Roast Beef with Mushroom-Brandy Sauce

I had been pretty apathetic about Thanksgiving until the last day or two; now I’m beginning to look forward to it, if for no other reason than I get five days off from work.  Yes, I’ll spend two of those days cooking, but I don’t mind – I won’t have to cook Friday, which will be nice.  The Saturday after Thanksgiving is always the day we decorate the house for Christmas, and this year we’re having The G Man over to help.  He’s never seen Meema’s Santa and snowman collection, or our upside-down Christmas tree, and I think he’ll have a good time.  I know I will.

In the meantime, I have a backlog of quite a few recipes to choose from, and had a dickens of a time deciding which one to post today.  In the end, I decided on this one – it’s a really lovely special-occasion type of meal, and while it looks long and involved, it’s really not.  You slow-roast an eye of round roast (or roast of your choice), and make a mushroom-brandy sauce to serve over it.

A delicious mushroom-brandy sauce, if I do say so.

At any rate, I thought it might be a nice option to have for those who prefer a more non-traditional main course for Thanksgiving; it would also make a very nice Christmas Eve or Christmas night dinner, too.   I served this with a puree of purple cauliflower, which was just so pretty, and some glazed carrots – it was a very nice, very tasty dinner, worthy of a holiday table.

Roast Beef with Mushroom-Brandy Sauce
Roast Beef with Mushroom-Brandy Sauce
Roast Beef with Mushroom-Brandy Sauce

Serves: 6
  • 2 1/2 pound eye of round roast
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme, finely chopped
  • 2 teaspoons coarse kosher salt
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • Sauce
  • 2 tablespoons ghee or clarified butter, divided
  • 8 ounces white button mushrooms, sliced
  • 1/2 small onion, very thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup brandy, divided
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk or half and half
  • 2 tablespoons tapioca flour
  • 1 cup beef stock, preferably homemade
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  1. Preheat oven to 400 F.
  2. Rub the roast with the olive oil, thyme, salt, pepper and garlic. Place roast on a vented roasting pan and set in the middle of the oven; roast at 400 F for 20 minutes, then turn the oven off and open the door, leaving the roast
  3. in the oven for 5 to 7 minutes.
  4. Place the probe of an oven safe meat thermometer into the center of the roast; take care that it is not touching bone, fat or gristle. Close the door and set the oven to 200 F. Continue roasting until the thermometer reaches 130 F for rare or 140 F for medium rare. Remove the roast from the oven and loosely tent with foil; allow to rest for at least 15 minutes before carving.
  5. While the roast is in the oven, heat 1 tablespoon of the ghee in a large skillet over medium-high heat and, taking care not to crowd them, cook the mushrooms until golden brown. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside.
  6. Add the remaining tablespoon of ghee to the skillet and reduce the heat to medium low. Cook the onions, stirring frequently, until they are golden brown and beginning to caramelize, 15 to 20 minutes.
  7. Increase the heat under the skillet to medium and return the mushrooms to the pan; add 2 tablespoons of brandy and stir for 20 seconds. Add the coconut milk or half and half and cook, stirring constantly, until almost all of the liquid is absorbed, about 3 minutes.
  8. Sprinkle the mushroom mixture with the tapioca flour and stir to coat; add the remaining brandy to the pan. Increase the heat to high and stir in the beef stock; bring to a boil, stirring constantly, then reduce the heat to medium and simmer until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes. Taste, and season as needed with salt and pepper.
  9. Serve the mushroom-brandy sauce over the thinly sliced roast beef.
  10. Nutrition (per serving): 384 calories, 16.5g total fat, 95.1mg cholesterol, 830.6mg sodium, 911.8mg potassium, 5.9g carbohydrates, <1g fiber, 1.3g sugar, 45.5g protein


Balsamic Mushrooms and Green Beans

Insomnia reared its ugly head last night and I am very, very tired today.  Too tired, I’m afraid, to participate in “You Capture” today – this week’s subject is “technology” and I have an interesting take on it, but the whole thing is a bit, well, involved.  There are no rules that you MUST post on the day Beth’s blog goes up, so perhaps tomorrow?

So you get a recipe, something I could do in my sleep – or without any, for that matter.   On a related note, you might notice that I’ve added a recipe category titled paleo/primal.   Any recipe I post that falls into that category, whether it’s low carb or not, can be found there (or will be, once I’ve finished going through my archives).

This, however, isn’t one of them – it’s my understanding that green beans are technically legumes, which bums me out a little because they’re one of the few vegetables The Young One will eat with any enthusiasm.  However, not being one for pedantic adherence to anything, I’ll keep serving them from time to time if for no other reason than The Young One will eat them.

And they’re mighty tasty, especially when prepared like this.

Note: You can use frozen green beans if you prefer, just make sure to thaw them first and skip the blanching step.  Canned green beans are not suitable.  For anything.

