Sunday, September 21, 2008

New Tricks Beef Stew

Who says you can't teach an old dog new tricks? How about an old cook? While I don't exactly qualify as old (not yet anyway), I do qualify as a cook who learned something new today! By now, most of you know that my littlest sous chef can't eat anything prepared with wheat. This dietary adjustment has actually been okey dokey for us. With open minds, we've tried all sorts of new and different cuisines, and have approached it as an adventure. We've also taken a good look at our tried and true favorites, and have adapted the recipes to accommodate the absence of Mr. Gluten. It's gone swimmingly well. Have you ever adapted one of your tried and true recipes?

Take today's culinary delight ... good ol' beef stew. I've made beef stew year after year for as long as I can remember. It's one of those old time favorites that families all across America like to dip a spoon into once the weather starts to turn cold. With all the veggies and meat, it's a hearty meal that warms you from the inside out. We've always liked ours served with hot buttermilk biscuits, and maybe a basic salad. How do you eat your beef stew?

Today the dawn arrived with clouds and cool air, so it was the perfect venue for beefy stew. In the past, I've made this traditional cool weather staple by first opening up the flour bin, and spooning out the powdery stuff for both dusting the meat and then whipping up a batch of buttermilk biscuits. That plan no longer works, but this new plan fit the bill splendidly. While I still like the traditional method, I found this method to be just superb ... full flavored, great texture, and in no way a "substitute" for the real thing. This was the "real" thing and it was devoured in no time flat. Now that this cook has learned a new trick, we'll be eating this again and often.

New Tricks Beef Stew

2 lbs cubed stew meat
2 Tablespoons canola oil
1 onion diced large
2 garlic cloves, minced
6 carrots, sliced in large bite sized chunks
4 potatoes, 3-1/2 cubed large, remaining 1/2 cubed small.
4 oz red wine
1 15 oz can reduced sodium chicken broth (Yep, that's chicken. I like Swanson's.)
1 26 oz carton beef stock (New from Swanson)
1 15 oz can reduced sodium beef broth (Again, I like Swanson's.)
2 Tablespoons parsley
1/2 teaspoon thyme
1 teaspoon Lawrey's Montreal Steak Seasoning
1 small shake red pepper
couple grinds sea salt and black pepper

In a large dutch oven, heat the oil on medium high. Add the stew meat and brown on all sides. Add the onion and stir. Cook for a couple minutes until the onions start to wilt. Add the garlic and carrots. Stir around and cook for just a couple minutes. Add the chix broth, beef stock, and red wine. Mixture should boil rapidly immediately. Turn down the heat, and simmer uncovered for about 15 minutes. Cover and cook for about 1 hour. Uncover, and add the beef broth. Cover and cook for about 45 more minutes. Uncover, add the potatoes, recover and cook for 15-20 minutes. Uncover and add all the seasonings. Recover and cook for another 10-15 minutes. Meat should be extremely tender. The small cubed potatoes should have melted away and thickened the stew quite nicely. I was thinking about adding a corn starch slurry, but it wasn't needed at all. The potatoes did a great job as a thickener. See how thick this is?

Note: I didn't add any peas or celery because I didn't have them. Adjust the veggies as you see fit. Next time, I want to borrow Marjie's idea and use sweet potatoes, too. Hey, that'd be another new trick for this cook!

We served ours with gluten free creme biscuits from Whole Foods. For you gluten eaters, serve with your favorite hearty bread or biscuit, or even better, beer bread biscuits!


Have you tried making an old recipe in a new way? How'd it turn out? Would love to hear about it!


doggybloggy said...

lip smacking good

Bellini Valli said...

Yes if the potatoes are cooked long enough they will thicken the stew....brilliant:D

Swati said...

Lovely rich red color!!

Marjie said...

I grate my potatoes, and they thicken the stew up wonderfully. I never use flour in stew! When everyone's home, about 6 dozen baking powder biscuits does it for us! Yeah, that's a lot of mixing and shoveling onto baking sheets, isn't it?

How's the little one feeling? Has anyone else managed to avoid the first cold of the school year?

Pam said...

We had perfect stew weather this weekend. There is something so comforting about making (and smelling) a big pot of stew. Looks delicious! Hope your little one is feeling better.

Grace said...

i'll bet you've all kinds of cooking tricks up your sleeve! using taters to thicken is a stroke of genius--thanks. :)

Cheryl said...

