead brush the dough with melted butter and garlic, and sprinkle with parmesan cheese. Roll, cut and bake. You could turn any cinnamon bun recipe into cheesy, garlicky buns instead.
1 lb. beef stew meat, flank steak or chuck, trimmed of fat and cut into cubes
olive or canola oil
1 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, crushed
a few glugs of red wine (optional)
1 can beef, vegetable or chicken broth
1 can diced or stewed tomatoes, undrained (any size – optional)
1 tsp. thyme
1 bay leaf
2 potatoes, cubed (unpeeled)
2 carrots, peeled and sliced
1/2 cup frozen peas
1-2 cups mushrooms, quartered
In a large saucepan or Dutch oven, heat about a drizzle of oil over medium-high heat and brown the beef in batches. Remove the meat from the pan and set aside.
Add a bit more oil and cook the onions for a few minutes, until soft. Add the garlic and cook for another minute. Add the wine, broth and tomatoes with their juice, scraping the bottom of the pot to loosen any flavorful browned bits that have stuck to the bottom. At this point you could transfer the lot to a slow cooker, or return the beef to the pot. Add the thyme and bay leaves and bring to a simmer; turn the heat down to low, cover the pot, and let it simmer for about an hour. (Or turn the slow cooker down to low and set it for 4-6 hours.) Add the potatoes and carrots after an hour and cook the stew uncovered for another hour (or add the carrots and potatoes after a couple hours in the slow cooker). Add the peas for the last 10 minutes, and quickly saute the mushrooms in a skillet until browned and stir into the stew at the very end, so they don’t get too mushy. Fish out the bay leaves, season with salt and pepper, and serve it hot.
Blood & Gutscakes
a batch of vanilla (or any flavour) cupcakes
a batch of lemon pie filling, tinted green
raspberry or cherry jam or pie filling
frosting and sprinkles
Bake cupcakes as you normally would, cool and then cut a chunk out of the top like an inverted cone. Remove the excess cake from the cone, leaving a flat lid (kind of like a pumpkin) and hollow out a bit of the cake inside. Put a small spoonful of jam and a spoonful of lemon filling inside, swirling them a bit as you do. Top with the lid and frost with whatever frosting you like.