Instapot Peasant Stew

Last Sunday, I was hungry for Boeuf Bourguignon.

What is this fancy French sounding dish? It is a beef stew in red wine made somewhat famous by Julia Child. The stew is simmered for 3-4 hours in the oven, developing deep rich flavor.

Before I go further, I must make a disclaimer. For those of you following our adventures at Five Feline Farm, you know we have significantly reduced our consumption of red meat. However, when we do choose to eat beef, we go all out on something high quality, delicious and special.

Back to the Boeuf Bourguignon.

It was already 4:30 PM and not wanting to wait until 8:00PM to eat, there were two choices: make something different or find a short cut.

I made up an Instapot shortcut.

Since I wasn’t following a recipe, I also decided call my version Peasant Stew.

Peasant Stew

1 pound beef, cut into 1 inch cubes (use any cut that has some fat marbled throughout, I happened to have a couple of strip steaks in the freezer)

1 cup dry red wine

1/4 cup minced onion

2 cloves garlic, finely diced

2 cups beef stock

1 bay leaf

2 Tbsp tomato paste

3 large carrots, peeled and cut in 1/2 inch slices

2 Tbsp flour

salt and pepper to taste

1 pound buttom mushrooms, quartered

6 Tbsp butter, divided

2 tsp neutral oil such as canola or grapeseed

Heat oil in Instapot using the brown/saute setting. Add beef in single layer and brown all sides. Work in batches if necessary to avoid crowding the pot. Remove beef and set aside. Add onion and garlic, saute for 2 minutes or until fragrant and beginning to turn transluscent. Add flour, stirring for about 1 minute until browned. Add red wine and continue cooking for 3 minutes to release alcohol. Add tomato paste, carrots and browned beef to pot and then beef stock. Make sure the stock just covers the beef and carrots, using more or less than 2 cups as necessary. Add bay leaf.

Attach cover and set steam vent to closed. Use stew setting or manual with high pressure for 35 minutes.

While stew is cooking, melt 2 Tblsp butter in skillet and saute mushrooms until browned. Work in batches to avoid crowding if needed.

After pressure has released, remove and discard bay leaf. Remove beef and carrots, then set pot to brown/saute to boil broth. Once reduced by half, add remaining butter by tablespoons until sauce is silky. Stir in beef, carrots and mushrooms and stir to coat.

This is best served with a crusty bread and green salad.

Bon Appetit!

For more recipes like this, check out Simply Delicious, a memoir of cooking.

Grilled Sweet Corn

It is that time of year in Central Illinois for sweet corn to be available in ample supply. We are growing a lot of our own vegetables but we made the decision not to grow sweet corn. To do sweet corn well and in the quantity we like to freeze, it takes a good size plot. We have the room, but have dedicated our efforts to other crops. 

In our continued quest to eat more local and healthy, what better way than looking around the Farmer’s Market after we set up our own booth? There is plenty of sweet corn available at the 18th Street Farmer’s Market. 

One of our favorite ways to enjoy corn on the cob is to grill it. 

To grill sweet corn, remove the outer dark green husks, leaving the lighter colored inner husks intact. Cut off the exposed silks and any extra cob on the other end. Soak the ears in cold water for about 30 minutes. Just enough time to get the charcoal grill ready to cook.

Throw the corn on the grates, turning every 10 minutes or so until the husk is charred on all sides. Remove from the grill and carefully remove the husks and silks. The best way I have found to do this: hold the cob in one hand protected by a hot pad while stripping away the husk and silk with the other. 

Serve with butter, salt and pepper for a classic summer treat. There are a number of equally good variations to spread on the corn: equal parts butter and blue cheese mixed together, substitute seasoned salt for the salt and pepper, just to name a couple. Another option is prior to grilling, peel back the husks, remove silks and spread with equal parts butter and prepared horseradish.

No matter how you enjoy your corn on the cob, grill a couple extra for this rainy day dish.

Roasted Corn and Potato Chowder

3 medium potatoes, cut into small cubes

2 ears of roasted corn, cut off the cob

2 cups milk

3 Tbsp butter

1/4 tsp Penzey’s Chipotle (ground red)

1/4 tsp Penzey’s Roasted Garlic

1 tsp minced cilantro

1 Tbsp finely shredded parmesan cheese

salt and pepper to taste

Boil potatoes in salted water until fork tender. Drain. While the potatoes are draining, melt the butter in the same pot. Add corn and stir until heated thoroughly. Add Chipotle, Roasted Garlic, salt and pepper. Stir for about 30 seconds until the seasonings are distributed and fragrant. Add potatoes and milk. Heat through over low heat, stirring occasionally. 

Ladle into bowls and garnish with parmesan and cilantro. 

There is always something new to enjoy here at Five Feline Farm. Thanks for stopping by and check in often on Facebook and Twitter to see the latest.