Thursday, January 17, 2013

Cold night stew

Probably every amateur cook  has heard of Julia Child's Boeuf Bourguignon.  It's a stew with beef and carrots cooked in a red wine broth. Following her recipe exactly is a lot of work with a lot of ingredients.  This variation was easy and satisfying on a cold winter night.

A note: cooking shows sometimes pretentiously advise cooks to "never use a wine you wouldn't drink".  It's implied that using cheap red wine (CRW) will not taste good.  These same people will moan about how the complex flavors of wine will be destroyed if the wine is allowed in an environment that is more than 80 degrees.  I use the cheap stuff for cooking , but then I'll also drink it.

Recipe #49  CRW Beef Stew

1-1.5 pounds beef chuck
1 pound carrots
1 diced onion
1 rib of celery - diced
1/4 cup flour
1 or 2 cups red wine
1 can beef broth (or two cups water)
salt and pepper
Herbs de Provence
Mashed potatoes 2-4 servings
1 package frozen pearl onions (10 ounces)

Cut the beef into uniform chunks.  Brown the meat in a little oil.  Lots of brown stuff (fond) on the bottom if the pan leads to good flavor so don't crowd the meat.  I browned mine in three batches. 

Remove the meat and cook the diced onion and celery.  Scrape up the fond.  Add the meat back into the pot and stir in the flour.   Keeping stirring until the flour disappears.

  Add carrots.  Add the wine, broth, and/or enough water to cover the ingredients. Let the pot simmer for a couple of hours until the meat is tender.  This can be done ahead of time and the pot reheated.

Heat a bit of oil in a non-stick fry pan and add the pearl onions.  Stir them around the pan until they brown.

Put a mound of mashed potatoes in a bowl. (I used left-overs, but the combination was so good I would do it even if I had to cook some potatoes.)  Ladle stew on/around the .potatoes.  Put a couple of tablespoons of the hot, browned onions on top. Eat.

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