Sunday, January 6, 2019

Comfort Food~A Good Beef Stew

Making stew is a perfect weekend activity and this time of year perfect comfort food. Most of the work is done up front, then all you need to do is enjoy the lovely aromas that fill your kitchen as the stew simmers. There are so many different ways to prepare a good beef stew but I will share mine. It never fails to please my husband.

Many years ago, 1969 to be exact, the year I got married. Yes, we have been married for 49 years now. This was given to me by my dear mother. It apparently was printed in our newspaper the year we were married and it has served me well. I have saved this clipping all these years.
The title certainly speaks volumes about the times we lived in at the time. However, the truth is as I have learned over the years is that if you serve your husband or significant other a good meal often they'll love you forever. 
Now I have changed my recipe over the years and there are surely many ways to change it up but this recipe is my go to recipe when I prepare a beef stew.
 Using a 5 quart heavy pot (I use a Le Crueset Pot) I begin with mixing the flour, salt, and freshly ground pepper together in a shallow bowl. Dredge the meat in the mixture and shake off any excess flour. You want the meat to be bite size pieces, often the grocery cuts them in to too large of  pieces. After dredging in the flour mixture brown them in batches if necessary on all sides. Begin with just a couple of tablespoons of olive oil but add more olive oil to it if the pot gets too dry.
 Remove the browned meat, add a little more olive oil and then add the Mirepoix. This is a French term for finely chopped carrots, onion and celery. Sauté' them just until the onions are clear. Add the garlic and sauté for just a minute being careful not to burn the garlic.
 Move all the vegetables to one side to make room for the tomato paste. Cook it just long enough to deepen the flavor, just a couple of minutes.
Add to the pot 2 cups of a good beef broth, tomato sauce, a cup of water, a dash of Worcestershire sauce, bundle of fresh thyme, bay leaf, a tablespoon of beef base (optional) and the browned beef chunks. Sometimes I add in some beef base for a little added depth of flavor and simmer for an hour.
Then add in your prepped veggies; carrots, potatoes and mushrooms and cook until just tender. I usually don't even peel my potatoes using Yukon gold potatoes or small reds since they have such a thin skin. When the veggies are tender and just before serving I add a cup of a good red wine (optional), something you would drink with this dinner  Since my husband likes his stew served over egg noodles it makes for a delicious comfort food.
A Good Beef Stew

1 1/2- 2 Pounds beef round chunks
1/4 cup flour
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
olive oil
1 large onion finely diced
2 carrots finely diced
2 stalks celery finely diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1-2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 cups beef broth
15-ounce can tomato sauce
1 cup water
dash of Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon beef base (optional)
salt and pepper to taste
2-3 sprigs of fresh thyme tied in a bundle
1 bay leaf
4 carrots, cut in chunks
6 Yukon gold potatoes, cut in chunks
8-ounces or more fresh baby Portobello mushrooms, sliced or in large chunks
1 cup of a good red wine (optional)
a sprinkling of freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Mix together flour, salt and pepper in a shallow bowl. Cut beef chunks into bite size pieces, dredge in flour mixture.

In a large heavy Dutch Oven, heat olive oil and begin to brown beef on all sides.

Add some more olive oil if needed and add the mirepoix, finely diced onion, celery and carrots. Sauté just until onions are clear and then add in the garlic. Sauté the garlic for just a minute taking care not to burn the garlic.

Make a spot in the pot moving veggies to the side to sauté the tomato paste for just a few minutes. Add the beef broth, tomato sauce,  sprigs of thyme tied in a bundle, bay leaf, water, salt and pepper to taste and simmer for an hour, covered.

Add to the pot all the veggies, carrots, potatoes, mushrooms. Cook until just tender. Check again to make sure if salt and pepper are needed. In the meantime cook the egg noodles according to package directions. When the veggies are cooked add the wine if desired. Serve stew over a bed of egg noodles, sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and Enjoy.

An excellent Beef Stew, it's a "Good Thing". All that is needed to round out this dinner would be a simple mixed green salad.

I hope you will try this stew, it is delicious and thank you for visiting my blog.