Brisket Stew with Tomatoes and Mushrooms

Brisket Stew with Tomatoes and Mushrooms

4 tablespoons vegetable oil

2 pounds beef brisket, trimmed of excess fat, cut into 1 1/4- to 1 1/2-inch pieces and patted dry

1 large onion, chopped

1 medium clove garlic, crushed

1 sprig fresh thyme or 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme, crumbled

1 bay leaf

3 fresh parsley stems plus 1 tablespoon chopped leaves

1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon all-purpose flour

4 (14 1/2-ounce) cans diced tomatoes, drained

About 2 to 2 1/2 cups water

Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

8 ounces pearl onions

8 ounces medium mushrooms, quartered

Heat 2 tablespoons oil in 4- to 5-quart stew pan or Dutch oven. Add beef in batches and brown cubes over medium-high heat on all sides.

Transfer cubes to a plate as they brown.

Add chopped onion to stew pan and cook over low heat, stirring often, about 7 minutes or until softened.

Meanwhile, wrap garlic, thyme, bay leaf and parsley stems in a piece of cheesecloth and tie ends to form a seasoning bag.

Return meat to pan, reserving any juices on plate, and sprinkle meat with flour.

Toss lightly to coat meat with flour. Cook over low heat, stirring, 5 minutes.

Pour juices from plate over beef. Stir in tomatoes and 2 cups water, or enough to just cover beef. Add cheesecloth bag, salt and pepper and bring to boil, stirring often.

Cover and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally and adding more water if pan becomes dry, about 3 1/2 hours or until beef is tender when pierced with tip of a sharp knife.

Discard cheesecloth bag.

Meanwhile, add pearl onions to medium saucepan of boiling water and boil 1 minute. Drain, rinse with cold water, and peel with aid of a paring knife. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in medium, heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Add pearl onions and saute, shaking pan occasionally, about 4 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove with slotted spoon. Heat remaining tablespoon oil in skillet. Add mushrooms, salt, and pepper and saute until lightly browned, about 3 minutes.

Add onions and mushrooms to stew and simmer about 25 minutes or until onions are tender.

If sauce is too thick, stir in a few tablespoons water.

If sauce is too thin, carefully remove beef and vegetables using slotted spoon; boil sauce, uncovered, stirring often, until lightly thickened, and then return beef and vegetables to stew pan. Adjust seasoning.

Stir in parsley leaves. Serve stew from stew pan or deep serving dish.

Makes 4 servings.

Per serving: 671 calories; 42 g fat (12 g saturated fat; 56 percent calories from fat); 31 g carbohydrates; 129 mg cholesterol; 684 mg sodium; 44 g protein; 7 g fiber.

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