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    Meat and Potato Skillet Gratin #Sunday Supper

    This may be one of my favorite Sunday Suppers. I love nearly everything with ground beef in it. I have been dying to try this recipe, so I was thrilled when Em from Sunday Suppers posted this week’s Dinner Ideas with Ground Beef.

    Best thing about this dish? It’s a one pan dish. There’s a lot of steps and prep, and it takes a long time to cook, but once you get going it’s a snap – unless you’re like me and start fixing dinner too late and end up eating at 8:00.

    It’s hearty, but not heavy. I didn’t think a pound of ground beef was enough. Seemed the potato to filling ratio wasn’t quite enough.

    Make sure you use a big enough pot to reduce the heavy cream or else you’ll end up like me – having your way to nice Dear One scrubbing the stove top!

    This gratin reheats well, so you can make it ahead and reheat it uncovered in a 350-degree oven.

    • 4 garlic cloves
    • 1 C heavy cream
    • 2 thyme branches
    • 2 T finely chopped fresh sage
    • 1 T extra-virgin olive oil, more as needed
    • 1 pound ground lean beef
    • 3/4 t kosher salt, more as needed
    • Black pepper, as needed
    • 1 C thinly sliced onion
    • 3 ounces baby spinach (3 packed cups)
    • 2 t Worcestershire sauce
    • 1 pound russet potatoes
    • 4 ounces Gruyère, grated (1 cup)

    Crush and peel 2 garlic cloves. In a small pot over medium heat, combine cream, the crushed garlic, the thyme and 1/2 tablespoon sage. Bring to a simmer; cook until reduced to 1/2 cup, about 30 minutes. Strain and cool.

    While cream cools, heat oil in an ovenproof 10-inch skillet (preferably cast iron) over medium-high heat. Add half the beef and brown well, crumbling with a fork as it cooks. Season with 1/4 teaspoon salt and a few grinds of pepper; transfer meat to a paper-towel-lined plate. Repeat with remaining meat, 1/4 teaspoon salt and the pepper.

    Add onion to pan drippings (drizzle with oil if pan seems dry). Cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are tender and golden, about 10 minutes. Peel and chop remaining 2 garlic cloves; add to pan with remaining sage. Return meat to skillet.

    Toss in spinach, a handful at a time, until wilted. Season with 1/4 teaspoon salt, the Worcestershire and pepper to taste.

    Heat oven to 350 degrees. Peel potatoes and cut into 1/4-inch-thick rounds.

    Layer half the potato slices over meat, with slices overlapping one another. Season lightly with salt and pepper; top with half the cheese. Repeat with remaining potatoes and cheese. Spoon reduced cream evenly over top.

    Cover pan tightly with foil and bake until vegetables are very tender, 60 to 75 minutes. Uncover and cook until golden brown, about 10 minutes more. Cool 10 minutes before serving.

    4 to 6 servings

    Dinner Ideas Using Ground Beef

    Sunday Supper MovementThe Sunday Supper Movement is committed to bringing our readers delicious recipes that encourage them to gather and eat together around the family table. Search for your favorite ingredients on our Sunday Supper website. Also check out the Sunday Supper Pinterest boards for plenty more ideas and inspiration.

    Would you like to join the Sunday Supper Movement? It’s easy. You can sign up by clicking here: Sunday Supper Movement.

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    Beef in Barolo

    Done

    Trying to decide what we’re having for dinner is liken to an unending loop of a scene from the film Marty. “What do you want to do?” “I don’t know, Marty, what do you want to do?”

    “What do you want for dinner?”

    “I don’t know. What do YOU want for dinner?”

    Only the person who asks the question first has an advantage … “Well, I asked you first,” is usually the (not so) snappy retort.

    Pick a protein, pick an ethnicity, give me a jumping point and I’ll happily create something, but please decide before I leave for town …

    This entire stressful, daily conversation usually takes place before 8:00 am.

    This one particular day, a Saturday even, I was saved by a rather large box in the mail. From KitchenAid. A box from KitchenAid is ALWAYS a good thing.

    A little back story … When the Dear One and I moved all my worldly possessions to Maine 2 1/2 years ago, my slow cooker was the last thing placed on the truck. When we opened the doors some 9 bouncy hours later, the ceramic liner for my slow cooker was the first thing off the truck … KER-plunk … SMASH … sadness.

