Today I spent several hours with Mom at her home (she lives alone since Dad passed away in 2002), laughing at some of the people and some of the extremely pricey and unrealistic projects shown on the d-i-y shows on the Home and Garden cable t.v. channel. I don't have cable in my home, so I don't get all those shows, which is probably a good thing, otherwise I might be glued to the t.v. far too much!
On my weekends is when I "cook" if the mood strikes. I don't do "fancier" dishes unless Mr. Don is here or I'm entertaining, then I try to get a little more extragavant and exotic (for me). Today, on the way home from Mom's, the mood to cook struck. It was a pleasantly cool weather (60F when I left the house, got up to about 70F by the time I got home), a breezy and DRY (air) day, with clouds skudding across a brilliant robin's egg blue sky -- one of those days that is so beautiful you want it to last forever! It's also the kind of weather that makes people hungry! I stopped at my Pick 'n Save and picked up (har!) the ingredients for a very easy and yet super-delish recipe -- EASY BEEF BURGUNDY.
Here, I remembered to "get creative" and took a photo of the ingredients on my kitchen counter before I started slicing:
(1) One pound of sirloin tips, cut into bite size, or do like I do and buy "beef stew" meat and cut into bite size chunks because some of them are very large
(2) 1 can golden mushroom soup (not cream of mushroom - entirely different flavor and not as good)
(3) 1 package instant onion soup mix (for not-so-savvy-cooks like moi, a box contains 2 packages, only 1 is needed and you can use the other one for something else)
(4) 1 soup can full of cheap sweet red (must be red) wine. The sweeter the better. A full-bodied burgundy can also be used, which gives a richer flavor, but try to find burgundy wine these days in a supermarket liquor department! Nearly impossible!
(5) Optional: 4-8 ounces of whole button mushrooms. If you like mushrooms, use the entire package. Mushrooms ("smaller") around the same size are what I aim for, so I put the larger ones aside for slicing and sauteeing for a steak tomorrow night
That's it, all the ingredients. All the seasoning you need is in the instant dried soup mix. You do NOT brown the meat before using!
Place meat (cut up as necessary into bite-size pieces) in bottom of casserole dish.
Sprinkle dried soup mix on top of meat.
Add whole mushrooms on top of soup mix.
Spoon out golden mushroom soup on top of mushrooms.
Open cheap sweet red wine, drink a glass, with or without ice in glass.
Poor more wine from bottle into empty soup can until filled, being careful to have the wine-filled can over the casserole dish, swish around the contents of the can with spoon or fork to get out as much of the left-over soup as possible, and pour over the contents in the casserole dish.
DO NOT STIR.
Cover your casserole dish and put into pre-heated 325 degrees F oven.
Cook for 1 and 1/2 hours.
Don't open oven. Don't peek. Trust the process, it really does work!
SOOOOOOOO easy! NO browning of meat! NO making of gravy! NO special seasonings and worrying about doing too much or too little!
About 1 hour into cooking, incredible aromas start to emanate from the oven, where the meat is slowly cooking and browning at the bottom of the casserole, the alcohol in the wine has long since baked off in the oven and its rich sweet flavor is condensing and cooking into the simmering meat and mushrooms, along with the seasonings of the onion soup mix. Guests and/or Mr. Don start saying oooooh, that smells good! The low cooking temperature and relatively long cooking time ensures the meat comes out tender and it will be browned and thoroughly cooked. (For each pound of meat you add, increase other ingredients in proportion and increase cooking time by one hour per pound of meat).
The dish (one pound of meat) is done after 1.5 hours. Set your oven timer or use an old-fashioned timer, and enjoy doing other things and/or visiting with your guests as the dish cooks.
The casserole dish will be BUBBLING hot when it comes out of the oven, so set aside, slightly vent the cover, and serve your pre-main course dishes while it is cooling down a little -- usually 10 minutes minimum. You can take 30 minutes or more if you keep the dish covered, while you chat away with your guests while munching on salad and bread and sipping your drink of choice. You will be able to judge how long you can set the dish aside before serving by how thick or "thin" the gravy is when you pull it out of the oven.
HOW I SERVE:
Over rice or potatoes (mashed; boiled), or noodles OR dish into a bowl and serve as a stew with crusty bread. I offer all options at my table, according to my guests' preferences.
I usually serve a tossed salad of greens with vinagrette dressing (homemade or if you're like me, store-bought) in a big bowl so guests can serve themselves, and on a plate or tray some olives (black and green), some cucumber slices and tomato slices for guests to take as they please. I always have salt and pepper shakers on the table, in case people want to add. If I have guests who like bread and butter with their meal (check ahead of time), I have unsalted butter (the only kind I use and much healthier than salt-added or margarine) and serve a crusty Italian or French bread. This kind of bread is ideal to sop up the gravy from this Beef Burgundy, so it is at hand if I'm serving more than Mr. Don and myself -- we prefer ours either over baked potatoes or on the side. YUM!
That's all it takes to make for fine dining at Maison Newton. I haven't struck out yet with this simple and yet uber-delicious meal.
I took a photo of what the dish looks like after just being removed from the oven (casserole dish not even cleaned up yet, way too hot!) Stir it up after removing from oven -- I had not done that yet when I took this pic -- and stir again before serving:
This pic of unstirred dish shows you how much the liquid has reduced, and yet there is plenty to serve 6 people (some with rice or potatoes, some in a bowl as a stew with bread on the side).
This dish can also be made with carrots without the addition of any liquid(s). I have made it both with cut-up "regular-size" carrots (cut into about 1 inch chunks) and baby carrots (cut carrots in two cross-wise, not length-wise). Carrots add a sweet flavor layer and also turn it into a more rustic and hearty stew-like dish.
Either way - YUM!
If any of my myriad (two?) readers happens to try this dish some day, feed-back would be much welcome!
I am linking this year old plus post to the Throwback Thursday Party at Glue Glitter and Paint! The dish looks much prettier if you clean up the casserole dish (or put into a fancy dish) before serving, but my guests (and moi) aren't so fussy -- we just dig in and go YUM!
December 4, 2016: Hola everyone! Winter has arrived in Milwaukee and there are snow flurries today. Despite several hard freezes remarkably my "spikes" in two of my patio planters have absolutely refused to die. The rosemary and thyme plants I nursed inside the house through last winter spent the summer in their pot outside next to the side stoop off the driveway, where they get plenty of sunshine all day long. I transplanted them into a cozy sheltered spot right next to the stoop in October and they are still green and growing, too! With the delay in getting the drywall patching done in the relatively minor "reconstruction" work I had done in my kitchen, I am way behind my time in getting the house decorated. But yesterday I got my wreath decked out with extra lights and dressed the front door of the house, and my battery-operated traditional candles were put up on the window sills all around the house Friday evening. It becomes a ritual to go around at dusk and turn the tops to the right to turn the candles "on" and at bedtime to go around and turn the tops to the left to turn the candles "off." Today I put some "glittery" throw pillow covers purchased new last month from H&M on three of my sofa pillows to glam things up a bit in the living room and add some sparkle. Later on, after I sufficiently fuel myself up with wine and snacks and probably to distract myself while I listen to the Packers game on the radio, I will huff and puff and pull my artificial tree up from storage in the basement. I will decorate it simply this year. Every year I say that, and every year I end up throwing just about everything except the kitchen sink on the tree. I am very proud of myself this year, though. I did not buy a single new ornament or Christmas doo-dad for the house (throw pillow covers don't count!!!) Happy Holidays to all, with hope and fervent prayers for 2017. I've a feeling we're all going to need a lot of help from Goddess in the coming year. Jan