2986. BEEF STEW with BACON and BUTTERNUT SQUASH

yields six servings

3 pounds beef chuck
Kosher salt and black pepper
olive or vegetable oil
6 slices good quality, lean, smoky bacon, chopped 1-inch pieces
2 carrots, chopped
2 to 3 ribs celery, chopped
1 large onion, chopped
3 to 4 cloves garlic, sliced or chopped
1 tablespoon fresh marjoram or 1 teaspoon dried
3 tablespoons fresh thyme, chopped, divided
2 fresh bay leaves
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 12-ounce bottle hard cider or 1 cup sweet vermouth
2 fat strips orange rind
1 quart beef stock
1 medium-large butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1 1/2-inch chunks
a little freshly grated nutmeg
about 2 tablespoons honey or maple syrup
about 2 tablespoons grainy Dijon mustard
warm crusty bread and butter, to pass at table

Bring meat to room temperature and pat dry. Cut into 2-inch pieces. Just before cooking, season with Kosher salt and black pepper. Preheat oven to 325°F. Heat oil, 2 turns of the pan, over medium-high heat in a large Dutch oven. Add the bacon and stir until crisp; remove to a plate. Cook meat in batches, caramelizing on all sides. Remove to a plate and repeat with remaining meat, adding additional oil if necessary. To meat drippings, add chopped carrot, celery, onion, sliced garlic, marjoram, half the thyme, bay leaves, salt and pepper. Partially cover pot and cook 5-7 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in tomato paste, cook for 1 minute, then stir in hard cider or vermouth and a few fat strips of orange rind; deglaze and reduce liquid by half. Add stock then slide meat and bacon back into the pot, bring to bubble, cover and transfer to oven. Roast 2 1/2 hours. Remove the stew and let it stand, covered, while you roast squash. Raise heat to 425°F. Coat squash with oil and toss with remaining thyme, salt, pepper and nutmeg. Roast 30-35 minutes, turning once, until brown at edges. Once the squash is done, remove bay leaf and orange rind from the stew. Skim fat with a spoon or paper towels. Place meat in a large shallow bowl or serving dish and stir honey and mustard into sauce. Stir in squash and serve in bowls. Pass crusty bread at table for mopping.

bacon recipe courtesy of: Rachael Ray Show, March 19, 2013?

2767. CROSTINI with WILD MUSHROOM, BACON and ROSEMARY

makes 10-15 crostini

1/4 pound bacon, diced into small pieces
1 shallot or small red onion, minced
1 teaspoon fresh rosemary, chopped
1 pound wild mushrooms, cleaned and sliced or torn
1/4 cup of vermouth
salt and pepper to taste
2 tablespoons flat-leaf parsley, mincedolive oil, for brushing on crostini
1 baguette, sliced 1/2” thick
Heat a large sauté pan over high heat. Add the bacon, turn the heat down to medium and render the fat out of the bacon. After a few minutes, add the shallot and rosemary and stir. Cook for another few minutes. Add the mushrooms to the pan, raise the heat and stir until a lot of the water has evaporated out of the mushrooms, about 5 minutes. Leave the mushrooms to brown and caramelize on the bottom of the pan and then deglaze the pan with the vermouth, scraping up any browned bits. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Stir in the Italian parsley and keep warm. Heat a broiler or grill. Lightly brush olive oil onto the sliced bread and cook under the broiler or grill until lightly browned, 1-2 minutes. Top each piece of crostini with some of the mushroom mixture, garnishing with rosemary flowers if you have them.

bacon recipe courtesy of: Becky Selengut, Cornucopia Cuisine, Seattle, Washington