Stewing at Home

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Whew.  It's hot in here.  Literally- I think my oven and range have been on since mid-October creating all sorts of autumny concoctions.

Remember my recent post

Baking has increased a hundredfold around these parts and isn't appearing to ease up.  All by choice, of course.  I have an affinity for baked goods and their subsequent aromas.  While I adore cooking, it isn't my forte- nor do I like it as well as baking.  Sugary, buttery, chocolatey, yeasty, carby...those are my specialties.

Cooking, though, is a must.  As a wife and mother it's really inevitable.  Thus I've made it my goal to attempt most things and try my hand at an array of intimidating tasks.  One I haven't tried?  Roasting a bird.  It terrifies me.  However this weekend I purchased a 13lb turkey and plan to go about teaching myself how to roast that sucker sometime in the next few weeks.
I'll keep you posted on how THAT goes.  {Shaking in my boots}.

I also want to become better at grilling.  I'm not bad at it- it's simply not one of my favorite things to do, nor do I feel I have the ample knowledge required to know when a piece of meat is cooked to a specified "doneness".  Someday.  Maybe next summer.

However baking I can do.  And HAVE been doing.

These have been perpetually been on my counter lately:



Yes.  Butter and eggs.  We've gone through way too many batches of 'em.  I should really just buy a cow and some chickens. 

It's in the 10 year plan. 

That, and a greenhouse.  And a garden.  And more counterspace.  And a convection oven with an induction range and a porcelain farmhouse sink, and distressed wood floors, and all stainless steel/cast iron cookware, and a walk-in pantry, and a butcher block as a kitchen island, and a gig as Ina's sous chef... well, a girl can dream, right?  :)

Moving on.

Anyway- this has also been the state of my counters lately:


Putting that butter n' eggs to good use I made some chocolate chip cookies for my cousin and his girlfriend who were so sweet to come babysit for us the other night.  Date nights have become rare around these parts.  We treat them like gold (date nights and sitters!).

Also baked up four dozen rolls for meal swap this month.
Rolls, along with Bacon Lentil Stew.
Mmm, stew.  Hold that thought!

In addition, we were invited by a sweet college friend of mine to dine at their house Saturday evening.  So, of course not being able to come empty-handed, a French silk pie was a must.  I made two.  Because if one is good, two is better, right?
We ended up taking the second to our bi-monthly small group gathering Sunday evening.


Then, my friends, today I made something I've been craving for weeks.

It's a must during the winter months.  A MUST, I tell you.  I mean, what's chilly weather without some hearty beef stew?  Really, I don't think there is such a thing.  The two go hand-in-hand.  In fact, at least three of my blogger friends have posted on beef stew this week so I'm pretty certain it isn't just me.  We foodies (and non-foodies alike) just know it's about that time. 

It's been. that. time. in my stomach for weeks and I simply haven't gotten around to making it but then I saw a recipe in Gina and Pat Neely's cookbook and knew I had to partake.  Then I read THIS book, a very broody English generational tale with ample amounts of romanticism, mystery, and intrigue.  At one point in the story the main character is entertained by a British countryman and his daughter.  While discussing the mystery of an ill-fated family they partake in beef stew for supper.  I had visions of sitting in an ivy-laden little cottage on the moors, sipping tea and eating stew while the rain pattered outside.  That was it.  Done and done.  I had to make it.

Thus, this weekend we picked up our 100 lbs of beef from a locker a few hours away (did I mention we bought a portion of cow this year- yes, THAT'S a story in itself).  The minute that beef entered my house I knew it was meant to become my coveted stew.

So enough preamble already.

Hearty Beef Stew

Ingredients:

- 3lbs trimmed boneless beef chuck, cubed
- salt & pepper
- 6 T butter
- 3 T all-purpose flour
- 2 large onions, chopped
- 1/4 C tomato paste
- 3 C dry red wine
- Two 14oz cans beef broth (or 3 C homemade)
- 1 T brown sugar
- 1.5lbs baby red-skinned potatoes, quartered
- One 10oz package baby carrots
- 1lb fresh cremini mushrooms, stemmed and sliced (optional- Mr. K isn't a fan)
- Two cans dark red kidney beans (optional- I like the added fiber)
- 3 T whole-grain mustard
- 3 T chopped fresh parsley

Instructions:

1. Place the meat in a large bowl and season generously with salt and pepper.  Melt 4 T of the butter in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat.  Working in batches, toss the meat with the flour; add to the pot, and brown on all sides.  Using a slotted spoon, transfer the meat to a plate.

2. Melt the remaining 2 T butter in the same pot over medium-high heat.  Add the onions and saute until tender, about 6 minutes.  Mix in the tomato paste and then the red wine.  Bring to a boil, scraping up any browned bits on the bottom of the pot.  Add the broth and sugar, then the browned beef.  Bring to a boil; reduce the heat, and simmer, partially covered, 1.5 hours, until the beef is very tender.

3. Add the potatoes and carrots, and simmer, uncovered, until the veggies are tender, about 25 minutes.  Add the mushrooms, beans, mustard, and parsley; simmer until the mushrooms are tender, another 10 minutes.  Season to taste with salt and pepper (though if you are using regular sodium beef broth, you may not need to add salt- commercial broths are generally very salty).

Sorry, no step-by-step pics a la Pioneer Woman.
I've decided those take way too much time.  No idea how she does it!
I chose to double the recipe and thus needed a hefty stock pot (seen below).
Half of the stew went to a couple of dear friends who just had a sweet baby girl.  Hope they enjoyed it!



Like Rachael Ray always says, "I wish they'd just invent smell-o-vision!"
The aroma of this stuff is to. die. for.  I'm convinced it's the red wine.
Plus, you can pour yourself a glass while it cooks.
Bonus!



Pour a heaping bowl of stew over some multigrain egg noodles (or eat it plain), 
with some homemade bread,
and you have yourself a fabulously filling fall meal.


Yes, this is exactly what I needed this week.



Now I'll go continue on in my broody English novel,
all the while envisioning myself on the moors.
Cheers and happy stewing...

1 comments:

jamie said...

abigail is sitting next to me looking at your blog and she says "aunt abbie is a good cooker.. will she send us some" hahahha bababa ha
love that girl! :)

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