Sunday, October 2, 2011

Beef Stew

Beef  Stew
Been overcast for so long, gotta go with some stew even though it's not that cold yet. Everyone has their own spin on beef stew., and i've played with a few different methods. The mood hit me today for tonight's dinner, so no marinade here. Feel free to marinate the beef overnight in some red wine, Worcestershire Sauce, garlic rosemary & thyme for extra intense flavor, but don't be scared if you want stew today and no patience. This stew is quite delicious already.

As an alternative cooking method, brown the meat, de-glaze with wine and add everything to a slow cooker on low for about 6 hours, but the potatoes get overdone in my opinion.

1 1/2 lbs Stew Meat cube into bit size pieces - about 3/4 inch
1 1/2 lbs Baby Potatoes - no peeling required - dice same - cover w  water to prevent browning
1 medium Onion- diced rough. (today's was a purple onion, so exciting)
2 Carrots - sliced bite size - i like the bias
2 Celery - sliced bite size
2 Parsnip - sliced bite size
4 cups (32 oz, or 1 qt) Beef Stock - low sodium
1 cup red wine - today's was lifted from my Mother -In -Law's Vin Rose in the big green jug!
1/4 cup Worcestershire Sauce
2 tbsp Flour
2 tbsp dry Rosemary - dried works just fine or 3 tbsp fresh if available, mince with knife or spice mill
2 tbsp dry Thyme - same as above
Salt and Pepper to Taste
Olive Oil as needed

Browned Stew Meat
As you look through the ingredients, it may not jump out that this was an "on hand" recipe. After a frantic errand filled morning, i simply forgot to get Vidalias, my onion of choice, some Cabernet, my red wine of choice, and some fresh herbs. We always have dry on hand, and i am tired of being made to feel guilty about using them and the same goes for my big green jug of Vin Rose. It's been Maria's (mom-in-law) wine of choice for years and the Maria has a black belt in cooking.
Stew Vegetables

Pre-heat an 8 qt pot (cast iron works great here, need to get me some) on medium with a couple of  tbsp Olive Oil. Toss the meat with the herbs, salt and pepper. Then toss with the 2 tbsp of flour to lightly coat the meat evenly. If there is flour & herbs left in the bowl, put aside for now, but keep them. Depending how wide your pot is, you may need 2 or 3 rounds of browning the meat. Drop the meat in the pan, giving the pieces plenty of room so they do not steam. We are looking for nice golden brown char on the meat here, about 2-3 minutes per side. Remove to a bow and replace as needed until all the meat is browned. You may need to add oil in between round, and don't worry about the bits sticking to the pan, we'll get to those.

Drop the heat t medium low, toss in the veggies, NOT the potatoes, and saute to help them develop their flavors with a little salt and pepper. When the onions start to turn translucent, add the 1 cup of wine and use a spoon or spatula to work in the bits on the bottom of the pan. FLAVOR is there waiting for you. Simmer & reduce the wine by about half. Add a couple of tbsp Beef Stock to the leftover flour and herbs, whisk together well, and add to the pan with the rest of the stock. Bring to a simmer cover for one hour, stirring occasional and tast for salt and pepper. After an hour, drain the potatos and add to the pot. Simmer for one more hour. Serve with some fresh warm bread and Enjoy!

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