October 13, 2006

Beef Stew...

I try to cut everything before I get started with the actual cooking so that the cooking goes quickly and nothing gets burned as I go. I also cut everything small enough that it fits into the spoon that we will be eating with. That makes for good bites for the kids little mouths, too. :) So, here goes...

First I cut the Mirepoix - onions, celery and carrots. The ratio is 1/2 onion, 1/4 carrots and 1/4 celery. That is not cups but ratios... 2:1:1.



Then I cut up the mushrooms



I also make a mix of salt and pepper to season as I go.



I cut some thyme from the garden and pulled out two bay leaves that will go in, too.



Once everything is cut and ready then you can start the cooking. Oh, you can also cut up some garlic very fine (minced) to go into the pot right before you put the meat back in later.

I add about 2 Tbsp of olive oil to the stock pot



Then add the meat...
a note about the meat here: I buy the stew meat at the store already cut but I find that the pieces are way too big still, so I cut them even smaller using kitchen scissors so that it fits the spoons size or a bit smaller.



Put it in the pot and cook until browned all over.
Add some salt and pepper at this stage to the meat.






Once it is browned I remove it to another container so that I can saute the mirepoix in the juices and bits from the meat. This way you do not lose any flavor.

Mirepoix



Then mushrooms, bay leaves and thyme - a bit more salt and pepper if you wish.



Add the garlic in here and the add the meat back in...



Stir it all together. If I like a thicker broth I will add a bit of flour at this stage and stir before adding more liquid. Once that is done then I will add beef stock or broth and simmer. I am also know to add mixed vegetables and potatoes at this stage, too. (medium dice so that they cook quickly on the potatoes) I like lots of veggies in mine. Instead of the traditional wine I will also add a shot of red wine vinegar or balsamic vinegar to give it a little bit of richness.

Cook for about 45 minutes to an hour over medium heat. If it is still not as thick as you would like you can add a slurry (2:1 ratio of cornstarch and cold water mixed and poured into stew) to thicken it up a bit.

Here is the final...



Note: this gets better the day after it is cooked, cooled and refrigerated and then reheated. It just ages over the next few days very nicely if it lasts that long. ;)

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