Oct 11, 2012

Autumn Stew Casserole

Autumn Stew Casserole

Confusing name, isn’t it? Is it a stew, or is it a casserole? It’s both.

This is not a low-fat recipe. Run while you still can! Or be brave and face an extra 30 to 60 minutes on the stairmaster but, really, trust me when I say this is worth the calories.

Okay, now that that’s out-of-the-way, we’ll tackle the next thing. I wanted to combine an old-fashioned beef stew with gravy—a nothing fancy, typically Dutch stew with real pure flavours—with some sort of potato au gratin topping. Normally I would use mashed potatoes for this.

I was slightly annoyed when I couldn’t find a drop of cream in my fridge, but I did have 2 cans cream of mushroom soup in my pantry and a piece of cheddar in the freezer that I wasn’t afraid to use. 

Now believe me, I know a lot of people look down on the use of cream of mushroom soup in casseroles; I’m not one of them. If you are one of them, just skip this recipe… otherwise you’ll definitely want to try this at home. It’s so darn good.

It’s not a pretty dish—if anything it tends to look a bit messy—but this is comfort food as it was always meant to be: simple and pure, filling and rich.

 
Ingredients:

 
Beef Stew:

2 pounds beef stew, cubed
1 large onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
2 tbsp grandma’s molasses
2 bay leaves
3 cloves
salt and pepper
1 beef bouillon cube
1 1/2 to 2 cups of water
2 tbsp cornstarch
butter
 
Optional: beef herb bag (for the Dutchies)

 
Potato topping:

2 pound potatoes
1/2 can Unox cream of mushroom soup (or 1 can Campbell’s)
3 tbsp sour cream
5 tbsp milk
2/3 tsp Lawry’s seasoned salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
2 to 3 oz sharp cheddar
small handful panko
sprinkling dried parsley

 
Directions:

Some of the stuff.
Autumn Stew Casserole

I can’t do without my beef herb bags, but you can replace it with a pinch of dried thyme, parsley, and celery seed.
Autumn Stew Casserole

My stew is never without molasses. Never.
Autumn Stew Casserole

Season the beef with (kosher) salt and black pepper.
Autumn Stew Casserole

Heat some butter and brown the beef, in small batches. Transfer the meat to a plate and keep it warm.
Autumn Stew Casserole

Cook the onions until slightly translucent and fragrant.
Autumn Stew Casserole

Add the garlic and cloves and cook for a minute before adding the beef again.
Autumn Stew Casserole

Just pile it up in there!
Autumn Stew Casserole

 
If you don’t have a sauté pan, you might want to consider transferring things to your slow cooker now.
 

Pour in the molasses.
Autumn Stew Casserole

And add the water, beef bouillon cube, bay leaves and herb bag or dried herbs.
Autumn Stew Casserole

 
Cover and cook on low for 10 to 12 hours, or simmer the stew on your stove top for 3 to 4 hours.
 

Fast forward: the morning after. Remove the bay leaves and let the stew cool off completely in your fridge.
Autumn Stew Casserole

The fat will accumulate on top and is easy to remove with a spoon. Your arteries will thank you later.
Autumn Stew Casserole

Combine the cream of mushroom soup with the sour cream, milk, and seasonings listed under ‘Potato Topping’.
Autumn Stew Casserole

Mix it well.
Autumn Stew Casserole

Warm up the beef stew. Whisk the cornstarch with some water and stir it into the beef stew to get a thick gravy. Add more if you need to.
Autumn Stew Casserole

Grate the cheddar.
Autumn Stew Casserole

Peel your potatoes and slice them in 3 to 4 mm slices.
Autumn Stew Casserole

Okay, so I cheated and used my 4mm slicer blade.
Autumn Stew Casserole

I made a bit too much sauce (so good with French fries!), so used a slotted spoon to transfer the beef to the casserole.
Autumn Stew Casserole

Layer half of the potatoes on top of the beef, and spread half the soup mix on top of that. Top with the remaining potatoes and finish with the rest of the soup mix.
Autumn Stew Casserole

Sprinkle the grated cheddar all over.
Autumn Stew Casserole

To add a bit of crunch, I used panko breadcrumbs.
Autumn Stew Casserole

Sprinkled a small handful all over and used dried parsley for a bit of extra colour and flavour.
Autumn Stew Casserole

 
Cover the casserole with aluminium foil and bake in a preheated oven at 175C° (350F°) for 45 minutes. Remove foil and bake uncovered for another 45 minutes, until the cheese is golden brown and the potatoes are fully cooked.
 

Serve with lots of green peas and string beans!
Autumn Stew Casserole

Autumn Stew Casserole
Ingredients
    Beef Stew:

    2 pounds beef stew, cubed
    1 large onion, chopped
    1 garlic clove, minced
    2 tbsp grandma’s molasses
    2 bay leaves
    3 cloves
    salt and pepper
    1 beef bouillon cube
    1 1/2 to 2 cups of water
    2 tbsp cornstarch
    butter
     
    Optional: beef herb bag (for the Dutchies)

     
    Potato topping:

    2 pound potatoes
    1/2 can Unox cream of mushroom soup (or 1 can Campbell’s)
    3 tbsp sour cream
    5 tbsp milk
    2/3 tsp Lawry’s seasoned salt
    1/4 tsp black pepper
    2 to 3 oz sharp cheddar
    small handful panko
    sprinkling dried parsley

Directions
    Season the beef with (kosher) salt and black pepper. Heat some butter and brown the beef, in small batches. Transfer the meat to a plate and keep it warm. Cook the onions until slightly translucent and fragrant. Add the garlic and cloves and cook for a minute before adding the beef again. Transfer everything to your slow cooker if you’ll be using one.

    Add the molasses, water, beef bouillon cube, bay leaves and herb bag or dried herbs. Cover and cook on low for 10 to 12 hours, or simmer the stew on your stove top for 3 to 4 hours. Remove the bay leaves and let the stew cool off completely in your fridge. Remove the fat that has accumulated on top.

    Combine the cream of mushroom soup with the sour cream, milk, and seasonings listed under ‘Potato Topping’. Warm up the beef stew. Whisk the cornstarch with some water and stir it into the beef stew to get a thick gravy. Add more if you need to. Grate the cheddar, peel the potatoes and slice them in 3 to 4 mm slices.

    I made a bit too much sauce (so good with French fries!), so used a slotted spoon to transfer the beef to the casserole. Layer half of the potatoes on top of the beef, and spread half the soup mix on top of that. Top with the remaining potatoes and finish with the rest of the soup mix. Sprinkle the grated cheddar and a small handful of panko all over the casserole. Sprinkle some dried parsley on top of the cheese.

    Cover the casserole with aluminium foil and bake in a preheated oven at 175C° (350F°) for 45 minutes. Remove foil and bake uncovered for another 45 minutes, until the cheese is golden brown and the potatoes are fully cooked.

Meal type: Main Course, Beef
Servings: 4 to 6
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