    It’s has taken me that long to pick up the phone and call KitchenAid (BTW, some of the BEST customer service around) and order a new one. I was SURE it would be expensive. I was SURE they wouldn’t have  it. I was SURE wrong! It was very, very reasonable and the shipping was $2!

    While opening the box I knew, just knew, that whatever “what-do-you-want-Marty” meal I was going to cook was definitely going into the slow cooker.

    There’s something wonderful and magical about the slow cooker … food goes in, you set it, go about your day, come back to a home filled with wonderful aromas, a couple of quick sides and you’re done.

    But what to make?

    Wait! In our chest freezer in the bowels on our basement is a chuck roast. The Dear One offered to do the grocery shopping one morning. Thrilled with the idea of rolling over and going back to sleep for a while, I acquiesced. (As an aside, I love food shopping. There’s something about looking at food, loving picking out produce, picking just the right cut of meat or fish that’s just so … well, my fellow foodies, I know you understand.) Back to the Dear One. He wanted a roast. Okay. I made a list and sent him off into the world. He returned with a chuck roast. Not really a Sunday dinner kinda roast cut so I scowled at it and sent it off to the freezer, mostly to be forgotten.

    Gazing through the slow cooker books on my shelf, I came across The Italian Slow Cooker by Michele Scicolone. I’ve had this recipe for Beef in Barolo bookmarked from my very first pass through the book. What cut of meat does it take, you may wonder. Well, a CHUCK ROAST. The Dear One has been saved, the roast has been liberated from the icy depths.

    And what a recipe it is! The cloves give the beef and sauce a wonderful warmth, the wine and pancetta … just layer after layer of flavor. There is the bit that early in the morning you’re searing a hunk-o-beef and veggies, but so worth it in the end!

    • 1/3 C all-purpose flour
    • Salt and freshly ground pepper
    • 1 3-pound boneless beef chuck or bottom round roast
    • 3 T olive oil
    • 2 ounces pancetta, chopped
    • 1 medium onion, chopped
    • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
    • 1 C dry red wine, such as Barolo
    • 2 C peeled, seeded, and chopped fresh or canned tomatoes
    • 1 C beef broth
    • 2 medium carrots, sliced
    • 1 medium celery rib, sliced
    • 1 bay leaf
    • Pinch of ground cloves

    NOTE: Even here in culinary wasteland of Bar Harbor I was able to find chopped pancetta in the specialty deli section. I always keep a few of these in the freezer for a quick meal and to avoid chopping. I used the wine I had on hand and open. As long as you’d actually drink it and it’s dry any red wine will do.

    Combine the flour with salt and pepper to taste. Spread the mixture on a piece of wax paper and roll the meat in the flour.

    In a large, heavy skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the beef and brown it on all sides, about 15 minutes. Place the meat in a large slow cooker. Add the pancetta and onion to the skillet. Reduce the heat to medium and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onion is tender. Stir in the garlic. Add the wine and bring it to a simmer, scraping the bottom of the pan.

    Ready to Slow Cook

    Pour the mixture over the beef. Add the tomatoes and broth. Scatter the carrots, celery, bay leaf, and ground cloves around the meat. Cover and cook on low for 6 hours, or until the meat is tender when pierced with a fork.

    Transfer the meat to a platter. Remove the bay leaf from the sauce. Slice the meat and spoon on the sauce.

    NOTE: I served this over garlic mashed potatoes, but polenta would be wonderful. Sadly, the Dear One isn’t fond of polenta.

    done 2

     

    Steak and Guinness Pie

    Done

    I’m cold. It’s cold. There is no end in sight to this frigid weather. There really isn’t anything to do to keep warm. Once you come in from the cold you don’t want to go out again … EVER! Yeah, yeah, I know, it’s winter, but this is a particularly brutal one!

    I don’t know about you, but this is the time of year I hibernate. Well, cook and hibernate. And all I want to eat are comforting, warming meals. I was searching through the recipes I’ve collected that I have had every intention of making, looking for something not too complicated, pure comfort food, and packed with flavor. That’s when I came across my foodie friend Amber’s recipe, she’s the wonderful gal behind Bluebonnets & Brownies, for Steak & Guinness Pie.

