Burgundy Beef Stew-Slow Cooker

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This is a tasty beef stew with vegetables, herbs, wine and a touch of brandy.  It’s easy to fix in a slow cooker and tastes so good when eaten in a warm, cozy kitchen or maybe in front of the fireplace.

BURGUNDY BEEF STEW - SLOW COOKER

½ lb. chuck steak, fat removed, cut into 1-inch pieces
2 tsp. olive oil, divided
1-½ cups chopped onion
6 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
16 baby carrots, cut into ¼ inch slices
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tblsp. quick-cooking tapioca
1 cup Burgundy wine
½ cup beef broth
¼ cup brandy
1 Tblsp. tomato paste
1 tsp. dried thyme, crushed
½ tsp. dried rosemary, crushed
½ tsp. salt
½ tsp. black pepper
1 cup mushrooms, sliced

In a medium skillet over medium high heat, heat 1 tsp. oil and brown chuck steak cubes on all sides – do not cook through.  Set aside

In a 3-½- or 4-quart slow cooker place chopped onion, potato cubes, carrot slices, garlic.  Sprinkle tapioca over the top.

Place beef on top of vegetables.  In a medium bowl, whisk together wine, broth, brandy, tomato paste, thyme, rosemary, salt and pepper.  Pour over ingredients in slow cooker.
Cover and cook on low heat for 8 to 10 hours or on high heat for 4 to 5 hours.

Near the end of cooking time, in a small skillet, cook mushrooms in the remaining 1 tsp. of oil over medium-high heat until browned.  Stir mushrooms into beef mixture.

Makes 4-6 servings

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Cranberry and Cream Chicken

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This recipe was adapted from one in a Susan Branch cookbook.  I first served this for New Year’s Day in 1995 and have had it every Christmas Day since then.  My daughter and I like to take our plates by the fireplace to enjoy and afterwards always watch A Child’s Christmas in Wales.

CRANBERRY AND CREAM CHICKEN

  • Two boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, roasted
  • 2 Tblsp. butter
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • ½ cup cranberries
  • ¼ cup plus 2 Tblsp. brandy (or chicken broth)
  • ½ cup cream
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • Salt/pepper

Cut each roasted chicken breast half into three pieces.

Melt butter in a large skillet and add garlic, stirring for about 1-½ minutes.  Add chicken pieces and brown on each side.

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Remove chicken to a plate to keep warm.

Add cranberries to skillet along with brandy.  Let simmer for 2 minutes and then add cream, sour cream, plus salt and pepper to taste.  Heat but do not boil.

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Pour cream sauce over chicken breasts to serve.

I like to serve this dish with a broccoli/carrot saute and mashed potatoes.  A little sauce poured over the mashed potatoes doesn’t hurt a bit.

4-6 servings

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Black Walnut Balls

Since I’m the only one in the family who likes black walnuts, I make these occasionally just for myself.  They are small, buttery and delicious with the flavor and crunch of black walnuts.  The brandy doesn’t hurt either.

BLACK WALNUT BALLS

  • Servings: 6 doz. small cookies
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  • 1 cup softened butter
  • 1 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 Tblsp. brandy
  • 1 cup chopped black walnuts

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F

Cream butter, sugar, salt and vanilla.  Stir in flour, brandy and nuts.  Shape into 3/4-inch balls using about 1/2 tsp. dough.  Place on ungreased cookie sheets, one inch apart.  Bake @ 325 degrees F for approximately 20 minutes until golden brown.

Makes about 6 dozen cookies. 

I have a note in my recipe binder:  “From Better Homes & Gardens Cookies & Candies. First made October 22, 1986 – excellent.”

Over 20 years later, I still find them to be “excellent”.