Monday, March 30, 2015

Beef Stew Over Mashed Potatoes

3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
2 pounds beef stew meat, cut smaller if necessary
salt and pepper
1 (small or medium) onion, diced
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 box beef broth (32 oz)
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce, or Steak Sauce
1 teaspoon sugar
2 celery stalks, chopped
2-3 carrots, chopped
1/2-1 cup frozen green peas
1-3 tablespoon cornstarch (dissolved in water), optional
1 tablespoon dried parsley
mashed potatoes (from approximately 5 pounds of raw potatoes, see tips at bottom of post)  

If you are using prepackaged stew meat I would suggest cutting the pieces once or twice to make them more bite sized, since they usually come quite large. Salt and pepper stew the meat. Heat oil and butter in large pot over medium heat. Brown just the outside of the stew meat (do not cook) and remove from pot. Add onion and garlic and saute for 3 minutes, stirring constantly. Add tomato paste and cook for 2 minutes. Add broth, Worcestershire sauce, sugar, and celery.

Bring to boil and reduce to low simmer. Add back stew meat. Cover and simmer for 1.5-2 hours. Add carrots and peas and simmer covered for the last 30 minutes. Add 1-3 tablespoons of cornstarch dissolved in cold water to bring stew to desired thickness, if desired, or add more beef broth to thin, if desired. Salt and pepper to taste and stir in parsley. Serve over mashed potatoes.  

How I Make My Mashed Potatoes

5 pounds potatoes
1 stick butter
sour cream (optional)
salt and pepper

Bring large pot of salted water to full rolling boil. You want the potatoes to have lots of room and water to boil in. While waiting for the water to boil, peel the potatoes. Then cut small potatoes into 4 pieces, medium potatoes into 6 pieces, and large potatoes into 8 pieces. Transfer to colander and rinse with cold water to remove any dirt.

Boil potatoes, in a rolling boil, for approximately 10-20 minutes. Start checking them at 10 minutes and every 2-5 minutes after to prevent overcooking. Potatoes are done when very easily pierced with a fork but not mushy or completely falling apart. Drain water off potatoes.

Return potatoes to dry pot and return to burner on low heat. Add butter (I usually use about 1 stick of butter for 5 pounds of potatoes) and continue stirring to melt butter and to evaporate excess water from the potatoes. You want the moisture to come from the butter and milk, not from the water. When potatoes start falling apart and getting a little dry and powdery you can turn off the heat and start adding milk and continue stirring and mashing. Continue adding small amounts of milk (and or sour cream) while stirring and mashing until desired consistency is reached. Salt and pepper to taste.

Use a hand masher for 80-90% of the mashing. Then transfer potatoes to a large plastic bowl and use a hand mixer (on medium to high) and whip them for about 30 second to fluff them up and remove any big lumps. Overmixing with the electric mixer will result in a glue like texture. Transfer to serving dish and enjoy!