Balsamic Mushrooms and Green Beans
Balsamic Mushrooms and Green Beans

Balsamic Mushrooms and Green Beans

serves 6

12 ounces green beans, trimmed and cut into 1″ pieces
1 cup white button mushrooms, sliced
1/4 cup onion, finely diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 tablespoon honey
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Bring 2 quarts of water to a boil in a large pot; add the green beans and blanch for 2 minutes. Drain immediately and immerse in an ice water bath to stop the cooking process. Drain again.

In a large skillet, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until softened and almost translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook one minute more.

Increase the heat slightly and add the mushrooms, making sure not to crowd them in the pan. Cook, stirring frequently, until the liquid given off by the mushrooms has evaporated and they are beginning to brown, about 5 to 7 minutes. Add the green beans and cook, stirring frequently, until the green beans are tender-crisp, about 3 minutes.

Push the green beans and mushrooms to the sides of the pan, leaving a bare area in the middle of the skillet; add the vinegar. Allow it to boil and begin to reduce, about 30 seconds, then add the honey and toss together with the vegetables to coat. Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve.

Printable version (requires Adobe Reader)

Posted in participation with Kelly the Kitchen Kop’s Real Food Wednesday

Green Bean Casserole

While putting my Thanksgiving menu together last week, I decided to make green bean casserole.  From scratch.

Yeah, I’m weird that way.

There are a lot of recipes on the internet for green bean casserole from scratch, and almost all of them called for either canned fried onions or panko bread crumbs as the topping.  I did find a couple that called for non-canned fried onions – well, one was for caramelized onions (that I knew the kids wouldn’t like) and the other had the onions heavily battered before frying (that, I wouldn’t like).

French Fried Onions

What I came up with was damn near a religious experience.  Oh.  My.  GAWD.  (See?) So, so, SO good.  And while it was time consuming, it wasn’t hard at all, especially if you have a mandolin to slice the onions very, very thinly (if you don’t have a mandolin, you really need to get one).  Fried in lard I had rendered myself, the onions were light and crispy and SO much better than those greasy things from a can (I had a hard time not eating them all before adding them to the casserole).  The green beans were tender-crisp, and the sauce was a cheesy delight full of succulent, browned mushrooms and caramelized onions.

THIS is what green bean casserole was meant to be.

There’s no reason you couldn’t fry the onions and put the casserole together the day before; just put the fried onions in an airtight container until ready to use (and for heaven’s sake, keep them out of reach so you don’t eat them all!) and refrigerate the assembled casserole.  Just bring it to room temperature before heating in the oven.

As written, this bakes in an 8″ x 8″ baking dish, but could could easily be doubled.  I also used sprouted wheat flour and sprouted corn flour for the onion rings and arrowroot for the sauce; feel free to use all purpose flour and corn meal for the onions rings and all-purpose flour or corn starch for the sauce.  I’ve included instructions for both flour and arrowroot.

Green Bean Casserole

Green Bean Casserole

serves 6

1/2 large  yellow onion, very thinly sliced

1 cup whole milk

1/2 cup sprouted whole wheat flour (or all-purpose flour)

1/2 cup sprouted corn flour (or regular corn meal)

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Lard or shortening or vegetable oil

8 ounces white button mushrooms, coarsely chopped

1/2 large yellow onion, diced

1/2 stick unsalted butter, divided

3/4 pound fresh green beans, ends trimmed

2 cups whole milk at room temperature

salt and pepper

3 to 4 tablespoons all-purpose flour OR 1 to 2 tablespoons arrowroot powder

1 cup extra sharp cheddar cheese, shredded

1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, shredded

Preheat oven to 350º F.

Pour 1 cup milk into a medium-sized mixing bowl; in another medium-sized mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, corn flour or corn meal, salt and pepper.  Add enough fat (lard, shortening or vegetable oil) to a large, heavy-bottomed skillet to measure a depth of about 1 to 1 1/2 inches; heat the fat to a temperature of 350º F.

Working in batches, drop a handful of the very thinly sliced onion rings into the milk.  Using a fork, transfer them to the flour/corn meal mixture and toss until coated.  Drop them into the hot fat, taking care not to crowd them, and fry until crispy and golden brown, about 1 to 2 minutes.  Watch carefully so they don’t become too brown or burn.  Remove them from the hot fat with a fork or slotted spoon and place on a paper-towel lined plate to drain.  Repeat until all of the onions have been fried.  Set aside.

Bring 3 to 4 quarts of water to a boil; add 1 teaspoon salt.  Add the green beans and parboil for 2 to 3 minutes.  Drain and add the green beans to a  large bowl of ice water to stop the cooking process.  When cold, drain the green beans again and set aside.

In another large, heavy skillet, melt 2 tablespoons of the butter over medium-low heat.  Cook the mushrooms without crowding, in batches if necessary, until golden and beginning to brown at the edges.  Remove from the skillet with a slotted spoon and reserve on a plate.

Add the remaining butter to the skillet if necessary, and add the onions to the skillet.  Cook, stirring frequently, until the onions are a soft and translucent, and just beginning to turn golden brown.  Remove from the skillet with a slotted spoon and reserve on the same plate as the mushrooms.

