Monday, November 27, 2006

Beef and Vegetable Stew

What can you say about a meal of meat and veggies that is cooked on a cool New England Sunday and allowed to simmer for hours... other than DELICIOUS!?!?

We've never taken on beef stew, and we felt that it should be in our arsenal of recipes, so Stacey made it her mission yesterday to deliver.

I coated about 3lbs stew meat in a light coating of seasoned (salt and pepper) flour and seared them in canola oil in our Dutch Oven. I worked in about 4 batches so as not to crowd, and I also added more oil when needed.

After they were browned, they were set aside, and I deglzed the yummy brown bits with 1/2 cup cabernet and then removed the deglaze-juice for later use. Now time for the veggies! I cut up all the veggies in at least 1 inch cubes b/c I didn't want them to disintegrate while simmering for so long!

This time in the Dutch Oven, I used olive oil and threw in 1 onion, 4 ribs of celery and about 6 medium carrots, seasoning with S&P. After 6-7 minutes, I threw in about 12 baby bella mushrooms. A couple minutes more cooking time, then I removed those veggies and set them aside.

Next come the yellow turnips or rutabegas! These are a GREAT subsitution for potatoes to cut down on some of the carbs - and I swear when the dish is finished you can't tell the difference! Saute about 2 cups worth for about 10 minutes and then put the beef in with the turnips.

Let those get to simmerin' and add 4 cups low-sodium beef broth (I like to control the salt myself), a couple tablespoons of tomato paste for "structure" (as Emeril likes to say), the reserved wine and yummy brown bits, another 1/2cup cabernet and a couple splashes of red wine vinegar.

I let that come up to a boil, returned the veggies back to the pan with a bunch of fresh thyme sprigs, a couple bay leaves, and some final S&P seasoning. I covered the pot and set on simmer for 2.5 hours while we watched the Pats game (big win!!!). Towards the end, I noticed it wasn't as thick as I wanted so I dissolved a tbsp of flour in a little water and poured that it, bringing it back to a low boil and then simmering for the last 30 minutes with the cover off. Finally, at that point in the cooking process, I added a cup of thawed frozen peas and a cup of thawed lima beans.

The stew came out really tasty... very tender beef, all the different veggies, and wonderful, subtle flavor. This would definitely serve 6-8 people easily, and because of the volume we froze enough for the 2 of us for another night. Oh and we'll eat the leftovers again tonight!!!!

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