Monday, May 6, 2013

Beef with Ginger-Peanut Gravy

Have you ever had sauerbraten?

The first time I tried it, I fell in love with it. And then of course I wanted to make it myself. Much to my surprise, every recipe I found used gingersnap cookies for flavor and thickening. It seemed like a "cheat" to me and I looked for recipes that used individual ingredients rather than cookies.

Finally, I decided that the cookie made sense. It had the flavor needed, and it had the thickening quality from the flour.

And then I didn't think about it much any more.

Until recently.

If gingersnap cookies work for sauerbraten, why not have some fun with other flavors? Yeah, I went a little cookie-mad. The interesting thing about my little experiment was that even though I used a decent number of cookies, the resulting gravy wasn't sweet. But it was really, really tasty.

Beef with Ginger-Peanut Gravy

1 beef pot roast or other cut of beef for braising (about 3 pounds)
1 quart water
1 tablespoon salt
1 Thai chili
8 Ginger Snaps
8 Nutter Butter cookies
2 onions, quartered and sliced about 1/4 inch thick
Pasta, cooked, for serving (8 ounces dry)

Put the beef in your slow cooker with 1 quart of water. Cook on low until the beef is just fork-tender, but not falling apart. How long this takes depends a lot on the cut of beef you chose and how your crockpot cooks - you need to go by the meat rather than the time. This time, it took 7 hours. I've done similar cuts in 4-5 hours.

When the beef is fork tender, transfer it to a storage container along with all of the liquid and refrigerate until well chilled. I usually do this sort of recipe over two days, so the meat stays refrigerated until the next day.

When you're ready to continue cooking, skim any excess fat off the top of the beef and place the beef and the liquid into the slow cooker.

Add the salt, Thai chili, Ginger Snaps, Nutter Butter cookies, and onions. The cookies will dissolve completely; after about 20 minutes into the cooking time, stir the mixture, and stir a few more times during cooking. If the gravy gets too thick, thin it with a bit of water during cooking.

Continue cooking on low until the beef is very tender and the onions are soft. Again, this depends a lot on your particular slow cooker (and how tender you want the beef). It took about three hours in mine.

Taste for seasoning and add more salt, if necessary. Remove the chili. If the gravy is too thick, add more water. If you want it thicker, turn up the heat on the slow cooker and remove the lid to reduce the gravy.

Remove the meat from the gravy and let it rest for 10 minutes before slicing. You can slice this, chop it, or shred it - whichever you like.

Serve over noodles with the gravy.

This post was written for a little competition for SnackWorks, which represents the brands mentioned. I did not receive any compensation or products from them.