If using flour to thicken the sauce, pour off all but 2 tablespoons of the remaining butter from the skillet; return to the stove over medium low heat.  Add the flour and whisk until a thin paste forms.  Cook, stirring constantly, for 2 to 3 minutes then slowly add the 2 cups of room temperature milk, whisking continually.  Continue to cook, stirring constantly, until the sauce is thick and smooth.  Add the cheddar and Parmesan cheeses; stir until melted.  Remove from heat; taste, and season with salt and pepper.

If using arrowroot powder to thicken the sauce, pour any remaining fat from the skillet and return to the stove over medium-low heat.  Whisk the arrowroot powder into the 2 cups milk, and pour into the skillet.  Cook, stirring constantly, until the sauce is thick and smooth.  Add the cheddar and Parmesan cheeses; stir until melted.  Remove from heat; taste, and season with salt and pepper.

Add the mushrooms, sautéed onions and green beans to the cheese sauce, stir gently but thoroughly to coat the beans.  Pour into the 8″ x 8″ baking dish and bake for 20 minutes, or until bubbly and just beginning to brown.  Remove the dish from the oven and scatter the fried onions evenly over the top of the dish; return to the oven and bake for an additional 5 minutes to crisp and brown the onions, watching the dish carefully so the onions don’t over-brown or burn.

Serve immediately.

Printable version (requires Adobe Reader)

Green Beans on Foodista

Posted in participation with Kelly the Kitchen Kop’s Real Food Wednesday

Whisky Mushroom Cream Sauce

Well, Fall has hit us with a vengeance and I’ve been on a “comfort food” kick.  Warm, hearty, filling dishes – and we’re still on our winter squash kick.  I’m working on a savory version of the butternut squash souffle with chipotle peppers, roasted red bell peppers, onions and cheese and will post it as soon as I’ve got the proportions of the ingredients just right.

Oh, as an aside and sort of a follow-up on my HFCS post last Friday – canned red kidney beans contain sugar/corn syrup/soybean oil, depending on the brand.  Fortunately, the organic store brand was just soaked beans (soaking is important, as it releases a lot of the phytic acid and other anti-nutrients from legumes), water and salt.  Why was I buying canned beans?  I was making chili, and the beans in my pantry were apparently old and did not take well to the “quick soak” method (boiling them for 2 minutes and letting them sit for an hour); every last one of them split wide open and became mushy.

Anyhoo.  Comfort food.  We got a ton of roasts when we purchased Chuck (including a standing rib roast destined to be Christmas dinner).  I reserve the tougher cuts – chuck, blade and arm roasts – for stews or chili (just cut them into 1″ to 2″ cubes) or just throw them in the crock pot with some onion, garlic, seasonings and a little water.  Cook it on low for 8 – 10 hours and you’ve practically got dinner on the table.  I used to do a nice pan gravy with this, but since we’ve cut out grains we’ve just been dressing our beef roasts with a little steak sauce or low-sugar ketchup.  I wanted to do something with a little more flavor with the last roast, so I made this.

And it is GOOD.  I’m one of those that can take mushrooms or leave them – I prefer them raw, to be honest – and even I thought this was great.  Beloved, who loves mushrooms in any way, shape, form or fashion informed me that I can’t serve him roast any other way now.  This would be excellent over a good steak, and since it has a “marsala-ish” quality, would be pretty darn good over chicken or pasta, too.

Note:  You can use bourbon, Kentucky or Irish whiskey, but since “whisky” in our house means single malt scotch, that’s what I used.  A good dry white wine would also work well.

Whisky Mushroom Cream Sauce

Whisky Mushroom Cream Sauce

4 – 6 servings

Unsalted butter

2-3 cups sliced fresh white button mushrooms

1/2  medium yellow onion, minced

1 clove garlic, finely minced

3 tablespoons whiskey, scotch, bourbon, or dry white wine

1/2 to 1 tablespoon good quality balsamic vinegar

1/2 cup heavy cream

1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg


freshly ground black pepper

1 tablespoon finely minced chives (optional)

Melt about 2 tablespoons of the butter in a medium-sized heavy skillet over medium-high heat.  When the butter begins to foam, add about 1/4 of the mushrooms to the pan.  Do NOT crowd them; you want to brown the mushrooms – they will release liquid into the pan and will not brown if there are too many.  Cook the mushrooms in batches until the liquid they release evaporates and they are golden brown.  Add a little butter with each batch, if necessary.   Remove each batch as done to a plate and set aside.

Lower the heat and add a little more butter to the pan; when it begins to foam add the onions and saute until the onions are soft and translucent, but not brown.  Add the garlic and saute for another minute.  Increase the heat back to medium-high and add the mushrooms back to the pan, tossing to combine them well with the onion/garlic mixture.

Add the whiskey and balsamic vinegar to the pan and cook, stirring frequently, for 1 to 2 minutes, allowing the mixture to bubble and reduce slightly.  Lower the heat slightly and add the cream and nutmeg; cook, stirring constantly, for another minute.  Remove from heat, taste and season with salt and pepper.  Stir in chives, if using, and serve immediately.

Printable version (requires Adobe Reader)

Whiskey Mushroom Cream Sauce on Foodista