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Beef Stew


Stone
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Last week had some of the coldest days I've experienced in San Francisco. So I decided to make beef stew. My mom used to make this at least once a winter when I was growing up, but she stopped in the early 80s when we all became afraid of red meat. I've never done it before, but I figured it was pretty straightforward. Of course, it's about 70's degrees outside today.

Picked up about 3 pounds of stewing meat at Cala foods. Patted it dry, salt and pepper, dusted with flour and, working in batches, browned in a little oil in my large 5 gallon brew pot. (I need something better. The bottom is too thin and doesn't diffuse the heat at all. I tried putting my Calphalon griddle underneath to act as a diffuser, but it's curved up at the edges, so the pot doesn't sit flat on it. Most of the heat transfer is to the edge of the pot instead of the middle.)

Deglazed with some Cabernet, tossed in about 3" of rosemary and some fresh thyme and let it reduce. Added the meat back in with about 4 med potatoes, 4 medium onion, 4 stalks of celery (all roughly chopped) and a small bag of little peeled carrots (I find these sooo helpful). Poured in the rest of the bottle of wine and a large can of chicken stock. One medium bottle of this sweetened tomato sauce made by Heinz (they call it "ketchup"). About a teaspoon of dijon mustard, a few dashes of worcestersheirshe shaush, dried oregano, 6 crushed cloves of garlic and a teaspoon of cayenne.

3 1/2 hours of simmering later and it's damn good. A little sweet -- I should probably cut back on the ketchup and add a little tomato paste instead.

Maybe I'll freeze it and bring it up to Tahoe next weekend.

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One medium bottle of this sweetened tomato sauce made by Heinz (they call it "ketchup"). 

A little sweet -- I should probably cut back on the ketchup and add a little tomato paste instead.

Did Mom add ketchup? Many people will tell you that tomatoes (paste or ketchup or whatever) have no place in beef stew.

Of course, I LIKE tomatoes in beef stew, so ignore said "many people" and always add a can of stewed ones.

Although when I was a kid, we'd sometimes add ketchup to our stew at the table, which would make Mom squeal with horror and reach across the table and snatch the bottle out of our grubby little hands.

I'd suggest that next time, you leave out the ketchup AND the tomato paste and prepare it sans tomatoes. Then, when you get it tasting how you like it - the flavors and seasonings all correct and balanced - put a little of the stew into a separate bowl and add various types of tomatoes (i.e. ketchup, paste, stewed) to see what you think, by comparison.

Like I said - I love tomatoes in mine, but even for a large pot of stew - one can of stewed tomatoes is MORE than enough. And the flavor of stewed tomatoes is nowhere nearly so strong/sweet as ketchup. So I'm certain that much would have been a little overwhelming.

I don't understand why rappers have to hunch over while they stomp around the stage hollering.  It hurts my back to watch them. On the other hand, I've been thinking that perhaps I should start a rap group here at the Old Folks' Home.  Most of us already walk like that.

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A whole bottle of ketchup? No wonder! I use about a tablespoon of it in stew. If I don't use ketchup, I'll use some tomato paste, more for thickening than anything else. I like a thicker gravy with my stew.

Do you have a dutch oven? Stew are good to simmer in those, as they are pretty heavy. And of course, the crockpot is ideal for simmering these things.

Marlene

cookskorner

Practice. Do it over. Get it right.

Mostly, I want people to be as happy eating my food as I am cooking it.

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The only thing I'd change from your method (aside fron the WHOLE bottle of ketchup) is tossing the meat in flour. I've always had better browning by just browning the raw meat without the flour. The MEAT browns, not the flour, and a better color is achieved.

I'd use beef stock rather than chicken unless that's all I had on hand.

Bless the person who invented those carrots!!!

Stop Family Violence

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i see we have fans of those carrots!! but it seems to me that they can oftentimes be a bit bland. considering the ease that one can peel 2 carrots i have to ask if it's worth it?

and stone, you definitely need a le creuset. if for any reason because they look cool and are a snap to clean. :smile:

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The only thing I'd change from your method (aside fron the WHOLE bottle of ketchup) is tossing the meat in flour. I've always had better browning by just browning the raw meat without the flour. The MEAT browns, not the flour, and a better color is achieved.

I'd use beef stock rather than chicken unless that's all I had on hand.

Bless the person who invented those carrots!!!

Yeah, me too, Dana. I just brown it in a little oil or butter, without flouring it. After literally years and years of making tons of beef (and lamb also) stew, I have to say that I've found simpler is better. I tried lots of stuff through the years - all the obvious things - flour, wine, beer, broth, bouillon - you name it and I tried it. But then, finally just settled into beef browned in a little fat (butter or oil, but not bacon grease or anything else that imparts its own flavor) and then slowly braised in water (yes, water) with celery, onions, carrots, a bay leaf, little thyme and parsley, a can of stewed tomatoes, S&P, very, slowly, all day. Then, add some potatoes on toward the end. Sometimes I add garlic, or a slight dusting of nutmeg, a pinch of sugar maybe, but most times, not.

It thickens up nicely with little bits of the meat and veggies.

It's so simple but so good.

Of course, I also make Mexican stews with chiles, and Greek stew with onions, cinnamon, etc, Flemish with beer, etc., but for plain old beef stew, my family enjoys the simpler stuff.

And the older I get the more I see the beauty there.

I don't understand why rappers have to hunch over while they stomp around the stage hollering.  It hurts my back to watch them. On the other hand, I've been thinking that perhaps I should start a rap group here at the Old Folks' Home.  Most of us already walk like that.

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  • 1 year later...

Last year I adapted Jamie Oliver's "Steak and Guinness" pie recipe for a venison stew, heavy on rosemary, thyme and especially parsnips (delicious in stews). I can now say that Guinness (or another dark or medium beer; Newcastle also had great results) is my favorite braising medium.

I agree on browning without flour; the key to good browning for me has always been to make sure the meat is very dry. I do it all in a Le Creuset oval dutch oven, and it's basically foolproof. Sometimes I deglaze after sauteeing the vegetables with red wine, then add the Guinness.

Mmmm. I really love stewing.

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