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!