October 04, 2011

Marathon Cooking Results

Well, we were all set to do tons of cooking last Saturday when fate, questionable choices, and prescription side effects intervened.  Basically, we ended up disregarding all the advice I gave to you last Thursday about how to make a marathon cooking day a success!

First of all, we decided to play cards Friday after work.  I can't exactly say that this was a bad decision, just a questionable one.  Jeffrey is teaching me how to play Magic:  the Gathering, an experience I find equally frustrating and enjoyable.  MtG is described as "an exception-based card game", which basically means the rules change continually, practically with each card as it's played.  This is what makes the game challenging, and the learning curve is super steep.  

Anyway, we toddled off to Mayhem.  I was playing horribly and was beginning to catch some negative effects from a very powerful prescription antibiotic, and was ready to leave by 10:30, but Jeffrey neglected to inform the gamekeeper of this, and we got roped into another round.  Well- Jeffrey did! He was paired up with another player, but as I was the best at losing hands that evening, and there was an uneven number of players left, I had to sit out that last round. It ended at midnight!  I was really glad I had some knitting with me.

The next morning, I felt even worse and Jeffrey ended up doing a double batch of Cook's Illustrated's Chicken Pot Pie all by himself.  I am not a very good patient at best, and I was exhausted as well.  I did have all the fixings for Crockpot Curry Beef on hand, but didn't pull myself together to begin making it until Sunday evening.  I was thankful Jeffrey helped me.  We got the meat all cooked up, and cut the dried apricots so they were ready for assembly:

Browning the spiced meat.

Cutting up the apricots with a kitchen shears.
Then on Monday morning I put the prepared meat and dried fruit in the slow cooker and added the diced tomatoes and coconut milk, leaving it to cook all day on low heat.  The slow cooker transformed our inexpensive beef roast into meat that was deliciously tender and flavorful.  A really good double batch!

Topped with shredded coconut!

 Here is part of what we did over the weekend.  It just took us longer than one day, and we only got the two dishes prepared.  Still, it yielded a much fuller freezer!

I doubled the recipe below.  You'll need at least a 6-quart crockpot to fit it all in.

Crockpot Coconut Beef Curry
1/2 cup flour                
2 teaspoons sweet curry
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 pounds extra-lean stew meat
1/4 cup butter
3 ounces dried apricots, cut into thirds (about 3/4 cup)
1/2 cup golden raisins
1 14.5 ounce can petite-diced tomatoes
1 14 ounce can coconut milk
6 servings cooked Basmati rice
flaked sweetened coconut

Combine flour, sweet curry, ginger, ground coriander and salt in a gallon-size re-sealable plastic food storage bag.  Add the stew meat and seal the bag, leaving a little bit of air inside.  Holding the bag at the seal (just in case!), shake the bag to coat the stew meat with the flour-spice mixture.

Melt butter in a big fry pan, then add the beef, being very careful not to hold the plastic bag so close that it melts in the pan (ask me how I know this).  If there is any extra flour mixture, leave in the bag for now.

Saut√© the beef pieces, stirring to make sure all sides are cooked evenly.  Now you can pour any remaining flour mixture on top.  Spoon the beef mixture carefully into a large crockpot.  Stir in the dried apricot pieces, golden raisins and the cans of diced tomatoes and coconut milk.

Cook at least 6 hours on low heat.  I've cooked this up to 9 hours without a problem.  Just stir it all up before serving.

About 30 minutes before you want to serve dinner, make the Basmati rice according to package directions.  Serve over hot rice.  This is also great with naan, (or any crusty bread) to soak up the yummy gravy.

Garnish with shredded coconut.

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