That looks really yummy, makes me want to make it today!!!!! I am an old dog, once I find something I like, (like my husband) or a recipe I dont change a thing!

Bridgett said...

Wow, Paula, I didn't know your little one couldn't have gluten. Where have I been? ha ha. This looks like a perfect adaptation of the tried-and-true. It is so thick and I can just smell it from here. Drooling is not pretty but I can't seem to help myself right now!

Annette said...

Hi Paula,
That stew looks delicious! Another way that I thicken stews is by "baking" it in a cast iron enameled pot, like Le Crueset, in the oven, low heat (250-275) for up to 4 hours. The sauce slowly concentrates and thickens. Although I do use a little flour you could try tapioca. I even "bake" my sauerkraut that way!
The house smells wonderful too!

Paula said...

Hi All!

Doggybloggy: Such a fun blog name you've got there! It was quite lip smakin' good!

Bellini Valli: I was almost "proud" of the potatoes and the thickening job they did!

Swati: It did develop a lovely, rich color!

Marjie: You need one of those industrial sized ovens! Why didn't I think to grate the potatoes! Great idea for next time! She's better today; now her brother has it. UGH! Hello to the boys!

Pam: I wasn't to happy to see the rain yesterday, but the stew made it all better! My gal is feeling better!

Grace: Somehow I fear my tricks are more along the lines of Bullwinkle's ... nothin' up my sleeve!

Cheryl: Your hubby's a lucky guy ... with all those recipes of yours, you feed his quite well!

Bridgett: Yep, she's been gluten free for almost 6 months now and it was the best health decision we ever made!

Annette: HI!! How's homeschooling going this year? I would LOVE to have a Le Crueset pot! In fact, I just dropped a direct hint for that as a future present! I've been eying them for years. Martha Stewart has come out with some, too, but I don't know how they compare! Thanks for visiting!

mikky said...

thanks for sharing your recipe... will give this a try soon for hubby... :)

Deborah said...

Oooh, that would be the perfect stew for a chilly night! And how wonderful that you were able to adapt it!

Peter M said...

Ahhh, nice flavour twist with the Mtl. seasoning!

The Blonde Duck said...

Beef stew never gets old. I redid my mom's chicken chilli last week. It was great!

Jeena said...

This is so wholesome rustic and delicious! I bet the beef was so tender, just fabulous.

I always cook old recipes in new ways. :-D

Pam said...

Yum! The cool mornings are making me want soups and stews.

RecipeGirl said...

I made up some chili the other night, but I've been dreaming about stew too! Looks terrific, and I would say that sweet potatoes would be a nice addition!

Gloria (Canela) said...

Paula this look absolutely tasty! xGloria

noble pig said...

I can't wait to get some cooler weather so i can make stew. Can you believe it's 90 here today! UGH! I want stew, mother nature is not cooperating.

Jan said...

That looks absolutely delish, Paula. In England, it's traditional to serve beef stew with dumplings.

Proud Italian Cook said...

I have a taste for a big pot of stew but for some reason the weather is around 80 and will be all week, so its too hot. But when it cools off I'll be back. I think I might try the sweet potato thing. Sounds like a nice twist!

Paula said...

Hello and happy autumn all!

Mikky: My hubby liked it, hope yours will too.

Deborah: It really is perfect cold weather food!

Peter: I love Montreal Steak Seasoning; I may need to buy the Costco sized container!

Blonde Duck: Chicken chili sounds fab!

Jeena: I love reading all of your recipes! You've got a great collection of gluten free stuff!

Pam: The cool mornings have me rethinking breakfast foods. Time to switch from iced tea to hot tea!

Recipe Girl: I don't know why I don't use sweet potatoes more. We love them, but only have them during holiday season!

Gloria: Hola! It was really quite good.

Noble Pig: 90's! Wow! We might get one more "hurrah" out of mother nature before the rain returns, then it's drizzle city for months.

Jan: Oooh, dumplings would be sooo good with beef stew! I am going to try your Shepherds/Cottage Pie soon!

Proud Italian: You're getting the warm weather we had last week! It's starting to feel like fall with the leaves starting to drop off and the cool mornings/nights. I miss summer!

Jude said...

Your closeeup photos are drool worthy. this is going to be great for the cold weather up ahead.

Kevin said...

Nice looking beef stew. It is getting time for comfort food like beef stews.

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