My, does it seem like a long since time I’ve done a recipe post! It’s completely true: absence does make the heart grow fonder. And in full disclosure, my heart needed to experience a little longing, indeed. I’m so happy to be back in the swing of things, fully immersed in the forward momentum of this new year, eyes wide open and heart willing, with my gears well-greased and my thoughts on brand new recipes and a couple of soul-inspiring features to joyfully bring to you in this upcoming year. If you haven’t already noticed, or haven’t yet had the chance to take a little peak, my husband and I have added a new, food-related short film series called “Food Meditation”, which we plan on bringing to you once a month in hopes of offering up a peaceful little space to quiet your mind, reflect and relax. Each of us could use at least of few minutes of that, couldn’t we? And in the next couple of weeks, I’ll also be introducing another feature that will be more of a personal, non-food related post on a topic that I’m hoping will open up the door to us sharing together, in a sort of on-line “discussion”. It’s a post designed to help us connect with one another, and to bring to this table our own unique perspectives and experiences on a given topic. So stay tuned for those goodies! I’m very much looking forward to those.
To be frank, throughout the holiday season this year, things felt a little “touch-and-go” there for a while in regards to feeling like perhaps this would be one of those holidays that would end up being rather forgettable. I felt like my attitude needed to be adjusted, and those rose-colored glasses that I so often look through, cleaned. Both my husband and I felt like we tried and tried, but somehow couldn’t shake the feeling of mild discouragement about the state of things around us. We shared at the on-set of the holidays that we felt like we were both lacking that “cheerfulness”, and were having a tough time getting into the spirit of things. But rather miraculously, on Christmas Eve, we both experienced a sort of “awakening” to the idea that our joy would be found in the revelation of God in the simple, inter-personal connections, and not necessarily in the externals — sometimes, we need a refresher on that one. And so experiencing a couple of beautiful and heart-felt moments, simple moments, with other people, ultimately helped to refocus and re-connect us with what counts. And ever since having my perspective adjusted, I’m feeling like I’m in a much better place, one where I feel I have something to offer again. I feel very inspired, and by the grace of God, seem to have an abundant amount of energy, which I know I’ll be needing. It’s a brand, spankin’ new year, one that has unlimited potential, and one that holds amazing opportunities for inter-personal connection so that our spirits can be touched and moved. And I can’t think of anything more hopeful than that!
So for my first recipe offering of this new year (drumroll!), I thought I’d start things off with a really neat idea that my hubby had for a comforting and warming stew (credit where credit is due, right?). And though it’s like the desert here in Southern California (it being 82° during the holidays probably didn’t help my attitude at the time), many of you are experiencing some very cold weather, and are looking for a simple and hearty stew to heat things up. Philly Cheesesteak Stew has got all the goodies that we like getting piled high on the stick-to-your-ribs sandwich version of this recipe, only with this, we serve it up in a soft and chewy sourdough bread bowl, and dig into it with our spoons. Tasty, simple and perfect for the cold outside. So go warm your belly!
Here’s to good things in 2014! Got any new perspectives so far that you’d like to share?
Taste what’s good and pass it on.
Philly Cheesesteak Stew with Sauteed Mushrooms and Onions, served in a Sourdough Bread Bowl topped with Melted Provolone
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*Philly Cheese Steaks often have sauteed bell peppers in ‘em, too—feel free to slice one up and add it in with the onions and mushrooms, if you so choose. The only reason we leave them out is because they give us heartburn! (Is that too much information?)
(Serves about 4)
• 1 ½ pounds very thinly sliced beef sirloin (I get mine from Trader Joe’s), or ribeye
• Cracked black pepper
• ¼ teaspoon onion powder
• 4 tablespoons all-purpose flour, divided use
• Olive oil
• 2 onions, quartered and thinly sliced
• 10 ounces white mushrooms, sliced
• ½ teaspoon dried thyme
• 2 cloves garlic, pressed through garlic press
• 4 cups beef stock, hot
• 4 sourdough bread bowls, centers hollowed out and reserved for dipping
• 4 slices provolone cheese
-Add the thinly sliced beef sirloin to a large bowl, and season with a couple of pinches of salt and cracked black pepper, plus the onion powder, and toss to coat; sprinkle over 2 tablespoons of the flour, and again, toss to coat.
-Place a non-stick pot over medium-high heat, and drizzle in about 3-4 tablespoons of oil; once hot, add about half of the sirloin in, and allow it to sear for about a minute or two, then toss/stir, and allow it to sear/brown on the other sides for another 1-2 minutes, and remove onto a plate to hold (the meat may still be a little pink inside); repeat with the remaining half of the sirloin, and set aside.
-Next, add a little more oil to the pot if needed, and add in the sliced onions, along with a pinch of salt and cracked black pepper; allow the onions to caramelize for roughly 6 minutes, stirring frequently to avoid burning them, until golden-brown and softened; then, add in the mushrooms, and allow them to continue sauteing with the onions for another 6 minutes or so, stirring frequently.
-Add in the dried thyme and the garlic, and stir to incorporate.
-Once the garlic becomes aromatic, sprinkle in the remaining 2 tablespoons of flour (the tablespoons can be a bit “heaping”) over the onion/mushroom mixture, and stir well to combine and blend; next, slowly add in the hot beef stock, stirring all the while to avoid any little flour “lumps” from forming.
-Reduce the heat to medium-low, and allow the stew to simmer gently for about 10 minutes, uncovered, just to “tighten” it up a bit, and to allow the flavors to marry; after 10 minutes, turn off the heat, and add the seared sirloin back in, along with any accumulated juices, and stir to combine; check to see if you need any additional salt/pepper.
-To serve, ladle some stew into your hollowed out sourdough bowls, top with a slice of provolone, and place the bread bowls onto a foil-lined baking sheet and under the broiler for just a couple of moments to melt the cheese and make it gooey.
-Serve with some of the hollowed out, left-over sourdough bread on the side, for dipping.