When I was in elementary school my sister I went skiing every Wednesday in the winter. When we returned from the slopes tired and cold my mom always had our favorite meal waiting: Beef Stew and home-made Cinnamon Bread. Last weekend the weather was cold and I was in the mood to get my Martha on. I dug up my copy of Joy of Cooking and made their beef stew recipe. It’s a classic and you don’t need any gadgets besides a large pot to simmer up some beefy goodness.

First, decide what veggies to add. Joy tells you potatoes, turnips, parsnips, and carrots, plus celery and onions for the broth. I left out the turnips and added more potatoes and parsnips. You can also be crazy and add canned tomatoes. Next, make sure you get the right beef. In this day and age you can usually buy it all pre-sliced and packaged at the store – it is usually even labeled “stew meat.” If not ask your butcher for stewing beef such as chuck, short rib meat, or bottom round cut into cubes.

The recipe is as follows:

  • Season 2 lbs stewing beef with 1 tablespoon dried herbs such as thyme, marjoram, oregano or basil, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • Dredge beef with 1/2 cup flour
  • Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in your stew pot (dutch oven or just the biggest non-stick pot you’ve got)
  • Shake excess flour off beef and add to pot, brown meat on all sides (about 5 to 7 minutes total, it doesn’t have to be all the way cooked) and then remove from pot
  • Add to pot (with a little more olive oil if you need it):
  • 1/2 cup chopped onions
  • 1/2 cup chopped carrots
  • 1/2 cup chopped celery
  • 1/2 cup chopped leeks (optional, I didn’t use them because I don’t like the flavor)
  • 2 tablespoons chopped garlic (also optional, but I added)

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  • Heat until onions are softened (about 5 minutes) then add 2 bay leaves and 1 to 2 teaspoons of the same dried herbs used to season the beef, salt and pepper.
  • Next, add the beef back into the pot and pour 2 to 3 cups beef stock, dry red or white wine, or beer over the meat, enough to almost cover it ( I used 2 cups beef stock and about 1/2 a cup of Pinot Noir)
  • Bring the stew to a boil, then lower the heat, cover, and simmer for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, until the beef is fork tender

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  • Then, add to pot (cut all the veggies into bite sized chunks):
  • 2 to 3  carrots
  • 3 to 4 boiling potatoes cut into pieces
  • 2 turnips (I omitted and did more of the others)
  • 2 parsnips
  • Cover and cook another 35 to 40 minutes until the veggies are tender to the taste, and if need be, adjust the seasonings.

Voila an amazing stew! You can also make some fresh rolls, Pillsbury from those fun tube can thingies will do! Curl up with a good book, preferably Twilight, and eat your BEEEEFFFFFFFF.

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