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Beef, Bean & Basil Stew
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Place lima beans in a large saucepan. Add 4 c water and bring to a boil. Remove from heat. Cover and let stand 30 minutes. Retrun beans to heat and bring to a boil. REduce heat, cover and simmer until tender, stirring occasionally, about 2 hrs. Drain. Meanwhile, heat 2 T oil in a large dutch oven over medium heat. Add onions and chopped garlic and saute until transparent, about 10 minutes. Toss beef in flour. Add to onion mixture and cook until no longer pink about 20 minutes. Add tomatoes and their juices, stock, salt, and pepper. Cover and simmer until beef is tender, stirring occasionally, about 2 1/2 hrs. Puree 18 basil leavs, 4 garlic cloves and remaining 4 T olive oil in a blender. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Mix lima beans, basil puree and thyme into beef. Cook green beans in boiling water till crisp-tender, about 5 minutes. For topping: Preheat oven to 300deg. Bake bread slices on baking sheet until dry, about 30 minutes. Grind to crumbs in the food processor. add 8 basil leaves and garlic and process until ingredients are finely ground. Season to taste with salt and pepper. (can be prepared 4 hrs ahead and stored at room temp.) Preheat oven to 450deg. Mix 3/4 of the green beans into the beef mixture. Transfer to a large baking dish. Sprinkle with bread crumb topping and dot with butter. Bake until beef is heated through and topping is golden, about 20 minutes. Garnish with remaining green beans and basil sprigs. Serves 6
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