Thursday, July 12, 2012

Hachee in the Crock Pot

It's summer, you say.  Too hot for heavy meat and potato dishes?  Not hardly if you have my family to feed.  I'm going to share with you my all-time favorite meat-and-potato dish, known to my side of the family as Haichee.  But I looked it up and the official, Wikipedia-recognized spelling is Hachee.  It's a recipe common in the South of Holland, where I was born, and my mom got the recipe from friends we visited while we were there when I was 7.  It was a very common Sunday dinner meal in our house ever afterwards, and Mom always served it with boiled potatoes that you could mash up yourself with your fork to your own preferred degree of ... mashedness.  In the summer it's great with cottage cheese on the side, along with sliced fresh tomatoes and a big tossed salad.  The changes I made to this dish last Sunday were cooking it in a crock pot instead of stovetop, and adding chopped Swiss chard (because I love greens cooked with meat and I'm sneaky about using them up like that).  Other than browning the meat first, which you can skip if you like, it's a very easy dish to throw together.  And the beef becomes falling-apart tender, and the vinegar and bay gives it such a homey yet exotic flavor that you'll love it as much as we do.  So here goes...

Haichee/ Hachee

2 pounds beef, cut into chunks for stew
3 pounds onions, chopped (I used 2 large onions but 3 would have been better)
3 or more bay leaves
about 1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
optional: chopped greens, carrots, other seasonings such as curry powder or cayenne pepper

Brown the beef in a few tablespoons of butter in a frying pan.  When meat is browned on all sides, add onions and brown them slightly too.  Transfer to crock pot.  Add bay leaves, some glugs of vinegar and other vegetables or seasonings as desired.  Cook on low for 5-6 hours.  Serve with boiled or mashed potatoes. 

Note to self: 2 pounds of meat is not enough anymore.

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