Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Beefy Stew

I made a beef stew last night and it turned out so well I thought I would share it. I found 1½ pounds of sirloin beef on sale so I decided to greet our change to autumn weather with a hearty meal. You can use round steak or even chuck steak for this recipe but cut it up in pieces about 1 inch square. (I think that supermarkets sell you beef stew pieces that are too big to cook and eat easily … and need to be at least halved.  Cooks Illustrated magazine recommends sirloin steak tips for beef stew.)

Dice one large onion and sauté it in a few tablespoons of olive oil. (Bacon grease would also be good.) Use a Le Creuset pot if available, otherwise, a cast iron one. Add a few chopped up garlic cloves and cook till transparent. Salt and pepper the meat well and brown it along with the onions and garlic. Next add a small package of mushrooms, cleaned and halved. Now clean and chop three carrots, two celery stalks (with leaves). Add them. After things are well amalgamated add a bouquet garni (I used a teaspoon of powdered bouquet garni from Penzey’s Spices. See here), one bay leaf, a half teaspoon of dried thyme, two tablespoons of chopped parsley, three squirts of Lea and Perrins, five peppercorns, five allspice berries, a third bottle of Bogle old-vine zinfandel, and a container of good beef stock (Emeril’s was good). Bring up to a simmer. Halve 7 or 8 baby Yukon Gold potatoes and add them. Mix well with a fork a heaping tablespoon of flour with an equal amount of softened butter and stir well into the pot. Continue simmering this concoction on the back of the stove for at least one hour (two is better). Then remove the bay leaf (and bouquet garni, if not powered) and adjust the seasoning. Serve with the remaining bottle of Bogel’s zinfandel and a crusty baguette. Enjoy!

Now, when done, if it is still light out, go out and rake some leaves.

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