Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Monday Dinner: Beef Stew

I don't recall making beef stew before; but it sounded good, especially this time of year. So I picked up some stew meat at Buschurs, which is next to the church, and I got some carrots, celery and onions at John's IGA in Versailles. Everything else I needed, I had (or so I thought!).

But first, a puzzle and a poll. Can you guess why the drawers and doors under my sink are open thusly:

Is this because (choose answer you think is closest to the truth)

a) I am too lazy to shut them
b) I'm so forgetful I need to keep doors and drawers open so I can remember where things are
c) It's related to me being cheap
d) Because my pet parakeet likes me to do this

You can give your answer in the comments.

Meanwhile, let's talk about the stew. I used a recipe I found online. When I pulled it up, I realized it called for beef boullion cubes, which I didn't have; nor did I have any beef broth. When I go to the store next, I'll get some of that. But no worries, I found a solution I'll describe below.

The first step is to get a pot out and get some oil heating up. I thought about using bacon fat, but decided against it. Maybe next time I'll try that. Then I got the beef out and rolled it in flour.

Then that went in the pot, and started to brown. Meanwhile, I cut up my vegetables -- several carrots, an onion, and several potatoes. I had some that were getting a little soft, and the potatoes were sending out little shoots -- but that is no problem; just cut them off. I also had some shallots, so I chopped them up as well. And I decided to throw in some garlic; it wasn't called for, but so what?

While I was doing this, I kept checking and stirring the beef. As the meat was getting nicely browned, I consulted the recipe and saw the beef boullion. My solution? I substituted red wine for half the water. I had some Chianti on hand, so I used that; but something like Cabernet or Burgundy might have been better.

So the beef and broth -- plus some rosemary, parsley and pepper (I added red pepper, plus some salt since I'd left out the boullion) -- all had to simmer for an hour.

Here you can see the chopped vegetables sitting in two bowls, waiting to be thrown into the simmering pot.

After this, I went away and had something to drink while I watched "Shark Tank." I came back about an hour later, and threw in the vegetables. I forgot to take a picture, sorry. The recipe said to let it simmer another hour. When an hour was almost up, I came back, took a look, and thought, "I think I have some peas in the freezer, those would be good." I also wanted the stew thicker, so also added some flour, using the roux method (i.e., melt butter, stir flour into the butter, put butter-flour mixture in stew). So I threw those in. After another 20 minutes or so, I came back to this:

It was about 8 pm, and it was supposed to be ready. So I got some rolls out of the freezer and heated them up in the oven; buttered them, and had them with a bowl of the stew. Plus some more Chianti.

Again, I forgot to take a picture. Then the Bucks-Ducks game came on, and I had more important things to worry about, such as too many OSU turnovers! Then it was well after midnight -- to bed!


Very good! I liked this a lot. It needed a bit more salt, and would have benefited from longer cooking; the potatoes were fine, but the celery and carrots needed a bit more time. Maybe more onions; certainly more shallots and garlic would have worked. Some more broth might have been good, too. so I think the beef broth would make it better. I thought about tomatoes, too -- what do you think?


Jennifer said...

"Cheap" sounds judgmental and a bit unkind. Are you frugal, perhaps?

Anyway, that stew looks really good. Sometimes you can bake a stew overnight in the oven on a very low temperature, refrigerate it during the day, and heat it up when you are ready for dinner. I learned this technique in Germany from a woman who was an excellent cook.

I do so enjoy reading your blog!

Marc Puckett said...

Cheap but frugal is better... is that a radiator that your sink and cupboards have been built around? No frozen kitchen pipes, perhaps?

rcg said...

Nothing to add to this one. Like my mom used to make.

Eileen Krauss said...

Dear Friends. You are a product of waste not want not. You have learned from dad to keep doors open where there might be heat coming out. So I say it is lettter C. That is my final answer. Take care, love Eileen

Eileen Krauss said...

Dear father, that last comment from me should've said dear father oops sorry about that I didn't check my spelling or my words. take care, Eileen

Jenny said...

Cheap, I think...
I would not worry about using bouillon cubes--too artificial a flavor. Maybe some beef broth, but the red wine sounds good. When I make stew, I brown the beef as you did, then add onions, garlic and celery to cook with the beef. The carrots and potatoes go in later. I also add frozen peas toward the end, just as you did. I would not worry about salt--it can always be added at the table. As everyone is different about salt, if you have guests, just advise them to salt their own if needed.

Fr Martin Fox said...

Eileen nailed it.

I open the doors and drawers because of the radiator below. I figured it out when I was reaching for forks, and noticed how warm they were.

Jenny said...

One more thought; I noticed you didn't salt & pepper the beef cubes before flouring...you really should do that.
Bon appetit!

Jenny said...

Oh, and you should dice the carrots same as potatoes; that will assure they cook to the same doneness. (-:

Jennifer said...

Father, that's not cheap! It's just being smart and being a good steward. :)