Saturday, March 8, 2008

Beef Stew

It’s been was such a doomy and gloomy day today I decided a beef stew was in order. Something we could scoop into a bowl and take into the living room with us while we watched a movie. Both kids are still recovering from sickness. Evan is better, but still very weak and has had about 6 bites of food since Wednesday. He has been drinking tons of Gatorade so he’s not in danger of dehydrating. Jesse doesn’t seem to be as sick, but has a good case of the sniffles and both of them have a cough. Everyone (‘cept me) has been napping on and off all day. There were a few times during the day that the house was so silent the only sound was of me chopping vegetables for the stew. I’m not used to this quietness. I’ll be happy when everyone is well again and the sound of video games being played, or of the boys laughing, or arguing, or talking on the phone to their friends fills the house again. I never thought I’d be happy to hear them argue.

Notes on the stew: I realized half way through making this that I didn’t have any potatoes. Wait that’s not exactly true, I did have potatoes, but when I went to get them in the bin they all looked like green mutant octopi. Not good eats. I knew I had mushrooms. I always have mushroom, so I threw those in instead and added a little more carrots then I usually do. Sometimes I serve this over noodles, home made preferably. This time I served it over rice.

Hearty Beef Stew
Recipe from Cooks Illustrated

3 pounds chuck-eye roast or stew beef cut into 1 ½ inch cubes.
1 ½ teaspoons table salt
1-teaspoon black pepper
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 medium onions chopped coarse (about 2 cups)
3 medium garlic cloves, minced
3 tablespoons all purpose flour
1 cup red wine (preferably full bodied)
2 cups chicken broth
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon, dried thyme
6 small potatoes, cut into small pieces
4 large carrots, peeled and sliced ¼ inch
1 cup frozen peas, thawed
¼ cup minced fresh parsley


1. Heat oven to 300 degrees. Place beef cubes in large bowl. Sprinkle with salt and pepper; toss to coat. Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil over medium-high heat in large nonreactive soup kettle; add beef to kettle in two separate batches. Brown meat on all sides, about 5 minutes per batch, adding remaining tablespoon of oil if needed. Remove meat and set aside. Add onions to now empty kettle; sauté until almost softened, 4 to 5 minutes. Reduce heat to medium and add garlic; continue to sauté about 30 seconds longer. Stir in flour; cook until lightly colored, 1 to 2 minutes. Add wine, scraping up any browned bits that may have stuck to kettle. Add stock, bay leaves, and thyme; bring to simmer. Add meat; return to simmer. Cover and place in oven; simmer about 30 minutes.

2. Remove kettle from oven, add potatoes and carrots, cover, and return to oven. Simmer until meat is just tender, about 1 1/2 hours. Remove stew from oven. Add peas and allow to stand 5 minutes. Stir in parsley, adjust seasonings, and serve.

(Can be cooled, covered, and refrigerated up to 3 days.)
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