    I must have been mumbling slightly as I scrolled through the recipes. As the words ‘steak and guinness pie’ came out of my mouth there were shouts of joy and a wee bit of begging … please, please make this! And so I did. And she helped. And we ate HALF of it for dinner! And the other half was gone by the morning!

    Amber, I am eternally in your debt for this one! I didn’t feel the need to change this much at all. I added a carrot in lieu of a parsnip and used crimini mushrooms instead of porcini.

    • 1 1/2 lb. chuck (stew meat), cut into 1/2″ pieces
    • 1/2 vidalia or yellow onion, diced finely
    • 8-10 crimini mushrooms, diced finely
    • 3 carrots, diced finely
    • 2 garlic cloves, minced
    • salt & pepper to taste
    • 2 bay leaves
    • 2 T of oil
    • 1 12 oz bottle of Guinness
    • 1/2 C of beef stock
    • Double pie crust

    NOTE: Now you know what I’m going to say here … you can make your own, which I couldn’t do today (even if I wanted to) because I don’t have any kitchen tools, gadgets or machinery at my disposal at the moment … or you can use ready made pie crust (which I did).  Also, as you can see from my photos, I didn’t chop everything REALLY finely – especially the carrots – but there’s no harm there, except it’s a little chunkier and they take a little longer to soften and begin to brown.

    Preheat oven to 400

    Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a large skillet.

    Browning

    When the oil is hot, add the chopped onions and mushrooms. Once they’ve started to brown add salt and pepper to taste.  Next add the diced carrots and cook until soft and beginning to lightly brown. Once done, put this vegetable mixture in a bowl on the side.

    Heat remaining tablespoon of oil in the same skillet. Add diced stew meat, allowing to brown while stirring often. You may need to do this in two batches. while the meat is browning, add the minced garlic, and again, salt, and pepper to taste.

    Bubbling

    When the meat is browned, add vegetable mixture back to the skillet, add the stock and Guinness. Bring to a bubble and lower the heat a little and let the liquid cook down, uncovered, for 20-30 minutes until you have just a small amount of gravy with meat.

    Putting pie together

    Place one pie crust in the bottom of a pie dish, add filling, and cover with second pie crust. Cut a few slits in the top of the crust for steam.

    NOTE: I used a deep dish pie dish.

    Pie Slice

    Bake  for roughly 45-60 minutes until the pie crust is golden brown.

    DIVE IN!

    Grilled Steak with Red Wine Shallot Sauce

    Steak Finished

    Nice. I have to do something nice. Well, much more than nice. Something … something to thank someone for patience and support, for loving and caring, for pulling you through a very difficult time and still really liking you on the other side of the mess.

    As a person whose life events are remembered by meals, what better way to say thank you than a really good dinner and creating a memory.

    Dinner. A spectacular dinner. It has to be simple, as most of my kitchen gear is still in boxes.

    He’s not too picky and is always happy being the recipient of my experimentation. But it’s a birthday and a celebration and we are tired. My thought has to go to his go to fav … hmmmm … that’s really very simple. Can you say carnivore?

    Steak is simple and this red wine shallot sauce makes it a little bit more than ‘just’ a steak. I coupled the steak with Hasselback Potatoes and a salad. A bottle of champagne. THAT Chocolate Cake for dessert. Hopefully this meal will show the dear one just how special I think he is.

    • 4 shallots, sliced in thin rings
    • 4 T olive oil
    • 1 C red wine
    • 1 C beef broth
    • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
    • 1 (1 1/2 pound) piece flank steak
    • 1 T cold butter, in small chunks

    NOTE: If you wouldn’t drink it, don’t cook with it!

    Shallots Cut

    In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, saute the shallots in 2 tablespoons of the olive oil until lightly caramelized, about 5 to 7 minutes.

    Raise the heat to high and add the red wine and reduce by half. Add the broth and reduce by half. Check for seasoning, and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Keep warm on low heat.

    Sauce

    NOTE: I am becoming my mother! I read the recipe. I really did. But in my haste, I mixed the red wine and broth together and then realized that they were added seperately. No, the sauce police didn’t come, but I think it would have been thicker and little more syrupy if I had done it properly.

    Brush the flank steak on both sides with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil and season with the salt and pepper. Place on the center of grill and sear 5 to 8 minutes per side for rare to medium rare, testing by pressing the meat with a finger: The spongier the meat feels, the rarer it is cooked. Remove from the grill and allow to rest, very loosely tented with aluminum foil, 5 to 10 minutes, to allow the juices to reabsorb into the meat.

