Sunday, October 23, 2011

'Eyeball' Stew at October Tapa's Night

I love Halloween, the costumes, the food, getting dressed up, the kooky food, the interesting getups people wear.   Can you tell I'm torn between the food and the idea of being able to leave my 'grownupness' (is that a word?) behind, just for one day.   A day to play, and pretend and leave the adult cares behind.  sigh...

I've been collecting Halloween recipes for a long time, and every so often, well, once a year or so I get to drag out my recipes and make something 'spooky'.   I don't really like the gross stuff, of course if someone were to ask, I can give them some really cool recipes for the kids, I just don't make them myself.  And let's face it, kids love the gross stuff.   As an adult I like the to emphasize the fun factor much more in the food I prepare.    

I make this recipe, Beef Bourignon throughout the year, but when I make it for Halloween it gets renamed.   Eyeball Stew sounds so much more ominous. *giggle*
Beef Bourignon

But it's also really, really good.   I got the original recipe out of the Active Woman's Cook book from Avon (one of the first cook books I ever bought, the first year I was married and I'm not saying how many years that's been), and have been making it ever since.   Then about ten years ago I made it for a Halloween potluck, renamed it Eyeball Stew, and now I make it every year.   The pearl onions can resemble 'eyes', and the bacon if you leave it in strips can be whatever your imagination tells you it is.   I leave it up to you.   You can serve this with some plain steamed rice on the side.

Mushrooms and Bacon for Stew
Beef Bourignon ready to cook

Eyeball Stew (Beef Bourignon)

2-4 lbs. Lean Stew Meat
6 slices bacon, cut in quarters
1 lb. fresh mushrooms, cut into quarters
1 large onion, cut into chunks
2-4 sprigs fresh thyme
1 lb. white pearl onions, peeled (you can also do a mixture of red and white pearl onions)
1 pkg.  McCormicks Au Jus Mix and 4 cups of water or 4 cups beef stock
2 tbsp. Flour and 1/2 cup water mixed together
Salt and Pepper to taste

Fry the bacon until done, semi-crisp, remove, reserving the fat.  Place the bacon in a large pot or crockpot.   Take some of the bacon fat out of the pan and reserve it.   Saute the mushrooms a little, and remove from the fry pan and add to the pot with the bacon.   Brown the meat in the reserved bacon fat, a little at a time, you want a nice brown to the meat, and by adding a little of the meat at a time you can do this, crowding the pot will result in grey looking meat.   As the meat browns, add it to the pot with the bacon and mushrooms.  Cut up the onion and add it to the pot as well.   When all the meat has browned and is in the pot add the thyme sprigs and the water and Au Jus mix or the beef stock.   Cover and let simmer for at least 2 hours until the meat is tender.   In the last half hour of cooking time, add the peeled pearl onions.   Cutting a little cross in the stem end of the onions, will help to keep them whole.   The onion you added earlier will have cooked out and become part of the gravy.    When the meat is tender, thicken it with a slurry made of 2 tbsp. flour and half cup of water.   Serve with rice   (for Halloween you can call the rice "Lice" if you like.  Can also be served with wide buttered noodles (Intestines?) or potatoes.  Or just have some nice Crusty bread available for dipping. Which is what I did this time.   And it got et.  Well, people were going back for seconds, so it must have tasted good. 

So as usual, we had all kinds of food, and lots of costumes.     I apologize for the quality of the pictures, it's entirely the photographers fault.  She was having too much fun visiting and stuff.  
Baked Pasta dish and Apple Crisp

Bloody Eyeballs and Mice

Mediterranean Eggplant (sorry for the blur)

Crab Dip, Chicken Fingers, Salad, Stew at the back.

Tuna sandwiches

East Indies style Pumpkin Soup

Pickled Beans


Stuffed Jalapenos
And as for the costumes, we had several witches, a lady from India, complete with a gorgeous sari, a gentleman dressed as an Arab, a Devil, Wonderwoman, a Gypsy seer, and more.
It was fun.  

Sidsel Munkholm - Author
Sidsel Munkholm - Author

Sid loves to cook, feed people and have fun in the kitchen. She shares her successes and the involuntary offerings she sometimes gives the kitchen goddess as well. And she's still looking for the mythical fairy to help her clean the kitchen after a marathon cooking session. Currently working on a cookbook showcasing the recipes from her Danish heritage.

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