My test run was going to be a beef stew. Instead though I decided to make a slow cooker Stroganoff that I found the recipe for on a cute little blog – Houseboat Eats.
Slow Cooked Beef Stroganoff
There is a fair amount of multitasking that occurs just before this dish is served, so you are definitely encouraged to read through the whole recipe before beginning
1 lb Beef Short Ribs
1 small onion, sliced
2 cloves garlic, smashed
1 small bunch of thyme
10 black peppercorns
1 cup dry red wine
1 cup veal stock, or substitute chicken stock or beef stock
½ lb cremini mushrooms, trimmed and roughly chopped
½ Tbsp unsalted butter
⅓ cup chopped onion
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1½ cups heavy cream
1 sachet with 1 bay leaf, a sprig of thyme, and 10 black peppercorns
3 Tbsp crème fraîche
2 Tbsp unsalted butter
1 tbsp canola oil
½ lb cremini mushrooms, trimmed and sliced ¼ inch thick
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
egg noodles (about 10 oz)
1 Tbsp unsalted butter
chopped Italian parsley
gray salt or coarse sea salt
Dry the short ribs with paper towels and season them generously with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. Heat a skillet over medium-high heat and add canola oil. When oil shimmers (or use this trick), add your ribs and sear on each side until the outside is nice and caramelized. Remove the short ribs and place them in the slow cooker. Pour off all but a tablespoon of oil in the pan. Add the onions and garlic and sautee gently at medium heat for about 4 or 5 minutes. Add half the red wine to deglaze the pan and reduce the wine slightly. Add the remaining wine and the stock and bring just to a simmer. Transfer the contents of the pan to the slow cooker, add the thyme and peppercorns, cover and cook on low until very tender (mine went for about 9 hours).
When tender, remove the meat from the slow cooker and let cool at room temperature. If desired, reserve the cooking liquid for another purpose. Meanwhile process the mushrooms in a food processor or chop until finely chopped. Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until translucent, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Add the chopped mushrooms, increase heat to medium high, and cook, stirring occasionally, until all the liquid has evaporated, 10 to 15 minutes. Pour in the cream, add the sachet, and bring to a boil. If you want to take your eyes off the pan, you can prevent the cream from boiling over by placing a wooden spoon across the top of the pan. Reduce the heat to keep the cream at a simmer and simmer for about 35 minutes, until the cream is reduced by about one-third and infused with the mushroom flavor.
Meanwhile, heat a large frying pan over medium high heat. Add the butter and the canola oil and heat until the butter melts. Add the mushrooms, season with salt and pepper, give the pan a shake, and then cook without stirring for about 3 minutes, until the first side is golden brown. Turn the mushrooms and cook for another minute or two, until golden brown. Cook the mushrooms in two batches if necessary to prevent overcrowding the pan. Remove mushrooms from the pan, cover with foil, and reserve.
When cool enough to handle, chop the short ribs into large rough pieces and let sit at room temperature.
When the sauce is ready, remove the sachet and blend the sauce in a blender until smooth. Strain into a saucepan, set over medium-low heat, and stir in the crème fraîche until incorporated. Reserve a scant ¼ cup of the sautéed mushrooms and add the remaining mushrooms to the sauce. Season to taste with salt and pepper and keep covered on low. Don’t worry if the sauce is thick, we will thin it later with pasta water.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the egg noodles and cook until al dente. Reserve a cup of the cooking water and drain the pasta. Transfer to a large bowl and toss with the butter.
Place the short ribs under the broiler for about 1 to 2 minutes to crisp the outside. Keep a close eye on them as they can burn quickly.
Toss the noodles with the cream sauce. If the sauce seems too thick (and it probably will), add a bit of the reserved pasta water to thin as desired. The starch from the pasta will maintain the silkiness of the sauce as you add the water. Arrange the noodles on a platter and top with with the remaining sautéed mushrooms. Arrange the short ribs on top, sprinkle with gray salt or coarse sea salt, and garnish with parsley.
Serves 2, but scales easily
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