Food Week 2010: Dinner

Remember how I told you we were going to do something yummy with mustard? Today is that day! Aren’t you excited?

Todays treat is something that I sort of stumbled on a couple weeks ago because I had some tough meat and needed to make it edible. See, one trick that I have learned here in Haiti is how to use mustard to tenderize meat. The meat that you buy in the market is often very tough and needs a *little* prep before you can eat it. By a little I mean it’s usually started hours before it ever hits the stove. The result is that Old Bessie can actually be presented at a dinner table and not leave those enjoying it with sore jaws. It’s a Haitian skill, I tell you.

Normally we buy our beef in the supermarket and avoid this issue, but we recently bough half a cow from friends of ours that know how to raise and butcher animals. She was a little tough, so I had to figure out how to make her a little less so. Mustard is the key! See, regular prepared mustard has vinegar and other stuff in it that help to tenderize, and it gives a wonderful flavor. I can honestly say that everyone who has eaten todays offering has stopped after the first couple of bites and said, “This is so good! What’s in it?” And, it’s easy. One of my favorite qualities of any dinner.

Beef marinating in mustard.

BEEF IN MUSTARD SAUCE

Ingredients:

1-2 lbs of any cut of beef, cubed or cut in strips, your choice
shake on meat tenderizer (optional)
1/4 c* prepared yellow mustard
3-4 tbsp butter or margarine
1/2-3/4 tsp pepper
2-3 c water
3-4 chicken or beef bullion cubes
1/2-3/4 c half and half cream or unsweetened evaporated milk
cornstarch and water to thicken

*You can add more mustard later if you want. I usually do just for more flavor.

Instructions:

1. Cut up beef and put into a dutch oven or large pot.
2. If the meat is really tough sprinkle well with meat tenderizer.
3. Put mustard in pot with beef. Stir well with a spoon or use your hand to evenly coat all beef pieces with mustard. Set aside for a couple of hours.
4. About an hour and a half before you want to serve dinner put your pot over high heat and start to cook your meat. Add the butter and mix and cook until butter is melted. Continue cooking like this, stirring occasionally for a few minutes.
5. Add water and bullion cubes. Add more water if you want lots of sauce. Add more bullion cubes for stronger flavor. You can also add more later to adjust the taste to your liking.
6. Bring to a full boil then turn down to low heat to keep things at a slow simmer. You don’t want to cook things too fast or it’ll make your meat tough. Cover and simmer for about an hour.
7. After about an hour take out a piece of meat and test for tenderness. If it sort of melts in your mouth and makes you want to eat the whole pot then you’re ready to move on to the next step.
8. Bring heat up to continue a slow boil. You don’t want it too hot. Add the desired amount of cream/evaporated milk (I use evaporated milk because that’s what I have, but would use cream if I was in Canada). If the sauce is boiling too much it’ll curdle the milk. You don’t want that.
9. To thicken sauce mix a couple tablespoons of cornstarch with an equal amount of water and stir into sauce. If it gets too thick just add a bit more water.
10. Turn heat off and let cool for about 10 minutes before serving.

We like this over mashed potatoes. In fact, eating it with mashed potatoes is like eating sophisticated comfort food. I fed this to 9 people Monday night with corn, peas & carrots, and a yummy salad and there were very few left overs. In fact, the whole meal people kept telling me how fabulous it was. You would think they hadn’t eaten a good meal in forever. Which I know wasn’t true because they had eaten breakfast and lunch with us :)

Enjoy!

~Leslie

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About Leslie

I'm Leslie. Wife. Mother. Missionary. In the day to day my husband and I are responsible for running Clean Water for Haiti, a humanitarian mission that builds and distributes water filters to Haitian families. Living in Haiti full time provides lots of stories, and as I tell my husband, our grandkids probably won't believe most of them. Maybe writing them down will give me some credibility.

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