Gremolata and Mushroom Stewed Beef

  Uhm.  I think I’ve hit the jackpot of recipes.  I started looking into the low-carb, slow-carb, paleo/primal recipes to help give us more dinner options while I deal with my gestational diabetes, and it all looks amazing.
  Here’s what we’re making:
  Here’s what you need:
5 lb chuck roast*
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 large yellow onion, finely diced
2 carrots, peeled & diced
2 celery stalks, diced
8 oz mushrooms, quartered
2 cups beef stock
1 (28 oz) can crushed tomatoes
1/3 cup basalmic vinegar
1 orange, sliced
2 stalks rosemary
salt & pepper
*The roast I found was 2.5 lbs.  I intended to 1/2 the rest of the ingredients and then forgot.
  It was still incredible, but next time I’m looking for a bigger roast.
  I was a little intimidated when I first started looking at this recipe.  I’m not exactly the best at planning ahead for meals, and when my Mr. suggested that I use this method for browning the meat ahead of time instead of the one in the recipe, I was really afraid I was going to burn the kitchen down.  But, it was his birthday, so instead of playing precious princess and making him cook it, I tried it out.
  Hey!  Everything is still standing and it turned out delicious!  Go me.
  I had it in my mind that I would chop my veggies while my meat browned.  I wouldn’t suggest that approach.  The meat was ready far faster than I thought it’d be and I was left scrambling to get my veggies ready to go in the pan.  Prep them ahead of time, or enlist a sou chef to chop while you brown.
  Whether you’re going to take the hot and fast, one side browned approach or the original recipe’s slower and slightly cooler approach, you’re going to need a dutch oven (with lid) that you’re comfortable putting in the oven.  Start that oven preheating to 400 degrees.  Cut your meat into a few large chunks, heat your oil and start browning.  I used peanut oil for my browning since the Mr. said it was least likely to catch fire (!) of the oils we had*.  I covered the bottom of the pan and turned it up until I started to see little wisps of smoke.  I threw my meat in and it was browned in a matter of 2-3 minutes.  As a note, if you go the crazy-hot oil route, break out your extra long grilling tongs.  Grease spatters hurt.  Voice of mildly burned experience here.
* The Mr. wanted me to clarify that peanut oil has a higher smoke point, not a higher flash point (where it lights on fire).
  When your meat is browned, set it aside.  Turn your heat down a touch and put your garlic, onion, carrot and celery into the pan.  Allow them to cook for a few minutes and then add your mushrooms, stewed tomatoes, stock and balsamic vinegar.  Bring the whole thing to a simmer and mix together.  Remove from heat.
  Place a few sprigs of rosemary into your stew.  Top with orange slices, cover loosely with lid (leave it slightly ajar) and place the whole thing into the oven for 1.5 hours.  Find something to do.  Maybe knit a dishrag in that time.  Remove the lid and cook for another 1.5 hours.  Depending on how big your chunks of meat are, you may be able to get away with slightly less time (or may need more).  When the stew is done you will be able to easily shred the meat with two forks.  Pull the meat apart, remove the cooked oranges and rosemary sprigs.  Serve with fresh orange slices and garnish with extra rosemary.
  This was fabulous.  As I said, the roast I got was smaller than the recipe called for, but this still made quite a large amount of stew.  …we only had one serving left by the time we were done going back for seconds.  I said to the Mr. that it seemed like the sort of dish that needed a bay leaf in it, so perhaps next time we’ll try that, but I definitely predict that this will become a regular on the menu long after 2.0 is born and I no longer have to watch what I eat.

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