Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Winter Fare

Is there anything on earth more warming and hearty than beef stew? If there is, I can't imagine it. Rich with red wine and beefy broth, satisfying with earthy, tasty vegetables, it's the perfect meal for a winter dinner.

Inspired but not constrained by Julia Child's version, I browned the beef cubes thoroughly in olive oil in a deep pot, added a huge slivered onion still on high heat to get that stronger onion flavor that comes with high heat, added some sliced garlic toward the end of the sauté period, then poured roughly equal amounts of red wine and beef broth to cover by about an inch, added a couple of bay leaves and about a tablespoon of dry thyme, and simmered the bejaysus out of it, covered, for a couple of hours.

Once the meat was tender, I added chunks of orange, black and yellow carrot, separately sautéed whole mushrooms and shallots to the pot and simmered until they were nearly tender. When they were nearing liftoff, I melted about three tablespoons of butter in a small saucepan, cooked an equal amount of flour in it for a few minutes, then ladled in the juices from the stewpot, stirring as it thickened and continuing to ladle in and stir more juice until it reached a nice, smooth, pourable consistency. Then, back into the stewpot to mingle with the rest of the juices and make an incredible gravy.

Served it in a bowl over small, thumb-crushed, boiled potatoes. The only thing missing was some sort of juice soaker-upper, like bread or biscuits. Cora was happy, though, as she got to slurp up the rest of the gravy in our bowls. There wouldn't have been any if we'd had bread - it was too tasty to waste. Hearty, warming winter fare.



Blogger cookiecrumb said...

I can't believe you gave that goozle to your dog!
I appreciated learning from the Julia recipe about sauteeing mushrooms (in buttah!) at the end, and adding them to the stew while they still have texture. Yum. None of those slippery, melted blobs.
Seriously tasty, wasn't it? Take that, winter.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010  
Blogger namastenancy said...

I can't believe that you gave the juice to Cora either. But then, she deserves a reward for guarding your castle (her territory) against the wind and the rain that cometh in the night. I have a stew simmering on the stove as I write this and then, back to the studio for more writing and painting. Upstairs neighbors still asleep so it's quiet except for soft classical music and the sound of the rain.
It's heavenly!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010  
Blogger Greg said...

That sounds so good! May be the cure for the winter time blues.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010  
Blogger Zoomie said...

Cookiecrumb, she only got what a fork wouldn't lift. And yes to the separately sautéed mushrooms and shallots - makes all the difference!

Nancy, sounds perfect to be in your own quiet nest with stew on the stove.

Greg, truly, it will cure what ails you.

Thursday, January 21, 2010  

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