Thursday, February 5, 2009

Braised Blade Steak, Like Gramma Used to Make

I often buy blade steak (aka chuck steak) to make stew with. I don't often purchase pre-cut stew meat since I like to see where it came from myself. I had a large piece left over that I threw in the freezer after making some stew last week and I wanted to use up this left over piece. I remember my gramma used to make my uncle a stove top braised steak in a tomato sauce......and I remember liking it as a kid. Gramma would have probably chosen a round steak because it would have been cheaper.....but I like the blade steak and blade roast since it has better flavour and will not be nearly as dry as the round. I don't think I buy round for anything but making jerky actually.... I tried to imaging what gramma would have put into her braised steak as she cooked it in her quaint farm house kitchen. She had the cutest little kitchen with battleship linoleum flooring in blue and grey squares, and one of those big white enamel farm house sinks with the huge drain plugs, and the built in draining board. Her cupboards were painted white and contained a life's history in china and glassware.....each piece having it's story. There were adorable little swanky swig glasses with bustling Betsy eavesdropping on the neighbours, a handsome Father's mug or was it a Mother's mug I cannot remember for certain now........and my very favourite dishes. She had odds and ends of an awfully pretty Royal Winton Ascot shaped set that I chose to use every time I had a snack at grammas house. Those dishes were faded from 2 generations of use and are I'm sure, long since gone. One day while on Ebay, I happened to find some pieces quite by accident.........and I just had to have them. The teapot shown in this post is one of the first items in this pattern that I bought, and I still look for others every now and again.

Anyway, this is my take on grammas braised steak. I cut my meat into stew size chunks just to speed the cooking time.

Braised Blade Steak

600g (1 1/4 lb) blade or chuck steak
2 sticks celery, roughly chopped
1 small onion, roughly chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp sugar
1 (398ml) tin diced tomatoes
1/4 cup dried porcini mushrooms
1 tbsp chicken soup base
1 cup water
1/2 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp basil
1/4 tsp smoked paprika
dash cayenne pepper

Cut steak into bite sized pieces and season with salt and pepper. Brown pieces over medium heat in a few tbsp of vegetable oil in a heavy dutch oven. Remove browned meat to a side dish, and add roughly chopped celery and onions to the pot. Brown vegetables over medium heat, about 10 minutes. Add minced garlic and cook 1 minute. Add remaining ingredients , return meat to the pot and bring to a simmer. Put in 325 F oven ,without a cover ,for two hours or until meat is tender. Remove pot every 20 minutes to stir. Your must do this or the meat on top will dry out. The sauce will reduce as it cooks, and there will be a few tbsp of fat to spoon out and discard when it is done. For a quick side we used Knorr Sidekicks Mexican Rice and some steamed asparagus with lemon butter and Asiago cheese. So there you have it...supper for under $10 . It got the thumbs up here so we'll be having it again.

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