    Slice the flank steak on the diagonal and place on a large platter. Finish the sauce by swirling in the chunks of cold butter, then top the steak with some of the sauce and serve the rest on the side.

    Churrasco Steak with Candied Red Pepper Chimichurri

    Done

    I made a promise. No more cookbooks.

    No more cookbooks forever, or no more cookbooks for right now, she asks, shocked and wounded? Right now, Well, perhaps forever. You have over 200 cookbooks. Really, dear, how many cookbooks does one need, he asks, trying to find a place to hide. All this coming from a man who owns a dozen hammers, pliers of different ilk, shapes and sizes, and more dust and noise making things than one could shake a salt shaker at!

    Need? What do cookbooks have to do with NEED!? Doesn’t he understand, cookbooks are like air? Food? Wine?  As the main beneficiary of all the goodness that comes out of these books, you’d think he’d be a little more understanding! And truthfully, he is always very happy to be my favorite guinea pig!

    Take this fabulous book, New Latin Classics by  Lorena Garcia. Loaded with updates on some of my favorite Latin dishes.  This will be just the first of many to be tried from this fab cookbook.

    Shhhhhh … this new book will be our little secret!

    I saw this recipe on line and I knew this one would be a winner. I became a little nervous about the chimichurri after candying the peppers. They seemed a little sweet and a little strange, and the big guy thought they smelled funny. But, when you add in all the garlic and shallots, they counterbalance the sweetness with a sharp kick, the herbs add some freshness. The capers? Well, we l eft them out. SOMEONE doesn’t like them!

    This was absolutely great. Steak, a fab arugula salad, crispy potato planks, add wine and the perfect guy … you are in store for a wonderful evening!

    For the Chimichurri:

    • 1/2 C finely minced candied red pepper
    • 1/4 C candied pepper liquid
    • 1/4 C brine-packed capers, rinsed and finely chopped
    • 1/4 C finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
    • 2 T finely chopped fresh cilantro
    • 6 clove garlic, very finely minced
    • 2 shallot, very finely chopped
    • 1/2 C extra virgin olive oil

    Chimichurri ingredients

    To make the chimichurri, place the candied peppers in a medium bowl with their liquid, capers, parsley, cilantro, garlic, and shallots and whisk to combine. Slowly whisk in the olive oil until the mixture is thick and emulsified. Set aside.

    For the Steaks:

    • 4 8-ounce skirt steak
    • 6 1/2 t coarse sea salt
    • 3 1/8 t freshly ground black pepper
    • 3 T extra virgin olive oil
    • 1 T fresh lemon juice
    • 4 C baby arugula
    • 1 C halved cherry tomato

    Prepare a hot charcoal or gas grill.

    Season both sides of the skirt steaks with 2 tablespoons of the salt and 1 tablespoon of the black pepper and set on the grill. Cook without moving until there are grill marks, about 5 minutes. Turn over the steaks and cook the other side until there are grill marks and the steaks are cooked to your liking, about 3 minutes for medium-rare, 4 minutes for medium, and 5 minutes longer for medium-well. Use tongs to transfer the steaks to a large platter and set aside.

    While the steaks rest, whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice, the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt, and the remaining 1/8 teaspoon black pepper in a large bowl. Add the arugula and cherry tomatoes and gently toss to coat.

    Arrange the 4 steaks on a large platter in a circular shape. Fill the center of the circle with the arugula and tomatoes and serve with the chimichurri on the side.

    Perfect Pot Roast

    I love Sunday dinners. Wonderful smells. Lots of hectic people gathered around the table, together, relaxed (HA!), sharing a meal. Laughs, wine, stories, and lots of eating.

    Well, that is, unless you are the COOK! You are usually the one, in the kitchen, sweating, juggling pots and pans and ingredients trying to make this relaxed family dinner come off without a hitch.

    Seriously not easy. And how did I get to be the sweating in charge person? I don’t remember signing up for this. Oh, yes, I would LOVE to be the chief cook and bottle washer. So much more fun than being the (insert sport here) watching, when is dinner ready asking, unwashed masses who think it appears out of a cloud of pink smoke!

