Friday, December 9, 2011

My First Stew!

I have never made beef stew. I'm a seasoned turkey/chicken souper, but i have never stewed. I also do not own a crockpot - my old one got dinged in one of my many moves. So when my mother gifted me with several pounds of local, grass fed beef along with a scribbled recipe for her beef stew, i was hesitant to commit to the project. I promised the hubs that i would, though and it really turned out amazing!  I started cooking at about noon, 2 hours late according to my mama, and the smells of stewing yum filled our little apartment for the rest of the day. I wish i'd baked up a fresh loaf of crusty bread to go with the flavorful stew, but a slice of toasted Dave's Killer Bread with local butter was pretty nice too.


Mom's Beef Stew, a la Miranda
  • 1 pound grass fed stew meat
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 5 cloves garlic, chopped
  • the last of the potatoes ( about four small potatoes, chopped )
  • 1 turnip, chopped
  • 4 small carrots, chopped
  • bunch of cilantro, chopped (okay okay - chop everything in this list)
  • several hot peppers, fresh and dried
  • tomato sauce, paste, or roasted - i used some frozen tomatoes i had roasted during the summer
  • optional celery and/or other soupy veggies like parsnips, radish, etc
  • 1/2 cup - 1 cup mushrooms - i used some blanched and frozen chanterelles from an earlier mushroom hunt
  • salt/ pepper/ clove/ cumin
  • drizzle oil
  • 3 cups water/stock/red wine
  • splash apple cider vinegar
  • splash worchestershire sauce
  • handful flour 
  • 2 fresh bay leaves
As per usual, the measurements are approximate.  Toss the chopped onions, garlic and meat in a bag with the flour. Coat the bottom of a stockpot with oil and brown the meat. Cover with the liquid and toss in everything else except for the carrots, potatoes, turnips and cilantro. Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer and keep covered on low for the next foreseeable future. About an hour before serving add the other veggies and splash of vinegar, bring to a boil then cover and simmer on low again until potatoes and carrots are cooked to your liking.
 

What really surprised me about this stew was how much it tasted like my mom's, even though i'd added cumin and hot peppers. My husband said 'well, it definitely tastes like beef.' I guess that's it: i just don't really know what beef tastes like. In this case, it tasted good and was the perfect amount of spicy. The roasted tomatoes added some sweetness and the vinegar at the end brightens the stew up a bit. The cilantro just adds another level to the stew without making it 'chilly' like at all.
I'm really looking forward to seconds tonight, along with some locally baked crusty bread. :)

Do you have a favorite stew recipe? Where did you get it?

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