Monday, February 4, 2008

Adventures in Stew-Making

I'm in Grad school now, but as most of my classes are on the weekends, I spend more time than I should in front of the television. Most days I watch Ina, Paula, Giada, Michael, Rachel, and Tyler. You know who I'm talking about. Anyway, last week Ina of Barefoot Contessa was making stew. I'm not exactly a stew kind-of girl. I didn't eat stew growing up, in fact, I don't know that I've ever eaten stew before now.... its a damn shame. All those potatoes and chunks of meat with beans and carrots peaked my interest. So the next night I decided to make stew.

Ina used a dutch oven (hehe) in her stew and cooked it in the oven. But we don't have a dutch oven. And I lack patience. Soooo.. I used her recipe combined with some other recipe, combined with good ole' food common sense and made, what I think, turned out pretty awesome. I'm submitting this stew to this month's Monthly Mingle about comfort foods over at What's For Lunch Honey. Thanks Meeta!

Randi's Beef Stew
(a take on Ina Garten's Parker's Beef Stew)

1 1/2 pounds good quality chuck beef, cut into 1 1/2-inch cubes
Good red wine - enough to cover meat
3 whole garlic cloves, smashed
3 bay leaves
1 cups all-purpose flour
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1-2 yellow onions, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 pound carrots, peeled and cut diagonally in 1 1/2-inch chunks
1/2 pound white mushrooms, stems discarded and cut in 1/2
1 pound small potatoes, halved or quartered (I used yukon gold)
1 pound green beans, washed, trimmed and halved (you can obviously use frozen)
2 cups chicken stock or broth
1/2 cup chopped sun-dried tomatoes
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

Remove the meat from the packaging and put into a large bowl with the 3 cloves of smashed garlic and the bay leaves. Pour enough red wine in the bowl until all the meat is covered. Leaving sitting for a least half an hour, or up to overnight in the refridgerator.

While the meat marinates, saute the onions and mushrooms in a large saucepan with some olive oil on med heat. When the onions become translucent and the mushrooms have sweated out, remove them to a bowl.

On a plate or bowl combine flour, salt and pepper and dredge the meat in flour, using a slotted spoon to move the meat from the marinade to the flour. Adding some more oil to the onion pan, cook the meat, in batches if necessary, making sure to brown each side. Add more oil when necessary. When the meat is done cooking, remove to a bowl. De-glaze the pan by ladel ing the remaining cooking wine, minus the bay leaves, into the pan. Make sure to scrape up the brown bits on the bottom of the pan. When the wine starts to reduce, add back the beef, onions and mushrooms, and remaining ingredients. Bring the pot to a bowl and then reduce to simmer with the lid on for 45 minutes. Then cook for another hour with the lid off, allowing the liquid to reduce and thicken. Add salt and pepper if necessary.

I basically cooked this till it looked cooked down enough, everything was cooked through, and the meat became more tender. The longer I cooked, the more tender the meat got... so it's really a patience and preference thing. I had bought some cornbread at Whole Foods, and that went really nicely with the stew. Obviously, you can make your own, but they were having a sale. Enjoy!


Peter M said...

Randi, the stew looks spot-on and you've missed out on some stews in your lifetime, get with it!

Gals, the site's new look is cool.

Kevin said...

That stew looks nice and tasty.

MeetaK said...

Oh yes! Comfy pure! This looks incredible!

katiez said...

You have discovered the secret to good stew: red wine! Both in the stew and in the glass - it helps with that 'patience' thing....

nicole said...

Yum! I did grow up eating stew and to me, it's such a comfort food! I'm glad you've discovered it! :-)

Terry B said...

Randi, I'm so glad you've become a stew convert! You're absolutely right about stew needing patience to cook right. I just made an oven-braised stew that spends a couple of hours in the oven before I had the vegetables and finish it on the stovetop.

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