Last Chance Beef Stew

Today was my last real opportunity to make a meaningful beef stew.  Or so I’m deluding myself.  It’s the type of dish that demands cold weather and particularly compliments a crapping sky.  Lets just say I’m done with 35 degrees and cloudy-vomit-rain.  I’m prepared to accept nothing less than sun and 60’s.  So yes, this is my last chance to enjoy the comfort of beef stew.

Okay, about this beef stew.  I don’t like the final picture.  Quite honestly, I’m posting it, but with sincere doubt it holds any enticing power.  The liquid appears gritty.  Or maybe silty.  Either way, eew.  Therefore, I’m counting on word’s to sell this dish.  And since it’s me, your ever-charming guide/author/blogger who faces this task, well, let’s set an appropriately low bar.

Underneath this stew’s shabby appearance there is flavor.  Flavor and tender meat.  It is exactly what you expect from a long marinade and cooking period.  So I’m just going to skip the sales pitch and move on to the construction.  It’s a stew.  It tastes good.

Beef Stew

James Peterson Cooking

3 Lbs beef, cut into cubes

2 Carrots

1 Large Onion

½ Head of Garlic

2 Cups Red Wine

2 Cups Stock or Water

2 Tbsp Butter

3 Tbsp Oil (Olive or Canola)

¼ Cup Flour

1 Bouquet Garni

Garnitures (Mushrooms, Pearl Onions, etc.)

Start by cubing your meet and place it in a bowl.  Next, chop up the carrots, onion, and garlic and throw it all in the meat bowl.  Pour in enough red wine so that all of the little guys in the bowl get a taste.  Add the Bouquet Garni1.  Let it marinate for 1-12 hours.

Reacquaint yourself with the marinating bits and pieces.  Pull out all of the beef chunks and pat dry with a paper towel. Then salt and pepper the beef.

Put some flour on a plate or dish.  Lightly coat the chunks of beef in flour taking care to shake off the excess.

Put oil in the bottom of the stewing vessel you plan to use.  I don’t know, some heavy bottom pot you can chuck in the oven later.  In stages, brown the meat.  Be sure to give each piece enough surface area to gain a nice sear on each side.  Once seared on all sides remove the meat and do round two.  Then round three.  After all of the meat is seared set it aside.

Strain the vegetables from the wine marinade and keep both parts separately.  Also remove the bouquet garni.  In your meat searing pot toss in two tablespoons of butter and heat until it foams.  This will incorporate itself with juices and crud left over from the searing.  Add the vegetables and heat until softened.  Then add the seared meat.  Add the wine.  Add enough stock or water to cover all the bits.  Place the bouquet garni on top.  Finally, throw in salt and pepper to your taste.

Put a lid on it, and toss it in the oven at 375 degrees for 2 ½ hours, or until the meat is tender to the touch of a knife.  Remember to pull out the bouquet garni before eating.

When the stew will see no more heat, add any garnitures you would like.  We added mushrooms sauteed in olive oil.  Sauteed pearl onions are also popular.

1 If you haven’t made a bouquet garni before its quite easy.  “Bouquet garni” is French for “garnished bouquet.”  Generally it is a bundle of herbs tied together and boiled with ingredients in a stew or soup.  Tying all of the herbs together allows you to easily remove at the end of cooking.  No one wants a twig in her stew.  I use whatever fresh herbs I have on hand.  Generally some combination of thyme, rosemary, tarragon, sage, parsley…you get the picture!


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