Friday, October 12, 2012

Something to Stew Over

I'm not sure that it qualified as snow, but I did get caught in some hail this afternoon in the grocery store parking lot.  I wasn't super excited about it since it's the second week of October and I feel the twinges of a cold coming on.  Seems like the perfect time to share with you my favorite Beef Stew recipe.  Many people don't use a recipe for beef stew, I never did either but since I found this one in the Jamie Oliver Food Revolution cookbook, I know it will come out great every time and I love that you don't have to brown the meat first.  I hate browning the meat first.
So here's how it goes.  Get yourself some carrots (in various colors like our crazy garden variety, or your standard orange), onion and celery.  (The photos I took were of a double batch, we like leftovers.)
Generally I don't use celery in my stew but the recipe calls for it and I like the flavor it adds.  Sometimes I go lighter on the actual stalks but chop up the leaves and throw them in.  They are great in all kinds of soups (especially chowders) so don't toss them when you're cooking!
Roughly chop all the veggies and grab a couple of bay leaves while you heat a little olive oil in a pot over medium heat.
Toss it all in the pot and cook, stirring for about 10 minutes.
Next your going to add some flour and stew beef to the pot and mix it up good.
Next you'll add some dark beer.  This was good but a stout (Guinness) or porter will give it a little heartier flavor. 
Pour in the beer along with some canned diced tomatoes.
After bringing to a boil, cover and simmer on the stove or in a 350 oven for 3 hrs.  I add peeled diced potatoes in for the last 1/2 hour of cooking. 
And there you have it.  A nice hearty bowl of beef stew to warm your bones on a chilly October weekend. 

Basic Beef Stew (Jamie Oliver)

2 stalks celery
2 medium onions
2 carrots (I always go heavy on the carrots, usually twice as many)
olive oil
1 heaped TBS all-purpose flour
1 14oz can diced tomatoes
salt and pepper
3 bay leaves
1 lb stew beef diced
2 cups brown ale, Guinness or stout

If using the oven, pre-heat to 350.  Trim and roughly chop the onion, carrots and celery.  Heat a dutch oven over medium heat and add 2 Tbs olive oil and the veggies.  Cook for 10 min stirring occasionally.  Add meat and flour and stir.  Pour in beer and canned tomatoes.  Give it a stir and season with salt and pepper.  Bring to a boil, cover and simmer on stove top or in the oven for 3 hours.  Remove the lid for the last half hour of cooking.  If adding potatoes, peel and dice 2 large or a few medium potatoes.  Throw them in the pot for the last 30-40 min.  Remove bay leaves and add salt and pepper as needed before serving.  (Serves 4-6)

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