Saturday, November 15, 2008

Meaty, Manly Meal

They say the fastest way to a man's heart is through his stomach. This man's already been won (go me!) but a home-cooked reminder never hurts! I figured a hot beefy stew, some fresh biscuits, and his favorite apple cookies were in order. Earlier this week I found myself in a rather, er, compromising position and he did everything he could to make me more comfortable and put his man-sized foot down with some uncooperative lab assistants. He even ventured out in the freezing rain to bring back some miso soup without complaint when I didn't feel like cooking. Thanks Beanpole!

I made a couple last-minute adjustments but the stew tasted much better than the canned variety. I forgot bay leaves at the market, but we didn't miss them. I also neglected to notice the two hour simmer and at 9pm threw the chopped carrots and potatoes in a bowl, added a bit of tiny bit of beef stock, loosely covered the bowl with plastic wrap, and microwaved for about 5 minutes to steam everything. I added them to the stew and let them fully soften, probably another 5-10 minutes at most. No problem!


Beef Stew (Annie's Eats)

3 lbs. beef chuck roast, trimmed and cut into 1 ½ -inch cubes

salt and pepper

3 tbsp. vegetable oil, divided

¼ tsp. salt

2 cups chopped onion

3 cloves garlic, minced

3 tbsp. all-purpose flour

1 cup dry red wine

2 cups low-sodium beef broth

2 bay leaves

1 tsp. dried thyme

4 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes

4 large carrots, peeled and cut into ¼ -inch slices

1 cup frozen peas

-Dry beef thoroughly and season generously with salt and pepper. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in heavy-bottomed pot over medium-high heat. Add 1/2 of the meat so pieces are spread in one even layer and cook, not moving, until brown (about 2-3 minutes). Use tongs and rotate until all sides are browned (about 5 additional minutes). Transfer beef to a medium bowl and add another 1 tablespoon oil to the pan, repeating previous steps with remaining half of beef.
-Reduce heat to medium and add remaining 1 tablespoon oil to now empty pan, and swirl to coat bottom. Add onions and ¼ tsp. salt and cook, scraping bottom of pan for browned bits until softened (about 5 minutes). Add garlic and continue to cook for 30 seconds. Stir in the flour and cook until lightly colored (1-2 minutes). Add wine, scraping the bottom and stirring until thick and flour is dissolved.
-Gradually add beef broth, stirring constantly, scraping up the remaining browned bits on bottom of pan. Add bay leaves and thyme, return to simmer. Add beef, return to simmer, reduce heat to low, and cover. Simmer for 1 hour.
-Add potatoes and carrots, leave uncovered, increase heat to medium and cook for an additional hour. Add peas, reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 5 minutes. Discard bay leaves, adjust seasoning and serve immediately.