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THREE Days Till Halloween…

By Jackie Burrell
Wednesday, October 29th, 2008 at 5:34 am in Cuisine, Halloween.

Ghoulash (Mark DuFrene, Contra Costa Times)
It’s hard to get little trick-or-treaters to down something nutritious on Halloween night. They’re much too eager to go scavenging for candy to wait for you to, like, cook something. But if you whip up this “ghoulash” the night before, you can just nuke it and scoop it on Halloween night. This recipe’s both delicious and easy, and it’s from our new favorite book, “A Ghostly Good Time: The Family Halloween Handbook.” You’ll find even more recipe ideas – including the cheesy spider perched on the bowl above – in this morning’s Times and Tribune food section spread on Halloween parties. Here’s how to make the Ghoulash…

Serves 8
2½ pounds beef chuck for stew meat, cut into 1½-inch pieces
1 tablespoon flour
2 teaspoons cumin
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon ground pepper
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 large onion, chopped
8 ounces sliced mushrooms
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup red wine or broth
16-ounce can tomatoes in juice, chopped, juices reserved
Sour cream

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Toss beef with the flour, cumin, salt and pepper. Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a large Dutch oven and brown the meat on all sides. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the meat to a bowl.

2. Heat the remaining tablespoon of oil in the pot. Add the onions, mushrooms and garlic. Cook, stirring, until the onions are translucent and the mushrooms are golden, about 3 minutes. Add the wine, tomatoes and their juices, and the meat, and bring to a boil.

3. Cover the pot and place it in the oven. Bake until the beef is tender, about 2 to 2½ hours. Skim any excess fat from the top. Season with salt and pepper, and serve in bowls, topped with dollops of sour cream or, if you want to be clever, spoon the sour cream into a Ziplock bag, snip off a corner and pipe a spiral of sour cream on top of the stew. Draw a toothpick through the sour cream to make a spiderweb. Serve with cheesy spiders.

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