Saturday, November 5, 2011

Meat-and-potatoes: Elsa's Cider Beef with Cheddar Smashed Potatoes

This is a perfect fall recipe using fall flavors. I made it as soon as I brought home my 50 pounds of Kennebec potatoes and 50 pounds of Yukon Gold potatoes from the family farm of my childhood friend, Debbie (Davis) Crawford. I wrote about the Davis sisters at the Davis Bros. Farm last year and reprinted the story here.
The cider makes the beef incredibly flavorful. I'm sharing this so you can savor it too. I also like how the stew is served in a bowl of mashed potatoes. This is food for meat-and-potatoes men, but the cider and white-cheddar potatoes give it a gourmet flair. My business partner told me her husband would love it. I have to plan to have them over for dinner.

ELSA'S CIDER BEEF WITH CHEDDAR SMASHED POTATOES

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
3 tablespoons butter
2 pounds top sirloin, trimmed and cut into 2-inch cubes
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 large onion, chopped
2 medium carrots, peeled and chopped
1 pound turnips, peeled and chopped
6 tablespoons flour
2 cups good quality apple cider (the dark cloudy ones always taste the best)
1/2 cup beef consommé

3 pounds Idaho potatoes, peeled and chopped (Use locally grown Yukon Golds or Kennebecs if you can get them.)
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup sour cream
2 cups shredded white cheddar cheese (super-aged and super-sharp!)
3 tablespoons chopped or snipped chives


Pre-heat oven to 375°F.

Place a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add EVOO and butter. Season the beef with salt and pepper and add to pot. Brown on all sides, about 6-8 minutes.

Add onions, carrots and turnips, and cook for 4-5 minutes. Add flour, stir to combine and coat.

Add the apple cider and the beef consommé, and stir to combine. Bring to a boil, cover and place in the oven for 1-1 1/2 hours.

Once the beef is about 3/4 of the way cooked (about 40-45 minutes after putting it in the oven), place potatoes in a large saucepot, cover with water by at least 1-2 inches and place over high heat. Once the water comes to a boil, add some salt and cook potatoes until tender, about 15 minutes.

Once the potatoes are tender, drain and return to the pot. Add the milk, sour cream, and the cheese. Smash with a potato masher to desired consistency. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper and add the chives. Cover and reserve until you are ready to serve.

When the beef is done, remove from the oven. To serve, place a spoonful of potatoes in a wide serving bowl. Make a well in the middle of the potatoes and spoon the beef into the center.

Source: "Just In Time!: All-new 30-minute meals, plus super-fast 15-minute meals and slow-it down 60-minute meals" by Rachael Ray

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