Friday, August 1, 2014

A Recipe: Beef and Mushroom Ragu

It has been one of those weeks when I have had a hard time dragging myself out of bed in the mornings.

Monday I was disciplined. I got up at 4:45 and swam a half mile so slow I'm surprised I didn't drown.  I decided enough was enough and headed home to my comfy bed. For another 2 hours.

Tuesday I didn't even try. Beyond kicking Mr. Hippie out of bed at 5:30 to make the coffee, and sipping a few gulps of said coffee around 6:00. I'm pretty good at drinking coffee with my eyes closed. But, I gave it up after less than half a cup, and tucked back in until almost 8. Oh, and I was a bad influence on Mr. Hippie, because he went back to sleep too.

Wednesday...I am pretty sure I got up on Wednesday. Not at 4:45 to swim. I got up at 4:45 to turn my alarm off. I got up a little after 6 to drink coffee, and miracle or miracles-I actually stayed awake.

Thursday was another 6:00 wake up call. And I stayed awake. And I was so glad I did. I took off on a long bike ride just after 7:00, and saw 3 deer in a field not too far from my house. One even had antlers. So cool.
my recipe here

I am not sure what has knocked my socks off. Maybe it is the cooler weather. Maybe it is all the training I had been doing (before I slacked off this week. Instead of 2-3 discipline days, I've only done 1 each day.) Maybe it was the wedding on Saturday. We did food stuff for 9 hours straight. Whew!

I started and finished Eleanor and Park this week. I know this is a cult favorite, but I can't say it was a personal favorite. There was a fair amount of language in it, which is not my thing. Plus, the story didn't really have a happy ending or even a conclusive ending. I don't like books that the ending just kind of meanders off. Personal preference.

It has been a great bread baking week! I made French Bread, regular bread and Pita bread. (those are three separate links there, to my favorite bread recipes) Today I need to refill my cookie jar. I am waffling between ginger snaps and chocolate chip cookies.

Did I mention that we picked 48# of blueberries this week? In only 1-1/2 hours. It was good picking. We have had blueberry coffee cake, and handfuls of fresh blueberries, plus I made a double batch of jam. Gorgeous!

Well, in the cooler weather I am also thinking of cooler foods. This beef ragu is a recipe I tried several weeks ago. It looks fussy with lots of ingredients and steps, but in truth it is very easy. And the end product is fantastic. A rich beef broth, chock full of mushrooms and beef and vegetables.!

I am actually considering making this recipe for the Sunday lunch of our church campout in October. If I serve the noodles and parmesan separate (or not at all), it fits most diets-unless you are vegetarian. Then it doesn't exactly work for you. But, dairy-free and gluten-free-I've got you covered!

Beef and Mushroom Ragu
3 tablespoons olive oil
1-1/2 pound beef chuck, cut into 1-inch pieces
kosher salt and black pepper
1 large onion, chopped
3 carrots, chopped
6 garlic cloves, smashed
1-1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
1-1/2 tablespoon tomato paste
3 cups low-sodium chicken broth
2 (15 oz) can crushed tomatoes
1 pound assorted mushrooms (such as button, cremini, and shiitake), sliced
16 ounces pappardelle or fettuccine or extra wide egg noodles
3/4 cup grated Parmesan (3 oz), plus more for serving

-Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large saucepan or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Season
the beef with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper and cook, turning occasionally, until
browned on all sides, 3 to 5 minutes. Transfer to a plate.

-Heat the remaining tablespoon of oil in the saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the onion,
carrots, garlic, rosemary, and 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally,
until softened, 6 to 8 minutes. Add the tomato paste and cook, stirring, until slightly darkened,
about 1 minute more.

-Return the beef to the saucepan and add the chicken broth and tomatoes. Simmer, covered,
stirring occasionally, until the beef is fork-tender, 60 to 75 minutes.

-Add the mushrooms to the saucepan and cook, covered, stirring occasionally, until tender, 10 to
12 minutes more. If the sauce is too thin, simmer, uncovered, until thickened to the desired

-Meanwhile, cook the pasta according to the package directions; drain and return it to the pot.
Add the beef rag├╣ and Parmesan and toss. Serve with additional Parmesan.

Doesn't that look fantastic?! You might want to bookmark this recipe for September!

Have a wonderful weekend!