    Wow, we just got really far afield here.

    So, you want to have this wonderful, stress free, family dinner. The Pioneer Woman‘s Perfect Pot Roast may be your answer. Simple. Hearty. Slow cooking. Not many ingredients, and not a lot to do to the ingredients.

    I love this cookbook. Simple, good food that doesn’t leave you trapped in the kitchen trying to disseminate a recipe.

    • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
    • One 3 to 5-pound chuck roast
    • 2 or 3 T olive oil
    • 2 whole onions, peeled and halved
    • 6 to 8 whole carrots, unpeeled, cut into 2-inch pieces
    • 2 1/2 C beef broth
    • 2 or 3 sprigs fresh rosemary
    • 2 or 3 sprigs fresh thyme
    NOTE: Cut the onions in half from root to tip.

    Preheat the oven to 275 degrees F.

    Generously salt and pepper the chuck roast.

    Heat the olive oil in large pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the halved onions to the pot, browning them on both sides. Remove the onions to a plate.

    Throw the carrots into the same very hot pot and toss them around a bit until slightly browned, about a minute or so. Reserve the carrots with the onions.

    If needed, add a bit more olive oil to the very hot pot. Place the meat in the pot and sear it for about a minute on all sides until it is nice and brown all over. Remove the roast to a plate.

    With the burner still on high, add about 1 C beef broth to deglaze the pot, scraping the bottom with a whisk. Place the roast back into the pot and add enough beef stock to cover the meat halfway.

    Add in the onions and the carrots, along with the fresh herbs.

    Put the lid on, then roast for 3 hours for a 3-pound roast. For a 4 to 5-pound roast, plan on 4 hours. The roast is ready when it’s fall-apart tender.

    NOTE: So yummy. I served this with mashed potatoes, green beans and biscuits.

    NOTE: This must have been good. The only sounds at my table were forks on plates, no talking. Sometimes a really good thing!

    Slow Cooker Beef Ragu

    I know you all have heard me say this before, but I love my slow cooker. I am still terrified of it, am still convinced that every siren screaming past my office window is headed for my house, but still am totally enamored by it.

    By the way, I live 5 miles from my office, across a river, around a bay, and unless my entire neighborhood was aflame, there would be no possible way fire engines from a fire house near my office would be going to MY house!

    But I digress – as I often do.

    There really is nothing more comforting than coming home to dinner almost ready and the house filled with comforting aromas – just like every one else does every day in my house! I can see why they keep coming back! If I came home to that every day, I would never leave home either!

    Winter into Spring in New York City is a very strange thing. One day it’s freezing, the next it’s hot, and some days manage to pack both into them. I wanted to squeeze this recipe in before it was too hot for this type of meal. The reality is, this is a good all year round recipe. This would be great for sandwiches.

    The recipe in Everyday Food suggests serving this over pasta or polenta (which would be FAB-ulous), but I have mashed potato heads in my house, and I couldn’t imagine getting by serving this any other way. Wait, maybe over biscuits or with biscuits!

    Okay, I lied! But still try this your tummies will thank you!

    • 1 medium yellow onion, diced small
    • 3 garlic cloves, minced
    • 6 T tomato paste
    • 3 T chopped fresh oregano leaves (or 3 t dried)
    • 4 lb beef chuck, halved
    • coarse salt and ground pepper
    • 2 C water
    • 1 to 2 T red wine vinegar

    NOTE: Cut as much fat away from the beef chuck as possible.  I used dried oregano.

    In a 5 to 6 quart slow cooker, stir together onion, garlic, tomato paste and oregano. Season roast with salt and pepper.

    Place roast on top of onion mixture, add water. Cover and cook on high until meat is tender and can easily be pulled apart with a fork – about 4 1/2 hours on high or 9 hours on low.

    Let cool for 10 minutes, then shred meat in slow cooker with 2 forks. Stir in vinegar to taste. Serves 6 and freezes beautifully.

    NOTE: I used two tablespoons of vinegar. I liked the vinegary kick it gave the beef.

    NOTE: One of my favorite parts about this slow cooker recipe is not having to actually saute or brown or cook anything before starting. for me, there’s nothing worse than standing bleary eyed in the morning, cooking things before I head off for work. I want to throw it all in and have magic happen while I am at work counting how many times my house burned down!