Saturday, March 15, 2014

Philly Cheesesteak Stew in Bread Bowls

When I first started cooking it was generally the same meals over and over. I only knew how to cook a few things, mostly stuff that I'd learned at home because my family tends to eat the same meals over and over. It wasn't until I got married and moved out that my dad started experimenting with food, but that's a different story for another day.

So, back to when I first got married. I could only cook a select few things, corn casserole, breaded pork chops, mashed potatoes, and carrots boiled in water and butter. There were other foods, but you get the idea. At any rate Hubby became bored with food. Granted, his mother wasn't much of a cook either, but his sisters had learned over the years and spoiled him whenever he'd come visit. Yay for me, a newly wed with pretty much no cooking experience. I've burned water, if you can believe it.

I started scowering the internet for new recipes. When I started, I wasn't sure where to start. My tastes weren't all that refined. I don't care for many vegetables, such as onions and mushrooms, and I was afraid to try things. I knew what I liked, they were good, and I wasn't going to mess with something that worked. Ultimately, I had to let go of my fear of new foods along with my fear of rejection, can't be an author if you're afraid to get rejected, and I started cooking new things. This recipe is a favorite around my house. I found it on The Cozy Apron when I was searching through pictures of things that looked good. Yes. I look at the pictures before I try to cook it. Why cook food if it doesn't look good?
Picture from The Cozy Apron. 

Philly Cheesesteak Stew reminds me of eating at a renaissance fair. It has steak slices, onion, and mushrooms and is covered in melted provolone cheese. The kids don't realize they're eating onions and mushrooms, and they love dipping the bread into the soup. It's a win-win in my book.

Philly Cheesesteak Stew with Sauteed Mushrooms and Onions, served in a Sourdough Bread Bowl topped with Melted Provolone
 *Philly Cheese Steaks often have sauteed bell peppers in ‘em, too—feel free to slice one up and add it in with the onions and mushrooms, if you so choose. 
(Serves about 4)
• 1 ½ pounds very thinly sliced beef sirloin, or ribeye
• Salt
• Cracked black pepper
• ¼ teaspoon onion powder
• 4 tablespoons all-purpose flour, divided use
• Olive oil
• 2 onions, quartered and thinly sliced
• 10 ounces white mushrooms, sliced
• ½ teaspoon dried thyme
• 2 cloves garlic, pressed through garlic press
• 4 cups beef stock, hot
• 4 sourdough bread bowls, centers hollowed out and reserved for dipping (I made my own Italian Bread Bowls)
• 4 slices provolone cheese
-Add the thinly sliced beef sirloin to a large bowl, and season with a couple of pinches of salt and cracked black pepper, plus the onion powder, and toss to coat; sprinkle over 2 tablespoons of the flour, and again, toss to coat.
-Place a non-stick pot over medium-high heat, and drizzle in about 3-4 tablespoons of oil; once hot, add about half of the sirloin in, and allow it to sear for about a minute or two, then toss/stir, and allow it to sear/brown on the other sides for another 1-2 minutes, and remove onto a plate to hold (the meat may still be a little pink inside); repeat with the remaining half of the sirloin, and set aside.
-Next, add a little more oil to the pot if needed, and add in the sliced onions, along with a pinch of salt and cracked black pepper; allow the onions to caramelize for roughly 6 minutes, stirring frequently to avoid burning them, until golden-brown and softened; then, add in the mushrooms, and allow them to continue sauteing with the onions for another 6 minutes or so, stirring frequently.
-Add in the dried thyme and the garlic, and stir to incorporate.
-Once the garlic becomes aromatic, sprinkle in the remaining 2 tablespoons of flour (the tablespoons  can be a bit “heaping”) over the onion/mushroom mixture, and stir well to combine and blend; next, slowly add in the hot beef stock, stirring all the while to avoid any little flour “lumps” from forming.
-Reduce the heat to medium-low, and allow the stew to simmer gently for about 10 minutes, uncovered, just to “tighten” it up a bit, and to allow the flavors to marry; after 10 minutes, turn off the heat, and add the seared sirloin back in, along with any accumulated juices, and stir to combine; check to see if you need any additional salt/pepper.
-To serve, ladle some stew into your hollowed out sourdough bowls, top with a slice of provolone, and place the bread bowls onto a foil-lined baking sheet and under the broiler for just a couple of moments to melt the cheese and make it gooey.
-Serve with some of the hollowed out, left-over sourdough bread on the side, for dipping.
The link above will take you to The Cozy Apron website where I got the recipe from.

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