Trick-or-Treat Beef Stew
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 pounds beef stew meat, cut into 1-inch cubes
salt and pepper
1 cup beef stock, plus ½ cup if desired
1 pound carrots, cut into ½-inch slices (you can also use whole baby carrots)
2 pounds potatoes (I like Yukon Gold or red) cut into 1-inch cubes
1 roughly chopped large onion
3 stalks thinly sliced celery
2 cloves minced garlic
8 ounces mushrooms, cut into quarters (optional)
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon dried thyme
2 teaspoons dried parsley
4 cups tomato juice, V-8, Bloody Mary mix or a combination
4 tablespoons tapioca
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper
Dry meat cubes with paper towels; season with salt and pepper. Heat heavy skillet and add 1 tablespoon oil; add half the stew meat. Cook for about 5 minutes, turning meat to brown on all sides. Place meat and any juice into slow cooker vessel; set aside and repeat with remaining beef cubes.
After meat is removed, deglaze pan with 1 cup beef stock, being careful to scrape up all the little bits and brown left behind. Pour into slow cooker. Add vegetables, spices and juice. Sprinkle with tapioca and stir thoroughly.
Set slow cooker to low and cook 6 to 7 hours. Stir. If a thicker consistency is desired, combine 2 tablespoons flour with ½ cup additional beef stock and add to slow cooker; stir well and continue cooking 30 minutes, or until thickened.
Check seasoning and adjust salt and pepper before serving. Serves 8.
Bloody Bones (Bread Sticks) and Marinara Dipping Sauce
1½ cups warm water (105 to 110 degrees)
1 package instant yeast
1 tablespoon honey, or sugar
4 cups all-purpose flour, separated
½ teaspoon salt
Your favorite marinara sauce for dipping
In 2 cup measuring cup, combine warm water, honey and yeast; stir to combine. Set aside until mixture starts to foam a little.
In a large bowl, or in the bowl of a stand-mixer, combine 3 cups flour and salt. Stir to combine.
Add water mixture to mixer bowl and mix/knead until combined, adding remaining cup of flour ¼ cup at a time, until dough pulls away from sides of the bowl -- approximately 3 minutes; dough will be a little sticky.
Cover bowl and allow to rise 30 to 45 minutes, or until doubled in size.
Line with parchment or spray a large baking sheet with non-stick spray.
Remove dough from bowl and place on a clean and lightly-floured surface. Roll dough into a 12" square, about 1-inch thick, and cut into 12 strips with a pizza cutter.
For bones: Now cut those 12 strips in half to create 24 equal 6-inch strips. Then cut half the 6-inch strips in half to create 24 3-inch strips. When finished, you should have 12 6-inch and 24 3-inch strips.
To form "bones" wrap 3-inch strips around the ends of each 6-inch strip and pinch to secure.
Place dough "bones" onto prepared baking sheet and repeat with the rest of dough.
(At this point, the baking sheet may be covered with plastic wrap and placed the refrigerator several hours or overnight, if desired, but baking sheet must be removed at least an hour prior to proceeding)
Cover loosely and allow to rest about 30 minutes in draft-free place to rise again until doubled in size.
Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
Gently brush with beaten egg and sprinkle with a little garlic salt. Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until golden-brown. Remove from oven and allow "bones" to cool 5 minutes before placing in serving dish. Serve with warm marinara for dipping. Makes 12 "bones" or 24 6-inch bread sticks