When the days get cooler and cooler, its time for warm casseroles. Food which appeals to your soul and has you reaching out for more and more helpings. The best part of casseroles is that how easily you can whip them up,and also lesser pots and pans to go in the dishwasher.

The man had recently picked up an Electric Blue Dutch Oven. He had been looking for a Dutch Oven for a long time, but wasn't getting one which he liked. I guess its the color which might have caught his eye. I must say, that the Dutch Oven is a pretty heavy one. My introduction to dutch Oven were the countless Paula Deen episodes I might have watched. And they all featured a normal black dutch oven. And television does not give you the impression of how heavy the utensil is. My only criticism of this favorite Casserole dish of Deb, is that its not non stick. Yes, I did try to cook in and had to baby sit the pulao literally. Its cast Iron, with an electric Blue enamel coating on the outside and a pearly white enamel on the inside. Surely a big favorite of the man.

Casseroles and Stews are more up the man's alley, as he loves trying out new things  inspired by all that he has read or seen on television recently. So he came up with the idea of making a Spicy Beef Casserole and topping it with a layer of Cheddar Bay Biscuits. A perfect one pot meal he said. and he was right. Since I have a thing for spicy food, he decided to amp up the spice factor in the casserole.

While I don't use ready make mixes as such when I am baking, but there are times when I do make an exception. This recipe which the man was talking about needed a layer of Biscuits over the hearty beef stew layer. I was not too confident of my biscuit making skills, or how soft would they be. So we settled for a pack of Red Lobster Biscuit Mix. We used half the box to layer the casserole. The helping would have served 4 people. The Biscuits make a great textural contrast to the rich stew layer. The Biscuits soak up the juices of the beef and it all comes together very well for a weeknight dinner plate.

We had just picked up a bottle of roasted bell peppers,and this was a perfect chance to incorporate them in a meal. They are just perfect in a grilled Panini. Mushrooms, Zuchhini and Red wine compliment the chuck very well.

So go ahead and give it a spin for a weeknight dinner on these cold nights. you will surely be making it pretty often.


Recipe courtesy: 100 Best Casseroles and Stews

All Purpose Flour: 2 tbsp
Beef Chuck : 2 lb
Olive Oil: 2 tbsp
Onion: 1 large: Sliced
Garlic Cloves: 4 to 5 : Crushed
Chili " 1- 2 : Chopped(depending on the heat preferences)
Zucchini: 1 : sliced
Red Bell Pepper: 1: sliced ( we used roasted bell peppers) Button Mushrooms: 2 cups: sliced
Tomato Paste: 1 tbsp
Red Wine: 2 cups
Beef stock or Chicken : 1 cup
Bay leaf: 1 or 2
Salt and Pepper

Biscuit Topping:
any biscuit mix
Cheddar Cheese: Grated: 1 cup

Pre heat the oven to 325 F.

Put the flour in a bowl and season well with salt and pepper.Add the beef and toss until well coated and reserve any remaining seasoned flour,  heat half the oil in a flame proof casserole dish or a Dutch Oven. Add the beef and cook until browned all over.

Mix the Biscuit mix according to the package instructions. add in the grated the cheddar cheese. keep aside.

Remove the beef with a slotted spoon. Heat the remaining oil in the Dutch Oven,add the onion and garlic and cook over medium heat,stirring. Add the chili, zucchini,red bell pepper and mushrooms and cook, stirring for an additional 5 minutes.

Stir in the remaining flour and tomato paste and then stir in the wine. Pour in the stock and the bay leaves,then bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and cook over low heat,stirring until thickened. return the Beef to the Dutch Oven,cover,and bake in the pre-heated oven for around 45 minutes.

We transferred the beef to another baking dish and used an ice cream scoop to top the cooked beef with the biscuit mix. Arrange the dough circles over the top,then return to the oven for an additional 30 minutes or until the topping is golden brown.

Bon Appetit !!!! 

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