Saturday, October 23, 2010

Veggie & Beef Stew with Char-Friendly Cornbread

Does anyone remember the show that was on Friday nights (if I remember right) that played movies and during commercial breaks they were cooking something that kind of went along with the movie or theme? I believe the theme song was "Beans and Cornbread" and had a little catchy jingle to it. Well I've been singing that all night while I made this great tasting cornbread, which by the way is DAIRY-FREE (or lactose tolerant)! So maybe not completely dairy-free, since it has an egg and some milk and butter, but I used soy milk and lactose-free butter/margarine! The stew was super easy since I got everything ready last night and threw it all in the crock pot this morning before I left for work and man did the house smell awesome when we came home from work. The cornbread was super easy to do when I got home and I had time to clean up the kitchen while it was cooking, multi-tasker!

Since I'm such a veggie freak there are a lot more veggies in this stew than meat, more veggie to meat ratio, plus I didn't have enough meat on hand so I just went with it. The stew was all made up by me and thrown together. The cornbread was followed along with a recipe in Taste of Home cookbook with the dairy substitutions and an added secret ingredient that I'll share with you!

6 small yellow potatoes, cut in large chunks (smaller than russet potatoes, probably4-5 cups worth)
1 small green bell pepper, cut in large chunks
1 medium white onion, sliced and chopped in larger chunks (smaller peices if you don't want big chunks)
1 medium zucchini, sliced in 1/4" slices
1 small bag of bite size carrots, cut in half (next time I would use regular size carrots and more of them)
3 garlic cloves, smashed

Put all veggies in a large zip lock bag and drizzle about 1/8 or 1/4 cup EVOO over to coat veggies. I added some spices to this: salt, pepper, garlic salt, red pepper can add whatever you want. Some pre-mixed spices may offer great flavor. Especially some you would season beef or steak with, since we'll be using beef. I let these marinade overnight in the fridge.

I had 1.5 lbs of beef for stew, chunked beef. I threw this in the bottom of the crock pot first. I always spray non-stick spray on the bottom of the crock pot, makes clean up SO much easier!

To the crock pot I added 2 cans of beef broth and 1 can of chicken broth. I would have liked to have used all 3 cans beef broth, but this is what I had. You couldn't even tell I used chicken broth, it just helped moisten and flavor the veggies and meat while cooking. After adding the meat, I seasoned with garlic salt, then added the bag of veggies and then the cans of broth. Turned the crock pot on high and it cooked for about 9.5 - 10 hours then I turned it on low/warm when I got home until we ate. WOW!!

Now on to the cornbread!

1 cup flour
1 cup cornmeal
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt

Mix all dry ingredients in a large bowl.

1 egg, slightly beaten
1 cup (8 oz) sour cream (However...I substituted dairy-free greek yougurt)
1/3 cup milk (I used soy milk)
1/4 cup butter, melted (I used dairy free margarine)

In a separate bowl mix all wet ingredients. Add the wet to the dry. Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees. Secret Ingredient: Honey/Agave Nectar. This wasn't in the recipe and I thought it would be good. Everyone I know eats their cornbread with honey, so I added light agave nectar, very similar basically the same as honey but an organic-better for you type of honey. Tastes exactly the same. I added about 3-4 tablespoons worth, and tasting it after it was cooked, I would have added more. It was very light and just added that extra sweet, moistness. Add mix to a greased 8 inch square dish and bake for 25-28 minutes until a toothpick in the center comes out clean.

It has been too long since I've had cornbread. I've never made it from scratch like I did here, always just had a mix and added water. And I worked at a BBQ restaurant for 6+ years and made cornbread by the dozens daily so I know how to made it, but it was nice to make it my own way.

I hope your weekend is warm and cozy if it's cold outside. It's almsot the end of October and its only 75 degress here, some fall!

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