Saturday, February 25, 2012

Phil's Italian Tex Mex Beef Stew

Phil concocted this recipe in Italy about a week ago . I'm listing the ingredients but there is a secret one that you'll have to find out about when you read his recipe. Any word on Neesha's twins, Phil?? 

3 small onions, chopped                                5 small tomatoes, chopped
several big mushrooms, chopped                  5 small potatoes, chopped
1 lb. or so beef stew meat                              2 zucchini, sliced              
1 frozen pork sausage (optional)                   cumin (1 t. approx.)                     
2 stalks celery, chopped                                 salt (2 t. approx)
5-6 carrots, roughly chopped                          garlic, minced, (3 cloves or so)
1 bell pepper, chopped                                   1 leek, tough green part removed
2 spicy peppers (serrano, jalapeno)               (optional - add with peppers if using)

First I chopped up three smallish onions, and several big mushrooms. Then I started sauteing them along with my beef stew meat. Then I added a frozen pork sausage (no need to do that -- it was just in the freezer left by a roommate who moved out, and I was just making freezer space. It was a delicious addition, but no need to gild the lily for future cases).
Instead of chopping everything ahead of time like I usually do, which is a little too OCD, I finally just started doing what you always recommend and adding stuff as I chopped. So then I added two stalks of celery to the skillet, followed by 5-6 carrots, chopped roughly, then a bell pepper, then two spicy peppers, and something with an Italian name that I'm not sure about only because it was the first time i cooked with it, but I think it might have been leeks. Unmistakably in the onion family but long , big, and cylindrical.

Then I chopped up about 5-6 smallish tomatoes, 5-6 smallish potatoes, and 2 zucchinis. I didn't add them at that point because I knew they give off a lot of water so it would be time to transfer it all to a stew pot at that point. So I transfered it all to a stew pot. 

Then came the special part. Sadly, this is the last time I can make this stew while in Italy, but you can make it. I then added one small box (9.5 oz) of Dona Maria mole. It's really good and I tasted it beforehand to make sure it didn't taste salty or artificial or something that would mess with the taste of my otherwise fresh stew, and don't worry it's fine. I added the small box along with some dried red peppers from Mission, Texas. Our friend Neesha (who writes comments on your food blog, and who is expecting twins any day now) sent Drew and I a care package this past fall with fun Mexican food we couldn't get here, and the mole mix was the oddball thing I never used till last night. But I'm sure you can find it in the San Benito HEB.  I also added some cumin, of course I salted the whole time, and then I put the lid on and simmered for an hour. Oh, I added garlic toward the end.

It was delicious. The vegetables cost me 7 Euro and the stew meat was 4 Euro, so about $14 in total, guesstimating the conversion to dollars. But it should last me about 5-6 good meals. 

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