Meat Sauce and Mushrooms

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wwltv.com

Posted on June 21, 2011 at 6:40 PM

 

3 lbs. ultra-lean ground round
¼ cup Canola oil for sautéing
2 cups diced onions         
1 cup diced celery
½ cup finely diced bell pepper
6 cloves minced garlic
1 lb. sliced mushrooms
1/3 cup all-purpose flour + meat drippings
4 cups Campbell’s Chicken Broth
1/4 cup minced parsley
2 bay leaves
1 tsp. sweet basil
1 tsp. cumin
1 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp. red pepper flakes
2 tsp. salt
1 bunch thinly sliced green onions
2 lbs. extra-broad egg noodles cooked al dente
2 cups finely shredded cheddar for garnish

First, take a large oval roaster and drop in the ground round.  Then stirring continuously,  cook the meat over a medium flame until it becomes a beautiful golden brown. 

Hint: the beef will brown more easily if you take a ladle and remove the rendered fat from the pot as it accumulates.  

When the ground meat is done, remove it from the oval roaster, place it into a colander, place the colander into a large bowl to catch the drippings, and allow the excess fat to drain off the meat (but be sure to keep the drippings—you’ll need them).

Next, in the same oval roaster, but this time with the flame set to high, pour in the Canola oil and sauté the onions, celery, bell peppers, garlic, and mushrooms until they begin to caramelize (they become a rich golden brown without burning).  

Then when the veggies are ready, remove them from the roaster as well and place them to drain on top of the ground beef in the colander. 

At this step, it’s time to make your roux. 

In the same oval roaster, pour in the meat and veggie drippings (they’ll give you a concentrated flavor intensity as opposed to straight oil out of the bottle) and work the flour into a smooth paste using a wire whisk. 

Keep the flour moving continuously, though! 

If you stop whisking the roux will burn and produce a bitter taste in the final dish.  After it goes though all the color stages and changes from a beige to a light tan to a light brown to a dark brown, the roux is ready.

Immediately at this point stir all the ingredients in the colander back into the roaster and pour in the chicken broth.  Then with a spoon mix everything together uniformly, reduce the flame to low, cover the pot with the lid, and simmer the mixture for about 10 minutes. 

After this short simmering time, stir in the parsley, the bay leaves, the basil, the cumin, the Worcestershire sauce, the red pepper flakes and the salt, cover the pot once more, and simmer the dish for a full hour, stirring occasionally. 

Following the exact proportions allocated in this recipe, you should get just the right consistency in the final dish.  But if for some reason or another, the mixture becomes too thick, simply stir in a little extra chicken stock.

About a minute or two before you’re ready to serve, stir in the thinly sliced green onions. 

Then ladle the meat sauce over soup bowls heaped with the hot egg noodles and gently fold everything together. 

A generous sprinkling of finely shredded cheddar cheese over the top of the dish complements the presentation, and a piece of hot buttered French bread on the side makes for the perfect lagniappe.

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Chef’s Notes:

      • When making your roux, to reduce the amount of water in the beef drippings heat them for about 10 minutes or so in the oval roaster to drive off the moisture (thereby leaving only the beef fat remaining) before sprinkling in the flour. 
      • The proper way to serve the dish is to always ladle the meat sauce over the noodles; never mix the noodles into the pot of meat sauce.  To do the latter would cause the noodles to completely absorb all the sauce, thus producing a dryness in the final dish. 

     

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