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?