Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Comfort Food: Beef and Noodles

It has been a long week.

I have been on the road and Alexis has been working more 12-hour shifts back to back at the hospital because she was helping a co-worker out by exchanging shifts. So dinner wasn't ready and served until 8:48 PM tonight.

Fortunately that was right when Alexis walked in the door from work. I was actually going to make beef stroganoff but I didn't have several ingredients so I used what we had on hand. This really isn't an exact recipe because I was just winging it and not measuring but it's pretty close. I think... maybe....kind of.

Beef and Noodles

2 cups baby carrots
1 Tbsp butter
1-2 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 lb beef strips (I used milanesa style sliced sirloin)
1 ea shallot, peeled and diced
1/4 cup marsala wine
2 cups beef broth
1 cup water
2 springs thyme
2 tsp demi glace
slurry made from 2 Tbsp water 2 Tbsp corn starch
2 cups of cooked egg noodles (about a cup pre-cooked measurement)

Toss carrots in 1 Tbsp of melted butter and then roast them for 30 minutes in a 400f oven. I like to use a preheated cast iron griddle pan like this to get the sear marks. Flip them half way through the cooking time.

Meanwhile boil your noodles.

A heavy cast iron skillet works best for this dish. Have you ever noticed how most comfort foods are better when prepared via cast iron grates, dutch ovens, roasters or skillets?

Preheat a cast iron skillet and add your oil. Season your beef with salt and pepper. Working in small batches, sear your beef strips, tossing them rapidly to cook all sides. This should only take 1 minute or a little more for each batch. Remove cooked beef to a plate to rest.

Add a little more oil if necessary and saute the diced shallot for a few minutes, stirring occasionally. It probably took 3-5 minutes for mine to get the softened texture I was looking for.

Leaving the shallots in, deglaze the skillet with the marsala wine. Reduce heat and simmer until all but about 2 Tbsp has evaporated.

Stir in the beef broth & water, bring to a simmer. Cook uncovered until reduced by half (about 10-15 minutes).

Add the demi glace & thyme - simmer covered for 5 minutes. (Strip the leaves from the stem.)

Add the corn starch slurry as needed to thicken the sauce. Taste for seasoning (more salt and pepper if needed).

Return the beef and collected juices to the skillet. Add the cooked carrots. Cover and simmer over low heat for 5 minutes.

Add the noodles and serve.

I also made some mozzarella biscuits to go with this because comfort food requires biscuits.

I am desperately looking forward to this weekend so I can relax and have fun cooking at a relaxed pace. And maybe even eat dinner before 9pm!

Our average dinner time is around 8pm. I'd rather it be earlier but with our work schedules it doesn't work out. What time do you usually get dinner on the table? Any tricks for getting it done sooner?